The Value in Crime.

I have mentioned in several blogs that before entering the teaching profession, I worked in retail for nearly fifteen years. I worked in Loss Prevention starting part-time in college, then full-time when I couldn’t afford to continue my graduate studies. I eventually became loss prevention manager, and eventually a department manager. During that time, I witnessed everything from desperate mothers hiding a ham between their legs to feed their family to high profile socialites slipping jewelry in their purse because they suffer from kleptomania. I have seen a career employee ring up false returns to get money to pay their Read More …

Anti-Common Core Appointment to USDOE

Just one day after the appearances of four high-profile reformers at the Senate HELP Committee’s hearing on ESSA: Unleashing School Innovation praising the efforts and success of Tennessee, Louisiana and New Mexico, the news headlines were ablaze with President Trump’s appointment of Mitchell “Mick” Zais to the office of Deputy Secretary of Education. Those who have engaged in the fight against corporate education reforms might recognize the name. Zais was the South Carolina Superintendent of Education. He was elected to the position around the same time as former governor, and Trump’s current Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley was Read More …

ESSA: A Lack of State Innovation

On the morning of October 3rd, 2017 the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee, also known as H.E.L.P., held a hearing which they titled The Every Student Succeeds Act: Unleashing State Innovation. Based on the title of the hearing, one might expect to get an earful of innovative ideas from education leaders who have proven their worth by exploring the full potential of ESSA and improving school performance by leaps and bounds. When you learn who the panelists are, you immediately question the purpose of the hearing. Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, took over as commissioner in Read More …

Freedom of Speech, For All!

In the simplest terms, the First Amendment is a guaranteed protection for the minority. This means a person, or group of people, who oppose a law, a policy, a position, a trend, or any action taken by the government, whether federal, state, or local, is guaranteed protection under the First Amendment to speak out against it. Why is this a protection for the minority? Because if you are a member of the majority that is in support of a policy, you don’t have a need to speak out against it, nor do you need protection. This right is extended to Read More …

Are Teachers Being Paid, Correctly?

In a state that continues to rank in the lower 1/3 for teacher salaries, it is sometimes comical to me to see the extent to which disdain is displayed when legislation is introduced related to the compensation of teachers. In the 2016 Regular Session, a bill was introduced by House Education Committee Chair, Nancy Landry, on behalf of a school board member in her district. The bill was intended to address a special situation where some teachers were employed on 9 month contracts, and accepted positions in a unique school that operated year around. They were compensated for the addition Read More …

Are Teachers Evaluated, Correctly?

In the regular session of 2012, the Louisiana Legislature passed and enacted HB-974, also known as Act 1. Gov. Bobby Jindal signed it into law. The bill made dramatic changes to teacher tenure, evaluation, and compensation, and also limited powers of local school boards while giving superintendents more autonomy. The bill was challenged in court because it encompassed too many statutes. While portions of the bill were stricken, the bill remains in effect. Since being enacted, a couple of amendments have been made. I won’t go into all of the details of the bill. Instead, I’ll simplify the evaluation and Read More …

Raising Expectations vs Raising the Bar

Although he probably thinks otherwise, I still hold a great deal of respect for a former administrator who once said, “If you want me to play the game, tell me the rules. And don’t change them in the middle of the game.” He was referring to school accountability and the importance of understanding how numbers affect your score. This is a concept that I wholeheartedly agree with; however, this is probably where our philosophies part ways. Some would do this faithfully and blindly with no regard for whether the measurement is fair or accurate. As a professional educator, and a Read More …

Ed Reform’s Double-Edged Sword

It hasn’t always been, but for the last decade or so, the education reform movement has been a double-edged sword that slices through the heart of traditional public education. On one side of the sword, we find the Republican efforts to reform public education that is built upon and driven by the their ideological adherence to conservatism. Residing on the other side of the sword, the Democrat approach to education reform supported by America’s long history of civil rights discrimination and the need to provide equitable opportunities to children of color, children living in poverty, and other populations trapped in Read More …

We Are Not A Small Group Of People

Let’s face it. Politics reside in our classrooms whether we like it, or not. In the Spring of 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). If I had to pinpoint when politics entered the classroom, I’d say it was the moment Johnson laid down that pen. Though largely ignored by people who aren’t educators, political influence over the classroom has increased steadily with the passage of each major piece of education legislation, including No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). From the moment John White was appointed Read More …

Louisiana’s Educational Facade

On June 26th, The Advocate published its article, State Plan to Revamp Public Schools Wins Compliments from Two Groups, giving praise to Louisiana’s new ESSA plan which was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on May 3, 2017. The State’s plan has received accolades from national groups for its “ambitious goals” to improve public education in Louisiana. The two groups mentioned in this particular article are the Collaborative for Student Success (CFSS) and Bellwether Education Partners (BEP). I was not at all surprised to see these organizations offering their credibility to support Louisiana’s ESSA plan; nor, was I impressed. These organizations Read More …