Posts Tagged ‘Dimitri Seneca Snowden’

By Sherrina Navani


3:50 PM on 07/15/2011

District cuts hundreds of 'ineffective' teachers

(Photo NBC Washington)

From NBC Washington

D.C. Public Schools let go of hundreds of teachers today, as part of the policy introduced by former education chancellor Michelle Rhee to let go of low-performing educators.

The District on Friday fired some 227 teachers and gave raises and bonuses to more than 600 teachers, based on numbers generated by its controversial teacher evaluation system. The system — known as IMPACT — put D.C. and its then Chancellor at the center of a national debate over teacher performance and accountability when it debuted in 2009.

The dismissal and bonus aspects of the system were revised last year with a collective bargaining act signed by the Washington Teacher’s Union. IMPACT is one of the first teacher-evaluation systems in the nation to grade teachers using a combination of classroom observations and student test scores.

Check out this story from NBC Washington: UPS Truck Nearly Plunges Off Md. Bridge

According to officials, 663 teachers were rated the top level — “highly effective” — and are eligible for performance bonuses of up to $25,000. Of those teachers, 290 will also receive base-salary increases.

Of the 227 fired, 65 teachers received “ineffective” ratings and 141 did not improve their performance enough over the past year. Another 94 teachers were let go for not maintaining a valid license and 21 teachers who lost their placements and were unable to find new ones will not be coming back next year.

“Great teachers are critical to our success,” said current DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson in a press release. “We are delighted to be able to shine a spotlight on our top performers, and we are thrilled by the improvements that so many of our educators made this year”.

“We also remain committed to moving out our lowest performers in an effort to ensure that every child has access to an outstanding education.”

This isn’t the first year that IMPACT has resulted in large-scale dismissals: 224 teachers were fired under the system during the 2009-2010 school year.

The Washington Teacher’s Union has been a vocal critic of IMPACT since the system’s inception, citing its school-wide student-achievement component–which bases a portion of each teacher’s score on the performance of the school as a whole–as one of the most problematic aspects of the evaluation system.

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown said that it was necessary for the city to “move out those who are ineffective.”

“Reaching our goal of providing a high quality education to every child in our city depends on getting an effective teacher in every classroom,” Brown said in a statement. He noted that many teachers who rated “minimally effective” last year had received professional training and improved their performance this year.


July 15, 2011

Matthew Lynch says that we need to expose girls to great women in history as we support them in the complex modern world.

Matthew Lynch


In a responsive model of instruction, teachers seek out and include examples of achievements from both genders. While women and women’s classroom parity has come a long way since the days of Dr. Edward Clarke, it is still difficult to find curriculum texts that reflect an equitable picture of female accomplishments. Progress has been slow to incorporate gender-fair terminology into textbooks. Girls need to read about role models in science and mathematics—not just see pictures of women in lab coats with occasional references to females in the text.

The accomplishments of minority women, women with disabilities, local women from the community, and working class women all are important to help present a complete, realistic and equitable picture of female role models in society. It is valuable for young women to see the variety of ways in which females can impact their communities and their society, regardless of race, ethnic background or financial status. Teachers help overcome the gender inequities and change present perceptions by presenting accomplishments, experiences, and hard work of both men and women.

A balance of the particularistic and the inclusive is required. It is not healthy or productive to promote the historical female experience as completely negative—or to emphasize the struggles and minimize the triumphs—such an approach presents an unrealistic picture and may produce bitterness. Nor is it positive to emphasize men as the “oppressors”—this fosters resentment. Balance promotes equitable, respectful, and cooperative relationships with men in society.

There are many important reasons to emphasize women’s achievements. One of the most important is to build girls’ self-esteem. Blame the magazines, the movies, the models—blame Barbie—pin it on the pin-up girls, but the fact remains: girls struggle with the mixed messages about body image. Particularly impressionable adolescent girls struggle with bulimia, anorexia and the obsession with weight, and sometimes self-inflict injuries and other damage to their bodies.

Many girls who are bulimics and/or cutters have indicated that these actions are the only aspects of their lives over which they have control. Teachers lack the ubiquitous influence of the media to manipulate girls’ self-image. Advertising often pitches to the fundamental needs of the subconscious mind. Sex sells, to be frank—and while we cannot deny it, we do have some means to counter it.

Girls must be guided to see their potential in areas other than the physical. One helpful strategy is to acquaint young girls with the accomplishments of great women, including: Phyllis Wheatley, Marian Wright Edelman, Rosa Parks, Clara Barton, Mary Shelley, Jane Addams, Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Blackwell, Sacagawea,Wilma Mankiller, Isabel Allende, Deborah Sampson GannettDolores HuertaFrida KahloMaya AngelouSonia Sotomayor, Margaret Sanger, Unity Dow, Sally Ride and other women who overcame great odds to be strong and successful.

Each of these women is a standout figure in history or in society because of her hard work, her inner strength and her determination. In a society where supermodels and sex appeal are overvalued, adolescent girls must be reminded of their important inner qualities.

Dr. Lynch is an Assistant Professor of Education at Widener University. Dr. Lynch’s scholarship is intended to make a redoubtable, theoretically and empirically based argument that genuine school reform and the closing of the well-chronicled achievement gap are possible. Dr. Lynch is the author of three forthcoming books; Its Time for Change: School Reform for the Next Decade (Rowman & Littlefield 2012), A Guide to Effective School Leadership Theories (Routledge 2012), and The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching and Learning (Pearson 2013). He is also the editor of the forthcoming 2-volume set, Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era Politicians(Praeger 2012).

Related articles

Candy is something parents aren’t supposed to be freely dishing out to their kids, right? Surprising new research suggests otherwise. A little candy here and there might be a good thing. Bring on the M&Ms!

Could candy actually be a healthy snack for kids?Shutterstock / gosphotodesign



Could candy actually be a healthy snack for kids?

Kids who munch on Skittles and Snickers weigh less than those kids who don’t eat candy, a new study finds.

Researchers at Louisiana State University collected data from more than 11,000 kids, age 2 to 18, between 1999 and 2004. They discovered that children who indulged in candy were 22 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than their counterparts who didn’t eat sweets. What about the teenagers? Those who ate goodies were “26 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than their non-candy-eating counterparts,” according to CBS News.

The study published in Food & Nutrition reported on another interesting finding: The blood of the candy-eating kids was found to have a lower level of the C-reaction protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation in the body and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The study results don’t give kids a hall pass to eat Twizzlers for breakfast.”Children need to eat healthy foods, nutrient-dense foods. They need to have fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy,” O’Neil told the Vancouver Sun. “And foods like candy should be occasional foods, celebratory foods and eaten in moderation.”

The study didn’t look at why kids who eat candy weighed less and so it leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions. “Are overweight kids simply barred from eating candy by parents who want them to diet? Does a little candy every now and then keep kids from binging? Could there be some compound in candy that’s actually good for the heart? Given that the researchers seem to have lumped all candy together, it’s hard to say what that compound would be — my money’s on that stuff inside Pixie Stix,” writes Anna North over at Jezebel.

Posted By: Amy Graff (EmailTwitterFacebook) | June 29 2011 at 04:23 PM

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Billionaire Peter Thiel is paying 24 overachievers to leave school and focus on entrepreneurial pursuits. Will this create the next Mark Zuckerberg… or just waste talent?
POSTED ON MAY 26, 2011, AT 11:50 AM
Mark Zuckerberg, pictured in 2004, dropped out of Harvard after creating Facebook, and billionaire Peter Thiel wants to make sure more Zuckerbergs aren't lost to college.

Mark Zuckerberg, pictured in 2004, dropped out of Harvard after creating Facebook, and billionaire Peter Thiel wants to make sure more Zuckerbergs aren’t lost to college. Photo: Rick Friedman/Corbis SEE ALL 18 PHOTOS

Best Opinion:  Atlantic, Discover, Economist…

On Wednesday, Peter Thiel, the libertarian billionaire who founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, announced the first class of his “Thiel Fellows.” The 24 overachievers, all under the age of 20 and in possession of ridiculously impressive resumes (MIT at 14, Stanford Ph.D at 19), will receive $100,000 each to drop out of college for two years and pursue “innovative scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship, and begin to build the technology companies of tomorrow.” Given the great expense of a college education — and the fact that tech stars like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are all dropouts — does it make sense to encourage exceptional young people to forget the ivory tower and head to Silicon Valley?

No, there are a lot of benefits to a college degree: ”College dropout success stories are still a rarity,” says Sean Ludwig at VentureBeat. Sure, a college education comes at a great cost, but it also comes with great benefits. It helps students become more well-rounded, and gets them the credentials many employers require. Plus, school is “an incredible networking hub that connects and rewards people long after the debts are paid off.”
“Peter Thiel pays kids $100K to drop out of college”

And college is worth it financially, too: According to a recent Georgetown University study on the value of college, “Thiel’s assumptions are way off base,” says Adam Clark Estes in The AtlanticThe study showed that earning potential for college grads varies greatly, depending on what they major in, but ultimately a college education “is an investment that, on average, pays off big dividends across the board.”
“Peter Thiel bets $2.4 million against the value of a college degree”

But for a tiny minority, dropping out makes sense: The criticisms of Thiel’s program are “just plain stupid,” says Razib Khan at Discover. There are a few very exceptional people — those who will change civilization — who have nothing substantive to gain from college. Even if these Thiel fellows don’t change the world, Thiel should still be applauded for sending the message “that there is social and cultural value in being an oddball who doesn’t aspire to be a prominent and licensed professional, let alone a banker at Goldman Sachs.”
“Let a thousand Thiel fellows bloom!”

Besides, they can always go back to school: Thiel’s “initiative may be less controversial than the headlines suggest,” says M.B. in The Economist. “With luck, some of the 24 under 20 will follow in the footsteps of other notable stop-outs such as Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg.” But if they don’t, they can always return to school and get a college degree.
“$100,000 drop-outs”

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Jodee Blanco says parents and other adults need to be alert to signs a child is being bullied.
Jodee Blanco says parents and other adults need to be alert to signs a child is being bullied.
  • Jodee Blanco: Child can be overtly bullied or just completely invisible to other kids
  • Behaviors to watch for: rage, overreactions, faking illness to avoid school, she says
  • Blanco: Extreme change in “look” or weight; depression, grade change, moodiness, distraction
  • Child is in great pain, she says. Activities outside school can be a life saver

Editor’s note: Jodee Blanco is an activist against and authority on school bullying. She conducts anti-bullying programs and wrote “Please Stop Laughing at Me …” and its sequel, “Please Stop Laughing at Us …”

(CNN) — As a former victim of bullying who speaks at schools across the country, I meet many distraught parents who want advice on how to help their bullied child. I ache for them because I remember what my own mom and dad went through, never knowing the shape I’d be in when I came home from school.

When two Minnesota eighth-graders, Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz, took their own lives in a bullying-related suicide pact last month, my heart not only went out to their parents, but also to the parents of every bullied student.

Many might have been asking themselves, “These girls weren’t alone, they had each other, why would they do this?” and wondering, “Could this happen to my child?” We can’t bring Haylee and Paige back, but we can honor their lives by saving other kids from similar desperation.

There are two types of bullied students. First, “the overt victim,” who is bullied in obvious ways, such as teasing, taunting, verbal and physical assault, intentional and aggressive exclusion, being laughed at and put down constantly, gossiped about, or cyberbullied.

Jodee Blanco
Jodee Blanco

Then, there’s “the invisible student,” the kid who is treated as if he or she doesn’t exist, who isn’t necessarily intentionally excluded, but whom no one thinks to include. This is the child who goes through school feeling like a ghost. Being an invisible student is sometimes more damaging in the long-term. If you’re overtly bullied, you can say to yourself, “There’s something wrong with them.” But if you feel like you don’t exist, you may falsely conclude, “There’s something wrong with me.”

Even if two best friends have each other for support, it might not be enough to stave off these negative feelings, as may have been the case with Haylee and Paige.

Know the danger signs of a bullied child in crisis. Some are obvious and exactly what you’d expect. Others are subtle, and surprising. Look for these behaviors:

— Inexplicable fits of rage: Does your child blow up at the least provocation?

— Overreaction to normal, daily frustrations: Does your child overreact to people and situations that never would have bothered him or her before?

— Faking illness to avoid going to school, or even making themselves sick.

— Impaired immune system and frequent illness: The constant stress and sadness associated with severe bullying can weaken your child’s immune system. This, coupled with a child’s wishing he or she were sick to get out of school can be a powerful combination.

— Extreme makeover attempts: Has your child suddenly gone from preppie attire to all Gothic or punk?

— Sudden change in weight: Has your child started gaining or losing weight at an alarming rate?

— Despondency or depression: Is your child sad, lonely and unmotivated?

— Change in grades: Have your child’s grades gone down, or way up? Bullied kids sometimes immerse themselves in academics as an escape. But when they realize that even with straight A’s, they’re still lonely, they can spiral into a dark place.

— Desperate attempts to win friends: Has your child started to give in to peer pressure, perhaps engaging in questionable or self-destructive behaviors that she or he would never have considered doing before?

— Moodiness: Is your child sullen one moment, obstinate the next?

— Distractedness: Is your child unfocused and preoccupied?

Parents must keep in mind, to prevent any bully-related suicide attempt, that the bullied child is bleeding emotionally and spiritually from loneliness and isolation. If you don’t deal with that first, it could render whatever else you do tragically irrelevant.

Parents often get so caught up in mitigating the problem — contacting the school, confronting the parents of the bullies, pushing for punishment of the bullies, talking to the police, retaining legal counsel — that they forget to tend to their bleeding child first.

Your priority is to find a new social outlet for your child, someplace where he or she can engage in an organized activity with other kids the same age and forge meaningful friendships completely outside of school.

It will buy you the time you need to deal with the larger issues. It will give your child something to look forward to and boost confidence. The more confident children are, the less they are targeted.

Additionally, bullied students often emit a subtle desperation for friendship that makes their peers uncomfortable. Once your son or daughter begins building new relationships, it can diminish some of that desperation. Park districts, dance studios, community theater programs, public libraries and chambers of commerce are good places to start — but make sure they’re located a few towns away from your school district to ensure your child will make new friends.

And keep in mind what we’ve learned from the recent tragedy with Haylee and Paige — just because your child has a best friend doesn’t make her immune from desperation. If you suspect your child and her closest buddy are both struggling to fit in at school, enroll them in an activity together. You could end up saving two lives.

The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Jodee Blanco.

The American Federation for Children hosted its second annual National Policy Summit at the Washington Marriott in Washington, D.C., Monday. The group is one of the nation’s largest organizations supporting school choice — a political movement that advocates for parochial, private, and charter schools to play a bigger role in public education in the form of voucher programs and tax credits to businesses that support school choice initiatives.

Read full story here<—

INDIANAPOLIS – An east side charter school stands out from the rest with an emphasis on going green while guiding students into a future driven by technology.

You know just by looking at the building, the Paramount School of Excellence is something special. Once inside the main office, there is no doubt.

It took $4.5 million to convert what was once an old Mason Lodge to a state-of-the art charter school on the city’s near east side. Surrounded by a wind farm spread out over nine acres, the Paramount School offersinteractive white boards, Apple computers and an eco-room for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“Two of the main focuses here are on conservation and technology. The five wind turbines on the grounds here produce enough electricity to power all of the technology in the building,” said Tommy Reddicks, Paramount School director.

That includes AWESOME the robot.

AWESOME stands for Autonomous Working Smart Machine. All of the students get to see robots on a regular basis, they see them in the classroom and there’s a curriculum built around them,” said Reddicks.

In the eco-room its all about respecting the environment.

“I learn to not litter and recycle,” said Zenia Palmer, student.

Classroom work has become more comfortable.

“This is the fourth grade classroom. We’ve tried to bring the concept of home to school, so we have easy chairsinstead of desks,” said Reddicks.

School leaders and teachers believe the breakthrough approach here goes well beyond the basics of elementary school education, putting students on the right track to pursuing their future while protecting the environment.

By Bruce Kopp – bio

Today marks the beginning of Teacher Appreciation week!  So to all the classroom leaders, and to the first teachers a child has (the parents/guardians), thank you!  Thank you for preparing our future leaders!

Please read In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week: A Open Letter  from Arne Duncan to America’s Teachers.

-The Summary

The idea of Learning Disabilities, and therefore also of ADHD, has become such an established “scientific fact,” that many people may raise a skeptical eyebrow when they see or hear this title. One should never lose sight of the fact, however, that science is practiced by human beings , and human beings are prone to err. However, when we consider the destruction and devastation, that notions like “Learning Disabilities” and “Attention Deficit Disorder” have over the past few decades brought to children throughout the whole world, I think it is high time that, for the sake of our children, we start thinking again and stop acting like lemmings.  Read More <<<

Check out this thorough and informative article (with video) written by Dimitri Snowden.  It’s time we start recognizing and accepting the truth:  there is nothing “authentically” wrong with our children…