December 4

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” ― Mark Twain
   Two letter writers to the Friday L.A. Times commented on the paper’s op-ed piece from Nov. 26th (mentioned in the “Ed News”) about the excellent job being done by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-1130-friday-deasy-lausd-20121130,0,294207.story
   The LAUSD and UTLA reached a tentative agreement on a new teacher evaluation system on Friday that includes the use of student test scores according to this story in Saturday’s Times.  Be sure to check out the Diane Ravitch quote in the article.  The school board and union members still have to approve the agreement:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-1201-lausd-evals-20121201,0,4606955.story  Three letters published in today’s Times reacted to the story:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-1204-tuesday-teachers-test-scores-20121204,0,5451846.story
   Two letter writers in the Saturday paper responded to a Times editorial last week (mentioned in the “Ed News”) regarding teacher pay for advanced degrees:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-1201-saturday-teachers-degrees-20121201,0,4778217.story
   Here are three separate items that might impact a future credential program at Oxy:  (1) The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is proposing the creation of a national teacher “bar exam” that would be used to determine if newly trained educators are ready for the rigors of their classrooms.  In addition, they want to raise entry standards for teacher-preparation programs as explained in this story from EDUCATION WEEK:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2012/12/aft_calls_for_higher_teacher-p.html  (2) In order to help recoup rising costs, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) is considering a proposal to charge colleges and universities for accrediting their teacher-prep programs.  The SI&A CABINET REPORT has the details:  http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2627  (3)  EdSource profiles 5 alternative certification programs in California that are using federal grants to help train math and science teachers.  This story might have added significance given that the Oxy Ed. Dept. panel last week focused on possibly creating a credential program to prepare math and science educators:  http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/fast-track-to-stem-teaching-in-state-with-federal-grants/23631#.UL5Tm9PjnDK
    A story in yesterday’s L.A. Times describes an experimental partnership between the LAUSD and the City of Los Angeles to help dropouts earn their high school diplomas and receive job training skills:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-youth-dropout-20121203,0,2767494.story  A new report, highlighted in this article from the Huffington Post, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation details the number of American youth between the ages of 16-24 who are neither in school nor working.  The sobering statistics bolster the justification for the program described above.  This story contains a link to the full report (20 pages) titled “Youth and Work, Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity” and contains a lot of other pertinent information about this segment of our population:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/03/kids-count-youth-and-work-report_n_2233450.html?utm_hp_ref=education  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/03/kids-count-youth-and-work-report_n_2233450.html?utm_hp_ref=education
   Is spending more time in the classroom the answer to poor achievement in U.S. schools?  5 states (Massachusetts, Colorado, Tennessee, Connecticut and New York) will pilot a program that adds 300 hours or more to the school year in some of their schools starting in 2013-14.  Yahoo News (via the AP) has the details:  http://news.yahoo.com/5-states-increase-class-time-schools-221441177.html
   A growing controversy is arising over the new Common Core State Standards in English.  Do they require more reading of nonfiction materials as opposed to traditional literature or is that a misinterpretation of what the Standards are expecting?  This piece in The Washington Post takes a look at the issue:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/common-core-state-standards-in-english-spark-war-over-words/2012/12/02/4a9701b0-38e1-11e2-8a97-363b0f9a0ab3_story.html
   A judge has turned thumbs down to the controversial Louisiana voucher program ruling that it’s unconstitutional.  The New Orleans Times-Picayune provides the coverage:  http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/11/jindal_voucher_overhaul_uncons.html
   Could a situation arise where a veteran instructor at a school in Florida is selected as “Teacher of the Year” by her colleagues yet receives an “unsatisfactory” on her evaluation based on test scores she had nothing to do with?  If you think this is pure fiction and could not possibly happen, you need to read Valerie Strauss’ blog:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/12/03/a-value-added-travesty-for-an-award-winning-teacher/
    And finally, a bill that failed in the California legislature last year to speed up the dismissal of teachers for gross misconduct was revived by it’s author reports the L.A. Times:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/12/bill-to-speed-up-teacher-dismissals-is-revived.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+%28L.A.+Now%29

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar

 

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