Tag Archives: teachers

Unions, Education and The Chicago Teachers Strike

By Betsy L. Angert

The Chicago Teachers Union strike, and the recent rallies held in conjunction, speak to a problem larger than the conventional meme of pay increases, tenure, or pensions. Chicago Teachers want better working conditions. They realize as no other employees might; the environments in which they work fashion the future of our nation. Our children’s education is at-risk.

Twenty-five years have passed since Chicago Teachers Union members have gone out on strike. These Educators realize as do all workers ¬Unions today are not the powerhouses of yesteryear. According to a study by Sociologist Jake Rosenfeld, unionization among private-sector full-time employees fell by 40% between 1984 and 2002. Indeed, as cited in Unions, Norms, and the Rise in American Wage Inequality, “From 1973 to 2007, private sector union membership in the United States declined from 34 to 8 percent for men and from 16 to 6 percent among women. Inequality in hourly wages increased by over 40 percent in this period.”

The reasons are stark. Continue reading

August To June; Bringing Life to Palm Beach Schools

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

As any Mom or Dad might do on Parent Teacher Conference Day, Amy Valens, the Educator featured in the documentary film August To June, traveled from “classroom to classroom.” This journey was not a conventional one. Indeed, Amy did not attend a series of Parent Teacher Conferences. What she did was appear at Palm Beach screenings of her documentary. The film follows twenty-six [26] third and fourth graders who studied with Amy in her last year of teaching. The open classroom, within a public school, “Brings Life” to education.

After the movie was viewed, Ms Valens and the audiences engaged in conversations. They discussed what they saw and how it might relate to a broader dialogue. The subjects of Education Reform, Classroom Standards, Teacher Quality, Merit Pay, Student-Rewards for Success, Parent Involvement, and Testing are but a few topics prominent in our national debate. While the assemblies of viewers varied widely, the results were the same. Every child, every class, all Teachers, and each parent, tells a unique tale. Regardless of the individual or group, we see the world, or in this case the film, through our own lens. Continue reading

Vote for Zinn Education Project: Promote A People’s History

By Myla Kabat-Zinn

About three years ago, my father and a former student founded the Zinn Education Project (ZEP). Their goal was to promote “people’s history” in schools across the country.

To support this important work will take less than five minutes and requires no money. CREDO/Working Assets supports a wide field of progressive organizations and has selected the ZEP as one of 40 organizations it will fund.

Vote for ZEP today.

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Primary Teachers and Their Pedagogy

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

I offer homage to a Teacher whose pedagogy touched me in a manner invisible to me until this moment. For scores, I understood what a gift he was to me. His open and caring ways were as I craved. However, I had never imagined that this man’s schooling style made the difference in my life. Today, I invite each of us to look beyond the boundaries or the labels.

Often in life we are asked to reflect; who was or were your most profound Teachers. I shared my stories in a missive or more. Those Who Can Teach; Life Lessons Learned, Those Who Can Teach; Transformative Teachers, and Why I Write and Write, Then Write Again. There are myriad sorts of Teachers. A few are true treasures. These special souls take a personal interest in us as individuals. Students are seen as whole beings, not solely a score, or a name to be identified as a number. Without these rare Teachers we would not soar.

Innumerable Scholars seek to inform rather than interact in a way that inspires. Academicians, an abundance of these, think to fill a brain full of facts, formulas, and figures, is to teach. I wonder; do these Educators believe they learn from their students? I cannot know with certainty. For myriad mentors, their labor is not born out of love, but out of need . . . the need to train students for a test. Continue reading

Save Our Schools; Let Us Never Forget the Mission, March, and Movement

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

Near a month has passed since the Save Our Schools storm swept through Washington District of Columbia. As with all squalls the effects of such an event linger long after the winds die down. A physical space cleaned-up after a tempest takes place does not erase the memory of what occurred. Be it a blast of air or an action, the calm does not close a chapter in our lives. The current, commitment, the cause, and our concern do not wane with time, that is, unless we choose to move on or tell ourselves that that is possible. I believe the notion the past is past is fallacious. Our past permeates the present and is a foundation for the future. Thus, for me, the thought, and the March to Save Our Schools are strong. It survives as is evidenced by the now named Movement.

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Those Who Can Teach; Life Lessons Learned

 
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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches
~ George Bernard Shaw [Man and Superman, 1903]

“A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

I heard the words for as long as I recall. The meaning was intricately woven into my mind. I, as all little children since George Bernard Shaw scribed his belief, ”He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches,” was taught to believe that Teachers could choose no other career. Educators, entrusted with children’s lives were indeed, incapable beings. These individuals had tried and failed to perform well in professions that required intellect and, or dexterity. Because the incompetent were inept, they fled to schools and identified themselves as “Teachers.” In classrooms, less than sage scholars could teach with little authentic expertise. Today, as a culture, Americans choose to prove this erroneous truth. Grading the Teachers: Value-Added Analysis. Continue reading

Profundity of Peace on Earth

 
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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

This year, Christmas and New Years Days were days of intense reflection. Perchance, that is true every year and for every individual. I cannot know what is true for others. I am only certain that on each of these dates I was immersed in a rigorous course of study. My gifts or the curriculum came wrapped in a routine event.

The lessons covered were Empathy and Education, although perhaps these were presented in reverse order. Possibly, the truer program was entropy and encouragement. Each edifies. I wonder; on each of the two days these topics were intertwined. In my attempt to analyze and understand what I needed to learn or did, I invite your assessments. Please indulge me as I share the story. Continue reading

The war on public-sector unions

By Lee Sustar

State and local governments are making deep spending cuts wherever they can, and taking aim at the power of public-sector unions.

labor protest Continue reading