Texas Education

Blog on Texas Education

Posts Tagged ‘President Barack Obama’

Sound familiar?

Posted by Texas Education on March 19, 2009

‘Rally in Tally’ to support education

DAYTONA BEACH — Dozens of Volusians will travel to Tallahassee on Wednesday in an attempt to persuade Florida lawmakers the state’s public schools need better funding.

The rest sounds about like our mess. I figure President Obama will hopefully change a lot of this going on. We may not rebound as soon as everyone would like, but if we educate our young better, maybe we won’t get into these messes. Ya think?

While the PTA took the lead in organizing this week’s rally, representatives of other education-related groups also are joining the effort, including presidents of unions that represent Volusia teachers and school office workers.

Those groups spearheaded a local campaign that collected more than 100,000 pennies to highlight a proposal from the Florida Education Association, their state affiliate, to increase the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent for three years to raise more money for education.

Are we up to the task?

Advertisements

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Relationships and rigor

Posted by Texas Education on March 15, 2009

Reading David Brooks piece in today’s Houston Chronicle. (Though, that link takes you to the NY times on Thursday – couldn’t seem to find it in the chon.) Don’t even usually blog on Sunday’s, usually everyone is resting up for the week, but I’m pumped, for a number of reasons…I won’t bore you with here.

When he was a boy, his mother would wake him up at 4:30 to tutor him for a few hours before he went off to school. When young Barry complained about getting up so early, his mother responded: “This is no picnic for me either, Buster.”

That experience was the perfect preparation for reforming American education because it underlines the two traits necessary for academic success: relationships and rigor.

I’ve learned, relationships are the key in education. Friday, when I subbed at the school that I taught at last year, I saw some of my former students (a couple that made me earn my $$$) come up to me, big smiles, hugs, the whole nine yards, actually making a scene. Don’t think I wasn’t eating that up!!! Boosted my self-esteem ten – fold. Even though we had difficult times (those two I referred to earlier,) sleeping, checking out stuff we shouldn’t be looking at, at school, let alone in class, etc., they still have a big smile, a hug and warm wishes for me. (Yeah, that’s what we love about teaching.) Asked if I was coming back…I wish!

We’ve spent years working on ways to restructure schools, but what matters most is the relationship between one student and one teacher. You ask a kid who has graduated from high school to list the teachers who mattered in his life, and he will reel off names. You ask a kid who dropped out, and he will not even understand the question. Relationships like that are beyond his experience.

This is what really caught me. How true a statement. So, those two young men who I saw in the hall, got a hug from – one even introduced me to his girlfriend – the other came back from California (was worried about him being in gangs when I heard he was going out there) are, still in school, and apparently, doing better than last year. I would have loved to have still been there to watch my students continue to grow, succeed and excel.

Of course, Brooks goes on to talk about the other side, the rigor.

As Education Secretary Arne Duncan told me, “We’ve seen a race to the bottom. States are lying to children. They are lying to parents. They’re ignoring failure, and that’s unacceptable. We have to be fierce.”

Obama’s goal is to make sure results have consequences. He praises data sets that “tell us which students had which teachers so we can assess what’s working and what’s not.” He also aims to reward states that use data to make decisions. He will build on a Bush program that gives states money for merit pay so long as they measure teachers based on real results. He will reward states that expand charter schools, which are drivers of innovation, so long as they use data to figure out which charters are working.

Brooks sums it up well, “There’s reason to think that this week’s impressive speech will be followed by real and potentially historic action.”

Posted in accountability, In-the-news, leadership, learning, national education, teachers, teaching | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Education! Education! Education!

Posted by Texas Education on March 10, 2009

President Obama delivered his Education Plan at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce today, watch it in its entirety here. Grab a cup o’ joe, it’s over 3o minutes long. But, of course, I like what he has to say, and I only hope we can accomplish a portion of what he says.  I’m glad to see Education being put first, finally! Stimulus, mimulus, some are saying to put health care and education on a back burner (what have we been doing for the last 8 years?) and work on the economy. “WE CAN’T AFFORD TO PUT EDUCATION ON THE BACK BURNER ANY LONGER.”

He mentions 50 different benchmarks, crazy, I know! Why do we have that?  He is

“calling on our nations Governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem solving,  critical thinking, and entrepreneurship, and creativity, that is what we’re gonna help them do later this year. When we finally make NCLB live up to it’s name by ensuring not only the teachers and principals get the funding that they need, but that the money is tied to results.”

He even mentions Houston, in a good way, I kid you not! He goes on to say,

“Of course, raising standards alone will not make much of a difference unless we provide teachers and principals with the information they need to make sure students are prepared to meet those standards. And far too few states have data systems like the one in Florida that keep track of a student’s education from childhood through college. And far too few districts are emulating the example of Houston and Long Beach and using data to track how much progress a student is making and where that student is struggling.”

Houston, an example? I’m sorry, but am I missing something? I certainly don’t mean to diss our great city, but I  seriously don’t get it. Maybe I’m in a situation where I only see the negative. We really have to work to find out “what is right with this situation,” or what is “good.” I’m all for what he is saying, I only hope we see some sort of change, progress, help even.  I also hope to be a major part of this enormous undertaking.

I totally agree with President Obama about tracking a student’s progress throughout his school career, instead of testing him/her – a good friend of mine, teacher, her own son called her from home throwing up on a TAKS day – on a day or two, judging whether he/she moves up to the next grade or judges a whole school based on a student’s test scores on one day’s testing.

I do hope our childrens’ futures will be brighter. I’m trying to see the glass as half full.

As most of you know, if you have received an email from me,“To achieve your best, get in over your head and rise to the top.” – Dr. Richard Tapia Professor of Computational Mathematics, Rice University. This is still my mantra!!!

Obama’s vision for a new education system

Posted in accountability, Ethics, financing, funding, Good Stuff, Higher Ed, leadership, learning, national education, teachers, teaching, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking News from TFN: A Big Win, but…

Posted by Texas Education on January 22, 2009

Just two days ago, President Barack Obama spoke of the need to “restore science to its rightful place” and promised to “transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.”

Texas took a big step toward this new age of science today. But some new obstacles have appeared along the path.

Just hours ago, the State Board of Education (SBOE) voted 8-7 to reject efforts by creationists to reinsert into draft curriculum standards sweeping language — “strengths and weaknesses” — used to undermine sound science education. If this vote stands, a key weapon creationists have used to attack evolution will be swept from the standards.

But creationists on the board managed to sneak through other changes that complicate important parts of the standards. One change would have students question a core concept of evolutionary biology, common descent. It was a stunning display of arrogance, with the board’s far-right faction pretending to know more about science than the teachers and scientists who crafted the standards draft.

Clearly, then, this is not a time to be complacent. The Texas Freedom Network is redoubling our critical efforts. In fact, we’re working around the clock to fight off the radical right’s dangerous attempts to undermine our children’s science education and their chances to succeed in college and the jobs of the future.

The final vote on the science curriculum standards is slated for March — only a few weeks away! So the battle is not over and we can not succeed without your urgently needed help.

Today, I urge you to take 2 actions:

  1. Make a special donation to TFN in honor of educators, innovators, researchers and all those committed to teaching sound science over political ideology.
  2. Sign the Stand Up for Science petition and forward this message to friends and family so that they can lend their names to this important cause.

Thank you for all you do for TFN. You are a critical partner in our work, and together we can Stand Up for Science!

Sincerely,
kmillersig2
Kathy Miller
President

P.S. Don’t forget to forward the Stand Up for Science petition to your friends and family so that they may add their name to our efforts. Click here to forward this important message.

Divider

Texas Freedom Network advances a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties to counter the radical right.

Make a donation to support the work of TFN.

Posted in Good Stuff, Higher Ed, In-the-news, teaching | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »