Retroactive abortion provider 1981-88 Management consultant 1990-present
Who is Natalie Grigson and why is anyone supposed to care?
Haslam reminds a little of the blind softball umpire in my old hometown. The ump had a deal with the city. They could use the field, on land he owned, as long as he got to call all the games there (and get paid for his trouble). Sonny was legally blind. He was ok on balls and strikes but couldn't see clearly enough to judge close plays on the base paths. So he made his calls based on the crowd. If more people hollered "Safe!" than "Out!" Sonny would call the runner safe. If the cries for "Out!" were louder, the batter was out.
In this case, there was a lot of vocal opposition to the bill. People organized petitions and contacted Haslam's office. He gauged the crowd and called "Out."
But it's least encouraging that an organized, vocal opposition seems to improve the chance that Haslam will pay attention. Of course, it helps when the attorney general advises him that the bill is unconstitutional.
I would hate to curb Scott Desjarlais' God-given, Second Amendment right to kill himself.
Good letter in today's NY Times that could have been easily directed at Kevin Huffman (except Kevin Huffman don't tolerate criticism). The letter also offers some insights into why so many experienced teachers are demoralized:
To the Editor:
What makes a great teacher? Not every college graduate is cut out to teach, regardless of his or her innate intelligence, G.P.A. or previous career success. Only those with specific talents and training become gifted teachers who, working with a talented mentor teacher and a variety of tools and learned techniques, can motivate students to want to learn.
As a former mentor to Teach for America corps members, I have seen their tears, anxieties, heartaches, successes and achievements. Unfortunately, the latter are far fewer. I have seen novices train novices to follow simple, formulaic scripts. They can do so much more if better prepared.
Corps members should intern for a year under the supervision of a talented mentor teacher, then teach for at least four years, not two. That may discourage some. Good. We want career teachers. A “temp” work force does not improve education or erase the achievement gap. Rather it helps to create havoc in schools desperately trying to gain stability, a key factor in any school’s success.
Teach for America has changed since its inception as a Peace Corps for American education. Then, I was in support of its efforts. Not now. Today’s Teach for America has morphed into more of a leadership institute. It describes itself as a “growing movement of leaders, nearly 28,000 strong, [that] works at every level of education, policy and other professions, to ensure that all children can receive an excellent education.”
Seasoned professionals know what works: being creative, independent, spontaneous, practical and rule-bending. Often it is the least orthodox teacher who most engages and excites students. Scripts and rules and models strictly followed cannot replace what the best teachers have: practical wisdom. In our anti-teacher world and scripted teaching climate perpetuated by corporate reformers, what room is there for the teachers we want for our kids?
Hartsdale, N.Y., April 29, 2013
The writer is a staff member of WISE Services, which offers programs for high school seniors, and treasurer of Save Our Schools.
Betsy, thanks for posting this. It is vintage Kevin Huffman.
Kevin really DOES think he knows better than teachers themselves about why those teachers are retiring. In fact, he thinks he knows more about all aspects of classroom education than people who have spent decades teaching in classrooms.
And I imagine he's probably sincere in saying that the higher rate of teacher retirements could be a good thing. He won't use exactly these words, but everything else he says about teachers (at least those who didn't come up through God's gift to education, Teach for America) leads you to suspect that he views most teachers as part of the problem. In hearing him speak, I hear an underlying hostility toward teachers and local school boards. It fits with a certain right-wing narrative that portrays teachers as a bunch of lazy and entrenched trade unionists who care only about their perks and pensions.
You don't have to spend a lot of time talking with teachers to recognize that a large number of them are demoralized these days. It's not just about the economy. They've always dealt with pay scales lower than most of them could earn in another profession. But a generation ago teachers were treated as respected members of a community. Now the Scott Walker crowd vilifies them as the enemy to education. On top of that, "reforms" whose merits are still mostly unproven have taken much of the art out of teaching and turned a significant part of the job into preparing kids for taking tests. I don't know all of the reasons that teachers are citing, but it wouldn't be surprising that an unusually high number are choosing to leave the profession these days.
I think the debate over whether those who are leaving are the low-performers vs. the high-performers is probably a red herring. Before that question can be answered you have to know what goes into the teacher ratings. And I tend to be skeptical about most ratings schemes — whether they measure the right things, whether we can trust them to be administered fairly. It turns out that students themselves (including kids as young as kindergartners) are probably the most reliable evaluators of teacher effectiveness.
Frank, since Campfield is not a decent human being, why are you holding him to the standards you'd set for a decent human being?
Apparently, they're not answering the phones at Mr. Holt's office this afternoon. But I did leave them a voicemail:
"I'm calling in response to a statement I read by Rep. Holt. After Carrie Underwood criticized the so-called Ag Gag bill, Rep. Holt said that she should be quiet and leave the lawmaking to him. I'm wondering if Rep. Holt would like me to send him a copy of First Amendment so he can study up on it. And the meantime if he'd like to come over to my house and tell me I don't have any business as a non-lawmaker criticizing some bill, I'll be happy to give all of y'all an old-fashioned Tennessee boot up your un-American ass."
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