Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On the eve of thankfulness

I just want to draw attention to my sidebar. Thanks to two generous donations my students will have 40 new books to read. I was worried my project on wouldn't be funded this time since I'm not working at a trash hole high needs school. I really love donorschoose. Every teacher should use it and every citizen should donate. Ironically, the family foundation that donated to this project donated to one of my projects last year at Dunbar. I almost wonder if it isn't ironic at all. I found out you can set up monthly donation schedules (of even just $10). The site tracks your interests and makes recommendations for you, and if you can't pick anything, the money will roll over for the next month so you can find one you really want to help. Anyway, enough soliciting.

On to the not so thankfuls. You'll notice the voting polls. I shouldn't ramble about them before they are closed (it may sway you). But I just want to say I'm surprised by the first one. It is a big thing now a days to have some top college grad step into the classroom with their brilliant SAT score and wow administrators. I feel like my buddy Michelle Rhee really pushes for principals to hire ivy leaguers who are young and not planning on sticking around.

Google my dear friend, you'll quickly learn this Rhee fellow likes to shake things up. She has created a couple earthquakes out of education reform. For the record, education does need reform (as does health care, cough cough) and in theory I do agree with a lot of Michelle's ideas. I just think she's pretty blind sided by what is actually plausible.

One of her newly birthed earthquakes is the new teacher evaluation system (which I kind of support, so don't let my rant fool you). Forty percent of my rating goes to rigor and engagement of daily lessons, 10% is reserved for my dedication (extra curriculars, presence at meetings, etc -- the sacrificed time option). So that leaves 50% for standardized testing. Right, half of my value as a teacher is determined by one bright morning next spring. Sensible.

The polls roughly 17 voters:
100% of parents would rather their child's teacher graduated from a state university education program than a top ranked university w/0.
68% of parents would prefer their child's teacher to be young and energetic, 31% prefer experience.

100% of readers think teaching should be a lifelong profession.
82% think teachers should be evaluated based on lesson rigor and engagement. 17% think evaluations should be based on time and effort sacrificed for the job. No one thought it should be based on standardized testing.

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