Westport Teachers Online

Teachers Discussing SB24

Town-Wide Discussion / Town Hall Meeting

Action: There has been talk of a community discussion about SB24. Is this something we should do, and if so: 1) this information should go into the Ad 2) We will need a place…Public Library? I can contact Bill Derry and ask. 3) Next Thursday or Friday (Assuming the AD goes in for Wed 3/14)

 

Speak Up!   We are running out of time to educated the public and our legislators! 

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Westport News Update: Part 2

Another Westport teacher has come forward to donate the other $500 toward the Ad! So we now have the promised funds to go forward. I will gather all together for the Ad, but we need YOUR voice. I need to know what you think. If you haven’t made a peep, now is the time!

There will be a meeting at 230 in room 2038 at Staples High School.  If you cannot attend, but would like to provide input, please use this blog or the Facebook group to speak.

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Advertising Cost Information (UPDATE)

Yesterday at our meeting, we discussed getting the message out, and that an advertisement in the Westport News would probably be most effective, given the short window of opportunity we have.  Here is the information I have found out for us.

It ain’t cheep.
Advertising rates for the Westport News and Fairfield Citizen:

½ page 1 paper = $600/total
½ page 2 papers = $1,080/total

Full Page 1 paper = $900/total
Full Page 2 papers = $1,625/total

Both the Westport News and Fairfield Citizen publish twice a week, every Wednesday and Friday. Deadline for space reservation is two days prior to pub date and artwork is due one day prior to pub date.

I think an Ad is still a great way to go, but the cost is significant.

 

We have someone willing to donate $500 and loan up to another $500 to advertising if that’s what we decide to do. That could buy us a full page in the Westport News.

What do others think? Please leave a comment.

What some Westport Parents are Saying

A Westport mom posted the following on Facebook this morning. TALK to your parents; they’re ultimately our best advocates.

Do we want more teaching to the test only? Malloy’s Reform Education Bill, SB 24, pressures teachers to prepare only for the state tests (the CMT/CAPT hell we are in right now in March) and not for the broad education they have been trained to provide: “45% of teacher’s evaluations will be dependent upon objective indicators of student academic growth, such as test scores”. WRITE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES and tell them NO.

She also went on to say in another post:

We need more time, to understand what this bill will mean to our schools and teachers. Westporters: Contact Sen. Toni Boucher, Sen. John McKinney, Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, and ask for more time and more public discussion of Governor Malloy’s Education Reform Bill, SB 24.

Here are two responses to her posts:

Thanks. I already have been feeling this loss in our schools and writing! We need to fight this- it will have a terrible effect on our kids!
57 minutes ago · Like

Say NO. So many things outside the classroom affect test scores. So much time is already spent in the classroom teaching to them.

Many parents agree with us, if we can motivate them to make calls.

Malloy Tackles Education in Fairfield County Forum

http://www.thedailyfairfield.com/schools/malloy-tackles-education-issues-norwalk-forum

by Nancy Guenther Chapman

NORWALK, Conn. — The fate of homeless children and the way elementary schools teach parents were some of the topics covered Monday when Gov. Dannel Malloy met with Norwalk educators in an early education roundtable at Norwalk Community College.

Malloy spent 40 minutes discussing issues with the group after touring NCC’s Child Development Lab School and preschool programs at Brookside Elementary School. “He really wants to listen, as he’s been doing for the last year or so now, listening to what his constituents have to say, what the experts feel, whether it’s education or early education,” state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said as the roundtable began.

Malloy announced a $12 million proposal to improve early childhood education in Connecticut last Thursday. He began the meeting by outlining the highlights of the 163-page package: a promise of 500 additional preschool seats by September, $3 million to improve quality of all early education programs and $5 million to create a rating system for all early child care education programs.

“One of the proposals is we’re moving in direction of universal access to early childhood education,” he said. “I firmly believe that early childhood education is one of the main ways to close the achievement gap.”

Susan Marks, superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools, said, “I’m pleased to hear about the focus on high quality because everything we now about closing the achievement gap is about high quality teachers, high quality administrators, high quality sports and programs and curriculum, the idea that there will be clear standards I think will help.”

Bruce Mellion, president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers, outlined teacher evaluation techniques in the city, adding, “Nobody in Norwalk is getting a pass to tenure.”

Malloy responded that Norwalk, Stamford, Danbury and West Hartford have proven that there are better ways to get things done. But he said there is room for improvement and significant changes need to be made.

“One of the interesting things about where we are today is there is almost universal agreement in the last month or so, we’ve got to move forward with a better evaluation,” he said. “That’s not to say this isn’t the right one for you, but there’s got to be an evaluation standard. Which is radically different where we were a few years ago.”

Curtis Law, executive director of the Norwalk Housing Authority, said that 10 percent to 15 percent of public school students come from public housing and 80 percent of them do not have access to a preschool experience. That has much to do with the lack of transportation for public housing residents, he said,

Jason Shaplen, CEO of St. Luke’s LifeWorks of Stamford, said homeless children have needs that are more severe than other low-income people. Less than 25 percent of children who are homeless graduate from high school, he said. They are also four times more likely to be sick and four times more likely to have developmental problems.

Marks and Malloy agreed: the way schools approach parents needs to change.

“Another area is parent component,” Marks said. “Not in the traditional way, but about our responsibility early on to teach parents how to advocate for their children.”

“Parents of young children don’t have the fear factor that comes about when third or fourth grade comes around,” Malloy said. “We actually see participation drop, and I think it has a lot to do with how we’re approaching them, not how they’re approaching us.

“That low-income parents will get their children to a quality pre-kindergarten experience come hell or high water is pretty amazing and for some reason we’re sending some messages that discourage people. … There’s this whole mindset that we have on how people should communicate with us in education. I think it’s wrong.”

Confessions of a Bad Teacher- NY Times Article

A great article from the NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/opinion/sunday/confessions-of-a-bad-teacher.html?_r=2&pagewanted=2&src=twr

“Teaching was a high-pressure job long before No Child Left Behind and the current debates about teacher evaluation. These debates seem to rest on the assumption that, left to our own devices, we teachers would be happy to coast through the school year, let our skills atrophy and collect our pensions.

The truth is, teachers don’t need elected officials to motivate us. If our students are not learning, they let us know. They put their heads down or they pass notes. They raise their hands and ask for clarification. Sometimes, they just stare at us like zombies. Few things are more excruciating for a teacher than leading a class that’s not learning……”

March 8th Meeting in Monroe

State representative Debralee Hovey will speaking at Masuk High School  on Thursday, March 8, at 4PM, in what is billed as an education forum.
She will talk about her position on the education issues under debate in Hartford and then take questions.

Suggestion from a State Representative- Comment directly on specific sections

From another of our teachers.

 

“We just had a meeting with Audin Grogrins and a few other representatives from Bridgeport. she said what would be really helpful is if everyone could comment directly to specific sections of the bill and address why they were concerning. She also mentioned it would be helpful if we could provide some suggestions as to how we could make improvements to education.”

Write to the Education Committee Members

One of our colleagues received a letter today from Bob Duff, to whom they had written about the bill. He stated that he is reserving judgment until he sees a final bill since he is not on the Education Committee. Please take a look at the list of Education Committee members to see whether you know any of them or they represent your area–these are the people we most need to reach know with our personal stories.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?comm_code=ED

This is 15 minutes long, but the co-founder of Stand for Children (Michele Rhee’s anti-union, anti-teacher lobbying group) basically reveals very candidly how his operation was able to undermine one state’s teachers and pass anti-union, anti-education reform, basically facing no resistance.

We can do it differently!

It’s important to see how these groups do their work–it also helps explain Malloy’s motives.

Stand for Children Co-founder describes Illinois take down of teachers and their unions.

 

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