The Supreme Court heard arguments today in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case that may cripple the rights of public sector unions to bargain for workers. The case has the backing of the right wing group backed, the Bradley Foundation, that is backed by the billionaire Koch brothers. The group has spent millions over …
Jan 11 2016
Apr 12 2014
Lumberton, TX Independent School District substitute teacher Laura Jane Klug has been suspended for being transgender. The school district says they are “looking into the matter”…and that Klug has not been terminated…yet. Klug is supposed to hear about the resolution of the school board today, after the school board met on Thursday.
Klug substituted for a teacher in a fifth grade class last Thursday, which was the first day she discovered that someone might have “issues”.
Parents of some of the students at the school say, of course, that they don’t have any problems themselves with the teacher being transgender, but that the teacher may be confusing the 11-year-olds who are in her charge.
Within an hour of them being exposed or dealing with this, there’s a few issues here, I think these kids are too young for this issue, so that’s our main focus is, if it happens in older grades, high school, ok but too young for this.
Other parents say there has not been an issue before with Klug and they don’t see why it is an issue now…and that they have no problem explaining to their child what a transgendender person is.
My son knows who he is and I don’t think any outside influence is going to change that, I’m more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am someone who lives an alternative private alternate lifestyle, I don’t worry about my son.
–Jammie Marcantel, parent with a pronoun problem
Texas, of course, has no employment protections for transgender people.
Nov 05 2013
The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack couldn’t resist. In the face of the Senate’s immanent passage of the Employment NonDiscrimination Act, McCormack stated the real concern: ENDA Would Grant Transgender Rights to Elementary School Teachers…by which I believe he is concerned with the fact that transgender people might…just might…become elementary school teachers.
John, John, John, oh, John. That boat left the dock decades ago. Teaching is one of the foremost occupations that transgender people gravitate to in their lives before transitioning.
McCormack bemoans the numbers calimed by the HUman Rights Campaign…that 88% of Fortune 500 companies have formal employment policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. McCormack even brings up the fact that Rick Santorum has a gay friend and confidante.
It’s hard to imagine that in the year 2013 that any business in the country could fire someone simply because he is gay without facing a major backlash and boycotts.
Transgender, on the other hand, is a different matter.
ENDA contains no exceptions for schools at any age level (though the law does contain a modest religious liberty provision).
Horrors! Transgender teachers! Run!
Nov 22 2011
As any Mom or Dad might do on Parent Teacher Conference Day, Amy Valens, the Educator featured in the documentary film August To June, traveled from “classroom to classroom.” This journey was not a conventional one. Indeed, Amy did not attend a series of Parent Teacher Conferences. What she did was appear at Palm Beach screenings of her documentary. The film follows twenty-six  third and fourth graders who studied with Amy in her last year of teaching. The public school open classroom “Brings Life” to education.
After the movie was viewed, Ms Valens and the audiences engaged in conversations. They discussed what they saw and how it might relate to a broader dialogue. The subjects of Education Reform, Classroom Standards, Teacher Quality, Merit Pay, Student-Rewards for Success, Parent Involvement, and Testing are but a few topics prominent in our national debate. While the assemblies of viewers varied widely, the results were the same. Every child, every class, all Teachers, and each parent, tells a unique tale. Regardless of the individual or group, we see the world, or in this case the film, through our own lens.
Sep 07 2011
I offer homage to a Teacher whose pedagogy touched me in a manner invisible to me until this moment. For scores, I understood what a gift he was to me. His open and caring ways were as I craved. However, I had never imagined that this man’s schooling style made the difference in my life. Today, I invite each of us to look beyond the boundaries or the labels.
Often in life we are asked to reflect; who was or were your most profound Teachers. I shared my stories in a missive or more. Those Who Can Teach; Life Lessons Learned, Those Who Can Teach; Transformative Teachers, and Why I Write and Write, Then Write Again. There are myriad sorts of Teachers. A few are true treasures. These special souls take a personal interest in us as individuals. Students are seen as whole beings, not solely a score, or a name to be identified as a number. Without these rare Teachers we would not soar.
Innumerable Scholars seek to inform rather than interact in a way that inspires. Academicians, an abundance of these, think to fill a brain full of facts, formulas, and figures, is to teach. I wonder; do these Educators believe they learn from their students? I cannot know with certainty. For myriad mentors, their labor is not born out of love, but out of need . . . the need to train students for a test.
Sep 02 2011
Controversial law prompts a spate of retirements
MADISON, Wis. – When students return today for the first day of school across Wisconsin, many familiar faces will be gone, as teachers chose retirement over coming back following the passage of a bill that would have forced them to pay more for benefits and taken away most of their collective bargaining rights.
Documents obtained by the Associated Press under the state’s open records law show that about twice as many public school teachers decided to retire in the first half of this year as in each of the past two full years, part of a mass exit of public employees.
Their departures came after the bill passed but before the new law took effect. The bill, which was pushed by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature, led to weeks of protests at the Capitol.
The ensuing exodus of teachers and other state employees has spurred fears that the jobs might not be filled and that classroom leadership by veteran teachers will be lost.
Aug 28 2011
Near a month has passed since the Save Our Schools storm swept through Washington District of Columbia. As with all squalls the effects of such an event linger long after the winds die down. A physical space cleaned-up after a tempest takes place does not erase the memory of what occurred. Be it a blast of air or an action, the calm does not close a chapter in our lives. The current, commitment, the cause, and our concern do not wane with time, that is, unless we choose to move on or tell ourselves that that is possible. I believe the notion the past is past is fallacious. Our past permeates the present and is a foundation for the future. Thus, for me, the thought, and the March to Save Our Schools are strong. It survives as is evidenced by the now named Movement.
I believe the Movement did not begin with the March. The happening was but a moment, albeit an extremely significant historical occurrence. The energy exhibited on July 30, 2011 was an expression of what preceded it and illustrates what will follow. Determined not to invite the doom of a forgotten precedent, demonstrators such as I reflect on what was. Together we will build a better potential for our progeny. May we begin to extend the journey today? Ask yourself what you saw, did, felt, tasted, touched; tell your Save Our Schools March story. I offer mine as a gift to you.
I ask and answer questions presented to me. Whether you were in Washington, District of Columbia for what some characterize as the main event, at another Demonstration elsewhere, or connected only through the tube, YouTube, radio, and papers, what did you perceive, receive, or retrieve? Please share your personal story!
May our offspring, schools, society, and we, grow greater through our caring and sharing. Let the past, the procession, and the prospect be our guide.
Jun 12 2011
Cross-posted at Daily Kos.
The quote “Public employees have become targets of anger and criticism” that was followed by “and that’s leading to a growing number of them calling it quits,” came from Lester Holt last night on NBC Nightly News.
John Yang reported from New Jersey where public worker retirement jumped 60% and nearly doubled for teachers in 2010. But it is not just Governor Chris Christie “mocking teacher benefits” who deserves all the credit. The report shows many states where politicians downgrading the value of public workers has become too much for the good government workers to continue. In 2010 California and Colorado each reported a 20% rise in retirees from the public sector. This year Ohio has reported a 34% increase and after the assault from Scott Walker public worker retirement in Wisconsin is up 96%.
One New Jersey teacher was the focus of the segment. Judy Cinnamond who has decided to give up teaching. This highly respected educator sums up the situation with “All of the sudden the teachers are the enemy and I don’t want to feel that way. Having dedicated my life to this job, I just don’t want to feel that way.”
Apr 09 2011
Mar 20 2011
I know, you have “breaking news” overload. But I can’t help but see the parallels between the Middle East and what happens here at home.
Wisconsin is waging its own fight for democracy and economic liberty, without the aid of an international coalition. They are planning to oust leaders who voted for enslavement. But what should they demand from the new people they elect to the legislature? How could they permanently break the bonds of economic enslavement?
I have a few suggestions.
Feb 07 2011
He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches
~ George Bernard Shaw [Man and Superman, 1903]
“A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
I heard the words for as long as I recall. The meaning was intricately woven into my mind. I, as all little children since George Bernard Shaw scribed his belief, “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches,” was taught to believe that Teachers could choose no other career. Educators, entrusted with children’s lives were indeed, incapable beings. These individuals had tried and failed to perform well in professions that required intellect and, or dexterity. Because the incompetent were inept, they fled to schools and identified themselves as “Teachers.” In classrooms, less than sage scholars could teach with little authentic expertise. Today, as a culture, Americans choose to prove this erroneous truth. Grading the Teachers: Value-Added Analysis.
Jan 02 2011
This year, Christmas and New Years Days were days of intense reflection. Perchance, that is true every year and for every individual. I cannot know what is true for others. I am only certain that on each of these dates I was immersed in a rigorous course of study. My gifts or the curriculum came wrapped in a routine event.
The lessons covered were Empathy and Education, although perhaps these were presented in reverse order. Possibly, the truer program was entropy and encouragement. Each edifies. I wonder; on each of the two days these topics were intertwined. In my attempt to analyze and understand what I needed to learn or did, I invite your assessments. Please indulge me as I share the story.