Adult Jobs Matter – Children’s Education – Not So Much

Paying Teachers Not to Teach Is Absurd — but Reviving NYC’s ‘Dance of the Lemons’ Hurts Kids by Daniel Weisberg outlines a problem that exists in many school districts.

He states:

“For most of the past decade, New York City has struggled to solve a seemingly ridiculous problem: It spends about $100 million every year paying teachers not to teach. That’s how much it costs to operate the city’s so-called Absent Teacher Reserve pool, a limbo for about 800 educators entitled to full salary and benefits even though their positions were eliminated.

. . . Teachers can apply for any open positions they want, and principals have final say on which candidates to hire. It’s called “mutual consent,” but it’s really just common sense.

When ATR teachers struggle to find new jobs, there are often very good — albeit uncomfortable — reasons. Consider a few findings from a 2014 analysis of ATR teachers:

About 25 percent had been brought up on disciplinary charges.

Another third had received unsatisfactory evaluation ratings.

More than half hadn’t held a regular classroom position for two or more years.

About 60 percent hadn’t applied for a single position in the previous year, suggesting they weren’t even trying to find a full-time job.

. . . because only a tiny number of tenured teachers are ever dismissed for poor performance, any who fail this forced “tryout” will likely end up being foisted upon another group of students at another school the following year. More to the point, subjecting thousands of kids to ineffective teachers for even a year is simply unacceptable.”

Weisberg posits that teachers who are remanded to the ATR would be forced into positions and “students in lower-income neighborhoods, where teaching positions have historically been most difficult to fill, would be hit hardest.”

The hiring, assessing and retention of teachers in most districts is politically based and at the discretion of principals and the union. Parents have little input into the process.

Teachers who “go along” “get along” while those who don’t, won’t.

Our entire system of education must be changed so that it concentrates on educating children not employing adults.

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PEAS On The Right Track

TED Talk by Dr. Michael Hynes “Why PEAS Are the Key to a Successful Education” expresses the sentiment that our children are not labels, they are people. He promotes a system of education called PEAS.

PEAS stands for: Physical Growth; Emotional Growth; Academic Growth; Social Growth.

“Dr. Michael Hynes works as a public school superintendent of schools on Long Island. His mission is to spread the message of the importance of a holistic approach to educating children.” (YouTube)

He begins by giving an account of his educational experience as being less than successful. He graduated from high school in the bottom ten percent of his class and his guidance counselor said he was not college material. He explains the school experience using a lightbulb analogy as, a lightbulb that is on, flickering, off, or shattered.

Dr. Hynes says “. . . the reason why we have our children go to school is to reduce their talents and potential.”

“. . . I hate to use the words children with special needs . . . all these labels, all these classifications when the bottom line is, we are all people and they are all children.”

“. . . it is not academic and everything else is secondary, tertiary, everything else is equally as important and that means . . . music and art are just as important as AP Science.”

“. . . Physical education and recess is just as important as Social Studies, it’s just as important as Language Arts, and we have to get rid of the higher status of what we feel is most important and break it down to all four.”

“Our collective responsibility is to insure that we take this educational pendulum, all of us, collectively, and we hang onto it and make sure it goes right back in the middle where there’s balance. PEAS is balance where we are focusing on all those different components, we are not standardizing children anymore, they are not widgits, and ultimately, in the end, when we move this system in the right direction, no other lightbulbs are ever shattered again.”

Reaching success in education means changing the system of education.

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Growth Requires Change

On March 29, 2017, Great Schools for All blogger Lynette Sparks published an article titled, “Above all, it’s a moral issue.”

Ms Sparks quotes Reverend Dr. William J. Barber I who, in his book The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement writes, “. . .the 2010 attempts at resegregation by privatizing schools were framed as a “push for excellence.”

She continues, “However, when he and his coalition “followed the money” of the privatization campaign, they learned these attempts “were continuing a fight that had been going on for half a century to deny a good education to poor people by clustering them in separate, subquality schools.” Barber built a diverse coalition of people – black, white, and brown, rich and poor, religious and secular, and more, to shift the public conversation, and ultimately succeed in resisting resegregation.

Of course, in 2017 Monroe County, resegregation is not the issue, for our school landscape is about as segregated by race and class as it can get. . . I trust that those who are dedicating their time and resources to improving education have the best of intent, and we need a range of approaches to tackle the complexity of Rochester’s academic achievement gap.”

While no one can profess to know the intentions of others, it is clear that our elected officials charged with improving our system of education are not intent on doing so. This is evidinced by the fact that they continue to support policies and programs that normalize, standardize, and dehumanize our children.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin yet our current system of education classifies our children according to these very distinctions prohibited by law and supports these discriminatory practices through funding streams dedicated to these classifications.

When we, the people, decide to provide every child in America with a free and public education dedicated to discovering, developing and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens, we will have changed education and will begin to grow together in peace.

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Paying For Poverty

Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Teacher Incentive Fund Annual Performance Report

Abstract: The Teacher Incentive Fund is a competitive grant program. The purpose of the TIF program is to support projects that develop and implement performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals in order to increase educator effectiveness and student achievement in high-need schools.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 45.
Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 2,070

Average Total Federal Employee Compensation: $123,160. At half that amount, $61,580 the government will spend $127,470,600 reviewing the forty-five comments they will receive from this award to support the additional payment to teachers and principals for teaching in high-need schools. If these schools were to receive the $127,470,600 directly they wouldn’t be “high-need”.

Applications for New Awards; Strengthening Institutions Program

Purpose of Program: The Strengthening Institutions Program provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution’s academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $86,534,000 for awards for the SIP program for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $3,699,000 for this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $400,000-$450,000 per year.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $415,000 per year.
Estimated Number of Awards: 8-9.

Applications for New Awards; Strengthening Institutions Program

Purpose of Program: The Strengthening Institutions Program provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution’s academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $86,534,000 for awards for the SIP program for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $3,699,000 for this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $500,000-$600,000 per year.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $550,000 per year.
Estimated Number of Awards: 6-7.

These awards amount to $7,398,000 to help institutions of higher education serve low-income students. Providing these students with jobs, stipends, or scholorships so that they can pay for their own education would be a better use of these funds.

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Our Time Is Now

Civil: Relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, courteous and polite.

Civilized: A stage of social, cultural, and moral development considered to be more advanced, polite and well-mannered.

Civilization: The stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced, the process by which a society or place reaches an advanced stage of social development and organization, the society, culture, and way of life of a particular area.

In Brittney Cooper’s twelve and a half minute TED Talk: The racial politics of time, she brings to the audience a perspective of time that generally goes unnoticed. She tells her listener’s that it was one hundred years between the end of the Civil War and the passing of the Civil Rights Act.

It has been fifty years from the passing of the Civil Rights Act until now.

It is because we are failing to properly educate our children that we are not civil, we do no live in a civilized country, and our civilization is in a state of regression.

For the past fifty years education has sought to produce workers for an uncivilized system of economics that reduces humanity to a dollar value neglecting the concerns of ordinary people, exchanging courteous and polite behaviors for rude and disrespectful attitudes.

Our children are no longer polite and well-mannered as our moral development has devolved into a state of narcissism while our way of life has become disorganized and socially egregious.

Public education was to equip children with the skills necessary to live together in their community and make changes to society to the benefit of everyone in our society.

That is not what our current system of education has accomplished.

We live in an uncivilized society that equates the things a person owns with the power a person commands. Righteousness, respect, integrity are no longer valued in a society that lies, cheats, and steals to gain more money to buy more things to maintain the illusion of power.

It is time to civilize education so that we may become a civilized nation.

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