[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: [xmca] a teacher's resignation
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] a teacher's resignation
- From: Mike Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 06:51:33 -0700
- Delivered-to: email@example.com
- Dkim-signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=domainkey-signature:mime-version:received:reply-to:in-reply-to :references:date:message-id:subject:from:to:content-type; bh=2vpuUgWvwlMRJmdrjHpFCjm0t+jFGODsxmLAuzaKJ9o=; b=EimaZWS5njb4Rx4df5ZXI4NwEdkq0i1yA8Iacb45y0HnuszkKd0cfGMgDvxQOar3gH vPZeXXepS6PS+PoRMmdC5VGYrxfk5PnAk0eG3Zn2Wzdji+3u5v2+oZEOV+kMBPVo1KBi 1JKvB2WAk47ZhUsEumWs3o/Zjo8EWWUHKFUbU=
- Domainkey-signature: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=mime-version:reply-to:in-reply-to:references:date:message-id :subject:from:to:content-type; b=aMGFWHzNAb8TmLyhYcoQYHIc0mPo2M2E/RYmvkX40iHj7H3tujv08NcGv/BcmVFPSX SQ3ZAWnp5iRkzRUchXlUY0bqVBqJzkCc2rnH715vRALkiWKXE5iemgSi4RwfQ/ITVNGY HrPBvYERviuqH28Um+quTn8Z+tx0XJGrKY1Jw=
- In-reply-to: <C67B591C.firstname.lastname@example.org>
- List-archive: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/private/xmca>
- List-help: <mailto:email@example.com?subject=help>
- List-id: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca.weber.ucsd.edu>
- List-post: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
- List-subscribe: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>, <mailto:email@example.com?subject=subscribe>
- List-unsubscribe: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>, <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=unsubscribe>
- References: <BLU144-W271DF20E8BB2E72FE40BF7D0290@phx.gbl> <C67B591C.email@example.com>
- Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks very much for this letter, Louise. I fully agree wtih Kim, although I
think it unfortunate that executions in Texas were brought
in. I understand the logic, just do not agree with the rhetorical strategy.
So what do WE do in such cases except bow our heads and regret the outcome?
NCLB is erroding but the bean counting iron cage philosophy it embodies may
nearly rust proof. Note that it has crept into higher ed as well.
How about an editorial for XMCA incorporating the letter and materials from
How about a collective letter to the NYTimes Op ed Page or the Ed in Review
in support of the school and Louise? How about doing something more??
On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 5:21 AM, Kimberly <email@example.com> wrote:
> That heartfelt letter could have been written by any one of us struggling
> a system that is killing an entire generation of our children and the
> who love them. I think this is where educational research has its moral
> purpose. Maxine Greene challenges us to "do philosophy," to move beyond
> esoteric analysis and become "wide-awake" to the world; to confront issues
> and critically question situations; to take a stance and act on one's
> convictions. If ever we needed a light in dark times, it's now.
> Kim Cotter-Lemus
> On 7/8/09 11:05 AM, "Louise Ammentorp" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > I recently completed my dissertation that focused on a six grade teacher
> > her amazing multimedia curriculum in an elementary school in Newark, NJ.
> > found the school to be a story of success - illustrating what is possible
> > teachers (and students) are given the freedom to bring their passion and
> > creativity into the classroom. Unfortunately her letter of resignation
> > reflects an all too familiar story of education in urban America.
> > Louise Ammentorp
> > Assistant Professor
> > Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education
> > The College of New Jersey
> > 2000 Pennington Road
> > Ewing, NJ 08628
> > e-mail: email@example.com
> > To: Secretary Arne Duncan
> > CC: Commissioner Lucille Davey
> > Dr. Clifford B. Janey
> > Mayor Corey Booker
> > June 13, 2009
> > Dear Secretary of Education Duncan,
> > Very recently, I resigned from the Newark Public School System
> > after almost 10 years. The conditions under which I left deserve
> > specific attention, as the implementation of No Child Left Behind at
> > the federal, state and local level is failing Newark¹s children.
> > As I am sure you are aware, Secretary Duncan, NCLB was passed into
> > legislation in 2001, under George Bush¹s presidency. Had he understood
> > the term, I would have guessed he was being ironic, touting education
> > legislation, since the former president had every academic opportunity
> > available to him and still emerged unable to negotiate object and
> > subject pronouns.
> > The target populations of NCLB are underserved populations, mainly
> > communities of color. As we all know, George Bush authorized more
> > executions in his 8 years as Texas governor than the other 49 states
> > since the death penalty was reinstated under states¹ rights in 1976.
> > Again, targeted mainly at communities of color. I¹m not a politician,
> > but considering these two factors, I wouldn¹t even hire George Bush to
> > monitor recess for kindergarten, much less trust him to enact
> > legislation that affects public education for the whole country.
> > A cursory look at NCLB shows that the authors either don¹t know
> > any children or don¹t like them. Missing from the text are words like
> > fun, joyful and play. I saw very little that proposed innovative
> > teaching methods to make school a place where students actually wanted
> > to be. Many politicians say they don¹t like NCLB, but thank God, they
> > claim, it pointed out the discrepancy between race and class and public
> > education. This, I¹m willing to bet, was pointed out for the longest by
> > teachers, parents, Parent-Teacher associations, and unions and
> > federations working on behalf of teachers.
> > I want to share my experience with you, since for 8 years, I had
> > the unique experience of working under the leadership of a principal,
> > Mr. Leonard Kopacz, who focused on creating an institution that served
> > the needs of our students and their families in spite of NCLB. Here¹s
> > the kicker: we were never in compliance, but we were an extremely
> > successful school and our test scores improved during those 9 years,
> > raising our scores from the bottom 3% in 1999 to an average 10% higher
> > than the Newark Public School city average on the GEPA in 2007.
> > Thirteenth Avenue School, located in the West Ward of Newark, New
> > Jersey, is surrounded by the most dire conditions of poverty. Drug
> > abuse, gangs, and theft is rampant and many of my sixth grade students
> > over the years had witnessed homicides, lost family members, lived in
> > homeless shelters, under the terror of physical and sexual abuse, or in
> > a temporary foster care situation. Despite all of this, our kids and
> > their parents were some of the kindest, most generous, loving people I
> > have had the honor of meeting. They want their school to achieve, they
> > want their children to learn, to be disciplined, to be successful young
> > adults.
> > Under Mr. Kopacz¹s administration, our school, The Pride, was a
> > close knit community. We had one of the highest attendance rates in the
> > district, and teachers didn¹t mind the extra work required, that is
> > always required, because we understood that our boss had our back and
> > was going to give us the resources we needed to do our jobs. You know;
> > teach. This is in spite of the fact that we also suffered the same
> > circumstances of many inner city schools: lack of resources, external
> > conditions beyond our control, overpaid and underqualified staff who
> > just showed up to collect a paycheck. But we did it, and we did it
> > well.
> > Under the leadership of Mr. Kopacz, my colleagues and I took our
> > children on educational, field trips to reward good behavior. The sixth
> > grade, was out of the classroom at least 8 times a year, which gave the
> > students an incentive to behave and try to do their work. I mention
> > this, because despite the abundance of research available stating that
> > taking students out of the classroom improves classroom behavior and
> > performance, Newark has recently implemented a laborious, time
> > consuming, dopey process that can only be construed as a tactic to
> > discourage teachers from taking their students out all together.
> > I planned only two trips last year, and despite faxing the information
> > back and forth no less than four times, the Board failed to provide us
> > with a bus to go to the Museum of Natural History. I stood in the lobby
> > for half an hour with 30 students and four parents who took off work to
> > chaperone during one of the worst economic crises of our time.
> > Under the leadership of Mr. Kopacz, I was able to develop a
> > literacy through photography program funded mainly through grants that
> > I received. Mr. Kopacz often found funds to assist in these endeavors.
> > This curriculum incorporated art, technology, literacy, communication
> > skills and was the NCLB f word, fun Students in the lower grades
> > couldn¹t wait to get to 6th grade a partake in this project that
> > evolved over an 8 year time frame. This year, it essentially fell
> > apart, along with the school. Just to give you an idea of a small but
> > fundamental problem, the Board couldn¹t come up with a class schedule
> > that was ³in compliance² and changed it no less than 4 times in the
> > first 5 weeks of school.
> > Under the leadership of Mr. Kopacz, my colleagues and I took our
> > students on field trips to art galleries in New York City and Central
> > Park. Under the leadership of Mr. Kopacz, my colleagues and I were able
> > to found and run a drama club for students between the ages of 9 and 12
> > that added to the morale of our school community. Under the leadership
> > of Mr. Kopacz, our classes had cook outs in the community garden he
> > established in our court yard, (featured in a program on PBS). Under
> > Mr. Kopacz, after school programs flourished, and our children were
> > exposed to various guest speakers and presentations. They attended New
> > Jersey Performing Arts Center at least once a year. Our students
> > enjoyed actor and artist residencies. School work adorned the walls and
> > was updated frequently. Our hallways were safe and quiet. Our students
> > were civil and respectful, and in most cases happy.
> > Half of the reason for our success was a no tolerance disclipline
> > policy. You put your hands on someone, you were out. You disrupted
> > class, you were out. Additionally, Mr. Kopacz, unlike the
> > administration following him, had the genius to understand that if a
> > student was sent to him, maybe we, the teachers, just needed a break.
> > And maybe that student needed to write down some times tables and have
> > a stern, but fair discussion with the principal.
> > Suspensions and a no tolerance policy is effective for two
> > reasons. The student either learns a lesson and comes back
> > understanding the relationship between actions and consequences or, if
> > that student is beyond what can be expected in terms of discipline from
> > the classroom teacher, that student is not in the classroom taking away
> > instructional time from everyone else. That student needs special
> > attention.
> > Unfortunately, our school didn¹t receive any funding from NCLB for
> > a counseling initiative beyond the one social worker who had a magical
> > relationship to time and managed to end the day accomplishing actually
> > nothing and the one guidance counselor, who had to pick up all the
> > slack from the social worker, who were employed at our school to assist
> > these students. Fortunately, the crisis counselor saw the need for a
> > mental health wellness clinic in our school and with the help of a
> > former teacher at our school, raised most of the funding for it. Dr.
> > Janey later allocated some funds, but it has been by and large a
> > grassroots effort.
> > This year, suspensions were curtailed drastically. Instead, we
> > were expected to write incident reports, because we have so much time
> > to fill out sheets that ask for irrelevant information. And that are
> > never followed up on. And waiting two, three, or even four days before
> > addressing an incident in the classroom really sends a message, if the
> > incident is addressed at all.
> > So, our discipline policy was destroyed, letting the problematic
> > students know there was no ramifications whatsoever. Graffiti started
> > appearing all over the walls. Fights occurred in the hallway, in the
> > streets after school, in the cafeteria. I personally pulled apart two
> > young men who were fighting in the street in front of the principal who
> > did nothing about it. When I left, gangs were congregating in larger
> > and larger groups outside the building after school, and picking fights
> > with our often younger students. Female teachers were attacked in two
> > instances, and nothing was done. The Newark Police started visiting the
> > school regularly.
> > While discipline was thrown out the window, so was rewarding good
> > behavior. Field trips were close to impossible to organize, teachers
> > were expected to pay for all kinds of incentives, and told they
> > wouldn¹t be reimbursed, and often, there was no monitor in the lunch
> > room, so lunch just became a kind of free for all chaotic mess. Mr.
> > Kopacz always insured there were rewards, from radios, to bicycles, to
> > other kinds of gifts that kids who work hard in this environment
> > deserve. Our students never even met the new principal since he was
> > often pulled out of the school to go to meetings to discuss stuff that
> > didn¹t really matter anyway.
> > While our school was visibly going down the drain, the Board, I
> > guess, was too busy revamping our school structure, or what had been
> > successful for 8 years, with revolutionary ideas like having the
> > writing teacher be the same as the reading teacher, which now required
> > one person to get students three to four years below grade level up to
> > NCLB requirements. Previously, I was the writing teacher, and my
> > colleague was the reading teacher, and that was a huge reason why our
> > students excelled and improved like they did.
> > I could honestly write another 6 pages alone on how the food
> > supplied and paid for by the state was I am sure, in violation of some
> > human rights amendment somewhere, but I¹m sure that¹s evident in the
> > high rates of disease and obesity evident in those communities. Or you
> > could watch SuperSize Me.
> > Teaching was an incredible part of my life, and because I was an
> > excellent teacher, I learned a lot from the families of Newark. They
> > deserve educational institutions second to none, it¹s amazing that in
> > the year 2009 the educational discrepancy in this country is still
> > alive and kicking.
> > Sincerely,
> > Tracey Noelle Luz
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Lauren found her dream laptop. Find the PC that¹s right for you.
> > _______________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> > firstname.lastname@example.org
> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list