A Teacher’s Value

After 25 years of teaching in some of the hardest and most challenging schools and situations in all of America, the State of Tennessee has determined my experience and my advance degrees mean nothing. Governor  Bill Haslam and his appointed henchman, Commissioner Huffman, have determined that teachers who have a Doctorate and/or a Masters degree should not get paid for the advanced education.… [Read more]

Supplying the supplies – Adopt a Classroom

It’s the first of August which means that the Back to School sales have been in full force for about three weeks now.

For parents of school-aged kids this means they are busy filling the Back to School lists that teachers have sent home; some even have supply lists from the teachers. For teachers this means getting into our classrooms and making lists.… [Read more]

Is Religion Sneaking into our Schools?

Californians in the Encinitas Union School District recently attempted to ban yoga from physical education (PE) in public schools because of its religious origin. It sounds silly, but keeping religion out of the classroom has become an increasingly valued part of upholding religious freedom in Americans schools.

Here in America

Often when religion makes an appearance in the public sphere and becomes embroiled in legal difficulties we expect to find the ACLU and people who are considered to be ‘angry, politically correct atheists‘ behind it.… [Read more]

Summer School

It’s summertime and, as a teacher, that means I am home with my two boys for the next two-and-a-half months. Most people assume this means I have oodles of free time to just sit and kick it on my back deck with a book.

While I do have more time now than I did when my days were 7:30am-5:00pm, I still have a lot of “teacherly” things going on.… [Read more]

Do Politicians Care About Our Youth?

I question the commitment of our politicians when it comes to the education of our young people.

Educating young minds takes more than classroom instruction and standardized exams. It requires a commitment to nurture students and expose them to a myriad of educational and cultural opportunities. How can this happen if one of the first things on the chopping block during budget discussions is funding for after-school programs and the arts?… [Read more]

Blame Mom!

It seems I can’t win. Apparently if I am not screwing up education as a teacher, I’m doing it by being a working mom.

source: cbsnews.com

This past week, in a forum hosted by The Washington Post, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant announced that all the problems in education can be tracked back to women joining the work force.… [Read more]

Our Public School Teachers are Heroes

The horrific storm that hit central Oklahoma has, once again, shined a spotlight on the dedication, selflessness and heroism of public school teachers. Moore, Oklahoma, the town that is no more, lost 9 students when an elementary school took the full force of what has been determined to be an EF5 tornado. The monster storm flattened the one-story structure with 200 MPH winds and debris harnessed by the funnel cloud of destruction.… [Read more]

Keep Religion in Schools

I’m a HUGE supporter of the separation of church and state. Huge.

But as a public school teacher, that doesn’t mean I can’t teach about religion. It just means I can’t tell my students that one or any religion is the RIGHT religion.

As a high school American literature teacher, it is absolutely impossible for me to teach any of the books in my curriculum without my students having some working knowledge of the Bible.… [Read more]

Common (Core Educational Standards) for a Reason

I’m really not sure how much the non-teacher public know about the Common Core State Standards Initiative that has been brewing over the past few years and has gone into effect this school year.

The idea behind the Common Core is that instead of every state making up their own public school standards and benchmarks for grades K-12 and then giving their own state test to check on the progress of those standards, all the states will have the same…ahem…COMMON…set of standards for each grade level.… [Read more]

In Praise of Public Educators

One could easily believe that our public school educators have a patron saint in the late comedic actor Rodney “No Respect” Dangerfield. We went from treating our trained and dedicated educational professionals as a respected calling involving “starving with dignity,” to tagging them as a gaggle of greedy, selfish, and coddled public dollar freeloaders who allegedly weren’t perfect surrogate parent nannies.… [Read more]

RFID School Tags: A Slippery Slope to 24-7 State Surveillance

On Tuesday August 4, 2009 Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli gave a speech at the National Conference for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools addressing the issue of truancy in public schools and the need for diverse and unconventional solutions.

Attorney General Holder really drives home to all of us that when we think about law enforcement, we need to think broadly….I know that your goal is education, but schools also play a key role in law enforcement in any number of ways.… [Read more]

A Public Teacher’s Thoughts on Homeschooling

Let me start by saying that I very much support those who choose to homeschool their children. I have friends who homeschool and they do such outstanding things, sometimes I secretly wish my boys could be homeschooled…by them!

That being said, I always find it interesting to talk to people who homeschool. I am just interested, especially as a public school teacher, why they choose to homeschool.… [Read more]

From the Mouths of Babes: Free Speech and Technology in Schools

Mark Twain, sage of the 19th century Mississippi that inspired his Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, once suggested that when he was a teenager, his own father was so irredeemably stupid that the old man’s mere presence was unbearable ….and how amazing it was that the dumb bastard relic had got a lot smarter by the time Twain passed his 21st birthday.… [Read more]

Obama: On Education, Is The President Liberals’ Piñata?

While the rest of us offered thanks for family and friends on Thanksgiving, one D.C. teacher told a colleague, “I am thankful Obama won, now I can go back to hating him for what he’s doing to public education.” You mean like pumping almost $100 billion in new funds into federal education programs and another $60 billion into saving teacher jobs?… [Read more]

Social Media and Education

I have been “on the internet” (if you count e-mail) since before most of my students were born.

(Side note: Holy Moses. How can that be true?? I am so youthful! Ahem.)

In college (late 90’s/early 00’s), I had my first website — a sample teaching site I created using DreamWeaver that I thought was amazing (it was not, and I never used it again).… [Read more]

Just Because You Can…

As a high school teacher, I see many types of “authority” figures mostly by way of other teachers and the parents of my students.

Some are paranoid that given an inch, the kids will take a million miles, so they create rules for absolutely everything. If a kid could in some way have a choice about something (taking the stapler from the room for example), there is a posted rule, or a spoken rule, or something.… [Read more]

Gambling on Schools, Rolling Snake Eyes

Next week many voters will breathe a sigh of relief. The political ads that have saturated the airwaves, driving us all insane, will thankfully come to an end. Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, you have my sympathy. Maryland is solidly blue – far from a battleground state – but an epic battle is brewing over a question on the statewide ballot, sparking a $60 million ad war over casino gambling.… [Read more]

Walking the Line

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers strike is nationwide news.

My best friend since middle school is one of those thousands of red T-shirted teachers on the picket line. She does not want to be there. She wants to be in her fourth grade classroom. She met her students and then the following week was called to strike.… [Read more]

Union Proud

Yesterday was the first day of school in my district.

I have been too busy building relationships and making my classroom a safe learning environment today to be worrying about anything else in education.

But Monday, for Labor Day, I did take a minute to remind all the people making union jokes, that A) they had the day off because of unions and B) I am a union worker.… [Read more]

Ryan Gets a Failing Grade in Education

Oh boy.

Here we go.

Instead of choosing someone to offset his conservative views, Romney chose someone who is totally as conservative as he is.

Also? It seems as if Paul Ryan would like to see public education privatized as much as the next rich white dude.

Get the rich richer and get rid of that pesky middle class, right?… [Read more]