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.

December 22, 2011

Partial retreat on special ed cuts

Our strong alliance with parents, advocates, disability groups and professional organizations was on display this fall as we together fought another series of cost-containment proposals for special education made by the State Education Department.

November 24, 2011

The heart of teaching

When I was a young girl in Argentina, living in another language, I read the newspaper columns that women wrote. Through the printed word, they were able to put forth new ideas, challenge the status quo and create new possibilities for our daily lives. The articles I was most drawn to were those that reported on the plight of “los maestros,” the teachers, and how they were always fighting to bring education and justice to all.

November 10, 2011

At your service

“Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” I grew up doing community service and I think that’s why I do what I do — and why quite a few of us teachers do what we do. I want to make sure I help kids grow up to become good citizens and community members. That’s my livelihood. It’s something that we as teachers do every day.

October 27, 2011

Another reform is the last thing we need

Over the last few years I have written several articles about middle school reform. I cited the various efforts that have been tried and abandoned under past administrations. These include the 1986-88 Middle School Task Force under Chancellor Nathan Quinones, the 1994-2000 Middle School Initiative by Chancellor Joseph Fernandez, the 2001-2002 Task Force on Improving Middle Schools by Chancellor Harold Levy and the 2005-2008 Middle School Reform Initiative by Deputy Chancellor Carmen Farina.

October 13, 2011

Keeping CTE viable for a changing world

Can medical school be considered “career and technical education”? Absolutely. But “Don’t be silly!” would be the knee-jerk reply of folks steeped in the distinctions and definitions of the past. They can’t help associating the “professions” with a higher class and more complex body of accomplished learning, one with superior status and perceived value to society.

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