Thursday’s Tiny Reading Collection: NCLB, School Report Cards, and Inadequate School Funding As Unconstitutional?

This was my first week back in the classroom after winter break, and it has been incredibly busy.  I’m juggling a five-course teaching load, a new position as a service learning faculty coordinator, and being with my two small children.  However, I still have time to sneak in some light reading and conversing on some of the big things happening in schools this week.  And I figure that presenting this small buffet of readings is a good way to share this intellectual food with you as well.  Happy reading!

  • Learn More About Schools in Your Neighborhood:  The annual school report cards and AYP reports are out and online.  Go to this link to find out more about schools in your neighborhood.
  • Keep Informed About Oregon’s NCLB Waiver Application:  Oregon is still in the process of applying for the NCLB waiver.  And the state is seeking public input.  Let the state know your thoughts on their proposed application. The linked article includes information on filling out the community survey.
  • Track Charter Schools: Charter schools are incredibly controversial and rightly so.  While many tout charter schools as the answer to failing public school education, many (including myself) feel that charter schools don’t solve the problem for so many students in schools that are underfunded and unsupported.  If charter schools take just 3% of Oregon students, they can’t possibly be the answer, can they?  With that said, some Oregon districts are applying for charter schools because they are much more flexible in some important ways.  This is something to track as we watch how Oregon communities deal with their struggling schools.
  • Washington State’s supreme court has deemed Washington’s underfunding of schools unconstitutional.  Check out this interview on Think Out Loud for some details on this.
  • If you haven’t read this article yet, it’s a significant one on the radar of those of us who are tracking developments in ideas surrounding teacher assessment.  Check it out.

“Make It Happen” Monday: Walk-Outs, Teacher Assessment, and Boundaries, Oh My!

If you’re feeling inspired by the many social movements that have been happening as part of the Occupy protests, think about taking on one of these small actions that will help support education in your community.

  1. November 16, 12:00 p.m.: Participate in the PSU student walk-out.  Here’s a link to the Portland Coalition to Defend Education website with information on the walk-out.   Here’s a link to some commentary on the walk-out from a PSU student.
  2. November 15: Email the State Board of Education your thoughts on the proposed teacher and administrator assessment.  If you know how important teacher quality is to the education of each student, you will want to take a look and weigh in.
  3. November 15: Go to the Rigler School meeting on possible boundary changes in PPS (6:00).
  4. November 16: Go to the Scott School meeting on possible boundary changes in PPS (4:00).
  5. Read about the previous boundary meetings, parent feedback, and proposed solutions here.
These are all little things that can make a big difference.  Make it happen!

“Take It to the Streets” Tuesday: Become More Active Step by Little Step (Is Teacher Assessment in Oregon Important to You?)

My current “Enhancing Youth Literacy” students have started to show all of the normal signs of post-mid-term disillusionment.  They have been angrily commenting on the lack of strong resources and good teachers, are in dismay about the lack of critical thinking taught in classrooms, and are shocked by what they have seen in their community.  We have all been there.  But…as I explained to them, all of this knowledge they’re gathering, all of the anger toward the system, all of the experiences in the community…these don’t really mean anything unless they lead to action.

So, here’s a small, easy opportunity to take a first step to becoming more active.  For those of you who are teachers (or future teachers) this “Take It to the Streets” Tuesday action opportunity should be of particular interest.  The State Board of Education will be making some important decisions that will impact teacher evaluations (and principal evaluations, too) in Oregon.  Yes, that’s right…the oh-so-controversial teacher evaluation process!  Here’s how to get involved:

  1. Go to this link to read about the proposed teacher evaluations for Oregon.  Scroll down to the link to the document titled “Personnel Policies, Evaluation…”
  2. Go to this link to compose an email to the State Board of Education with your thoughts on what they have drafted.  This link has some language built in from Stand for Children (I’m still working on finding the original link to submit feedback without suggested language).  If you agree with their ideas, you can keep that language.  If not, you can easily delete it and add your own!
  3. Make sure you submit your feedback by November 15, 2011!
  4. Feel good that you’ve taken a small but important step toward becoming more active in supporting strong, equitable education in Oregon!
  5. Let us know (via Blog post) what your experience was and what you think about the proposed assessment tool.