California’s Day of the Teacher has its roots in the community and is patterned after the celebration of the traditional “El Dia del Maestro,” which is observed in Mexico and Latin America countries. Our California’s Day of the Teacher arose out of legislation co-sponsored by CTA and the Association of Mexican American Educators in 1982.
CTA in Action! - Vergara Appeal
|Membership Matters||Well-Baby Program|
Comments from Apr. 16 School Board Meeting
Good Evening Trustees, Colleagues, and Community Members,
"Right now, the Senate is working on a reauthorization bill for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the cornerstone education law in America.
We believe the new ESEA must focus on opportunity for all, ensure more time for students to learn, and empower educators to lead."
The above quote is posted on the National Education Association (NEA) website. It goes on to say, "Politicians in Washington are making a HUGE decision. One that will determine what teaching and learning looks like in America's schools over the next decade. For students and educators, the stakes couldn’t be higher. We need your voice. The widespread consensus in Washington is that the current education law is broken. How the Senate will fix it, though, is ultimately up to each of us." If you’d like to find out more, the link, “Opportunity For All, Time To Learn” is at the top of the page.
As teachers, we know tests should be designed primarily to inform and differentiate instruction. The general consensus among educators is the constant testing cycle created by NCLB has negatively impacted student progress by drastically narrowing the curriculum, unfairly punishing low performing schools, and constantly blaming teachers in the process.
The underlying goal is now understood to be the privatization of public education by corporations and hedge fund managers more interested in accessing the billions of dollars in government funding than fostering true academic growth in children.
However, there are equally strong voices with conflicting viewpoints. The following excerpt was taken from yesterday's Washington Post: "Most of the major civil rights organizations support the law's requirement for yearly standardized tests for all students in Grades 3 to 8. The annual tests are easily the most visible and controversial aspect of the law.
These groups see testing as a civil rights issue, a way to guarantee fairness. Meanwhile, some activists and educators of color feel the tests are a distraction from helping students improve or, worse, an indirect form of retribution for shortcomings beyond their control. Among civil rights advocates, there's broad agreement on two main points: The federal government should ensure impoverished school districts have enough money and suspensions and expulsions are not unfairly keeping many children of color out of school, denying them the chance to learn.
The NAACP, the National Urban League and the League of United Latin American Citizens, among other organizations, signed a statement in January calling on Congress to maintain the testing requirement. Daria Hall, who directs policy at the Education Trust, an organization dedicated to improving education for disadvantaged students states, "We can't take our foot off the accelerator now. We have to maintain assessment, accountability and reporting."
Clearly where there should be collaboration, there is conflict. How in the world did we get to such a counterproductive place? In her groundbreaking history of 175 years of American education, The Teacher Wars, Dana Goldstein finds answers in the past to the controversies that plague our public schools today. She explains teachers have been similarly embattled for nearly two centuries. She uncovers the fascinating roots of hot button issues, from teacher tenure to charter schools, and finds that recent popular ideas to improve schools—instituting merit pay, evaluating teachers by student test scores, ranking and firing veteran teachers, and recruiting “elite” graduates to teach - are all approaches that have been tried in the past without producing widespread positive change.
Here's an early description included in her book of the classroom teacher according to Horace Mann, "How divinely does she come, her head encircled with a halo of heavenly light, her feet sweetening the earth on which she treads, and the celestial radiance of her benignity making vice begin its work of repentance through very envy of the beauty of virtue!"
And a description of Susan B. Anthony a few chapters and decades later:
At age twenty- six, she was exhilarated by life on her own, attending balls and the circus for the first time. Always a Quaker - if a somewhat lapsed one - she founded a local women’s temperance organization. Yet she took her teaching job seriously and resented the fact that she earned less than her male colleagues. Anthony wrote to her mother in November 1846 that although her students’ parents celebrated her “diligent” teaching, and she had recruited four new pupils to the school, she would not receive a raise. “ That salary business runs in my head, I can tell you,” she complained.
Notice the less than subtle change in perspective?
The Teacher Wars upends the conversation about American education by bringing the lessons of history to bear on the dilemmas we confront today. By asking “How did we get here?” Dana Goldstein brilliantly illuminates a realistic path forward.
As ETA and ESD head back to the negotiations table later this month, a process that at times has felt more like battling than bargaining, I encourage each of you to read this outstanding book. In fact, if you will commit to doing so, we’ll buy you a copy. As you’ve heard me say repeatedly in the past, we need to find and focus on common ground to be able to move forward together on behalf of the students of Evergreen.
(Note: Trustees Arenas & Songcayawon agreed to read Teacher Wars. Mace stated she already had. Alvarez & Zito were not present.)
Brian Wheatley, ETA President
408-272-0601 ext. 215
Dates to Remember
Rep Council - May 19 (Mt. Ham @ 3:45 pm)
School Board - May 21 (DO @ 6:30 pm)
'15-16 Re-Opener Negotiations Day 1 - May 27 (Mt. Ham)
ETA Retirement Celebration - June 2 (TBD)