Equity & Gifted Children: A Father’s Perspective

This is a wonderful article about equity in education (or lack there of) when it comes to gifted students. There were days when I was teaching middle school that I just wanted to scream at someone. (He speaks Spanish, you know that it’s a different language, right? He’s not stupid you know?!? In fact he’s much smarter than anyone in the classroom.) I wonder how many times the average school teacher has felt the same. I wonder how many students we’ve disenfranchised by not meeting their needs? I wonder what’s become of these students?

What I do know is this, if our public education system was run by teachers, parents and local communities instead of profiteers, vulture philanthropists selling their snake oil social impact bonds and greasy edupoliticians sauntering in with their, “Save the Day” grants taking recess away from small children and telling the teachers who know how and want to do the right thing just how it should be done because THEY’RE the experts, then maybe we’d have a fighting chance for ALL kids. We need to start putting up some ethical and legal boundaries around our schools and let the real educators run them.

Hawk Hopes Blog

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Given that I am trained in special education, I thought that if I had a child with special needs, I would be prepared to assist teachers with strategies to meet the needs of my child’s growth development in order to reach his/her fullest potential.  Too often, gifted students are not considered to be students with special education needs. They are not even listed in the IDEA categories of special education. Gifted education is often separate from special education. I have three sons and have now learned a few invaluable lessons about gifted education, which was not part of my formal training in special education.

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As I watched the signs of my three boys in their earliest development, I came to discover something I did not know quite how to deal with about students who are more advanced than their age and peers. There are a number of signs that children…

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Why Teachers Suck …

My favorite part is the one about the teacher failing because she doesn’t play the paper game part well. Or perhaps that’s my least favorite part, it hits a little too close to home! Out of the fifty million things we do each and every day, all too often we get evaluated on some arbitrary measure instated by some educrat who is playing the projection game because, in their hearts they know they couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t cut it in the classroom. 

Source: Why Teachers Suck …

Lewiston Mom Knocks it Out of the Park

Save Maine Schools

as you can see...The following letter, written by Karen McClure-Richard of Lewiston, Maine, appeared in our local newspaper this morning.  It was written in response to the superintendent’s call for an improved state test, and it’s awesome.

This is a response to Bill Webster’s guest column about the MEA tests (June 18). I find his change in opinion on that test very interesting. As a parent, I have spent the past five years advocating that school leaders take a hard look at the over-testing of students. Much of what Webster discussed in his column could have come directly from the many emails I have sent the Lewiston School Committee through the years.

Sadly, while so much focus has been on the one state-mandated test, I have been seeing an increase in the amount of time being spent on numerous assessments that are used multiple times per year, starting with even the…

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Stop! Don’t opt out. Read this first.

Wrench in the Gears

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Schools in every state are buzzing this year with talk of “personalized” learning and 21st century assessments for kids as young as kindergarten. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its innovative pilot programs are already changing the ways schools instruct and assess, in ways that are clearly harmful to our kids. Ed-tech companies, chambers of commerce, ALEC, neoliberal foundations, telecommunications companies, and the government are working diligently to turn our public schools into lean, efficient laboratories of data-driven, digital learning.

In the near future, learning eco-systems of cyber education mixed with a smattering of community-based learning opportunities (ELOs) will “optimize” a child’s personal learning pathway to college and career readiness.

Opt out families are being set up as pawns in this fake “assessment reform” movement. I began to realize this a year ago when our dysfunctional, Broad Superintendent-led school district was suddenly almost eager to help us inform parents…

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Unschooling; When the Unthinkable Becomes Thinkable

I admit, I used to think that people who chose this option were a little whackadoodle. Perhaps I was a bit judgy? Is it not less crazy than schools ignoring individuality; not following IEPs, incessantly testing children with unproven, but highly profitable online programs, labeling children, or, my new personal favorite, parents paying for this in a private school? For those of you who would argue, like I did, that it could lead to social isolation, that just doesn’t seem to be the case.

There are all sorts of homeschooling groups that offer opportunities for social interaction.   Religious (not just Christian, Jewish too), not religious, don’t even think about talking about religion, relaxed, structured, and the list goes on.

http://wakeup-world.com/2015/05/11/why-every-parent-should-consider-unschooling/

“i-Ready?…………More Like i-SCAM and Other Deceptions.”

EXPOSED!

By Deb Herbage – 9/11/16

i-Ready Diagnostic exploded onto the scene like the many, many other “competency based education” (CBE) curriculums since the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  It is now believed by many that the implementation of the CCSS and the focus on the standardized tests that went along with the CCSS was yet another extremely, well-crafted and timed implementation to distract parents, teachers, students and some school officials while district and state officials put in place the many ed-tech companies, corporations, investors, foundations, and non-profit companies curriculums, textbooks, programs, etc. who all quickly and methodically jumped on the CCSS bandwagon and strategically moved their various curriculums, textbooks, programs, and services FULLY aligned to the CCSS into place.   While we were distracted with the CCSS and end of year standardized testing – in school districts all across the state of Florida and across the country, i-Ready…

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Public education isn’t doomed. Here’s how to save it.

Another View — Diane Sekula: Public education isn’t doomed. Here’s how to save it.
By DIANE SEKULA

I’ve said it before, but I think that it’s worth saying again. If you are going to have public schools, then you need for schools to be held accountable to the public for their spending, curriculum and all related activities. Anything less is unacceptable. What we have now is unacceptable.

What we have now is a focus on teacher and student accountability, but a lack of focus on accountability in regard to spending and curriculum.

To be sure, teachers need to be held accountable for their work with students, and students need to be held accountable for their own educational attainment. I would argue that there are better ways of doing this than what is now being done, but that it is a necessary evil. For the time being, however, we cannot afford to be hyper focused on teacher and student accountability. This myopic focus has allowed the problems associated with a lack of accountability in other areas to proliferate.

In terms of curriculum, we are saddled with the hastily put together Common Core state standards that were forced upon states through President Obama’s Race to the Top grant program. The standards are, without argument, often developmentally inappropriate and are not nearly as stringent as the old Massachusetts state standards; which although abandoned in favor of Common Core, are still widely regarded as being the best standards in the country.

This initiative has, in fact, been such a failure that it has been regarded as a “third wheel” by the Democratic Party, which urged its members to stay away from any discussion of it. Where is the accountability for this?

Why is it that although the standards have not been proven to have any positive impact on the academic development of our children, any move to rescind the standards is met with complete and absolute resistance, the kind of resistance only afforded to a very few in this country? Could it be because the amount of money to be made by textbook companies, data mining companies, and online learning programs that promise to personalize and somehow magically eliminate the so called achievement gap is in the billions of dollars? Or could it be that the ideologues bright with the abstractions they gleaned from their professors at their Ivy League institutions are certain that the country would be better off with a planned economy that includes early career tracking; oft referred to as a talent pipeline, like that promoted by self proclaimed education experts such as Marc Tucker who proposed such a system; with its distinct similarities with the systems found in Germany and other Eastern European countries in his now infamous, “Dear Hillary” letter?

Or could it be that the money-making schemers and the ideologues are one and the same, tossing aside our children for a cause or a few dollars?

In addition to her past support of charter schools, Hillary Clinton’s husband and the Clinton Foundation have ties to for-profit education institutions and have accepted money from monied charter school supporters like Eli Broad. Likewise, Donald Trump is a known charter school supporter.

What is the problem with charter schools? Some are good. Many, however, are not. In addition to the myriad of high profile scandals where charter schools have been criticized for taking only high performing students or subscribing to draconian testing and disciplinary policies in areas with a high population of minority students, the problem with charter schools, with their appointed instead of elected school boards, is that they are held even less accountable to the public.

The average American child spends approximately six hours per day in school. That’s six hours of time where they are susceptible to the whims of the politicians and money movers who snake their way into schools through policies, grants, promises and handshakes with the upper echelon of government and union officials. We do indeed need public school accountability, but not the kind that we have now.

Given the current political climate in this country, one has to wonder what will become of public education and the future of this country whose public schools, while imperfect, with their lingering problems and imperfect scores, have in fact produced unprecedented numbers of doctors, scientists, engineers, teachers, authors, playwrights and, more importantly, thinkers.

Diane Sekula is a former public school teacher, most recently at Cawley Middle School in Hooksett.
– See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/Another-View-Diane-Sekula-Public-education-isnt-doomed-Heres-how-to-save-it-08092016#sthash.MEm5rrTg.dpuf