A Fox Does What A Fox Does

There is a classic fable that has been retold many times in many different ways, but the moral is the same.

A rabbit is trying to get across a pond without getting eaten by alligators. While pondering the situation, a fox approaches and promises the rabbit to get him across the pond safely.

The fox picked the rabbit up in his teeth and swiftly ran across the pond on the backs of the alligators who didn’t even notice they were being stepped on.

Once on the other side of the pond the fox began to eat the rabbit.

The rabbit began to yell, “You promised you wouldn’t eat me.”

“I promised I would get you safely to the other side and I did that.”

“Then why would you eat me?”

“Because I am a fox and a fox eats rabbits.”

For everyone who is upset that wealthy businessmen are capitalizing on a failed system of education, think carefully about the moral of the story.

It wasn’t the fox’s fault the rabbit was eaten. The rabbit, like the fox, could have run across the backs of the alligators and made it safely to the other side of the pond.

The rabbit believed more in the fox than he did his own abilities. Because of that he was eaten alive.

Gates, Broad, Koch, Klein and Duncan are not the problem.

The problem is our current system of education that allows private profits to be made with public tax dollars that fail to provide an excellent education to all of America’s children.

Like the rabbit, we want to trust that their intentions are good, not recognizing that their intentions are to profit from the failure of America’s children to succeed educationally.

Like the rabbit, we, the people, have the ability to outrun the alligators, cross the pond, and move forward towards a better system of education for our children, one that discovers, develops, and directs their gifts and talents so that they can believe in themselves and not wait for the fox to save them.

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Time To Comment

The summary of the proposed supplemental priorities and definitions begins, “To support a comprehensive education agenda . . . “

Is the “comprehensive education agenda“ referred to the mandated “common core” agenda?

If the proposed priorities support a system that has proven itself to fail our nations children, why are we supporting any priority?

Within the Background portion of the notice it states, “Note that we do not include priorities for building evidence of effectiveness, supporting projects for which there is moderate or strong evidence of effectiveness, or improving productivity, all of which were included in the 2010 Supplemental Priorities.”

If the priorities address as stated in the Summary, “reflect the lessons learned from implementing discretionary grant programs . . .,” were there no lessons to be learned from “building evidence of effectiveness, supporting projects for which there is moderate or strong evidence of effectiveness, or improving productivity”?

The Background continues, “To support our comprehensive education agenda, we are proposing priorities that span students’ full academic and career trajectories. . . That provide individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce.”

Is this all we want for our children? Is that all we want education to provide for our children? Is this the highest expectation our nation has for the education of its greatest resource, to be successful in the workforce?

“Our intent is to propose priorities that can be used widely across our discretionary grant programs, thereby aligning these programs with the Secretary’s policy objectives, rather than proposing priorities specifically designed for individual programs.”

The intent of this paragraph is to obvious to contend however it is very telling about the direction in which federal education tax dollars will flow when deciding which projects will be funded and which will not.

The final Background statement is, “The Department will choose which, if any, of the proposed priorities will be used for any particular discretionary grant competition; and such decisions will be made consistent with each program’s current authorizing statue and regulations.”

The Department now has free reign.

Change the system, change the results.

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The Final Five

There are only twenty-eight days left to comment on this document. All comments will be shown to the public. Without public comment, this proposal will most likely be adopted.

Proposed Priority 11—Leveraging Technology to Support Instructional Practice and Professional Development:
This proposed priority would explicitly support projects that help students and educators take full advantage of access to high-speed Internet, digital tools and materials, and open educational resources.

Proposed Priority 12—Promoting Diversity:
The 2010 priority highlighted racial and ethnic diversity, but did not preclude an applicant from receiving priority consideration for proposing projects promoting diversity in other ways, such as diversity based on socioeconomic status, another objective of Federal education programs. . . The proposed diversity priority also covers projects that promote student body diversity based on other factors, including a student’s socioeconomic status.

Proposed Priority 13—Improving School Climate, Behavioral Supports, and Correctional Education:
Through this proposed priority, we focus on specific challenges related to school climate, including disparities in and overuse of exclusionary discipline practices, and add a focus on social, emotional, and behavioral supports.

Proposed Priority 14—Improving Parent, Family, and Community Engagement:
This proposed priority would separate efforts to improve parent, family, and community engagement from those focused on improving school engagement, environment, and safety. Further, the 2010 priority addressed improving parent and family engagement broadly. Under this proposed priority, however, we would specify and expand on the types of projects we would like to support.

Proposed Priority 15—Supporting Military Families and Veterans. Show citation box
This proposed priority aims to ensure the healthy development of military children, including children of active duty service members and veterans, and to improve educational experiences and career opportunities for students who are active duty or reserve component service members, spouses of active duty or reserve component service members, and veterans.

The fifteen proposed priorities were listed in a very cursory manner. Every concerned educational stakeholder should read them in their entirety and then be sure to send in their comments.

“Our Children, Our Schools” means that our Federal, State, and local elected officials must hear “Our Voice.”

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Why This Is Important

Discretionary Spending: A spending category through which governments can spend through an appropriations bill.

Appropriations Bill: A legislative motion that authorizes the government to spend money.

Federal tax dollars are being usurped by corporations that apply for and meet the requirements of a system of education they bought and for which they are being paid. This is hedge fund profiteering.

Proposed Priority 6—Improving Job-Driven Training and Employment Outcomes:
Through this proposed priority, the Department would support projects that align programs in the workforce and training system to equip the Nation’s workers with skills matching the needs of employers looking to hire.

Proposed Priority 7—Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education:
We propose to revise the priority on STEM from the 2010Supplemental Priorities to address access to, and persistence in, rigorous and engaging STEM coursework. . . This priority would also help to bolster local or regional partnerships that enhance students’ access to real-world STEM experiences and teachers’ access to high-quality STEM-related professional learning.

Proposed Priority 8—Implementing Internationally Benchmarked College- and Career-Ready Standards and Assessments:
In this notice, we are proposing minor changes to the previous priority.

Proposed Priority 9—Improving Teacher Effectiveness and Promoting Equal Access to Effective Teachers:
This proposed priority focuses solely on strengthening teacher recruitment, selection, preparation, development, retention, support, recognition, assessment, and reach in ways that are consistent with the Department’s policy goals for professionalizing teaching, improving outcomes for all students, and ensuring that low-income students and minority students have equal access to effective teachers. This priority would encourage grantees to exceed the requirements of Section 1112(c)(1)(L) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) by focusing on effective teachers measured using a high-quality teacher evaluation and support system (as defined in this notice).

Proposed Priority 10—Improving the Effectiveness of Principals:
Through this proposed priority, we seek to support projects that expand the pool of effective and highly effective principals, support ongoing professional development that is aligned with principals’ needs, and build district capacity and systems that will provide principals the instructional focus, core leadership competencies, support, policies, and conditions that will positively affect the schools they lead.

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Change Is In The Air – But Beware

The Federal government is revising its educational grant funding priorities. These changes will make it easier for private and charter school entities to receive education dollars while our nation’s public schools falter under mandated NCLB/RTTT common core rules, regulations, and procedures.

It is incumbent upon all who are concerned with the direction of education to become aware of and involved in the expenditure of public funds to support the profits of private entities that drain valuable resources from public schools.

According to the Federal Register, the Secretary’s Proposed Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs is being revised:
“To support a comprehensive education agenda, the Secretary proposes 15 priorities and related definitions for use in discretionary grant programs. . . These priorities reflect the lessons learned from implementing discretionary grant programs, as well as our current policy objectives, and emerging needs in education.

This document has a comment period that ends in 30 days (07/24/2014) Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Go to http://www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically.

Proposed Priority 1—Improving Early Learning and Development Outcomes:
This proposed priority aims to support projects that will provide all children with a high-quality foundation that will prepare them for success in school and in life.

Proposed Priority 2—Influencing the Development of Non-Cognitive Factors:
With this proposed priority, the Department intends to support projects that develop and strengthen students’ mastery of non-cognitive skills and behaviors so that they develop and attain the skills necessary for success in school, career, and life.

Proposed Priority 3—Promoting Personalized Learning:
This proposed priority aims to support projects that use personalized learning to prepare students to master the content and skills required for college- and career-readiness.

Proposed Priority 4—Improving Academic Outcomes for High-Need Students:
In addition to including an expanded set of student subgroups, we are also revising this priority to support projects that are designed to improve academic outcomes or learning environments.

Proposed Priority 5—Increasing Postsecondary Access, Affordability, and Completion:
We are revising the priority to focus specifically on access, affordability, and completion of postsecondary education, including career and technical education, to further support the President’s goal.

Tomorrow, priorities 6-10.

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It Bears Repeating

Educators have entered a time in educational history when a perfect storm exists.

The information highway transports a wealth of knowledge about the high jacking of the system of education.

Across the nation parents, students, educators, and community members are stepping up and speaking out against its dehumanizing effects.

The fight however, must not be about testing or evaluations.

The fight must be about children.

It must be about respect.

The fight to change the conditions in education must be about changing the focus of education so that it concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of every child.

To do that, teachers must change their focus as well.

Teachers must look inside themselves to find the passion that led them to teaching. Teachers must focus on their own gifts and talents and use them to guide their students to and then on the path to personal success.

Teachers must demand respect by defending their profession with integrity and righteousness and then role model those qualities for their students while making them the expectation for and of all stakeholders in their school community.

The focus of education must be on the children that we educate, not the cost of education or the color, sex area code, or socio-economic condition of the teacher or student, the focus must be on the gifts and talents of the child.

Changing the focus of education means learning how to play again and then guiding that play towards learning about the child and their world, discovering their gifts and talents.

It means connecting the elements of music and dance, color and art to the learning environment to engage and inspire each child towards becoming a life long learner.

Focusing on the child and the developmentally appropriate approach to educating each child means ending standardized testing, common core, data mining, the school to prison pipeline, dropouts, truancy, it means the end of the educational failure of our children.

It is the only way we will truly achieve educational success for every child.

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We Are Standing Together

MapQuest states that there are 11.22 miles between Ogden Center Road and Broad Street in Rochester, a thirteen minute drive. However, last night both Spencerport and Rochester teachers stood together to oppose the New York State Common Core testing requirements.

While Spencerport teachers held a press conference at the Spencerport library, Rochester City School District teachers held a protest outside of the Central Office Building before speaking out before the Board.

A parent, teachers, a college professor, a retired principal and the president of the American Federation of Teachers spoke before an audience of more than fifty people to publically express their opposition to the devastating effects of Common Core rules and regulations.

In Rochester, the protest moved inside as approximately fifty speakers signed up to demand that our District leaders stand up to State Ed and tell them, “No More Common Core.”

The movement to reject the edicts of the current system of education is growing steadily. The common enemy we all face, the corporate rule of education, is bringing the education community together locally and across the nation.

While State mandated testing is still the seven headed dragon that all are trying to slay, the focus of the struggle, to end the corporate control of educational funds and policies, is shifting towards the children.

Parents and teachers are joining forces to protect their children from the dehumanizing effects of the Common Core, standardized, curriculum and testing mandates. Administrators and Superintendents are beginning to reject the rhetoric of the State Education Department and joining the cause to place education back in the hands of educators. Soon School Boards will reject the money that comes from corporate contributors and legislators will begin to listen to the people and not lobbyists.

Parents, students, educators, and community members, are standing together in Spencerport and Rochester and across the nation to change our current system of education.

The struggle must not be in vain, we must effect true change by refocusing education so that it discovers, develops, and directs the gifts and talents of every child.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!