Quote of the Day

“The problem is, if you look at 2015-16, this story is exactly the same. This is an insidious cycle that these districts are in,” said Tomberlin. “They’re constantly losing their experienced teachers, unable to replace them with experienced teachers from other districts, and having to replace them with brand new, ineffective teachers.” — Dr. Tom Tomberlin, the director of district human resources for the NC DPI, quoted here.


One Day You Are Teaching and the Next…

You’re cutting hair. (Update below)



Dec. 9 (UPI) — A California woman has been removed from teaching and faces criminal charges after forcibly cutting a student’s hair while she sang the wrong words in the National Anthem.

Margaret Gieszinger, 52, taught at University Preparatory High School in Visalia until cellphone video of the incident emerged on Reddit on Wednesday. She faces criminal misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment, two counts of cruelty to a child, two counts of battery and one count of assault.

School District Apologizes For Teacher Who Allegedly Cut Native American Child’s Hair

According to the ACLU, Eastin asked the student if she liked her braids. When the student said she did, the teacher picked up a pair of scissors and cut off about three inches of the student’s hair.

Well, The Good News Is…I Got My First Comment

The bad news? It was this:

Truly is no better strategy market weblog than to get commenting.
The success of your article really depends on your headline (title).

Not all pages upon your website have same page authority.

I have to admit, after reading 4th grader’s essays for about an hour…I didn’t actually find that comment to be poorly written at all.

But then not all of the pages upon my website have the same authority.

Are We Focusing Too Much on Teaching Everybody?

I teach academically, behaviorally and emotionally troubled kids. I prefer to teach the students who have two strikes against them. On the other hand, are we doing enough for children on the other end of the spectrum?

Conservative website The American Spectator laments…

The United States is in the midst of an educational crisis. Test scores are plummeting, education spending is unsustainable, and the vast majority of American students are ill-prepared to thrive in the high-tech workplace of the future.

Given this sorry state of affairs, the question arises: How did the American education system, once the envy of the world, fall into such a decrepit state? Like most things in life, the answer is actually quite simple: The United States education system no longer prizes and cultivates its most talented students, and the American education system has become a bloated, bureaucratic leviathan that misallocates resources at a colossal level.

The article focuses on the idea that education does not encourage the brightest children to excel, but promotes mediocrity.  In North Carolina there are AIG programs for the gifted. In some cases, I’m sure the gifted students get exactly the high-le4vel work they need.

My favorite year of teaching was when the principle accidentally added four advanced students to my 4th grade class. I say accidentally because since I also have an EC certification, I otherwise had a large number of kids with IEP’s in my class.  Another teacher with AIG certification had the advanced kids, and a third teacher with some Spanish language ability was assigned nearly  every single Hispanic kid. The other teacher actually called that class the barrio.

No, I didn’t approve.

After a few months of seeing the advanced kids politely wait while their peers struggled in the basic subjects, I made them a deal: They could research any topic they wanted so long as they wrote excellent papers about the research. They looked at the EOG Math sample questions and identified the areas where they needed help. They still had to complete the normal homework, but I’d let them answer fewer questions if they were involved in something else academically. [Does anyone really need to do 22 multiplication problems?] They could quietly “drop out” of math and writing lessons which didn’t meet their needs.

All four scored well on the EOG tests: One student scored that rare 5 on the Math EOG. Every one else from that group scored a four on both tests. They learned stuff, also. Their writing improved.

I had more time for the kids who needed it, and those who didn’t need much help were especially inspired. As it turned out, one of the group had never really shown great promise to other teachers.  Apparently I  helped him click a switch.

Enough of my bragging.

The Davidson Institute illustrates this quandary, observing, “In examining the effects of highstakes testing on classroom practices, the majority of the articles reported its negative influences with teachers focusing on underachievers and providing low-quality education for gifted and talented students.” While several developing nations, such as China and India are identifying and nurturing their most intellectually gifted students, the United States is doing the opposite. Unfortunately, this may backfire if China’s best-and-brightest eventually outshine America’s meager-and-mediocre.

I don’t agree with much of the article, but I am always concerned about meeting the needs of all students. When we try to teach everyone, do we risk under-teaching the brightest students?


Carver Elementary Taken Over by North Carolina’s Innovative School District

Update: WUNC gives more details on the legislation which might change the nature of the “takeover” model:

The State Board of Education has voted to add Carver Heights Elementary in Goldsboro to the Innovative School District, but the state’s school turn-around model could be changing.

The Innovative School District (ISD) was conceived by the General Assembly as a plan to turn some of the state’s lowest performing schools over to charter school operators, in the hope of improving them. The ISD has long been cast as a school take-over model, because it requires local school boards to either give up control of the school or close it. But a provision in a bill under debate at the General Assembly this week could change so that a local school board might continue to run its own school while it is in the ISD.



Alex Granados of Education NC:

The State Board of Education unanimously approved the selection of Carver Heights Elementary in Wayne County to join the Innovative School District today, but not without major caveats and a lot of reservations about the decision.

“This timeline is just unfair,” said Board Member Wayne McDevitt of the quick decision Board members are forced to make by the ISD law. “It’s unfair to this Board. It’s unfair to the state. It’s unfair.”

Why do we care?  We might not, unless it is your neighborhood school being taken over by the state.  Wayne County school officials were making changes at the school, and will likely fight this.

The vote came during the second day of the State Board meeting. Board members discussed the selection extensively on the first day, exploring the possibility of making Wayne County Schools the operator of Carver Heights under the ISD, something that would be possible under a provision in a bill passed in the House today. Eric Hall, deputy superintendent for innovation at the state Department of Public Instruction, asked for that provision which now will be considered in the Senate.

But unless it passes, the school would likely be turned over to an outside operator — perhaps a for-profit charter or education management organization. The Board has until February 15th to decide on an operator though can make a choice as early as January.



Yesterday’s post:

According to Alex Granados of Education NC, there was a lot of debate today but no vote on the school’s inclusion in the Innovative School District.


The Innovative School District’s selection of Wayne County’s Carver Heights as the District’s second school was the focus of extensive discussion during the first day of the State Board of Education’s two-day meeting. The Board will have its actual vote tomorrow.

The full article is here.

The school is considered under-performing by any measure, and the state intends to take over management.