Weekend Reading from the Latest Education Week. You know I'm an edu-nerd when I look forward to having some time on the weekend to take a look at the latest issue of Education Week. As I've said before (and don't worry, I'm not a paid spokesperson), if you're involved with education in any way, a subscription to Education Week is a solid investment. The Commentary section always provides some interesting perspectives, and this week's issue featured a insightful piece by retired Waltersville School of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Ann Evans De Bernard entitled "When is School Reform Not Reform." The crux of the piece is--and I guess I might be projecting a bit--is that what is called reform often misses the target of reform, which is the student. It's a pretty powerful piece and I would strongly recommend reading it.
It can be read at this link: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/02/05/20debernard_ep.h33.html
Another article--and a court case to watch in the coming year--outlined the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in May, 2012, where testimony began last week. The nine families and their children who are the plaintiffs in the case (Vergara v. California) contend that California's teacher tenure and seniority laws violate the equal-protection rights of students who receive instruction from substandard teachers who maintain their employment because of California statute prevents the removal of poor teachers.
Minnesota's teacher evaluation program, passed in 2011 and taking effect for the 2014-2015 school year, is a step toward ensuring teacher quality, but the elimination of "last-in/first-out" or LIFO that passed the Legislature in 2012, but vetoed by Governor Dayton is not part of that process. The issue of how to get teachers who are felt to be unsatisfactory out of the classroom is a touchy issue, but whether it amounts to a failure to provide equal protection under the law is a very slippery slope.
Here is the Education Week article on the Vergara case: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/02/05/20lawsuit_ep.h33.html?qs=vergara
Here are several other links relating to the case:
From the Students Matter website. Students Matter is the group supporting the plaintiffs: http://studentsmatter.org/our-case/vergara-v-california-case-status/
From LA School Report (article appears to come from a pro-defense viewpoint): http://laschoolreport.com/experts-in-vergara-trial-endure-bumpy-rides-on-the-witness-stand/
Last, but certainly not least from the latest Education Week is the front-page picture of Warroad, Minnesota, student Marshall Hahn parking his snowmobile in the school parking lot. The picture accompanied a story about how the harsh winter weather has caused much higher than normal school closings.