What’s “Radical” About Colleges Supporting K-12?

I was fortunate enough to be on leave during the spring semester and so was surprised to learn at the first faculty meeting that Trinity College, where I teach, had launched a new initiative to partner with the Hartford Magnet Middle School (HMMS).  The Hartford Magnet Middle School, located right across Broad Street from the College, is one of the nation’s most successful.  About half its students, selected strictly by lottery, come from Hartford, one of the nation’s poorest and largely minority cities; the other half come from the surrounding towns.  Trinity is a small, selective, and expensive liberal arts Read More …

Radically Teaching That “It Gets Better”

As a critically queer librarian in a vibrantly gay urban setting, out and proud for as long as I can remember, I sometimes forget how important simple acts of recognition can be. Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project is a poignant reminder, and a wonderful opportunity for GLBTQ adults to send messages to young people struggling with issues of sexuality and identity. By recording simple videos and uploading them to YouTube, folks living happy gay adult lives can tell young gay people–whose suicide rates are shockingly higher than among their straight peers–that life really does get better. A pair of Read More …

Charter Schools and the American Federation of Teachers Convention

At the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Convention last week (July 7-11) in Seattle a resolution was passed that called for unionizing charter schools into already existing AFT locals (not separate locals) and called for transparency in budget, student progress, funding, and corporate and private interests. Apparently the AFT already represents 140 charter schools. All of the Baltimore charter schools are unionized and in NYC the AFT runs several charter schools. Many of us were alarmed by this resolution because of the apparent embrace of the AFT of charter schools with the resultant move to privatization. The strongest objections came Read More …

There’s Cheating, and Then There’s CHEATING

Good heavens, school teachers and principals are cheating–maybe 1% to 3% of them, nationally;  4% to 5% in Chicago.  So reports Trip Gabriel, in a front page New York Times story, “Pressed to Show Progress, Educators Tamper with Test Scores” (April 11, 2010).  For example:  a principal in Massachusetts told teachers to look over the shoulders of test-taking kids and point out wrong answers to them.  A principal in Virginia “pressured” teachers of struggling special ed students to put the correct answers to state reading test questions on an overhead projector.  In Georgia, the state board of education launched an Read More …