Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Session = New Blog


If you are a former reader returning in hopes of finding information on what the legislature is doing to public schools, please try my new blog:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Budget: Still Missing

The legislature ended the third(!) special session of the year still with no budget for the state. Few think the governor will sign what the legislature sent her. She vetoed an identical budget back in July.

Republicans want her to sign $400 million in cuts to education and $600 million cuts to taxes. Democrats would rather she veto it and work toward a bipartisan budget.

Interestingly, Secretary of State Ken Bennett-- who Brewer hand-picked for the office she vacated to become governor-- was on the road in Prescott talking about the budget. Will he be the second Republican in high office to toss his hat into the ring for Jan's job?

Also of note, Bennett thinks we should sell off 100,000 acres of our state trust lands to increase school revenue. Gee... organizing school trust lands to make the sale of them more profitable. AEA tried for a decade to get just such legislation passed. Guess who stood in the way of that reform.

Yeah, Ken Bennett.

AZ Panel: Ban Paddling

Yeah, it's still legal here.

Bill Gates: $500 Million to Study Teacher Effectiveness

From the press release:

"It really is about an effective teacher for every student every year of their school career," said Vicki Phillips, director of the Gates Foundation's K-12 education program. "If we did that, we would make the kind of progress that we have all long dreamed about in this country."

Will there be any money set aside to study effective parenting?

The Education Senator?

While Senator Edward Kennedy will be remembered for many, many pieces of legislation passed over the last half-century, one that I would like to forget is No Child Left Behind.

There are murmurings that Congress should unite and pass health care reform-- a long time goal of his-- under Kennedy's name. I hope they don't forget to fix the mess he helped orchestrate in our public schools.

7 of 10 Parents Would Like Their Child to be A Teacher

A new Gallup poll reveals the nation's attitude toward public schools. There are many interesting findings.

Seven in ten parents would like their child to become a teacher.

The starting salary should be increased $10,000.

Seventy-two percent favor merit pay.

Seventy-four percent favor national standards.

And while half of the parents surveyed do not understand what charter schools are, nearly two-thirds of parents like them.

Go figure.

Corporation Commission Still Blocking School Access to Solar Incentives

Few Arizonan's realize how powerful the Corporation Commission is. Recently they doubled the amount of incentives for businesses to use in creating solar energy sources. They have yet to open up those same incentives to public schools.

The End of Textbooks?

A high school in Florence issues laptops instead of textbooks.

Is your school next?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tucson Part of Federal Experiment on Teacher Pay

Instead of increasing pay for the profession-- which might draw more talented teachers who could reach all students-- we are once again seeing how little investment we could make.

Question-- What do the parents in the schools who are losing these good teachers think about this? Are their students not as important?

From the

The study will pay 15 TUSD teachers significant bonuses to leave the high-performing schools where they have been on faculty and spend the next two years in struggling schools that have a hard time attracting teachers. The 15 teachers were selected because their students have consistently high test scores and they will be paid an additional $20,000 over the next two years to change schools.

ASU Grant Promotes Native Educators

Through a grant from the US Department of Education, ASU created a program which helps rural schools "grow their own" educators. The first cohort just graduated.

“There is a severe shortage of American Indian teachers in Arizona, especially in elementary school districts with high American Indian enrollment,” says Franklin Elliott, ASU PDS (Professional Development School) coordinator for the Chinle PDS site. “PDS is playing a critical role in developing outstanding Native teachers to serve as role models for children in our community’s schools. And the program’s format is ideal for adults in rural areas who cannot relocate to a larger metropolitan area to earn their teaching degrees. I view this program as helping to put education back in the hands of the local community.”

Congrats, grads!

Digital Boundaries

I'm sure there will be new state laws regarding this soon. Maybe all teachers will be required to register any Twitter, Facebook, or other websites with the state Department of Education. We already give up our fingerprints.

Duncan, Sebelius Make Recommendations About How To Handle Flu Kids

Most of the ideas presented are common sense, but I wonder how many schools have set aside time to plan for this. My school has been busy with schedule changes for the first two weeks. There has been little time for anything else.

The recommendations suggest that educators prepare take-home assignments in advance for distribution to affected students and use the Internet and telephones to post homework materials, conduct classes, share information and keep teachers, parents and students in close touch.

Do Schools Really Need Principals?

Hard economic times are having some ponder the idea of schools without principals.

Public Wants Quality Teachers

A new Gallup poll (Aug 6-9) shows the number one goal for improving schools is more quality teachers.

Wilson Goes Solar

Solar powered schools in Arizona?

What a bright idea.


Unregulated Charter Schools = Easy Money

Some charter schools do a good job educating kids.

Others are a mess.

Arizona "Bipartisanship"

I can understand that after a longer-than usual regular session and three special sessions that nerves might be a little frayed... but this seems a poor way to move to compromise.

“You’re never going to get a bipartisan budget,” said Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Never? I thought the idea was to get people to play ball.

“The Democrats did present a proposal that in our opinion is not even in the same ballpark,” House Speaker Kirk Adams (R- Mesa) said.

Hmm... Pretty strong words from two of the legislative leaders who kept the Democratic half out of budget negotiations the entire year.