Monday, January 9, 2012

East Jordan Teachers Need Your Support

Mark Monday, January 16 on your calendar.  East Jordan Board of Ed will meet and you need to be there.  They have not settled a contract and are still asking for ridiculous terms compared to what other area schools are getting.  How would you like a pay freeze AND a 5% cut in pay.  On top of that, you would take a cap on your insurance.  That means the board would only pay up to a certain amount for monthly premiums and if you wanted better insurance, you would pay the difference.  On top of that, the district has been giving up $28,000 per month in savings since July because they refuse to accept concessions offered by the East Jordan teachers.  This is not about money ( 8% fund equity in the district).  This is about sticking it to teachers and anti-union sentiment from the board.
 Show your support and attend the meeting Monday, January 16 @ 5:30pm in the H.S. Auditorium.  You owe it to your friends and colleagues in East Jordan.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

U.S. Ignores Crucial Part of Finland's Education Success

An interesting  article in this month's issue of The Atlantic about the Finnish education system was brought to my attention by Susan Sharp.   In it the author points out the U.S. is ignoring a critical point about the success of the schools in Finland; there are no private schools in Finland (okay, maybe one or two) and yet that seems to be the driving force behind school reform in this country.

 In the article, Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility and author of the new book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? goes on to state something rather curious and apparently lost on American policy makers (including our own legislators in Michigan). Below is what Sahlberg says.

As for accountability of teachers and administrators, Sahlberg shrugs. "There's no word for accountability in Finnish," he later told an audience at the Teachers College of Columbia University. "Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted."

Some how we need to make our policy makers aware of the research and facts and not let them get away with using rhetoric and sound bites to drive policy.  Thanks for the article, Susan.

RTW and Snyder's Education Plan is Lurking Around the Corner

I'm betting most everyone is glad 2011 is behind us.  It couldn't get much worse, eh?  Well, don't let your guard down.  The Republican party is still pushing to make every state they can a Right to Work state, including Michigan.  On Meet the Press this morning, every single Republican presidential candidate was in favor of passing RTW laws and stated it would be a good thing not only for New Hampshire, but the rest of us as well.  Don't be fooled by the arguments and rhetoric.  None of their assumptions that RTW will bring jobs to Michigan (or anywhere else, for that matter) or improve the middle class is based on any factual information or scientific studies.  Beware of what any of our representatives say.  They have not done their homework.  It is based solely on party ideology.  If the thinking fits the philosophy, then they will go for it, no matter the outcome or how it affects you or me.  Pretty sad way to run government and make policy decisions.