June 14, 2012

Reflecting back to move forward

When we as educators approach the end of things, and right now we are approaching the end of another school year, a process of reflection is called for. It’s necessary to reflect on the past 10 months in order to change, improve and enhance our practice.

May 24, 2012

Counteracting the summer brain drain

When summer comes, the last thing many students focus on is math, reading and academics. That’s why it’s important for us as educators to steer our students — and their parents — to some worthy resources that can help to stanch the loss and continue the learning through the summer months.

May 10, 2012

Growing healthy jobs, food and the environment

Ensuring that high school students are both job- and college-ready is not just a mantra for Stephen Ritz, the former South Bronx science teacher who now heads the nonprofit Green Bronx Machine. He’s teaching the sort of career skills that can land students decent-paying jobs and inspire an interest in the environment and healthy foods.

April 19, 2012

Failure by design

To date, the Department of Education under Michael Bloomberg has closed more than 140 public schools and has now begun to close new schools created under its tutelage at the same rate that it closes older schools. It is no exaggeration to say that the Bloomberg DOE is bereft of ideas and solid educational strategies and has adopted school closure as its one and only policy.

April 5, 2012

Reason for concern over special ed reform

The Department of Education is rolling out its special education reform to all 1,700 city schools next year. The expectation is that nearly all incoming elementary, middle school and high school students with disabilities will attend the same school they would attend if they didn’t have Individualized Education Programs.

March 22, 2012

Celebrating teaching

Seven years ago, the UFT and PBS began a long-term relationship that has resulted in one of the most anticipated, praised and attended educational conferences in the country. The title of the conference says it all — A Celebration of Teaching and Learning — a perfect antidote to the not-quite-spring doldrums. This year’s conference on March 17 was that and more.

March 8, 2012

Turn down the volume

By now you must be so tired and disheartened by all the rhetoric that has circulated over the last few months regarding teacher evaluations and accountability. Over the last decade, teachers and their students have been subject to seemingly never-ending changes in educational philosophies. Each new deputy chancellor brought in untested programs and expected blind obedience from principals and teachers.

February 23, 2012

A trip down learning lane

Want to get “oohs” and “aahs” from your students — while engaging them in New York State standards-based science and social studies programs at the same time? There’s a wonderful — though unfortunately little known — resource for hands-on learning that elicits that reaction. It’s the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, founded in 1899 as the first children’s museum in the country.

February 2, 2012

CTE teachers prep students for college, 21st century jobs

A Jan. 13 MSNBC report on a survey from Manpower Group, the job placement firm, showed more than half of employers surveyed saying they couldn’t find skilled workers to hire. Even if you allow for the picky employer or a weak economy that slows hiring, there’s still a jobs/skills mismatch, where applicants don’t have the education, training or specialized skills to make themselves marketable.

January 19, 2012

In bad faith

There is but one conclusion that can be drawn from the Department of Education’s last-minute walkout from negotiations over a teacher evaluation system for 33 schools placed in the transformation and restart models: It was always Tweed’s intention to refuse to enter into an agreement.

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