Knowing Is The Battle

Federal Register:

Purpose of Program: The American History and Civics Academies Program supports the establishment of:
(1) Presidential Academies for the Teaching of American History and Civics that offer workshops for both veteran and new teachers to strengthen their knowledge of American history and civics. . .

(2) Congressional Academies for Students of American History and Civics that provide high school students with opportunities to develop a broader and deeper understanding of these subjects. . .

Estimated Available Funds: $1,785,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $600,000 per year.

Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

Project Period: 36 months.

Absolute Priority 1—Presidential Academies for the Teaching of American History and Civics
Under this priority, an applicant must propose to establish a Presidential Academy for Teaching of American History and Civics that may offer workshops for both veteran and new teachers of American history and civics.

Absolute Priority 2—Congressional Academies for Students of American History and Civics
Under this priority, an applicant must propose to establish a Congressional Academy for Students of American History and Civics.

“Students who have an understanding of and engagement with American history and civics are more likely to be civically engaged and active participants in their community.

Moreover, students’ understanding of American history and civics will likely be enhanced if their learning experiences are interesting, engaging, and relevant to students’ perspectives and communities. It is therefore important to ensure that teachers have a thorough understanding of American history and civics and are well-equipped to implement effective teaching strategies that help their students master the necessary content knowledge and skills.

Students who are engaged in learning in these content areas will be better equipped to be active members of their community and the world at large, and to participate fully in all forms of civic engagement.”

Two million dollars will be spent on a three year program that will be expected to train both teachers of students and students American History.

Whose American history will be taught?

How will that history be interpreted?

The “hedgehogs” know what is important for our children to learn which is why they deny them the truth.

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All Data No Due Diligence

The Federal Register:

Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Experimental Sites Data Collection Instrument

Abstract: The U.S. Department of Education Secretary selects institutions for voluntary participation in the Experimental Sites Initiative. Institutions volunteer to become an experimental site to provide recommendations on the impact and effectiveness of proposed regulations or new management initiatives. Participants are exempt from specific statutory and regulatory requirements while conducting the experiments.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 28.

Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments; Private Sector.

If understood correctly, the federal government is offering federal tax dollars to educational institutions that would take part in yet another data collection with the incentive of being exempt from any oversight that would require the proper fiduciary oversight of an organization receiving federal and state funding.

This is the type of program from which the charter school movement could benefit greatly.

To receive federal funding for collecting data on our children with the added benefit of not having to comply with State and Federal regulations because you do so, is the same as deregulating charters that participate in yet another “hedgehog” plan to standardize and regulate our children and teachers.

Why would an experimental site be exempt from statutory and regulatory requirements. Shouldn’t they be held to these requirements to test the validity of their effectiveness?

What type of data will be collected at these experimental sites that would require exemption from statutory and regulatory requirements?

This is another attempt by the federal government to undermine public education and promote charter school proliferation.

It is obvious from the number of annual responses, twenty-eight, that the government does not expect an adequate response to their request. If so, this data collection instrument will be supported with federal dollars to the detriment of all of America’s children.

Federal education dollars must support the education of All of America’s children by providing a developmentally appropriate, Arts based, experiential education that seeks to discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of our children so that we can grow a knowledgeable, respectful, actively engaged citizenry.

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The Taming Of The Elephants

9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us By Will Richardson
1. We know that most of our students will forget most of the content that they “learn” in school.
2. We know that most of our students are bored and disengaged in school.
3. We know that deep, lasting learning requires conditions that schools and classrooms simply were not built for.
4. We know that we’re not assessing many of the things that really matter for future success.
5. We know that grades, not learning, are the outcomes that students and parents are most interested in.
6. We know that curriculum is just a guess.
7. We know that separating learning into discrete subjects and time blocks is not the best way to prepare kids for the real world.
8. We know (I think) that the system of education as currently constructed is not adequately preparing kids for what follows if and when they graduate.
9. And finally, we know that learning that sticks is usually learned informally, that explicit knowledge accounts for very little of our success in most professions.

In response:
1. Children should be educated not schooled, to be leaders not followers.
2. The curriculum should be individualized not standardized.
3. Field experiences to museums, art galleries, living museums, musical performances, and other out-of-the-classroom explorations extend learning beyond the classroom.
4. Discovering a child’s gifts and talents matter for their future success.
5. Changing the direction of education towards developing the gifts and talents of every child must be the outcome in which we must all be interested.
6. The curriculum must address real life situations that include past, present, and future world events.
7. Connecting the subjects in school to the life experiences of the students prepares them for the real world.
8. Once we discover and develop the gifts and talents of all children, those gifts and talents can be directed toward becoming knowledgeable, respectful, actively engaged citizens.
9. Real, not guided, conversations between all members of the school community is the type of role modeling and mentoring to which students respond.

We know what is wrong now it is time to tame the elephants.

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Diversity Training?

Diversity: The quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.

Training: The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior.

Recently the Rochester City School District spent $49,000 on diversity training for its staff.

Justin Murphy of the D&C writes, “Nearly every adult with serious sway in the Rochester City School District spent at least two full days this week being trained in culturally responsive education and anti-racism, fulfilling a directive from the school board to learn how structural bias affects the city’s 30,000 students at school as well as at home.”

He continues to state in his article, “Every top district administrator, from the interim superintendent down, spent two full days in DeGruy’s workshop. They were joined by union leaders, parent representatives, school board members and members of the community task force on school climate.”

This nearly $50 thousand dollar investment of the district is simply another in a long line of professional development workshops in which those who are only distantly connected to student learning receive directly while classroom teachers receive an invitation only, ad hoc style, after school or summer professional development in which the information presented is relevant only as long as the training session itself.

While this is a positive attempt to address the negative direction of the district’s success, it does little to effectively and efficiently correct the prejudicial beliefs and attitudes of all members of the school community.

Hatred is a multi-lane highway full of deadening potholes of which racism is only one.

A three hour “diversity training” workshop will do little to eradicate the hundreds of years of hatred that has Americans believing that skin color and socio-economic prowess determine intelligence.

Our children deserve to be appreciated for their gifts and talents. We must change our current system of education so that it acknowledges and respects the gifts and talents of everyone in and out of the school community.

We must teach our educational leaders the skill of loving the many different forms, types, and ideas our children possess.

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The Summer Buzz

Once again we are faced with summer vacation.

All the research shows that children lose learning when faced with six weeks of no learning during the summer.

In her GS4A blog Emily Wemmer writes, “. . . educator Zaretta Hammond in Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain (2015) would argue, low-income children are less likely than their more affluent peers to be taught a challenging curriculum based on the higher-order thinking skills that build and expand brain capacity. Children in poverty are often misguidedly “taught to the test” in an attempt to close the gap in standardized test scores between impoverished and affluent school districts. The unfortunate result, however, is that students in high-poverty districts receive a shallower education—the kind of education that is less likely to “stick,” and less likely to inspire a personal commitment to reading outside of the schoolhouse.”

What this researcher is saying is that we, as Americans, allow our government to deny our children an excellent education because of their parents socio-economic status. It is a known and accepted fact that our current system of education is not only standardizing but segregationist, separatist, discriminatory, and dehumanizing yet we allow it to remain as it is.

The answer to the problem of summer learning loss is simple, year-round school.

However, if the same inadequate system of education is offered to “impoverished” children during the summer as is delivered during the regular school year, then there will still be a disparity in learning between their children and ours.

The solution to the achievement gap is equally simple, eliminate it and create a system of education that is more concerned with the child than the earning power of their parents.

When we provide every child in America with a free and public, developmentally appropriate, Arts based, experiential education that is concentrated on discovering, developing, and directing their individual gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, respectful, actively engaged citizens, we will no longer view our children through financial lenses but see them as the wonderfully talented gifts of love they were created to be.

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The Process Is Not The Problem

The Rochester City School District is looking for a new superintendent. Dr. William Cala has categorically refused the position and should no longer be expected to “save” our district.

RCSD School Board President Van White has stated that the current process being implemented to secure the next superintendent is not a transparent process where the community is allowed to meet and interview the candidates because, “. . . White said the board’s previous process hadn’t yielded results.”

The transparent process that President White is referring to did not result in the hiring of the candidate chosen by the community. In fact, in the only two truly transparent superintendent search processes, the Board of Education chose not to hire the candidate most preferred by the community. So naturally the process did not yield results.

If the report naming the current candidates for superintendent is true, there is one candidate that stands out among the rest, Michelle Hancock.

A former teacher and administrator with the district, Ms. Hancock has a reputation of being respectful, honest, and fair.

As a teacher and administrator Ms. Hancock had the highest expectations for every member of the school community. Those same expectations continued when she was asked to create and facilitate a leadership program for teachers. Ms. Hancock left the RCSD under the superintendence of Jean-Claude Brizard, chosen by the Board even though the community wanted Dr. William Cala, then interim superintendent, to be the superintendent.

The Rochester community must not be fooled, it is not the transparent process of choosing a superintendent that is flawed, it is the lack of respect for the community voice and the inept decision-making abilities of the Board that has kept the Rochester City School District among the worst in the State.

Our children deserve a Board of Education that is concerned with their educational success not the financial success of the “hedgehogs” that control our State and Federal education departments.

Our children and our district deserve a Superintendent who has the highest of expectations for their success and believes that they can attain that success.

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We Are Catching On

NYS Allies for Public Education has published this action alert, “Time to refuse all field tests:

We are calling on parents to contact their district TODAY and request that their school districts RETURN the 2016 grade 3-8 stand-alone field tests to the NYS Education Department (NYSED) and at a minimum, parents should complete and submit this refusal letter on behalf of their children. Here’s the list of schools being field tested this year: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/fieldtest/2016fteirev2.xls

Over 2,300 schools have been assigned to administer the stand-alone field tests to a quarter of a million students (250,000) starting this Monday, May 23rd and given any day through June 10th. In addition, schools are currently administering Regent field tests which you can also refuse.

Since 2013, a growing number parents have refused the field tests for their children, and many districts have returned the boxes of tests unopened so their students wouldn’t have to sit for the extra stand-alone tests. Just recently, the media reported on New Paltz’s Board of Education rejecting the field tests for its students. – See more at: http://www.nysape.org/field-test-action-alert.html?link_id=11&can_id=1a533d2a5fac08aa2bf754689e715c7c&source=email-action-alert-time-to-refuse-all-nys-field-tests&email_referrer=action-alert-time-to-refuse-all-nys-field-tests&email_subject=action-alert-time-to-refuse-all-nys-field-tests#sthash.VqSHRwPs.dpuf

What are field tests?
Testing companies often pay subjects to get feedback on experimental test questions. The information they get is used to produce and sell future exams. Since 2012, NYSED has allowed the testing company Pearson to use NYS children FREE OF CHARGE to try out test questions for the following April’s statewide exams.

In fact, your taxpayer money covers the cost of administering these tests. Field tests for grades 3-8 will take up to 50 minutes to administer. For your information, field test questions were also embedded in the April grade 3-8 ELA, math and science state assessments. This, of course, increased the length of the ELA, math and science exams. – See more at: http://www.nysape.org/field-test-action-alert.html?link_id=11&can_id=1a533d2a5fac08aa2bf754689e715c7c&source=email-action-alert-time-to-refuse-all-nys-field-tests&email_referrer=action-alert-time-to-refuse-all-nys-field-tests&email_subject=action-alert-time-to-refuse-all-nys-field-tests#sthash.VqSHRwPs.dpuf”

This is another means by which the “hedgehogs” manipulate public funds to insure their private profits.

Our government leaders are enslaving our children to corporate servitude and we are paying them to do so.

We must stand together to remove the influence of the “hedgehogs” from government and return the power of the government to the people.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!