Rethinking Teacher Tenure

teachingWith the recent Vergara decision, declaring teacher tenure unconstitutional it seems that the perception of teachers in our state continues to decline. Why is this the case? When did it become the norm to vilify teachers and schools for our students achievement or lack of achievement? To paraphrase Linda Darling Hammond it seems we are always looking at the output, and never much at the input. I believe that all the elements of educating our children must be working in harmony, as a system, if we really want to fundamentally reform our system.  This includes addressing, poverty levels, parent and family support, teacher training, facilities and funding for schools. I’m not sure if the figures are accurate, but I recently heard we used to spend four times more on education then we did on prisons, today that number is reversed. I have linked an article that describes the preparation programs for our future teachers, and the problems they are facing. Teaching today is extremely difficult and challenging, and we ask more from our teachers each year. We must dispel the perception that anyone can teach, and that there are thousands of young teachers, just waiting out there, that are fantastic. The reality is that somewhere near half of new teachers leave the profession in five years do to working conditions and lack of support or appreciation. Eliminating tenure may make a difference, not as much as making it easier to remove teachers who have committed a serious offense will, but it does not even begin to address the larger system wide issues. Until we value teachers they way they do in Finland and other nations, become more selective in who is admitted to teacher programs, and provide support and encouragement for teachers, the issues will continue.

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Communication-Making the complex simple

Communication Intimacy v1 InfographicI have just completed designing the most basic of what is known as an info graphic. An info graphic is defined as a “visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data” While this seems very simple at first, (and it may be for many) I found that designing an info graphic actually requires a lot of thought and planning. Technical challenges aside, communicating  your message, in a simple graphic/pictorial way that people will understand is quite challenging. What is your message? I believe many people overlook this and move past this point far to quickly, without enough thought. Depending on the images/charts or data shared, might people construe the wrong message? Communicating your message is critical if you hope to be a successful leader, and is something that should not be rushed or hurried, or perhaps you will be spending time explanning, “that’s not what I meant to say”

Check out my infographic and see if the message is clear:


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It’s Not Butter———Resources for the Smarter Balanced Assessment

sbacAs part of our learning module on the shifts and implications involved with the change to the Common Core State Standards, I am including some links to additional information regarding the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or SBAC. This new assessment is a huge leap forward in measuring students progress toward being ready for the rigor of College or a Career.

This is the main web site  for the SBAC and provide you with a wealth of information as well as sample assessments and problems.

This is a California Department of Education(CDE) resource page

This is a look at resources from Missouri, including examples of performance tasks. One great advantage of the CCSS and the SBAC is that they are not exclusive to CA. so many more resources are available.




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Define Better

Screenshot 2014-06-02 08.19.06Screenshot 2014-06-02 08.18.18Screenshot 2014-06-02 08.25.01

These are my stats to date for blogging and Tweeting. I titled this post define better, because I”m not convinced more is better. I do understand that if you want people to follow you, you will need to post with some regularity, however, if you want people to follow you, you need to being saying things that are interesting and relevant! As I learn to use this media, seek and curate information , and hopefully share it with my circle of friends, synthesizing the information becomes one of the key elements. I enjoy taking in the trending information and trying to synthesize and make sense of it. Only then will I feel that I’m getting better at social media, and all that it has to offer.

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school friends book

Everything is easier with the help of your friends. This weekend my colleagues from my Doctoral program, got together to develop a lesson on the Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment, that may be accessed online. This is a daunting task to accomplish when we all are just beginning to learn the tools required to build online content. Collaborating with my classmates made this assignment much easier to accomplish. We decided on a topic, separated in to groups of two and three and began to work. The design elements began to take on a theme as we all tried to stay away from bullet points and words. We used  Google docs to take live notes during the process and were able to really get the process started. My point in this entry is that to be a successful leader, you will need to make connections and seek out the help and  expertise of others. Life and technology are too complicated to go it alone.

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Curation Creation

In this post I will attempt to provide links to some of the information I have curated to date. I have been seeking information related to education, and middles school grade configuration, transitions and technology.

This first link is a FAQ for the Common Core. Good information to share, as so much mis- information is published.


The second link is related to my research project. My topic is district internet filters and the extent to which they block too much information or not enough. This article is about student privacy issues. When a teacher or school recommends or demands that students sign into certain web sites with an e-mail account, and then the e-mail is shared to outside vendors without express permission, is this acceptable?


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Catching Up!


This week has been a blur as I attend many banquets, scholarship nights and concerts. In addition I am also preparing for some possible upcoming changes and the combination of activities  is challenging to say the least! I have attached, (I think) a page describing my PKM self evaluation. Overall I’m getting comfortable with PKM, even to the point of checking on the latest Tweet or Blog a little too frequently. If the attachment does not open, please send me a note and I will attempt to repair it. I have been less attentive to sending out information this week, due to time concerns, but I promise to step it up next week.


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