News, fiction and humour from the world of education

August 26, 2014

Compiled by Raymond Gariépy, ATA News staff

Missouri ballot to feature teacher evaluation plan
—Associated Press

An initiative proposing a new teacher evaluation system will go before Missouri voters in November. The measure would limit tenure protections for public school staff and require that promotions, salaries and layoffs be based largely on student performance data. Its November ballot certification came on the same day that Missourians were voting in August primary elections on higher transportation taxes and the creation of new constitutional rights for farmers, gun owners and cellphone users. The school initiative is sponsored by Teach Great, an organization financed by retired investor and political activist Rex Sinquefield. In July 2015, the measure would require public school districts to adopt evaluation standards that rely on “quantifiable student performance data” to guide decisions on promoting, demoting, firing and paying personnel. The measure would limit future teaching contracts to three years, curbing the current tenure system, which provides teachers with long-term job security. A coalition of school personnel opposes the proposal, saying it could have “devastating effects” on public schools. “This top-down mandate would shift local control away from parents, teachers and school districts, while implementing unfunded, statewide standardized tests,” said Paul Morris, a school board member from the Ferguson Florissant School District.

Some things just never change

“Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
—Socrates, 420 BC

Outliers
—CBC.ca

With the first day of school just around the corner, parents in Prince Edward Island are faced with whether to send their children to kindergarten or keep them at home for one more year. Children who turn five before the end of this year will be eligible to start kindergarten, but parents are free to decide to delay their start for a year. The department of education changed the rules four years ago to allow younger children to enter the school system. The government recommends that parents speak with early childhood educators or public health nurses if they’re looking for advice on whether to start their children in kindergarten this year. About 1,300 kids will be starting kindergarten on P.E.I. this September.

I am a teacher!

I am not a superhero. I am something more powerful: I AM A TEACHER! I don’t need a cape because I’m lifted up by the amazing and inspiring students that I teach!
—Author unknown

Novel classroom discipline approach
Education Week Teacher

A teacher in Belgium reportedly discovered a quick way to get his class to settle down. When students in his classroom refused to be quiet, he asked who among them had watched the HBO series Game of Thrones. He told them he had read all the books and that if they didn’t simmer down, he’d write out on the classroom board the names of all the characters that die. Apparently that did the trick and the class quieted down.

Oath of allegiance

Dear Parents:

If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I’ll promise not to believe everything he says happens at home.
—Author unknown

Hours worked ≠ pay

Average number of hours per week U.S. public-school teachers are required to work to receive base pay: 38

Average number they actually work: 52
—Harper’s Index, Harper’s magazine, September 2014

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