Gates Foundation Funds “Consumer Reports” for Common Core Resources

Oh my goodness! Could we throw some of this money into funding things that are really at issue like students entering kindergarten that don’t know their last names, virtually no planning time, and high drop out rates would be high on my list. I’m all for strong standards but even if ccss met that need, this is ridiculous.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The long arm of the Gates Foundation reaches out to create a rating system for Common Core-aligned materials. Not content to have paid for the writing of the CCSS. the evaluation of the CCSS, the implementation of the CCSS, and the promotion of and advocacy for the CCSS, the foundation wants to take the next step to make sure no one uses anything less than stellar CCSS.

In today:

A ‘CONSUMER REPORTS’ FOR THE COMMON CORE: A new nonprofit funded with $3 million from the Gates Foundation and the Helmsley Charitable Trust launches today with plans to review textbooks and other instructional material for fidelity to the Common Core. will start by bringing in teams of classroom teachers to evaluate K-8 math materials. The curricula will be judged by how well it matches the Common Core and assesses student learning and by whether it offers teachers guidance in…

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What is Campbell Brown hiding?

Campbell Brown calls herself a journalist. But more importantly to my role as educator, she’s involved in a couple of initiatives that are pro charter school and more than a tad anti-public school. On the Colbert Report (on which she is called an “education reform advocate”), she made a couple of statements that I’d love to ask her about, so off I go to her facebook page ready to engage in conversation! Silly me! The number of comments is clearly visible on each post, but I can’t see them. Wondering why, but I commented anyway, Now, I can see mine but still no others. The number of comments is growing ,and still I can only see mine! Well, now I can also see a friend’s comments too. Thank you Malinda!

I find it strange that a woman associated with a group called The Parents’ Transparency Group is not transparent. Oh, the irony. 

So what is Campbell Brown actually hiding? If her project is so worthy, why isn’t she engaging the educational community at large in dialogue? Why am I and the other commenters on her facebook page unable to connect? I love to read all sides of an issue, but I want to ask questions when I do that. I want to know where people are coming from, and that level of information takes more than reading a press clipping. 

Guess I’ll have to visit her on twitter instead. 



Teachers and raises in NC

We keep getting news of an “Average” 7% pay raise for teachers. Not knowing how many teachers are at each step, I can’t do that math easily to know if that statement is true. What I do know is that when you look at the word “Average” over 36 steps, a ton of room is left for maneuvering and posturing.

Everyone has access to our state pay scales which is why little images like this one can be made.

pay scale - side by side

Not sure that really shows what I want to highlight, so I’m using information taken from 2013-14 salary schedule and the 2008-09 salary schedule. AND of course the now famous 2014-14 proposed schedule (begins near bottom of page 50). I used year 17 for my compairson. It’s right in the middle of the NEW 4th step. 

 year 17 pay

The “raise” looks much better than last year’s salaries, but look at the numbers compared to 2008-09. Not a lot of progress, but a little. Oh, and Masters National Boards will no longer be figured off of Master’s pay, but off of Schedule A. That’s about a $500 difference a year.

Now, let’s throw in the longevity.  NC has an entire document dedicated to longevity. Year 17 teachers would make 2.25% in longevity. It has been a separate payment as a bonus. The last line of the document clearly states “Longevity pay is not a part of annual base pay for, nor is it to be recorded in personnel records as a part of annual base salary.”  For teachers, the proposal is to roll it into their monthly salary – which also means it’s no longer longevity, but shared by all. This is only for teachers, however. Even principals will continue to get their typical longevity.

year 17 pay w longevity

Based on this information, a year 17 teacher (with longevity) is still making less than they would have in 2008-09.

All this was possible because of the nearly frozen salary. I’ve said it before and I want to reiterate that I understand the economy has been pitiful. I know teachers are not the only ones with frozen salaries. I know decisions had to be made. I want my congress woman and senator to at least acknowledge they heard what I had to say when I write. (Debra Conrad and Earlene Parmon in my case. While I copied the letter into a blog, I sent it to both of them.) What I want is for our politicians to be honest with us. I want to have an honest discussion about tenure. (Which is no longer given in NC if you didn’t have it before 2012-13 school year, and you lose it if you change counties.) Don’t try to make things seem better than they are through fuzzy rhetoric and posturing and expect us not to look for the facts behind the verbiage. Oh, and take care of those older teachers financially! We need new teachers. We need their vitality and their excitement We need the older ones too. We need their wisdom and experience. I understand that I’m a public servant, but I’m thinking that maybe NCGA doesn’t get that they are too. 

School Wires discovery

I have moaned over School Wires – although it is better than what we have before. I was missing something. I didn’t know what. Well, I figured out a partial today. Apps.

When you create a page, it asks you what kind of page you’d like to create. I almost always picked Flex because it would do so much. What I discovered today was I can have a dozen apps on a page.

A page with links like this one was made with stacking apps like this:

  • Flex editor 1- header
  • Link app 1 – Copyright Links
  • Link app 2 – Fair Use Links
  • Link app 3 – Plagiarism Links
  • Flex editor 2 – footer

So, the page might not be a smooth as I’d like, but the way things shift around when trying to get everything on one page, this is better.

Any of the apps can be stacked. Pod casts, blogs, wikis – you see it, you can add it. I’ve been fiddling around with pages that I can keep on the website that give instructions for the class to be read when they sit down and I’m having to help someone with something. I tried several of the different page types and wasn’t happy with any of them. Not that I can add different apps, I might be able to make this work.

Couple of things I haven’t figured out how to do yet. Get the calendar to merge with another one (one that is more user friendly) and make an easy site map for just my pages. Oh well, maybe a light will go off for those another day!

56 days of summer – 38

I hope today is the day I send in my manuscript.

Week 2 of the Copyright course starts.

I started a sharing board on FB for school librarians. Please join us if you are a school librarian.

This is a way we can collaborate with librarians not only across NC, but in other states. My dream is for us to build our own database of lessons, helps with classroom management, problems solving ideas. 

#NCTLchat hosted Eva Ridenhour and Stanley N Katrina, both student authors. Check out the writing vids that Eva has on her site! The perpetual papers of the pack of pets is found on Amazon and is in Kindle and paperback forms.

Then I went to a webinar for promoting the library at open houses by Jocelyn Sams.

Over the weekend I set up a facebook page for the library. Now we have twitter, pinterest, facebook, a webpage and a blog. All I have to do is get them to talk to each other – Especially the FB since I can’t get on that one at school!

I also created a mobile app. Not completely thrilled with the site, but it’s a start.

Looking for some how to videos on Smart Board. Here’s a playlist .

Have you taken a course from Coursera?

One of my feeds had a post describing an upcoming course on Copyright for Educators and Librarians. It’s a four week course delivered through Coursera. Profs are from Duke, UNC, and Emory. The course is set up like a regular course – videos, readings, quizzes, assignments, discussions. Here’s the info. If they offer it again, I’d recommend taking it. I’ve already learned some interesting things, although there are about 8,000 people taking this session. Wow!