Monday, February 23, 2015

The end of the teaching profession?

This is a very thoughtful and insightful post by a fellow blogger. Might be worth a look. -Dr. Petrosino 

"No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up." - Lily Tomlin.

Anthony Cody has posted an interesting (and chilling) vision of the future of education, predicting that by 2018 all teaching will be strictly controlled, with frequent testing, classes monitored and taped for regular inspection, and teacher evaluation based, among other things, on value-added analyses of student test scores, and videos evaluated by outsiders.

I wonder if Anthony is being too optimistic.  There may not be any professional teachers left in the schools in 2018.  I suspect that the plan is to vilify and push out teachers, and replace them with temps, part-timers, and technology. The goal, the only goal, is to make a lot of money for the .01%.

The details:

The goal of the war against teachers is to eliminate the concept of teaching as a profession, to be replaced by temps (eg Teach For America) and eventually be replaced largely by technology (ultimate goal of flipped classrooms). The reason is 100% financial – so that the .01% can grab nearly all of the money teachers earn as well as profit from electronic/virtual teaching.

The .01% want as much of the (at least) 500 billion we spend yearly on education as they can get.  

The .01% plan
1.     Keep pressure on teachers by making their lives as difficult as possible and their task totally impossible. The common core standards and tests are a major part of this.
2.     Continue to attack the teaching profession: The message will continue to be that the US is in economic trouble because of bad education, which is because of bad teachers.
3.     The public, media, and politicians will have no sympathy for teachers’ pointing out how difficult teaching has become, This will be seen as whining, and teachers will then resign/quit in greater numbers.
4.     Continue to stress the importance of teacher evaluation, This sends the message that teachers are not doing their job and that there are a lot of bad teachers out there who must be identified and fired. 
5.     Continue to push the idea that TFAs as just as good or better than experienced teachers. 
6.     Do not reward teachers for experience, for years of service. This will also encourage more experienced teachers to retire/resign, creating more room for lower-paid temps in the system.
7.     Gradually increase the percentage of teachers who are temps as teachers retire and as they leave the profession because of frustration, This releases money because experienced teachers cost much more than temps. The result is more money for technology. 
8.     Continue to convince the public that all technology is wonderful. Use this to push  flipped classrooms and glorify the Khan Academy.  The role of teachers will then be diminished to the equivalent of TA’s. This reduces time spent in classrooms (lowers salaries even more), and lowers the status of teachers even more, as well as saving more salary money and increasing teacher frustration.  Hire part-timers (no benefits) to serve as supplements to virtual teaching. This will be promoted as expanded opportunity for jobs, no teaching credential required.  The public will accept this because they will have lost all respect for teacher credentials. 

Look for even more attacks on teachers and teachers unions. This makes sure there is no sympathy for teachers when they complain and no public outcry when teachers leave the profession and are replaced with temps and part-timers.

The above is a reasonable and likely scenario. My conjecture is that in addition, the reformers will continue to expand testing, will charge students for taking the required tests, and in fact make it illegal for students not to take the exams.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

5 great colleges for studying early childhood education- #1 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Teaching young children is a vital and rewarding part of their development, and given how important the subject is, it’s no surprise that early childhood education degrees are offered at many schools.
While plenty of colleges can offer you teaching credentials, that doesn’t mean all schools are created equal. If you want to build a strong career for yourself in early childhood education, there’s a right school (or schools) out there for you. You just have to find it.
In your search, consider these five great schools offering early childhood education degree programs.


The University of Texas at Austin, also known as UT Austin, might be perfect if you want to study early childhood education at the graduate level.
UT Austin offers both master’s and doctoral early childhood education degrees, with courses ranging from theory of childhood to introduction to teaching. The programs are both hands-on and analytical, even touching on sociology and theories about play. And UT even has its own elementary school, in east Austin, which acts both as a school and a place for students to apply the knowledge they’ve gained in the classroom.
Plus, the fact that you get to study in the Lone Star State’s quirky capital, which boasts being the “live music capital of the world,” is an added bonus.


The beauty of Vanderbilt’s early childhood education programs is how hands-on they are.
At Vanderbilt University, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee, even first-year students in the undergraduate program are observing and participating in local schools and agencies, as well as in experimental classrooms on the campus itself. 
The undergraduate program is combined with a second major in child studies, offered by Peabody College, which means you get two degrees from two schools. And the graduate program not only focuses on early childhood education, but also special education, giving you a larger range of services and knowledge.
As you can see, Vanderbilt really does offer a comprehensive educational experience.


It’s all about flexibility at the University of Cincinnati.
You can study early childhood education online or on the University of Cincinnati campus. If you choose the online option, you can earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education anywhere and anytime you want. And if you pursue the bachelor’s degree program in early childhood education on campus, you enjoy small classes and extensive field experience in a variety of classrooms, especially high-needs schools in the city, since the school has an urban mission.
It’s a great option for anyone anywhere, not just people who live in or plan to live in Cincinnati.


New York University (also known as NYU) offers its early childhood education students a lot of variety.
At the undergraduate level, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and early childhood special education (they’re combined), even obtaining teacher certification in the process. At the graduate level, you can earn a master’s degree in early childhood education or a Ph.D. in early childhood education and childhood education. (They’re also combined.) 
Study abroad is not only highly encouraged, but made easily possible, as NYU offers courses in London and Accra, Ghana. You also get to both learn about and teach in a variety of environments.
Not to mention, you can’t go wrong studying in New York City, where you can experience an incredible city and be amid several diverse opportunities. The Big Apple is a great city to study, live and teach.


Arizona State University (ASU) has some of the most interesting early childhood education programs in the country.
For one, the Master of Education in early childhood education is offered fully online, with a combination of online coursework, applied activities and in-person clinical experiences.
The Bachelor of Arts in Education for Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education program is offered at ASU’s Tempe, Ariz. campus and includes “a senior year residency collaborative student teaching experience that begins with an early childhood apprenticeship in a PreK-3 classroom at a partner school, as well as an early childhood special education setting.” 
And both programs don’t merely emphasize fulfilling the child’s educational needs, but also his or her emotional and social needs.
Plus, the programs lead to teacher certification, which means upon graduation you can land a job. Not every program out there includes that, especially online programs. You can do a whole lot worse than ASU.

These are just five of the many great early childhood education programs out there. As it’s such a common program, there are dozens — even hundreds — of options available. 
If you start your search with these five, you’re off to a great start when it comes to finding the right program.
Jon Fortenbury is an Austin-based writer who covers higher education, health and culture. He’s been published by the likes of the Huffington Post and The Atlantic and is a featured contributor to Follow him on Twitter.
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UTeach Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event

UTeach recently joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support the President’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

UTeach, through the UTeach Institute in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), pledges to support the preparation of secondary science and mathematics teachers at 44 universities throughout the United States, growing the total number of UTeach alumni by an additional 6,000 teachers by 2020.

“With each new university joining UTeach,” says Dr. Marder, our community of scientists, mathematicians, science and math teachers, and former and future teachers grows stronger.”
Today’s participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K–16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The President will announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.  Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on January 14, 2014.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class. Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama Administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Atlanta Schools Committee to Recommend Charter System Status- Following Lead of New Orleans and Other Districts Around the Country

Icy Hudson River- Hoboken, NJ (February 2015)
Referencing some success in New Orleans with their version of an "all charter" district, the City of Atlanta, GA is now considering reformulating into an all charter district itself. Earlier this month, the Atlanta Board of Education posted documentation outlining some of its justification and thinking on the matter. The following is an initial reporting on this issue from Molly Bloom of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that does a good job of presenting some specific details. Similar considerations of becoming all charter districts are being considered in Seattle and Portland, Oregon as well as Cincinnati, OH, four small districts in California, and  York City, New York.

   Cleveland, Houston, and New York City are all using chartering as a strategy to create schools to serve children who would otherwise be stuck in failed schools. In those districts, charter schools make their own decisions about staffing and methods of instruction, while the larger number of conventional public schools run as before. But, a charter district is not just a district with a few charter schools; it is a district with only charter schools. And this model provides potential benefits for all school districts, especially those that are distressed or chronically low-performing. -Dr. Petrosino 

An advisory committee to Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen plans to recommend the district pursue “charter system” status, an organizational structure that gives the district more freedom from some state laws — and potentially a little more money — in exchange for greater state accountability, according to the agenda for Monday’s board meeting.
Becoming a “charter system” is one of three options open to school districts across Georgia. Districts can also choose a model called “Investing in Educational Excellence,” or “IE2,” or reject both the charter and IE2 models.
The district administration has “examined the options,” according to board agenda materials for Monday’s meeting.
“We believe charter system offers the greatest opportunity for improving all of our Atlanta Public Schools,” the agenda item read.
District officials said Monday evening the charter system recommendation was from the advisory committee — not the superintendent.
The General Assembly adopted these new models in the late 2000s, after districts complained that state rules were tying them down.
But Georgia districts have a big financial incentive to pursue either charter status or “IE2.”
Rejecting both options may cause them to lose money-saving waivers that have allowed them to exceed state caps on class sizes and to cut attendance calendars below the minimum 180 days. The waivers, popular during the recession, are still used in most of Georgia’s 180 districts as a way to balance budgets.
In charter systems, officials must re-engineer central offices to support decision-making by local school governance councils. Under IE2 there’s no requirement for those governance councils. Both types of systems get waivers.
If approved, the Atlanta School District would begin operating as a charter system by the 2016-17 school year.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Full Agenda for Hoboken Board of Education Meeting- Tuesday, February 10, 2015

7:00 P.M.

Decentralized thinking and understanding of evolution in K-12 evolution education (2015) Anthony J Petrosino, Margaret M Lucero and Michele J Mann

1966 9th Grade- Demarest Junior HS Hoboken, NJ
The following is a paper that was just published in Evolution: Education and Outreach. This article builds on some previous work that was conducted and adds some components of what is necessary to understand evolution. We have begun to see emerging evidence and increasing interest from the social and technological sciences in the concept of decentralized systems. In cognitive psychology and the learning sciences we have seen a gradual but steady shift from individual cognition and individual differences research to research that focuses on distributed cognition and distributed expertise (Bruer 1993; White and Pagurek 1998; Bransford et al. 2000). In technological areas such as the Internet, communication networks (White and Pagurek 1998; White et al. 1998) and robotics (Beni and Wang 1993; Beni 2005) systems are now decentralized and designed to mimic collective behavior.