January 28, 2008

Homework time

When the public purse is not being spent for the public good, it becomes the task of each of us to do a fair amount of homework and become familiar with the terminology and ideology of capitalist fundamentalism. We really owe it to our children and grandchildren to smoke the vultures out.

There’s an interesting email written by George Schmidt, editor of Substance ("the newspaper of public education in Chicago"), in response to a question posed by Mike Fiorillo about Obama and his connections to the ed world. I was going to post this interchange here, but Ednotes has actually saved me the trouble. Read it in full over there, because it’s good stuff.

It is worth quoting the self-stated mission of Substance, because the paper sets admirable goals:

Substance is a monthly investigative newspaper devoted to in-depth reporting on the major issues facing public education. Our mission is to report facts and provide interpretations of the news about public schools unhindered by the biases against public education that currently infest both the "liberal" left and the "conservative" right. We are also pro-union, pro-child, and pro-democracy. Because of this, the news stories in Substance provide accurate information but never maintain the pretense of "objectivity." "Objectivity" as it is practiced by the major media in this case means slanting the news to reflect the biases of the millionaire and billionaire individuals and corporations that control the public's access to news and information.
We need newspapers like Substance as much as we need books like Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, which I wrote something about earlier this month.

With creeping privatization, unchecked corporatization, a diminished press and a sullied judicial system, it is no longer possible in times like these to form superficial opinions – party chatter, if you like – on the games they're playing with our schools.

Mike Fiorillo essentially asked Schmidt to elaborate on Obama's connections with Renaissance 2010 in Chicago. The description of this project on its website shows the shift that's taking place over there from public to corporate-sponsored education. You can see it in the in the governance structures mentioned in the last line of the Overview:
Renaissance 2010 seeks to create 100 high-performing schools in designated communities of need by 2010. These schools will be held accountable for performance through 5-year contracts while being given autonomy to create innovative learning environments using one of the following governance structures: charter, contract, or performance.
and also in the jargon used in Background paragraph just below it:
This bold plan closes chronically under-performing schools and sets up a competitive, community-based selection process to determine the best operator for each site.

Obama's relationship with Renaissance 2010 is important, as much as Hillary Clinton's is with the AFT and UFT in general, and with BloomKleinGarten in particular.

Parenthetically, but salient in evaluating Clinton's affinities with the corporate world, is that while she's not only (according to Ari Berman in the Nation) "more reliant on large donations and corporate money than her Democratic rivals, but advisers in her inner circle are closely affiliated with unionbusters, GOP operatives, conservative media and other Democratic Party antagonists," an analysis of her senatorial voting record prepared by Progressive Punch, the AFL-CIO and others gave her an overall progressive score of 93%. Based on its analyses, the LeftCoaster, pt.1, did not find Clinton merits being labeled a "Corporate Democrat." They've put out pts. two, three, and four as well.

The kind of unchecked privatization the country has experienced at the hands of the neocon ideologues over the past decade has meant that it is harder to distinguish the boundaries between governments and corporations. The players have a foot in each camp to varying degrees, and they are frequently all too willing to profit immensely from the public purse. The revolving door, as mentioned in the Shock Doctrine, has become a lofty arch.

How far each of the presidential candidates are willing to embrace the most manipulative and anti-social practices of corporate America is something that should be pretty much at the forefront of our thinking.

To this end, put Schmidt's comments about Obama up against an editorial he published a couple of months ago in the Substance about the Chicago school system and see if you get more perspective.

Picture Paul Bremer, the erstwhile "viceroy" of Baghdad, only without the boots. You now have Arne Duncan and his troupe of zealots privatizing everything in sight at the Chicago Board of Education and in the "Office of New Schools." Of course, just as Bremer would have been nothing without George W. Bush and the crazies in the Washington think tanks that write the privatization scripts for the world, so Duncan would just be another washed up former professional ball player if Mayor Daley and his corporate buddies weren't backing his massive privatization plans.

For the past six years, we've watched while Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan lied repeatedly to the public about how and why he was closing dozens of public schools. Duncan was not trying to improve public schools in Chicago for all children, but was in command of a ruthless privatization plan that is designed to undermine traditional notions of public education for urban children and replace them with a crackpot version of "market choice" that exists only for the wealthy and the powerful.

The key to Duncan's ability to get away with the Big Lie, however, is not Duncan's own eloquence, but the face that he has the backing of Chicago's ruling class. From the CEOs of the city's largest corporations (organized into the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club) to the editorial boards of the two power daily newspapers, Duncan's lies are amplified every day, and except for the pages of this newspaper and a few other places, unchallenged in the public arena where democratic debate is supposed to take place.

After we reviewed the school closings in Chicago since 2001, when Mayor Daley appointed Duncan the second "Chief Executive Officer" in CPS history, the shocking details began to become clear. Not only were poor black children being forced out of their homes (public housing reform, it was called), but they were also being deprived over and over of access to public schools.

Comparing Duncan's other work with massive privatizers like Paul Bremer (who headed up the Provisional Coalition Authority in Baghdad from 2003 to 2004), any clear-eyed reader can see the same pattern. These guys are not in the business of improving public school, but of stripping the assets from public services and turning unionized public servants into non-union public slaves.

For five years, we have watched thousands of people appear before the corporate stooges who constitute the Chicago Board of Education, trying to talk about what would be best for public schools. Every argument has been eloquent.

But the arguments don't really matter, because Arne Duncan and the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education are not in the education business, they are in the privatization and charter school business. Once the public understands that, at least people can stop wasting their time talking about what's best for the education of Chicago's poorest children. Duncan couldn't care less about that as long as his crimes — and they are crimes that flow from these lies — don't make the TV news or interfere with the agenda of his mentor Richard M. Daley.
You can't read everything to bone up on this election, but it seems like you have to do more than you ever had to before.

January 19, 2008

Bring back school uniforms — for teachers

Five or six years ago, young new teachers, most of them grad students, started coming to school wearing items of clothing that set them apart from older teachers. For the women, these items included flip-flops and bodice-type shirts held up by spaghetti straps, and there was often little attempt to conceal the fasteners, color, or fabric of the underwear worn underneath (if any).

For the men, it was a shirt, frequently unbuttoned, and maybe a tie, however loosely it was knotted below the collar; more likely than not, these were complemented by blue jeans, not always in good repair.

There are cultural norms for attire in the workplace, and we don’t help students much when clothing that is overly “cool,” “phat” or trendy is worn by teachers. This stuff is often provocative and distracting, and in some cases it gives way more information about the wearer than any student should be in a position to know. Besides, if we ask the kids not to wear tank-tops, halters, low-slung jeans, and other revealing apparel, it speaks to a general consensus that appropriate school clothing should be somewhat conservative.

I’m not suggesting that teachers should submit to a dress code. Far from it.

What I am proposing is that it might be time to consider what a specific uniform — a black robe — could do for our profession. It's been around for eight centuries and is arguably the most enduring symbol of scholarship and academic achievement ever designed. I’m not advocating wearing robes like they do in the English grammar schools, where all the instructors sport them as a collective sign of mastery and dominance. I think they should be worn here selectively, by any teacher who is tenured and fully certified.
Note: And not worn zipped up like in the picture below, but casually, open at the front, like a cardigan — as if we were actually born wearing these things
Before you blast me for things I am not, consider this:
BloomKlein’s Board of Education has been destabilizing the teaching profession for many years now. They’ve encroached on our contractual right to autonomy, dangled free tuition for grad school in front of college graduates (many of whom have no intention of being classroom teachers in the long run but who accept the gift anyway), bashed the union, and pressured expensive veteran teachers to leave altogether. Since it becomes more difficult to stay in the job and more difficult to recruit the “keepers,” the percentage of untenured and not fully certified teachers is substantial. (I’m going on what I’m seeing and hearing when I say this: I’d like to see some real figures on these percentages if anyone knows where to get them.)

As this diminishment of teaching continues, we have to look for ways to give this issue some visibility.

When you want to tell the difference between things that look alike, you use colors or labels. If we do this with robes, several things happen, not least of which is that we would actually get to see what percentage of the workforce — in each school, in each district, in each borough, and in fact citywide — has gone all the way to teacherhood. I think it's politically in our interest to do this.

Remember, I’m not talking quality teaching here, nor giving any extra status to the “lead” teacher, which as a position is meaningless (except for the perks) and subject to favoritism. There are, after all, great teachers in every school who are not lead teachers, and there are lead teachers in our schools who are not actually the best teachers in the system.

Let's try putting black robes on all of the teachers who are fully tenured and fully certified, regardless of how well they teach or play the system, and see what happens.

Some might consider this proposition to be reactionary, iconoclastic, or even unconstitutional, but I think it’s worth looking into.

There would definitely be a psychological change in the classroom. Students would learn that the teachers with robes achieved something more than a college degree, even though they may not fully understand at first what that something is. They’d come to understand that the robe means these particular instructors have worked long and hard to achieve their professional goals. They’ve set standards for themselves, and they’ve met them. As one graduate put the kind of thing I'm talking about on a recent blog:
Looking at the computer science doctorates around me during the commencement ceremony, I felt very envious. I want an advanced degree. And despite how silly the robes are in comparison to modern attire, they come with the territory of earning a doctoral degree, so my desire transfers over into wanting to wear those robes as well.
I made a comment to one of my professors that he should show up to the first day of class next semester wearing full academic regalia, just to throw off the students. I would love to see those reactions. After all, professors used to wear these robes all the time, so why not try to bring that tradition back? (June 07)
I suspect that putting robes on fully certified teachers would not only have an effect on the kids but on the provisional instructors as well, people who now make up a good chunk of the workforce. Teaching fellows, for example, would in a bipartite environment such as this be identified for a while as transitional instructors; they'd be making the choice during this period whether they plan to stay in the profession once they graduate and get tenure or opt out, and any outsider would know they're still in training and thinking about it. No robes either for anyone who gets tenure but drags out their graduate studies over many years.

One could make an argument that students, parents, and staff even have a right to see how many teachers and specifically which ones are not yet full members of the profession.

It is in BloomKlein’s interest to paint teachers in this system as an amorphous group of less than adequate know-nothings. They want to be able to hire and fire us at will, move us around, script us, and silence us. They want us to come cheap and leave soon.

If we as a society want fully certified teachers in the classrooms, let’s actually see how many of us are already in place, and let’s see how the percentages fall and rise when the political winds blow.

If we want to see the disproportionate numbers of fully certified teachers in our disadvantaged neighborhoods, let’s actually see how many of them work in these sites, school by school and district by district.

If we want principals to stop hiring two-for-the-price of one, put robes on the fully certified and tenured teachers and let those principals show off a schoolful of non-robed staff. They may want to think twice about hiring on the cheap if the percentages of provisional teachers are out there for the world to see.

If we want to try and restore some of that respect that used to come with the job, have the fully qualified ones wear that well-established symbol of scholarship instead of those inane armbands the UFT proposed a few years ago in one fleeting moment of protest.
And if we want to stop BloomKlein from portraying us as somehow unworthy and perpetually unfinished, let us stand up to their brutalization and marginalization wearing the mantle of scholars and degree-holders.

Black robes have always been a political statement.

It might be worth wearing them again to change the dynamic in the current state of siege.

January 13, 2008

Reductivism — did we ask for this?

Some of the statements coming from Unity after they pushed through the last disastrous contract, and I guess back before that as well, have led me to think there are only two kinds of union leadership: the one that fights for better conditions and the one that settles for the bottom line: "Hey, you have a job, don’t you."

There’s almost no use beating this dead horse to make it serve us better. Weingarten, queen of collaboration and givebacks, hasn't got us better conditions for years, and that includes salary as well, since people who have bothered to calculate the net results of the pay increases came out with unfavorable verdicts once standard-of- living adjustments and increased hours were factored in.

But there’s a lot of talk about job security and no-layoff. You get statements like these:

On the UFT website under Excessing Rules, June 5, 2006: "... the excessing clause is a virtual no-layoff provision"

In a Weingarten email of Sept. 16, 2007, the 2005 contract "created a job security clause the likes of which we have never had.”

Another of her emails a few weeks later: "I have said the following countless times: we have total job security ... By negotiating full job security in the 2005 contract, we stopped [Klein]. That was re-affirmed in the 2006 contract."

As I see it, Weingarten thinks of the word “job” as “the state of being employed.” She has neither the intention or the anger to fight for the kinds of things that word means to the rest of us — that in return for our expertise, stamina, creativity, and willingness to teach huge classes with limited supplies and social supports, we ask for a fair degree of autonomy and other conditions shared by professionals who hold graduate degrees.

Weingarten is reductive: she diminishes and curtails our profession. There are any number of conditions that don't really work for us, like cafeteria duty, staff “development” (professionals don’t need to be “developed”— they need to confer, meet, read, and chew over educational issues and school methodologies), one-size-fits-all staff development, longer days, shorter summers, and meaningless procedures to rebut untruths in the files to exemplify her long record of this kind of diminishment.

In the past two years, the leadership seems to have gone from this statement in Edwize, where a “job” seems to imply a real position:
Seniority in lay-offs is a core union principle. We could not accept a contract which did not secure the rights of senior excessed teachers to a position in another school. (Leo Casey, Oct. 4, 2005)
to this statement on the UFT website a year later talking about the No-Layoff Provision, where the mention of a real “position” is decidedly absent:
The fact-finders ... agreed with us to stop bumping and to maintain educators who are in excess in the D.O.E. employ.
Here's something else. When I wrote Weingarten last summer (after being excessed) that in spite of years of good service and skills it looked as if I was not going to land even a single interview much less a new position because of my age or salary, she wrote back rather glibly:
"It used to be this way all the time except that when music teachers used to be excessed they were laid off."
What this statement showed most was her indisputable lack of concern for quality and length of service. When she got blindsided, seemingly, by Klein's move last spring to have principals pay salaries out of their own budgets, even then she couldn't muster anything more than a "Ho, hum."

It would surprise a lot of us if Weingarten were to hold firm on job security, and it's not at all clear she's even planning to. Unity staff have accused people of fearmongering and keep insisting that giving up tenure will "never happen."

But, the wording in the explanation of tenure given on the UFT's own website is vague enough to spell no good. I've underlined these bits, then elaborated on them below:

Tenure is a status that appointed pedagogues achieve after completing a probationary period with satisfactory service. Once you have tenure, you cannot be dismissed without being formally charged and having a hearing before an independent arbitrator on those charges. This protects you from being fired by your supervisor for personal or political reasons.

Although teachers are not “guaranteed a job for life”, as critics often say, it is true that, after completing a probationary period, teachers in New York State may generally not be fired except for just cause or a layoff situation. Inappropriate conduct that gives rise to dismissal is defined in state law and must be substantiated by the DOE in a due-process hearing before an independent arbitrator. A layoff or “reduction in force” happens when positions have been eliminated, usually due to funding cuts. (NY Teacher, June 7, 2007)
generally — mostly, but not always

just cause — defined as a “standard or test often applied to determine the appropriateness of disciplinary action,” and which we all know is not always kosher, either at the school level or the DOE level

inappropriate conduct ... defined in state lawEducation Law 3020-a talks about the sale and possession of drugs and certain felonies, as well as “pedagogical incompetence or issues involving pedagogical judgment,” but other kinds of inappropriate conduct are not mentioned or defined. Article 21.G of the UFT contract also speaks of 3020-a procedures, which includes this time Time and Attendance (G.1). It also seems to recognize a difference between plain old misconduct and “serious misconduct,” which gets its own subsection, G.5; firearms and unspecified felonies are mentioned here. So these kinds of things seem to be covered in a variety of laws and contracts, and those of us who are not lawyers will find this whole search tiresome, vague, and fairly impenetrable.

independent arbitrators — which most of us really doubt, since there is much talk of their having to divide the cases up to find for the board and the members in somewhat equal proportion

usually — in other words, there might be cases when positions are eliminated for reasons other than funding cuts (like when the board eliminated the position of ed evaluator in 2003, probably because these people cost the city a chunk of change)

No matter what the leadership says about holding firm on no-layoff, this kind of ambiguity does not bode well for our future. The board is already finding it easy enough to pressure us to resign through harassment even when a no-layoff rule is still in place.

We need substantive changes in the way the UFT deals with the BloomKlein regime in the next couple of years. We need less kissy-kissy, less gamesmanship, and less collaboration. We don't need the public hugs, or the compliments, or the birthday celebrations. And we certainly don't need a president who serves us less than full time while she goes about seeking national office and working for other labor unions. There's certainly plenty of work to be done right here.

What we do need is to reconstitute this union. We need a rank-and-file that is motivated to stand up to management when it needs to, we need protests and other kinds of demonstrations (like withholding service within contractual stipulations), we need instant responses to the outrageous union-busting maneuvers Klein has been pulling for years, and we need a definitive commitment on the part of leadership to send these anti-teacher corporate thugs back where they came from.

January 11, 2008

Checking if you're registered to vote made easy

MoveOn.org has set up a website where you can check if you're registered to vote.

Maybe it's too late in your area, but I'm posting their email anyway, just in case you're not and you have a burning desire to do something about it.

It's not only for yourself, but as a reminder for your friends as well. Here's the email they just sent around:

Voter registration is public information, but states don't make it easy to access. So until now, this data has mostly been available to the political consultants, but not to real people. Now, with VotePoke, that's all changing—anyone can make sure their friends are signed up and registered.

You would be surprised at how many of your friends aren't registered—or used to be registered—or really just aren't sure. We'll be in great shape for the election next November the more new and young voters we can turn out—and you can help by taking responsibility for your own group of friends.

Research shows that a reminder from someone you know is the single best way to get someone to the polls ... make sure every vote counts on Super Tuesday and beyond.

January 5, 2008

"Shock" comparisons

If we could all take the time to read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine (New York: Henry Holt, 2007), we’d be in a much better position to assess what’s happened to our profession this past decade and begin the task of reclaiming our once viable position in this society – alongside many other professionals, of course, whose jobs have also been diminished by the far right.

I don’t know if Ms Klein coined the term “disaster capitalism” herself, but she certainly presents a comprehensive world-view picture of it in the introduction to this book.

As so many know by now, what she suggests is that a country traumatized by a shocking event, like a natural disaster or a man-made one such as 911, will be “softened-up” and ripe for the picking by capitalist profiteers.

That is how the shock doctrine works: the original disaster ... puts the entire population into a state of collective shock. ... Shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect. (p.17)
Klein attributes the “shock” strategy of what she calls "fundamentalist" capitalism to the economist Milton Friedman, who died a little over a year ago. She reminds us that it was this lauded intellectual, a Nobel prizewinner no less, who wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "[Hurricane Katrina] is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity to radically reform the educational system.”

According to Ms Klein,

By the time Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans ... it was clear that this was now the preferred method of advancing corporate goals: using moments of collective trauma to engage in radical social and economic engineering. (p.8)

[Ex-CIA operative] Mike Battles puts it best: “For us, the fear and disorder offered real promise.” (p.9)

For the word "country" in her analysis, we can easily substitute the entire system of public education in the city of New York — not only the many thousands of its employees, but the millions of parents and children who need to use it. (And we all know that doesn't mean every parent and child in this newly polarized society.)

Joel Klein’s multiple and devastating reorganizations of the school system have softened all of us up: administrators, educators, parents and students alike. Without any familiar systems, rules, administrative personnel, or contracts to get us through the chaos of these successive remodelings, we flounder, fall, slink off, and fail.

And this is exactly what BloomKlein and their conspirators have planned for the city all along: less presence and political clout from the rank-and-file and the users of the system, and a virtual partnership with the corporations, private contractors, and hired technocrats with whom they will be doing business from now til kingdom come.

In the wake of this destablizing transition, even the new hires are counted upon to be “temps” — not to be nurtured all that much now and not to be thanked later on down the road, but to remain forever expendable in a system that doesn’t deliver what it’s supposed to and supports nothing that any of us can value.

A new scare in the air ... for ATRs

I've been reading some posts on Ednotes and PissedOff about Randi walking into a Queens rubber room with bad tidings about the future of ATRs and her possible inability -- or more likely, her unwillingness -- to fight the fight.

I do not have enough information to report anything new on this issue just yet, but am alerting readers to the ongoing discussion in the comments section of the second one above and encourage people to join in over there.
(P.S.: A small tussle between Schoolgal and myself developed in the comments section after I posted this blog earlier this afternoon. I didn't know that would happen.)

Keep in mind that this whole thing is a POLITICAL fight with the BloomKlein faux-administration.

It is not a fight about how well you do your job.

January 2, 2008

A media of our own

If New York City teachers have something to say, some of them at least will say it. And they’ll get the approval of the silent majority, who either don’t trust themselves in print or fear for their jobs. That’s the climate in the BloomKlein culture, and we shouldn’t forget that it hasn’t always been that way.

It's not that there hasn't always been edopinion and edcommentary in this city, but it’s been limited. Sure, the caucuses have flooded the delegate assemblies with handouts and stuffed position papers into mailboxes at election time, and serious chapter leaders have put out newsletters in their own schools. These publications have run the gamut of content, from info-documents to political statements, sometimes both and sometimes indistinguishable.

It got a lot more interesting about a decade ago, when Norm Scott started publishing Education Notes, a satirical and super-informative publication that morphed its way into our hearts and minds in various forms. It started out as a newsletter for his school, but I’ll bet that even in those early years, it was way more “out there” and sharp-shooting than what most of us have dared to circulate in our schools. He treats Brooklyn readers to doses of the same kind of stinging analyses in his bi-weekly column in the Wave. Too bad that’s not syndicated yet: it needs to be.

But what has always hampered individuals or oppositional groups from producing hard-copy publications in any great numbers has been the cost of these things and the impossibility of distributing them. Unity caucus, omnipotent as it is, only gives lip service to what doesn’t exist in our union at all: democracy. You can't use their copiers to produce your publications, you can't run oppositional meetings in UFT buildings, there’s censorship of critical comments on their website, and chapter leader training sessions don’t exactly advertise that there might be differences of opinion within the union.

Of course, the NY press (Post, Daily News, etc.) has also played a part in this milieu where teacher voices are not much heard. They’ve run rough-shod over the profession for years, and there’s not been much of a chance to fight back except for the occasional letter to the editor that some editorial board has gone out on a limb to actually publish.

In short: the prohibitive cost and enormous distribution problem meant that you could always speak up on ed issues if you wanted to, but getting your message heard was a whole other thing.

Enter Blogging, where at no cost whatsoever you can write under a pen name if you like, revise what you’ve written at any time, link to other people’s blogs, comment under a dozen other names (or anonymously), and even have conversations with yourself. A new era, a new world.

NYC Educator started blogging in May 2005 with a piece on “Bloomberg and Klein on Teacher Quality”. You can see from the first post, prescient and spot on as it was, the kind of quality we were going to get from this blog in the coming years:

But when push came to shove, Bloomy sent Klein to Albany to beg for the right to hire and retain those who failed the test! Underqualified teachers are paid less than NYS certified teachers.

Now many will say that certification alone does not ensure a good teacher, and I couldn't agree more. But failing that LAST test virtually guarantees a bad one. Why, then does Bloomy do this? He does for about 3,000 bucks per teacher.
I don’t know when Reality-Based Educator joined the effort over there, but what great stuff they’ve been putting out.

The Norm Scott phenomenon mentioned above turned itself into a blog in August 2006 with a statement typical of its tireless progenitor: “Coming soon (if I get out of the hammock)..." and a satiric picture-post of 3 engrossed cats called “An attentive class size of three.” (PS: he's just put up another cat on his blog a few minutes ago. That's weird.) We knew very well what we could continue to expect from this guy. Scott’s brain overflowed into other sites of his own imagination, Norm’s Notes and just today: EdnotesHumor. It’s about time someone thought of putting that stuff up.

The caucuses jumped in: ICE put up a blog in August 2005, its second post already stabbing at both the DOE and the UFT (the one for their incompetence, the other for their lack of foresight ... or incompetence):

As a side note the paras were rehired that September in one of the DOE's stunning display of disregard of its employees and managerial incompetence.

It is doubtful that you will hear anything about this case from official UFT sources even though it affected many members.

We must also remember that the “layoff” was only made possible when, in our previous contract, we gave up our no layoff clause. At the time our leadership argued that this was not a “giveback” since the possibility of layoffs was unimaginable.
Unity seems to have started blogging at the same time (you can find a link to their website on your own), TJC started theirs (I think) in Dec 2006. Other blogs followed, and more recently: loads of them. NYC Educator’s bloglist in the right margin is getting longer all the time. I myself began last September, battle-scarred as a chapter leader and having posted a comment or two for a couple of years on other websites. And when you’ve explored all these links, don’t forget the local Yahoo groups and websites, the national groups, and the fabulous Carnival of Education, which posts a new selection of current essays each week by teachers across the country. Neat-o.

I am proud to be part of this community of people who are willing to speak up.

I am proud that these sites are read by the press, government officials and ed administrators.

I am proud that we have created a new media.

Because we owe it to the kids we teach, to their parents, and to our own colleagues to present the insider’s, professional knowledge of what’s going on in our schools.

And because if we don’t do it, no one else is gonna.