Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Bandage on a Wound

As they say, there's good news and bad news from Albany this week. The good news is that the Regents voted on an extension of teacher certification safety nets for the Content Specialty Tests as well as a change in the policy on the safety nets. 19 of the 41 CST exams have been revised, and another 14 are coming next month. It's no longer required to take the new exam, fail, and take and pass the old exam. The dates for extension of these safety net policies vary depending on the exam so be sure to read the fine print here. Good luck understanding some of the tangled jargon: 

This safety net for those previously revised CSTs will expire on June 30, 2017.  These safety nets will expire before the safety net for the newly revised tests (those being released in November 2016) because those students and institutions have already had time to prepare for the revised exams since those examinations will have been operational for over two years when the safety net expires.

It's appropriate that the metaphor here is a safety net because making your way through to certification is akin to a high wire trapeze act.

The bad news is that we still don't know what the outcome will be on the work of the edTPA task force, and our future teachers are still feeling the pain. Take 9 minutes and listen to the voices of these people at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College speaking to Regent Cashin and others at a recent forum.

The other bad news is that all that has really happened is the problems with the tests and the process of becoming a teacher in New York State have been kicked down the road without a vision for a real solution. Pearson continues to profit on problematic tests. Cuomo's victory in requiring a 3.0 GPA and normed test for admission to teacher education programs is still in place, and is still going to cause precipitous drops in enrollment. Legislative action is our only hope. Please, write to your representatives and Regents and implore them to do something. They have been listening, but they need your input and advice. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hello Dystopia

We are witnessing a potentially cataclysmic shift in education, that is already having disastrous effects on learners, from babies all the way up to teacher educators. In college I played the role of Cassandra in a Hasty Pudding rejected musical production at Harvard based on the Trojan War called “Hold Your Horses” and I have an embodied memory of what it feels like to stand on a public platform forecasting doom and gloom to the masses who simply won’t listen.

Let me try to elevate your sense of pressing concern and worry for our future.


If elected president, Donald Trump would essentially bleed our public schools to death. By the way, If you need good reasons to support Hillary Clinton, read this by Daniel Katz.

Silicon Valley and the tech industry have plans for your children. Goodbye privacy. Know your rights

Some people are provoking us to envision the future, where ten years from now, "learning is earning." And what’s really scary is the technology is already in place, the funding is in place, this is not science fiction, it's real

The psychological, neurological, and physical fallout of technology on developing brains and bodies is more than troubling, yet we are in denial. Take the time to listen to author and expert Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair. 

For too many children living in poverty, school is not providing preparation for life, but for prison. Suspension rates are disproportionately high in some charter chain schools such as KIPP and Achievement First. 

Above and beyond contaminated water problems over half of our public schools are in need of repair and modernization, at an estimated cost of almost $200 billion

The coalition of “teacher prep” academies and programs is out to disrupt and replace teacher education in institutions of higher education. So far the verdict is they contribute to the use of punitive measures in schools with high concentrations of students living in poverty and to the inequitable distribution of professionally prepared teachers.

Schools with high concentrations of students living in poverty suffer from high rates of teacher turnover and attrition. Those preparation programs that provide pedagogy, adequate practice opportunities, and feedback to teachers lead to less attrition than those with little content and substance.

It's turning out to be very expensive and messy to evaluate teachers in terms of their readiness to teach and their "core competencies" so virtual reality and digital badging are on the horizon. Only problem: avatars are not humans, online modules are not courses or workshops.