BustED Pencils https://bustedpencils.com Sun, 08 Jul 2018 22:42:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Are “all” charter schools public schools? https://bustedpencils.com/2018/07/are-all-charter-schools-public-schools/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/07/are-all-charter-schools-public-schools/#respond Sun, 08 Jul 2018 22:42:24 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4382 Wisconsin State Journal calls “all” charter schools public despite the fact that the latest charter school grant received by WI is for “independent charter schools” that don’t answer to a locally elected school board.   These same charter schools create a funding dilemma for neighborhood schools by authorizing a “backpack full of cash” funding stream... Read more »

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Wisconsin State Journal calls “all” charter schools public despite the fact that the latest charter school grant received by WI is for “independent charter schools” that don’t answer to a locally elected school board.
 
These same charter schools create a funding dilemma for neighborhood schools by authorizing a “backpack full of cash” funding stream out of local neighborhood public schools. 
And according to the Network For Public Education,
 
“by definition, a charter school is not a public school. Charter schools are formed when a private organization contracts with a government authorizer to open and run a school. Charters are managed by private boards, often with no connection to the community they serve. The boards of many leading charter chains are populated by billionaires who often live far away from the schools they govern.”
 
The WSJ’s motivation for misleading the public on this issue is suspect and its conflation with “district charters” and “independent charters” is obviously a calculated misdirect to take the heat off of a valid issue that needs clarity and not biased propaganda.
 
Teachers in real public schools know and feel the difference. Just ask them. We might be surprised to hear the truth about public education from those that work with our neighborhood schools on a daily basis—the experts.
 
And, after we talk to teachers, maybe, just maybe, we might stop relying on “edu” journalists that are either acting on explicit bias or just not simply informed on the issues at the heart of public education.

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A New Teacher Preparation “Entity” in Wisconsin? https://bustedpencils.com/2018/06/a-new-teacher-preparation-entity-in-wisconsin/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/06/a-new-teacher-preparation-entity-in-wisconsin/#respond Sat, 02 Jun 2018 19:56:46 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4351 Just a reminder. PI 34.006 Definitions. In this subchapter: “Institution” means one or more accredited colleges or universities offering an educator preparation program. “Student” means an individual enrolled in an educator preparation program. “Entity” means one of the following or a consortium of the following: (a) CESA. (b) Community-based organization. (c) Institution. (d) Non-profit organization.... Read more »

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Just a reminder.

PI 34.006 Definitions. In this subchapter: “Institution” means one or more accredited colleges or universities offering an educator preparation program. “Student” means an individual enrolled in an educator preparation program.

“Entity” means one of the following or a consortium of the following:

(a) CESA.

(b) Community-based organization.

(c) Institution.

(d) Non-profit organization.

(e) Private enterprise.

(f) School.

(g) School district.

PI 34.007 Program approval. ELIGIBILITY. An entity may apply under sub. (2) for the state superintendent’s approval of its educator preparation program if all of the following applies: The entity’s educator preparation program is headquartered and physically located in the state of Wisconsin. If the entity does not have its principal campus in the state of Wisconsin, the entity is approved by department of safety and professional services under s. 440.52, Stats.

 

And how about this for legitimacy?  They are CAEP accredited.  Doesn’t say such for CAEP as a stamp of approval.

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How to Really Appreciate Teachers. Guest post by Tanya Lohr. https://bustedpencils.com/2018/05/how-to-really-appreciate-teachers-guest-post-by-tanya-lohr/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/05/how-to-really-appreciate-teachers-guest-post-by-tanya-lohr/#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 13:50:11 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4333 I have found that it is very easy for administrators, candidates for public office, and elected officials to say “I appreciate teachers”, but when it comes to backing up those words with actions, it is rare for true appreciation to come through. It’s as if saying “I appreciate teachers” has become a socially contrived sound... Read more »

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I have found that it is very easy for administrators, candidates for public office, and elected officials to say “I appreciate teachers”, but when it comes to backing up those words with actions, it is rare for true appreciation to come through. It’s as if saying “I appreciate teachers” has become a socially contrived sound bite rather than an actual statement of intended action. So I would like to offer up this list of actions that can be taken to truly show appreciation for our teachers and the important work they do each day. 

1. School Boards, Representatives, and Senators can stop relying solely on the input of administrators when making decisions and instead seek the additional input of teachers before making major decisions about the education of our children. And this does NOT mean seeking the input of teachers who are put forward by administration. Let teachers put forward those they feel will best represent their collective voices.

2. Take actions that back up your statements about teachers being the experts. That includes hiring social workers, paraprofessionals, and interventionists to work with kids rather than continuing to add district administrators, learning coaches, and curriculum coordinators, to look over our work. The problem isn’t that we don’t know how to teach math. The problem is that until the physical and emotional needs of our students and their classmates are met, we can’t teach math to the best of their abilities. We don’t need more adults in our lives – our students need more adults in theirs.

3. Don’t say you support teachers and then take votes that say the opposite. Voting to increase our workload, decrease our pay, devalue our licensing, and take funding away from our public schools are not actions one takes if you support teachers.

Your actions speak louder than your words.

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Educators Amplified! https://bustedpencils.com/2018/05/educators-amplified-2/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/05/educators-amplified-2/#respond Tue, 08 May 2018 17:50:18 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4329 The post Educators Amplified! appeared first on BustED Pencils.

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Fired from KIPP in Texas to Teacher of the Year in Arizona: Guest post by Jessica Marks https://bustedpencils.com/2018/04/fired-from-kipp-in-texas-to-teacher-of-the-year-in-arizona-guest-post-by-jessica-marks/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/04/fired-from-kipp-in-texas-to-teacher-of-the-year-in-arizona-guest-post-by-jessica-marks/#respond Tue, 24 Apr 2018 12:39:00 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4309 On Friday, April 27, I will be giving a speech to a ballroom crowded with 300 people, explaining what it meant to have spent the last year as 2017’s Yavapai County Overall Teacher of the Year. It’s been quite an honor. A flag was waved over the nation’s Capitol in my honor. A declaration about... Read more »

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On Friday, April 27, I will be giving a speech to a ballroom crowded with 300 people, explaining what it meant to have spent the last year as 2017’s Yavapai County Overall Teacher of the Year.

It’s been quite an honor. A flag was waved over the nation’s Capitol in my honor. A declaration about my contribution to education was read on the floor of Congress. I was showered with free vacations, free tuition, and thousands of dollars in prize money. People recognize me at the grocery store.

And only about four years ago, I was fired from a teaching job. My principal then told me that, on a scale between one and four, I was a 1.5.

I wonder if he realizes his great loss.

I wonder, what do you put in a speech that will be published in the paper the next day, read by everyone in your small town, and put under a microscope by everyone who wants to squash the Arizona walk-out movement?

I have a lot to say and, for the first time, I’m in a place in my life where I am not afraid to say it out loud and sign my name to every hurtful word.

I wonder where I should begin?

I could talk about how far I’ve come. I mean, after I was fired, I wanted to give up teaching altogether and water plants at Home Depot . . . but Home Depot wouldn’t hire me. I was too broken. Too worn out, exhausted after months of 16 – 20 hour days at KIPP Austin: Academy of Arts & Letters. I’d suffered relentlessly, both at the hands of the students and at the hands of the administration. The kids stole from me, destroyed my things, and threatened me. The administration had pointed video cameras at me all day long to document and criticize everything from my handwriting on the board to my clothing. I was trying to teach messages about endurance and foster a love of learning in students that hated school and couldn’t read or write in English. I failed miserably. KIPP discarded me.

I came home to Arizona after being fired at the pleading of my family and my left-behind boyfriend. I felt lucky that anyone would want me at all, me being so tarnished and useless. My friend told me to apply at a local middle school because “they would hire anyone.” They hired me.

I gave every bit of my heart and energy and determination to those students. Now, just a few years later, I’m recognized as one of the best educators in the entire state.

That seems a little downer-y though. Don’t you think?

I could use my few minutes on the stage as a platform to speak up for the deplorable conditions of Arizona’s education system. My textbooks are 25 years old. I don’t have one desk that is not mutilated or broken. Every Post-It, pen, or pencil that I use in the classroom has been provided by myself or the generosity of my students’ families. At the beginning of the year, my classes were packed with 36 – 40 students in each one.

I have had two students try to kill themselves this year. Two of my students have moms who were murdered. I have students living in their cars and motels. My students have withdrawn from school so they can go to prison. We don’t have a social worker on campus. We DO have a school psychologist (though she is TERRIBLY overwhelmed, diagnosing learning disabilities all day and writing IEPs) and three school counselors – but their job is to make sure every student can graduate on time – not give private therapy about traumatic events. But we are having success! I build lessons and create learning with no budget and no help! My students trust me, even though I was a failure before. We rise.

But maybe this speech is not the time to bring everyone down. Maybe I should talk about something else.

I could stand on the podium and yell STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE! But we live in a right-to-work state and people are mad enough that teachers are willing to “abandon” their kids because we’re greedy. This is a conservative town, anyway. I should probably steer away from anything political at all.

Oh! I could thank them for the award! I could be so gracious. I could tell them that I was having the worst year of my life when they bestowed this honor on me. It’s true. I had left my fiancé a few months before and I didn’t have any money. I had to move into my parents’ home . . . at age 40. I got a second job at the golf course. I have a master’s degree, almost a decade’s worth of teaching experience, and I make about $600 a week for nine months out of the year being an English teacher. I make $500 a weekend serving beer.

So, with the golf job and the living-the-parents thing and the Teacher of the Year prize money, I think I might have enough money for a down payment on my own house for the first time in my life! That would be an awesome thing to say!

Or, it could be misinterpreted as being whiny.

All I want to convey is that I am feeling triumphant. How can I explain that four years ago, I was working so hard at doing the best I could for underprivileged kids, and my best was not good enough? How can I explain that I was not mentored – I was cast off like trash – and just a few years later, I was raised up as a community treasure? I didn’t give up, but how many other teachers have? It’s wrong.

When we teach, we help students. When we really connect and invest and help a kid, we change that kid for life. However, when we help teachers, we change hundreds and thousands of lives and you are helping that teacher change communities for GENERATIONS. Teachers are underfunded, undervalued, overworked, and overwhelmed, but there is no better job anywhere. I’m working just as hard today for my students in Prescott Valley, Arizona, as I did for the ones in Austin, Texas, and I’ll keep working for them as long as I can, whether I’m walking out of the classroom or standing in front of it.

I hope I can figure out something to say. This speech isn’t going to write itself.

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Teacher Exodus, Plummeting Enrollments and Teacher License Deregulation: I don’t feel fine. https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/teacher-exodus-plummeting-enrollments-and-teacher-license-deregulation-i-dont-feel-fine/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/teacher-exodus-plummeting-enrollments-and-teacher-license-deregulation-i-dont-feel-fine/#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2018 22:16:16 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4283 In my last blog post I took to task Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction and its leadership for pushing forward teacher license deregulation and “entity” driven teacher education.  Some have commented that should refrain from critiques of  DPI and its leadership and that Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans have done the most damage to... Read more »

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In my last blog post I took to task Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction and its leadership for pushing forward teacher license deregulation and “entity” driven teacher education.  Some have commented that should refrain from critiques of  DPI and its leadership and that Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans have done the most damage to public education.

I agree when it comes to laying the blame on Walker and the Republicans for the demise of our public schools and the demonization of our teachers.  Act 10 was a disaster and according to the teacher’s I spend time with has made their job demoralizing.

However, I am not talking about the general state of public education in Wisconsin.  I am specifically critiquing rhetoric and policy that deals with teacher education and a path being followed by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) that only exacerbates the damage set in motion by Walker, the Republicans, and Act 10.

In Wisconsin we have a “teacher shortage” in some areas (rural, special education, tech ed).  However the crisis in Wisconsin is not this “shortage.”  The crisis is the number of teachers leaving the classroom, the number of licensed teachers who won’t go back to classrooms and the plummeting enrollment in teacher preparation programs—Exodus!

As a dean of a school of education I have watched our undergraduate enrollments take a nose dive (55%) in the last 3 years.  I meet with prospective students and parents who actively encourage their sons and daughters to avoid becoming a teacher.  I know teachers that actively advise their students to avoid teaching.  And I have talked to high school students who tell me they’ll never go into teaching.  When I ask why, I get this response, “I’ve seen what my teachers go through.  They’re not allowed to teach.  So many of them are miserable. No thank you.”

Shortage areas are one thing but mass demoralization that kills the desire to seek out teaching and/or quit teaching altogether is something totally different.  Here, listen to Doris Santoro (leading researcher and expert on teacher demoralization).  And this is where there is a distinction.  The fix—teacher license deregulation and privatization—will do nothing to stop the exodus, plummeting enrollments and mass demoralization brought on by years of “teacher accountability policy.”  In fact, Wisconsin’s new rules for teacher licensure will create a bigger exodus, exacerbate enrollment plunges in teacher education, and further demoralize the teachers that are barely hanging on.

Alternative pathways and license deregulation using “entities” to certify future teachers is a slap in the face to every teacher that went through a rigorous licensing program to obtain a professional certification to teach Wisconsin’s children.  Its also incredibly insulting and demoralizing to the thousands of teacher educators that have spent their professional lives in the service of future teachers and their public schools. These professionals have produced the research that delves into finding out how to best serve the children, schools and communities of Wisconsin.  None of this research supports or calls for the Department of Public Instruction’s “disruption” of the teacher licensing process.  In fact, if DPI were really serious about the “teacher shortage” they would define the real problem and then implement emergency steps to reclaim the noble profession of teaching.  If this happened I know quite a few teachers and teacher educators that would give even more than they give daily.  We are crying for a re-moralization plan,

As Doris Santoro put it,

That’s a big piece of re-moralization –- involving educators in initiatives to find solutions. Whenever teachers are brought in to investigate and develop interventions, you’re creating opportunities for authentic community … 

 

 

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Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction makes teacher “licensing process more understandable” https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/wisconsin-department-of-public-instruction-makes-teacher-licensing-process-more-understandable/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/wisconsin-department-of-public-instruction-makes-teacher-licensing-process-more-understandable/#respond Sat, 24 Mar 2018 16:25:02 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4263 Or… Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction releases blueprint for the dismantling and demoralization of the teaching profession. “How can anyone make such a claim?” It’s easy.  In response to the “teacher shortage” narrative the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction put forth rules that favor “alternative” and “fast track” pipelines into the classrooms of Wisconsin public... Read more »

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Or…

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction releases blueprint for the dismantling and demoralization of the teaching profession.

“How can anyone make such a claim?”

It’s easy.  In response to the “teacher shortage” narrative the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction put forth rules that favor “alternative” and “fast track” pipelines into the classrooms of Wisconsin public schools.

Why would DPI do this when the research is clear that the teacher shortage is cover for the real problem—teacher retention, deprofessionalization, and demoralization?

Because it’s not about research or what’s best for kids.  It’s simply neoliberal business as usual and a “disruption” policy that serves to privatize teacher education.

WI DPI refuses to acknowledge its “leadership group” did more to demoralize teachers when they decided to deregulate and create “license flexibility.”

Where’s the proof?

PI 34.006 Definitions. In this subchapter: “Institution” means one or more accredited colleges or universities offering an educator preparation program. “Student” means an individual enrolled in an educator preparation program.

“Entity” means one of the following or a consortium of the following:

(a) CESA.

(b) Community-based organization.

(c) Institution.

(d) Non-profit organization.

(e) Private enterprise.

(f) School.

(g) School district.

PI 34.007 Program approval. ELIGIBILITY. An entity may apply under sub. (2) for the state superintendent’s approval of its educator preparation program if all of the following applies: The entity’s educator preparation program is headquartered and physically located in the state of Wisconsin. If the entity does not have its principal campus in the state of Wisconsin, the entity is approved by department of safety and professional services under s. 440.52, Stats.

Entity? Really?  In other words teacher education in Wisconsin is now an open market—privatization and deregulation are running full spigot.

https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/policy-budget/pi_34_final_summary.pdf

https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/policy-budget/pi_34_final_draft.pdf

How is it that a “retention emergency plan” escaped DPI leadership? Or is the exodus worth preserving to make sure that “fast track” and “alternative licensing” are the only “pathways” into our classrooms?

Where is the plan to “re-moralize” the profession?  Teachers are ready to “rise today and change this world.”

 

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Educators Amplified Podcasts from March 10, 2018 https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/educators-amplified-podcasts-from-march-10-2018/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/educators-amplified-podcasts-from-march-10-2018/#respond Mon, 12 Mar 2018 20:15:04 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4252 3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 1 3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 2 3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 3

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3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 1

3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 2

3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 3

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Educators Amplified #3 https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/educators-amplified-3/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/educators-amplified-3/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:35:40 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4238  

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Educators Amplified! https://bustedpencils.com/2018/01/educators-amplified/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/01/educators-amplified/#respond Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:35:08 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4205 The post Educators Amplified! appeared first on BustED Pencils.

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Can an Atheist School Board Member save Christmas? https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/can-atheist-school-board-member-save-christmas/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/can-atheist-school-board-member-save-christmas/#respond Mon, 25 Dec 2017 19:21:52 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4173                   What happens when a “liberal college professor” runs for school board?  What about Christmas? Just listen.

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What happens when a “liberal college professor” runs for school board?  What about Christmas?

Just listen.

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High School Athletics over Academics: The “Mis-Education” of Black Athletes https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/high-school-athletics-academics-miseducation-black-athlete/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/high-school-athletics-academics-miseducation-black-athlete/#respond Thu, 21 Dec 2017 16:22:05 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4159 The sports industrial complex as currently constituted is built on the backs of black athletes and incentivises universities and high schools to emphasize the athletic potential of many children over their academic achievement. Many students are accepted into top tier colleges that typically would be denied entrance, if not for their potential to help win... Read more »

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The sports industrial complex as currently constituted is built on the backs of black athletes and incentivises universities and high schools to emphasize the athletic potential of many children over their academic achievement. Many students are accepted into top tier colleges that typically would be denied entrance, if not for their potential to help win games and earn top dollar for the university. The merging of higher education and capitalism in college sports creates a high school-to-college pipeline, of star athletes, which makes education secondary and compromises the educational system. Teachers, counselors, coaches are all complicit.

High school counselors know the athlete-friendly teachers and courses that offer the least rigor. Teachers know who to keep eligible. School administrations may even pressure teachers to cooperate. As a result, kids are considered for college that would not have a chance at getting in were it not for sports. Once they make it to college, they are either kept eligible by questionable means or they simply do not graduate. Many of those that graduate do not have the knowledge or skills the degree signifies.

Sports vs. the Sports Industry

Growing up, sports was a constant companion in my life. I played basketball as far back as I can remember. I played football from age ten through high school and community college. The importance of athletics in the lives of children is not lost on me. The fun, camaraderie, sportsmanship, collective defeat and triumph and physical training were all good for me and I have seen the positive attributes of youth sports. My own children have all been involved in organized sports as well.

However, the system, the sports superstructure, from my vantage point as a high school teacher, is beyond flawed. There are success stories in which young people are able to use sports to earn an education, maybe play professionally, and go on to do great things and become better people in the process. Many young people have had the chance to broaden their horizons and go where they never thought they would due to playing high school sports. There is another side to the coin, the business of college sports. This is harmful for the educational development of black youth. I say black youth, young men in particular in particular, because they dominate the most visible high school and college sports, football and basketball.

This sports superstructure is a capitalist venture based primarily on the athletic prowess of young black men. It is exploitive and even brutal and callous to some young athletes. The profitability of professional sports is contaminating the educational system that it is linked to. The education of countless talented black youth is one major sacrifice being made at the altar of the almighty dollar.

Black Youth and the Sports Assembly Line

Black youth are bombarded with images of wealthy black sports and entertainment figures to the point that they think those are viable routes out of the neighborhood, out of poverty, to success. Football and basketball are the sports with the lowest graduation rates in college. They happen to be saturated with black talent. Over half of college football and basketball players are black men, yet they only make up about 3% of undergraduate students. African American men are woefully underrepresented in the university as a whole and in specific fields of study, but jam packed into sports programs where many do not even graduate, or are kicked out of the university if they cannot perform athletically. Black athletes are fodder for an industry, that will eventually toss them aside, and few will actually benefit.

The process starts as children. Many black youth with demonstrable talent are put on the sports assembly line before they are out of elementary school. They are told, ‘this is your ticket’. Even before they are aware of the academic requirements, children know they are going to college on a sports scholarship. They associate college life with athletics. The only exposure they have of college is a visible sports program. Once they become older and head to high school, grades are just something they have to get to stay eligible. Education is not valued in its own right, youth are encouraged to get by and stay eligible as opposed to trying their best, earning high marks and taking challenging courses.

We are placing athletic development ahead of educational development. I have seen students that cannot write a paragraph get pushed through classes and kept eligible by maneuvering them through the educational gauntlet. Teachers are asked to give promising athletes advantages that would never be offered to other students. I have witnesses students who lack reading and writing skills, or are not doing well in one class removed and placed in less challenging classes to ensure their eligibility. If a kid cannot read or write, our concern as an institution should be their education, not eligibility or a scholarship. We should be ashamed to graduate students that have grown leaps and bounds athletically, but have not made similar strides academically.

Black students are socially conditioned that sports and entertainment are realms for black people, but the same conditioning does not exist when it comes to intellectual pursuits. Black youth should be encouraged to be scientists and engineers as much as they are encouraged athletically. The schools system apparently agrees that sports is best option for black youth, since they perpetuate the narrative. No one says explicitly that,  “sports are more important than academics”,  but the messages they get is that they are expected to spend more time practicing and preparing for sports than school. As sports are stressed over academics, and money is used for sports programs at the expense of education, while students are failing academically, the college sports industry has become a fetter on education.

Sports to Finance College

The parents, coaches and teachers of these students have very practical reasons for supporting such a system. They want the best for the student and hope to give them a chance to be successful and that starts with financing an education. The fact that child sports is growing exponentially, primarily by parents trying to find a way to finance college is an indictment against the financial accessibility of higher education today.

Parents and students are banking on sports to get them to college instead of their intellect. Many will be woefully unprepared for the academic rigor of college life. Some have been walked through high school with the easiest schedules possible, instructed by teachers who ‘play ball’ with administration to pass the kids on. For the ones who graduate high school and go on to college, this will continue as they are herded into athlete friendly majors and classes to keep them eligible.

It is these black athletes that bring in the money that funds the university as a whole, way beyond the athletic programs. The revenue and prestige that elite college athletes bring to a university in turn puts pressure on high school programs and coaches to win games and get their athletes attention from college scouts.

Conclusion

All this attention and training is provided for these children to progress athletically, in the midst of a permanent achievement gap. There is no secret about the underachievement of black students, there are millions of children who would be better served learning to perform basic math skills, reading and writing at grade level than watching film and lifting weights. The achievement gap between black students and their counterparts has been festering for years. Nothing is being done about it. Little more than half of black boys graduate on time, compared to 80% of whites. If black students were an educational priority, their lack of academic achievement would be considered a national crisis. No one lifts a finger to address how African American students are being underserved academically, but the cogs of the athlete mill keep churning out elite black athletes to bring in revenue for universities that many black athletes will not graduate from.

College sports does not have to be the main gateway to professional football and basketball. There is no reason why the two have to be married. It just so happens that these are the most exciting, revenue producing sports and they are a cash cow to universities. The pairing of sports and education and the business interests it represents at the higher levels compromises the best educational interests of students. Sports like soccer and baseball -that do not generate the amount of university money as the African American dominant, football and basketball- have other routes besides college sports to play professionally. The NCAA is a racket based off the exploitation of black athletes. Too many are essentially robbed of an education as children and carried through school; their talents are used to make tons of money for universities while many will not graduate, only a small percentage will play professional sports, and even less will have the tools for a successful life beyond sports.

The treatment of black students  is indicative of our educational priorities and our general view of black males. The ease with which we dismiss the educational needs of black students and simultaneously exploit their athletic gifts is proof that they are still seen largely as easily exploitable, physically strong and intellectually lacking.

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Teacher Exodus is finally NOT “Fake News” https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/teacher-exodus-is-finally-not-fake-news/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/teacher-exodus-is-finally-not-fake-news/#respond Sun, 03 Dec 2017 20:45:44 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4138   Breaking News from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel!  Teachers are leaving the profession.  Seriously!  It’s now true. According to a report released Friday by the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum,  Wisconsin has a teacher leaving problem that has fueled the so called teacher shortage. Let me start with this quote from Anne Chapman, senior researcher at the forum and... Read more »

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Breaking News from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel!  Teachers are leaving the profession.  Seriously!  It’s now true. According to a report released Friday by the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum,  Wisconsin has a teacher leaving problem that has fueled the so called teacher shortage.

Let me start with this quote from Anne Chapman, senior researcher at the forum and lead author of the “nonpartisan” study cited above.

“If you address the reasons we have these vacancies in the first place, you may alleviate the sense of urgency about getting people into the classrooms.”

Can I call plagiarism? How many #BustEDPencils Blogs have I written over the last 2 1/2 years that stated the problem to the teacher “shortage” was a leaving problem?

Here are some quotes from blog posts over the past few years.

And it get’s better.  According to the study, “the departure of teachers in their 20s, 30s and 40s is growing steadily and accounts for the largest share of teacher turnover, … — a trend that over time could put a greater pressure on teacher demand than that already created by shortages in the teacher pipeline.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate the study’s findings.  However, why does it take a study to verify simple observations of the dismal morale reported by teachers on social media that has led to a mass exodus from public school classrooms?  Is it “real news” now?  Were my posts “fake news?”

OR maybe the better question is: If you scream “teacher exodus” in the woods and nobody hears it, does a study reported in a newspaper about “teacher retention” serve a better purpose than toilet paper while you’re in the woods?

 

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Wisconsin: Fixing the Teacher “shortage” by killing the profession! https://bustedpencils.com/2017/11/wisconsin-fixing-teacher-shortage-killing-profession/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/11/wisconsin-fixing-teacher-shortage-killing-profession/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 15:01:36 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4119 About to be “Frequently asked Questions” concerning “fast track” teacher licensure in the state of Wisconsin. Is there a way to get a teaching license without student teaching? Yes. Is there a way to get a teaching license without taking the edTPA? Yes. Is there a way to avoid that horrible Foundations of Reading Test?... Read more »

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About to be “Frequently asked Questions” concerning “fast track” teacher licensure in the state of Wisconsin.

  1. Is there a way to get a teaching license without student teaching? Yes.
  2. Is there a way to get a teaching license without taking the edTPA? Yes.
  3. Is there a way to avoid that horrible Foundations of Reading Test? Yes.
  4. Can I avoid working with kids, schools, principals, and communities? Yes.
  5. Will my license be the same as an “official” state approved license? Yes.
  6. Will I get a job with a “fast track” license? Depends on the desperation.
  7. Is a “fast track” license good for kids? NO!

 

Senario.

After I complete 4 – 5 years of college, achieve a 3.0 or better, work successfully with children, schools, and communities, student teach, pass the edTPA, but fail the Foundations of Reading Test, DPI will deny my license but grant a license to someone who did NOT do any of those things?

Answer: Yes. The American Board for the Certification of Teaching Excellence does NOT require future teachers meet standards that are most important to successful teaching.

Conclusion.

So who benefits from “fast track” licensure? Politicians!

And what about the “profession?” (Insert your own answer).

Why isn’t the Press informing the public? Listen to the song below.

 

 

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I am a Teacher! For now. by a badass teacher. https://bustedpencils.com/2017/10/teacher-now-badass-teacher/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/10/teacher-now-badass-teacher/#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2017 19:15:25 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4110 “Sorry in advance for the length, but I need to get this out. After 22 years, I don’t know if I have it in me anymore. I am a teacher. I will always be a teacher. I love teaching, but this isn’t teaching. Everything I am required to do is about preparing my students for... Read more »

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“Sorry in advance for the length, but I need to get this out.

After 22 years, I don’t know if I have it in me anymore. I am a teacher. I will always be a teacher. I love teaching, but this isn’t teaching. Everything I am required to do is about preparing my students for “the test.” I spend all day, every day, ramming test prep down my students’ throats. Then I do what seems like 8,000 reams of paperwork each week to prove that I’m ramming test prep down my students’ throats.

There is no joy in this for them. I see their blank faces with eyes glazed over. There is no fun or excitement in learning, for they are not really learning.

This past weekend I spent literally every waking hour working, taking breaks only to do laundry and prepare food for my son. I wrote my lesson plans with all of the required “non-negotiables” included and explained. I examined my data to make decisions about what skills might need some reteaching and what skills could be practiced and reinforced in centers. I dutifully created my differentiated centers and made them rigorous (a term that has no business in education).

I printed off copies of things on my own printer, using my own ink and paper, because we only get 1000 copies per month. I laminated, cut, and put things in folders to make sure I was all ready for today. Then, in the middle of my ELA block this morning, my principal walked in to do a walk-through. Apparently, this go round was focused on centers because she asked to see mine as she did for all of my teammates, I later learned.

Well, I figured this one would be easy after everything I did over the weekend. She looked at them, asked me a couple of questions, and left. My observation notification came through after school and I looked. Imagine my surprise when I received a Basic for Danielson Domain 1e: Designing Coherent instruction. My principal’s only comment… “While it’s good to see differentiated centers there needs to be paired texts and writing in your centers.”

Make no mistake, I am open to criticism, especially when criticism is constructive and valid. This, however, is neither constructive nor valid. This is about playing a game. This is about making up a fault that isn’t included in the rubric when you can’t find one that is. This is about making sure that teachers don’t get too many points so we can keep those merit-based raises to a minimum.

This is what education has become. It’s a game, it’s inauthentic, it’s draining. They’re putting out the fire that has blazed inside of me. They’re destroying my soul and my passion. I don’t know what to do now. I am a teacher. I will always be a teacher. I love teaching, but this isn’t teaching.”

And people wonder why we have a teacher shortage.

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Why You Mad?: Taking a Knee and White Rage in Post-Racial America https://bustedpencils.com/2017/10/mad-taking-knee-white-rage/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/10/mad-taking-knee-white-rage/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 05:21:37 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4091 As a social studies teacher and critical educator, it is my responsibility to engage with the world, to analyze current events in a historical context. It is my job to challenge the dominant paradigms in the study of history or offer alternative perspectives. These issues constantly pop up in the classroom and we have to... Read more »

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As a social studies teacher and critical educator, it is my responsibility to engage with the world, to analyze current events in a historical context. It is my job to challenge the dominant paradigms in the study of history or offer alternative perspectives. These issues constantly pop up in the classroom and we have to know how to deal with them with a nuanced multi dimensional approach. Students are watching and trying to interpret events, and what happens in professional sports trickles down to us at the high school site level, where students all over the country, including my own site are taking a knee and being met scornfully from administrators and community members alike.

 

Introduction

I wish some folks would just say what they feel, I can’t even say white folks because some ignorant negroes are the same. I really doubt that they care about the flag this much. I just don’t understand that level of sensitivity for a flag, it’s borderline pathological. The real problem is the reason the players are taking a knee and the implications of it all. There are too many veterans coming out in support of Kaepernick and the NFL players for it to be about veterans. I have many vets in my family, even old school, country boy, Vietnam vets that support the players taking a knee. The language of patriotism is used to couch racist attitudes based on a mythological American paternalism.

They really have a problem with what taking a knee represents. It questions the legitimacy of the entire system, this so called democracy. The players are telling the world that they are not content with police murdering black people in the most egregious ways on film, and not being held accountable by simply taking a knee. This type of unruly behavior by Black people and the reaction that it elicits goes back to the founding of this nation. It challenges the narrative of America as a beacon of freedom for the world. 

What They Really Mean
They are offended that we are not happy with what “America” has “bestowed” upon us. they think they let a few of us in some little club and we are ungrateful. That’s why they always bring up the “millions of dollars” the players make. Paradoxically, Black people are viewed as children that have been given everything, even though the opposite is true. ‘How dare they refuse to stand for the flag that has given them the opportunity to play sports for money’, they say. This fictitious view of African Americans as recipients of gracious opportunities that America has showered upon them is at the root of their perceived ingratitude. Black people were not even allowed to play professional football until the 50’s. It was the 1980’s before the NFL had their first Black starting quarterback, Doug Williams. Despite having to fight for every inch of progress, even in professional sports, they are expected to shut up and be appreciative.  Of course this mentality is not new. It goes back to the stereotypical ‘uppity nigger’ label attached to black people, either after emancipation, returning from a World War, achieving any notoriety, title or wealth that he/she thinks entitles them to any degree of equality or humane treatment. 

If Americans were not so scared to tell the truth, we wouldn’t have to read between the lines of their rhetoric. Its not hard to see the racist vitriol through their thinly veiled words and attitudes. Anyone who knows history can see through the, ‘they make millions of dollars’, ‘they should be more appreciative’, ‘respect the flag’, ‘the veterans fought for your freedom’ type of nonsense. How did veterans fight for the freedom of Black people when the same people that sent them to fight, took away said freedom? These reactionary attitudes are as old as America itself.

They think Black people should have more appreciation for America and it’s symbols. America has given so much to civilize Black folks and bless us with ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. They ‘let’ us come from the ghetto and make lots of money playing a game so we should shut up or they may take it away. America is giving Black athletes and entertainers a chance to be the ‘good, responsible black people’, ambassadors to the world to show how great and harmonious America is. Public display of dissatisfaction is breaking the deal. We saw this with Paul Robeson in the 50’s, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommy Smith in the 60’s, they were publicly flogged and punished for their misdeeds, namely garnering international solidarity with the struggle of Black people. The privileges that come with mainstream acceptance for African American public figures comes with strings attached, ‘shut up and play’, ‘never speak up in the interests of your people’. If these conditions cannot be met, ‘back to the field’ like the days of old. This is the consciousness behind the president’s and much of America’s call to fire the “sons of bitches”. Now baseball players, hockey players and even German soccer players are kneeling in support of the NFL protests.

This visceral response of some segments of America to a relatively tame act is evidence that they just want Black people to shut up while cops have free reign to kill us. Where is their humanity? They are more offended by kneeling than Terence Crutcher, Laquan Mc Donald or Oscar Grant being murdered by cops for nothing. Kneeling during the anthem is the most passive and weak protest imaginable. It’s not even breaking a rule, its not disruptive, it doesn’t even make a scene and still, its too much for some to bear. This is what makes it so powerful at the same time. It speaks volumes about the sentiment of much of America. Even the most quiet, polite act of resistance strikes at a nerve and triggers a collective fear and disgust, disguised as an affront to their patriotic sentiments. Even the tiniest peep from those who wish to stand for the oppressed is unacceptable.

Conclusion

Any self respecting people would be ungovernable with what has been going on with Black folks here. If Whites thought the cops were more likely to shoot them because of their race, they would be armed in the streets ready to revolt. Greece went up in flames after the police shot an unarmed man. the same folks losing their minds wouldn’t be so mad if players took a knee for homeless vets, ocean pollution or anything other than Black people. If the NFL protest is legitimate, what does that mean? It means that their beloved American, meritocratic, democracy is a sham, a lie. Thus, taking knee is disrespectful, those taking knee are ignorant ingrates and whoever the police choose to shoot is a thug that deserves it, no matter how much reality conflicts with this imaginary world, it is a necessary illusion to protect their fragile worldview.

What bothers me more is the arrogance of it all. I know the protest is not against the anthem or the flag itself, despite what detractors may say but perhaps it should be, at least against the idea that black people, of all people, should be expected to stand for their pro-slavery anthem written by a racist slave owner in the first place or their enslaving, Jim Crow flag. They must be crazy. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of history that paints America as some benevolent civilizer of her African descendant, so-called citizens instead of the vile, violent exploiter that it has been. The response of much of America is based on this debased understanding of American history.

If the NFL tries to force these men to stand, I hope they all kneel en masse. I hope the situation escalates to just one team refuses to suit up. Ultimately that’s where their power lies. Our kids are watching and idolize these people. The players themselves, let alone the owners, are not worthy of our support, if they bend to this kind of fascist pressure. Taking a knee was a personal choice by Colin Kaepernick and was not meant to challenge us in the way it has. His conscience would not allow him to stand for the Anthem and a flag that oppresses Black people. However the situation has escalated and the only choice the NFL players have is to stand together or capitulate.

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Tim @risegainst coming to #BustEDPencils https://bustedpencils.com/2017/10/tim-risegainst-coming-bustedpencils/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/10/tim-risegainst-coming-bustedpencils/#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 14:23:38 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4061 Listeners and readers of BustED Pencils know we have a love for music—punk rock particularly!  I typically try to find a music video to support blog posts and our intro music to the podcast is Rise Against’s Re-Education (Through Labor). Last week I had the opportunity to get an interview with Tim McIlrath of Rise... Read more »

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Listeners and readers of BustED Pencils know we have a love for music—punk rock particularly!  I typically try to find a music video to support blog posts and our intro music to the podcast is Rise Against’s Re-Education (Through Labor).

Last week I had the opportunity to get an interview with Tim McIlrath of Rise Against in Janesville, WI at Sonic Boom.  We talked about the link between punk rock and activism and the influence of Howard Zinn and the need for public schools to offer a more critical and justice oriented curriculum.

You’re going to have to wait for the release of the podcast but until then enjoy some photos.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wisconsin Teachers granted a “Lifetime” of Deprofessionalization. https://bustedpencils.com/2017/09/wisconsin-teachers-granted-lifetime-deprofessionalization/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/09/wisconsin-teachers-granted-lifetime-deprofessionalization/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 19:05:01 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4048 Stupid cliche alert.  “Be careful what you wish for.” Wisconsin has a new budget! Finally we can get down to the continued further “disruption” of the teaching profession. Yes it is now official.  $2100, 10 months, and no student teaching gets you a license to teach in Wisconsin—teacher shortage solution I’ve been told.  Never mind... Read more »

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Stupid cliche alert.  “Be careful what you wish for.”

Wisconsin has a new budget! Finally we can get down to the continued further “disruption” of the teaching profession.

Yes it is now official.  $2100, 10 months, and no student teaching gets you a license to teach in Wisconsin—teacher shortage solution I’ve been told.  Never mind the most comprehensive research available that says 90% of teacher openings are being caused by teachers leaving the profession. Sorry. Old news.

In addition to “fast track” certification Wisconsin will be granting “lifetime licenses” for those already teaching and after 3 years of teaching service for new teachers.  I know that the first reaction is

“that’s cool! No more burdensome renewal processes and no more disconnected requirements in order to maintain a teaching license.”

Even though there is a lot of truth to the previous statement, do teachers really think a “lifetime license” was included in the Walker budget to actually help teachers?  Seriously.  This Act 10 Walker?  This is the guy who maligned teachers for having a job with health care and retirement benefits.  Why would he all of sudden do something positive for teachers?

He hasn’t!  A ‘lifetime license” is just the newest way to promote a lifetime of low wages and a diminished professional status.

“But Tim, back in the day I had a lifetime license and continued my education and was rewarded for professional development and advanced degrees.”

Yeah I know.  But “back in the day” teachers had collective bargaining and a strong union that made sure that the PROFESSION was treated as such.  The union advocated and received the supports needed to financially help teachers continue their education and made sure that each level of continued education was also rewarded.

Under the new “lifetime license” the only requirement to maintain it is to simply apply for renewal.  How is this good for kids and how is this good for the profession?

Schools that have been stripped of cash over the last 6 years don’t have the financial ability to reward and compensate plans that maintain teaching as a high level profession. Therefore, teachers—that have been stripped of collective bargaining—are now going to simply morph into low paid labor.  A “lifetime license” with no continued education, professional development requirements, and no need for districts to compensate teachers for advanced degrees is simply a license to work as a low wage laborer for the rest of your life.

Yes the old renewal process was painful, burdensome, and in need of a major overhaul.  However that work was supposed to be done with teachers, teacher educators, schools and communities together.  Politicians that have been actively dismantling our public schools and the profession of teaching had no business entering the world of teacher licensing.

As I used to say, “Someone has to say it!”

 

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Surprise! If You Live Under a Rock. https://bustedpencils.com/2017/09/surprise-live-rock/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/09/surprise-live-rock/#respond Sun, 10 Sep 2017 14:51:55 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4035 As the war against our public schools and the profession of teaching drags on it amazes me that some people still act surprised when politicians attempt to enact policy that pushes us closer and closer towards total privatization and the siphoning of tax dollars directed towards operations that only stand to profit from the collapse.... Read more »

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As the war against our public schools and the profession of teaching drags on it amazes me that some people still act surprised when politicians attempt to enact policy that pushes us closer and closer towards total privatization and the siphoning of tax dollars directed towards operations that only stand to profit from the collapse.

However, today in the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel it was reported that,

A provision in the proposed state budget is raising the ire of educators and leaders of Wisconsin’s schools of education who say it would lower the quality of new teachers in the classroom, most likely in schools with the neediest children. …

American Board offers a low-cost, fast-track online program for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree; it takes usually a year or less for under $3,000, according to its website.

Its graduates would be exempt from some of the more stringent quality-control requirements other teacher candidates must meet in Wisconsin: student teaching; a test measuring their understanding of the concepts of — and how to teach — reading and writing; and a rigorous assessment of overall knowledge and teaching ability.

No one should be surprised by this. A provision for fast track “teacher academies” is in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that was passed with BI partisan support over 2 years ago. And the American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence was identified well over a week ago by simply doing a little bit of critical reading of the actual provision.

“45. Alternative Teacher Preparation Program- Require the DPI to grant an initial teaching license to an individual meets the following requirements: (a) possesses a bachelor’s degree; (b) he has successfully completed an alternative teacher certification program operated by an alternative preparation program provider that is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, that operates in at least five states and has been in operation for at least ten years, and that requires the candidate to pass a subject area exam and the pedagogy exam known as the Professional Teaching Knowledge exam to receive a certification under the program and successfully completes a background check. Specifically that this license would authorize an individual to teach the subject and educational levels for which the individual successfully completed his program.”

Take Google and enter “alternative teacher certification” “501(c) (3)” “five states” “ten years” and “Professional Teaching Knowledge Exam.” Guess what comes back in the search? The American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence (ABCTE).

But an even better question to ask is why?  Why the need for ABCTE?  Well according to ABCT Spokeswoman Jennifer Burkhardt,

“Wisconsin has a teacher shortage….”

And it’s not just ABCTE.  Even Tony Evers, state Superintendent of Public Instruction and Democratic candidate for governor—not supportive of ABCTE—wants “to develop legitimate solutions to our teacher shortage.”

Enough with the teacher “shortage” narrative!

When teachers are leaving their jobs across the state and enrollment in teacher prep programs is at an all time low you don’t have a “labor shortage.” You have a toxic work place environment (Walker and Act 10). A toxicity that has spurred an EXODUS from the classrooms of our children and a plummeting enrollment in teacher preparation programs.

Once you come to terms with this fact, then understanding how a “fast track” no standards-teacher prep program landed in the budget is simple. Politicians don’t want real teachers. They want cheap labor that won’t question a work place environment that has created a mental heath crisis.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/teachers-antidepressants-stress-workload-suicidal-one-in-ten-nasuwt-a7684466.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/much-more-common-core/201611/the-teacher-burnout-epidemic-part-1-2

Negotiating with those trying to privatize public schools only yields results that push us closer and closer to the elemination of our public school system. It’s time to stop laying the bricks that seal our fate.  We need to be the architects and design a world that empowers us to create—the schools our children deserve.

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No Student Teaching? No Problem: Wisconsin Wants You. https://bustedpencils.com/2017/09/no-student-teaching-no-problem-wisconsin-wants/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/09/no-student-teaching-no-problem-wisconsin-wants/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 19:53:46 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4028 Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee passed Scott Walker’s budget proposal dealing with teacher education on a 12- 4 party line vote.  While the entire proposal is a partisan disaster that continues the dismantling of Wisconsin’s public school system—one item is worth highlighting. 45. Alternative Teacher Preparation Program- Require the DPI to grant an initial teaching license... Read more »

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Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee passed Scott Walker’s budget proposal dealing with teacher education on a 12- 4 party line vote.  While the entire proposal is a partisan disaster that continues the dismantling of Wisconsin’s public school system—one item is worth highlighting.

45. Alternative Teacher Preparation Program-

Require the DPI to grant an initial teaching license to an individual meets the following requirements: (a) possesses a bachelor’s degree; (b) he has successfully completed an alternative teacher certification program operated by an alternative preparation program provider that is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, that operates in at least five states and has been in operation for at least ten years, and that requires the candidate to pass a subject area exam and the pedagogy exam known as the Professional Teaching Knowledge exam to receive a certification under the program and successfully completes a background check.  Specifically that this license would authorize an individual to teach the subject and educational levels for which the individual successfully completed his program.

Translation:

The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence will be granting teaching licenses in Wisconsin.

What does it take to earn a teaching license through the American Board for Certification  of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)?

  1. $2100
  2. A computer.
  3. Web access
  4.  ?

That’s it! You never need to step foot in a college classroom or a classroom full of children. This is  truly “fast-track” alternative teacher certification.  Who needs to work with kids or learn how to interact with other human beings?  That’s so “traditional.”

But that does bring up a rather important question: What about “traditional” colleges, schools and departments of education at Institutions of Higher Education (IHE)? What happens if you seek a teaching license in Wisconsin through an IHE? You will …

  1. take course work with faculty that have been teachers.
  2. spend time doing multiple field experiences in classrooms with children.
  3. student teach for a semester or more in a real school with real classrooms and real children.
  4. complete a rigorous reflective performance evaluation.

I know what you’re thinking (no I’m not a psychic).  I just know because anyone with any sense of the world is asking those same questions?

  1. How much does “traditional” cost?
  2. What happens during the “traditional” performance evaluation?
  3. What other mandates—tests—are required by “traditional” programs?
  4.  Keep going….

However, let’s ask the question that matters: Whose children are intentionally being placed at risk by politicians hell bent on dismantling “traditional” teacher preparation?

Other people’s children! Not theirs.

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Free Speech and the University Battleground https://bustedpencils.com/2017/08/free-speech-university-battleground/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/08/free-speech-university-battleground/#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 21:14:27 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4004 Introduction The university has been a free speech battleground reminiscent of the 1960’s. Right wing elements are trying to get a foothold in traditionally progressive territory. People like Ann Coulter and Rob Shapiro have had to cancel dates due to potential threats of violence. When important institutions like universities are not doing their job, indoctrinating... Read more »

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Introduction

The university has been a free speech battleground reminiscent of the 1960’s. Right wing elements are trying to get a foothold in traditionally progressive territory. People like Ann Coulter and Rob Shapiro have had to cancel dates due to potential threats of violence. When important institutions like universities are not doing their job, indoctrinating and training the future work-force, young folks get out of hand. They may develop dangerous, independent ideas that clash with the traditional values of putting one’s head down and going to school to earn a living. In the 1960’s they called this a ‘crisis of democracy’. The institutional role must be restored at least by challenging the prevailing left wing culture. Youth at college campuses all over the country have been trying to fight this right wing attempt to make space for itself in the university scene, sometimes not just with words but their bodies. This is provoking a reaction from right wing forces.

University as a Cultural Battleground

With the rejection of radical conservative/fascist mouthpieces at universities, states are going on the offensive and trying to counter with so called ‘free speech’ legislation demanding that certain voices be given a pass by criminalizing protest. Conservatives tout that they are being denied their freedom of expression, guaranteed under the constitution, however the constitution protects freedom of expression from the state. If liberal and radical students disrupt a presentation that is no violation of the constitution.

The students are correct in not allowing the normalization of racist, inflammatory speech by soft core fascists of the alt right. In these times, lines have to be drawn.The Alt-right types have support in the highest levels of government. They will use the neutrality clause or warped ideas about objectivity to push back, and give backward, anti-human viewpoints such as climate change denial, creationism, or scientific racism a foothold. By introducing legislation that penalizes dissent and disruption of their attempt to propagate such ideas, they legitimize them, gives them a safe space.

Right Wing Offensive

According to the Chicago Tribune,  In Robin Vos’s Wisconsin bill, “Students would be entitled to a disciplinary hearing and appeals. Any student found to have interfered with someone’s free expression twice would be suspended for a semester or expelled. And anyone who feels his or her free speech rights have been violated can bring a lawsuit within a year to stop the violation”. The Goldwater Institute put this bill together to push the conservative agenda and counter the progressive lean of university campuses. The right wing is going on the offensive with similar bills being brought up in Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia. This type of anti- free speech legislation serves as a deterrent to students, keeping them silent in the face of forces that have emboldened racists and fascists throughout the country leading to a spike in hate crimes and resurgence of overt white nationalism.

Conservatives are a strange group to be concerned with free speech at universities. Where were they when Dr. Ward Churchill and Dr. Norman Finkelstein were denied tenure? Left wing voices are cracked down on by the power structure, while these right wingers are being rejected by the student body. Their allies in power, in turn, go to bat for them. This is not a free speech issue. This is about reactionaries trying to gain influence among college students.

Neutrality and Free Speech

One of the points in the bill states that the university should be neutral on public issues. As an academic institution, the university should take the side of scientific method and academic investigation. Why should the university guarantee time and space for ideas that do not meet the criteria to be taken seriously at an academic institution? A public university is just the place to protest the presence of people who want to promote anti scientific ideas or even anti-social ideas that promote racism and misogyny.

It is no violation of neutrality to deny a platform for non academic, non scientific ideas an equal footing as those based in reality. The problem of neutrality it that it places reactionary positions based in religion, class interests, racism and misogyny on the same level as legitimate discourse. A college campus should not give equal time to white nationalists, provocateurs and religious zealots where people are trying to learn about how the world actually works.

If successful, this bill would penalize the brave women at Bethune Cookman College that turned their backs on Betsy Devos who purported that HBCU’s are a result of school choice or that the kingdom of God can be ushered in through the use of the school system. What of the students at Notre Dame that walked out on Pence for his policies that, “have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation”? These students would be penalized and shamed for their lack of civility when the problems is these universities giving latitude to people who’s positions are dangerous and unscientific.

Conclusion

This Wisconsin bill and others like it, is an attempt to silence the response to what is in essence a fascist program being put forth by the current presidential administration and all the racism and xenophobia that comes with them and their supporters. To effect the narrative of the nation, reactionary conservatives have to gain access to the minds of the young. The university is the place they have to carve out a niche, where the majority does not support their world view. If the republicans want to survive as a party, they need to engage with college students and they will threaten those who wish to disturb this process with suspension or expulsion. The university campus is a battleground for the minds of the youth. They are speaking loudly and they should be commended.

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No Status Quo in Wisconsin! https://bustedpencils.com/2017/07/no-status-quo-wisconsin/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/07/no-status-quo-wisconsin/#respond Wed, 12 Jul 2017 03:57:16 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=3990 Since testifying against the Wisconsin DPI (Department of Public Instruction) teacher license rule changes, some have suggested that I am simply a defender of the status quo. That my insistence on “standards” means I wish to keep in place the current system. Nothing can be further from the truth. Here is a direct quote from... Read more »

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Since testifying against the Wisconsin DPI (Department of Public Instruction) teacher license rule changes, some have suggested that I am simply a defender of the status quo. That my insistence on “standards” means I wish to keep in place the current system. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Here is a direct quote from testimony,

“All of our children deserve a fully qualified, licensed teacher. A teacher who is culturally competent. A teacher with a deep understanding of linguistic plurality. A teacher with multiple experiences in inclusive settings. These teachers must have an education rooted in critical pedagogy that exposes societal inequities and inspires a passion for social justice.”

Please explain how this is a call for keeping things the same.

When I refer to standards it is the vision that I present above that I am referring to—not the current “hurdles” that have been made a part of the licensing system by those outside the field of teaching and teacher education.

I strongly support the elimination of any high stakes standardized test as a gatekeeper to the teaching profession. That means PRAXIS, Core, and FoRT (Foundations of Reading Test). Each of these imposed gates has been detrimental to actually preparing the teachers our children deserve.

But remember, these high stakes gates were legislated by a grossly ignorant legislature hell bent on getting votes at the expense of doing what’s best for children, schools and their communities. The validity of these tests as predictors of teaching success is nonexistent.

So by all means let’s celebrate the fact that at least there is starting to be some “alternatives” to the PRAXIS and Core tests. However creating a lower tier pathway to classrooms for future teachers that can’t pass the FoRT is unacceptable. Entering classrooms at Tiers without a teacher license simply creates a sub class of teachers who will be vulnerable to reduced wages and denied the professional status they deserve.

Let’s be very clear about what needs to be done. The FoRT must be abolished! It is a racially biased tool that reeks of eugenics and has absolutely no ability to predict success teaching early literacy concepts. In fact preparing future teachers for the FoRT takes time away from deep studies concerning the range of approaches needed to help a vast diversity of children with a vast diversity of needs.

Status Quo? No!

Insisting on standards for future teachers that address racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, special needs, and inclusive competencies? Yes.

Fast track pathways into classrooms when current teachers are racing to get out of classrooms? No!

The teachers our children, their schools, and their communities deserve? Yes!

How? Courage to break from the real status quo—bureaucrats, politicians, pundits, and adults advocating for their own best interests.

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My testimony to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction https://bustedpencils.com/2017/07/testimony-wisconsin-department-public-instruction/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/07/testimony-wisconsin-department-public-instruction/#respond Wed, 12 Jul 2017 03:33:11 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=3991 Good afternoon.  My name is Tim Slekar and I am the Dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College.   Let me be clear from the outset. Our teacher shortage is a manufactured crisis that has resulted in an Exodus from the profession and has routed potential teachers away from teacher education.   Loosening, tinkering, and doing... Read more »

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Good afternoon.  My name is Tim Slekar and I am the Dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College.

 

Let me be clear from the outset.

  1. Our teacher shortage is a manufactured crisis that has resulted in an Exodus from the profession and has routed potential teachers away from teacher education.

 

  1. Loosening, tinkering, and doing away with teacher licenses—as some have proposed—will do NOTHING except dramatically increase systemic inequity and genuinely harm the profession of teaching.

However, let’s be honest.  What’s happening here is happening all across the country. Policy makers and pundits actively push the teacher shortage narrative.  And, in the same breath advocate and put forth policies that do away with teacher licensing.  Why?

Well there are two answers.  One that rests on the teacher shortage narrative and plays into the fear of public school parents.

The other is the truth.

The fear answer. Allowing license flexibility or doing away with teaching licenses altogether will fix the shortage. and If “we” don’t do something fast children will face empty classrooms.

The TRUTH: Softening teacher license policies or doing away with the license altogether will kill the profession and turn teaching into a low wage service sector job.

It’s that simple. Yet trying to get policy makers, pundits, and media to understand this seems almost impossible.  Trust me.  I have been trying for the last 11 months.

However, other than what I have already said I do not plan on delivering a negative critique of the suggested license tampering—a tampering that only works for certain adults but fails our children, our schools and our communities.

Instead I want to propose model legislation that might have a chance of undoing the damage already done.

Today I propose the “Teachers Our Children Deserve Act.”  It is very simple. All of our children deserve a fully qualified, licensed teacher.  A teacher who is culturally competent.  A teacher with a deep understanding of linguistic plurality.  A teacher with multiple experiences in inclusive settings. These teachers must have an education rooted in critical pedagogy that exposes societal inequities and inspires a passion for social justice.

And then, if there happens to be a “shortage” this legislation will provide the funding to school districts and teacher education programs that form a mutual partnership that uses a model for teacher recruitment called “grow your own.”

What is “grow your own?” Simple. Our best and brightest future teachers are already living in the communities of our public schools or are actually attending these schools.

We must actively recruit these candidates into teaching and fully fund it.  Actually incentivize the future of the profession by requiring IHEs and districts to develop deep partnerships to address the direct needs of districts that combines the talents of all involved.  The so-called shortage will quickly die as our children finally get The TEACHERS THEY DESERVE!

Devaluing teacher licensure will create even more inequity and harm our most vulnerable children.

Rather we must incentivize and inspire a movement of future educators. Our children, our schools and our communities DEMAND “The Teachers Our Children Deserve.”

Thank you for the time to speak.

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Surrendering Will Make You Free https://bustedpencils.com/2017/07/surrendering-will-make-free/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/07/surrendering-will-make-free/#respond Fri, 07 Jul 2017 13:48:54 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=3985 Life is very short, and there’s no time For fussing and fighting, my friend I have always thought that it’s a crime, So I will ask you once again Try to see it my way…   -J. Lennon   This is going to be difficult, but here goes. I surrender. 45, and the wealthiest Cabinet ever... Read more »

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Life is very short, and there’s no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend
I have always thought that it’s a crime,
So I will ask you once again
Try to see it my way…   -J. Lennon

 

This is going to be difficult, but here goes. I surrender. 45, and the wealthiest Cabinet ever are the best hope for our future.

Caricature by DonkeyHotey licensed through Creative Commons

Now wait a minute; don’t stop reading. Let me explain. First of all, they won. You know who I mean. The 1%. It’s not just about them winning; it’s why they won. Let me be succinct: Science is on their side.

How ironic is that??? The very ones who seem to deny science at every turn, from climate change to creationism to gutting the EPA of scientific advisers are the benefactors and purveyors of Darwinism. In case you were distracted that day back in 10th grade biology class by a case of natural selection caused by the pheromones emanating from that fine human specimen sitting two seats in front of you, let’s review. In 1869, Charles Darwin, still cashing in on his observations taken some 30 years prior while riding around the world on a bark (barque) named for a dog (Get it?), used Herbert Spencer’s catchy phrase “Survival of the fittest” in his The Origin of the Species to title his theory of evolution.

In short, Chuck deduced that there simply are not enough resources available in our biosphere to sustain all the organisms born, hatched, or sprouted; therefore, we the living, must, by our very nature, become competitive to survive. It makes perfect sense, then, that in human societies, there are certain physical, social, and political qualities (let’s lump them all together and call them “capital”) that enable us to swim and if we lack these kinds of capital, we sink. An abundance of capital= survival; a lack of capital= well… you get the picture.

This is pure Darwinism, people! It’s theory backed up with empirical data and that equals science. To cling to some faith that we are all going to survive and thrive is tantamount to believing in Santa Claus. “Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth.” And how’s that been going for y’all? It’s a nice thought, but it’s not science. Not only is it true that the strong survive, it’s also true that the strong are adapt at passing that capital down to their offspring. Rich people beget rich people and poor people beget the rest of us.

The One Percenters are living proof. It’s not that 45 and his cabinet are selfish snobs who rob schools of resources or aim to kick tens of millions of Americans off health insurance. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that they are realists who want nothing more than the survival of the species. They have been naturally selected and simply want nature to take its course.

Now, allow me to sum up (and I realize this not going to go over well, but it’s the truth). The rich get richer and the poor don’t, except for rare cases of mutation. 45 said it himself when questioned about all the millionaires and billionaires in his inner circle of advisers, cabinet secretaries, and policy makers : “… in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person… because that’s (not) the kind of thinking we want.”

photo by M. Jeremy Goldman licensed through Creative Commons

Therefore, according to science, it simply makes sense to allow nature to take its course and enact logical policies that benefit the strong and rich over the weak and poor. As Nevada Congressman, Cresent Hardy clearly insinuated: People with disabilities are a drain on society. In the oft-maligned words of Paul Ryan Ebeneezer Scrooge, “…Let them die and decrease the surplus population.” Let me remind the reader that Scrooge was created in the very decade of the dawn of Darwinism and his ultimate transformation was based on pure fantasy rather than scientific logic. It is only now that our Republican leaders have had the courage to turn away from illogical, unnatural Christian dogma that sanctimoniously espouses poverty as a meritorious quality, as they recognize the science of natural selection. Let’s face facts, the poor are not going to inherit the earth, not now, not ever. To entertain such fallacy, we simply endanger the human species and weaken our progeny.

In reference to proposed cuts to federally funded school lunch and after-school programs, Mick Mulvaney, 45’s Office of Management and Budget Director argued that the government wouldn’t continue to fund “programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we’ve made to people.” To soft-hearted do-gooders and main-line Christians this sounds like a cruel gesture, but to science-minded naturalists and the Chosen who rightly reject the misguided War on Poverty as a drain on the fittest, it’s a step towards restoring science as the cornerstone of the future of the species.

I told you up front this was going to be difficult to digest, so let me end there to give you time to mull this over. Stay tuned for my next Blog as I explain why the maligned proposals of Betsy Devos and 45’s other billionaire lieutenants are actually the stuff of real science and the best chance of making America great again.

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bark 3 |bärk| noun archaic or literary a ship or boat.ORIGIN late Middle English: variant of barque.barque |bärk| (also bark) nouna sailing ship, typically with three masts, in which the foremast and mainmast are square-rigged and the mizzenmast is rigged fore-and-aft.• literary a boat.ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French, probably from Provençal barca, from late Latin barca  ship’s boat.’

 

“They’ve been coaxed out of their mansions and off their yachts by President Trump to make America great again—for the very, very rich.”ALEX FINE

 

 

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BustED Pencils on Vacation! https://bustedpencils.com/2017/06/busted-pencils-vacation/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/06/busted-pencils-vacation/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 14:02:17 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=3972 The post BustED Pencils on Vacation! appeared first on BustED Pencils.

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