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BLOGS: Around The Blogosphere

Hinojosa extends olive branch to teachers DISD Blog
DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa took a step to heal strained relations with teachers -- who are angry that hundreds of their colleagues were recently laid off -- by publicly apologizing during a community symposium today.

U.S. Cities vs. The World TCKB
Students in six major U.S. cities–Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Houston, New York and San Diego–are performing as well or better in mathematics than 4th and 8th graders in other countries, according to a new study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

Troubled black boys… Whitmire
As always, Bill Cosby offers up some truth telling here, absent the usual filter of racial political correctness.

86d0153b5c631ae9fb7f4a63d78bcdcb98cDouble-Take Tom Toch
Combining the two school-rating strategies is the only way to accurately reflect schools' contributions to student learning while preserving the law's commendable commitment to getting low performers up to proficiency and giving schools meaningful incentives to improve the achievement of all students.

Student Commenting in Blogs & Wikis: How to Get the Quality John Norton
So you’ve jumped into Web 2.0, determined to teach your students those “21st Century skills” everybody’s talking about. You’ve set up a blog or wiki and have students commenting via the Internet. Now what?

Parent hits cop, arrested at son's school Detention Slip
Way to go mom! Your immaturity pretty much ruined your kids childhood.

School district says no tattoos on teachers Detention Slip
A unanimous vote decided that no teachers in the schools can have any part of a tattoo visible.

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Alexander,

Great links, but I have to quarrel with 11/2 of your characterizations. The article on Hinojoa's apology said the symposium, " was hosted by the Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas Bar Foundation. It's doubtful that any teachers were present and heard the apology."

I don't think we teachers are too sensitive in challenging that sort of disrespect. In what other profession do so many patrons feel so free to commit assault. In Oklahoma, its a felony to assault a sports referee. ...

I don't agree its brave to argue that schools alone can't close the achievement gap, and then perpetuate the myth that if charters can be effective, then their neighboring comprehensive schools can be. Cosby asserts that principals of neighborhood schools could enforce the rules just like charter principals. Where is his evidence?

Cosby is not a reporter but Toch and Whitmire are. And they are excellent reporters. Why haven't they checked out the accuracy of Cosby's assertion.

Unless I miss my guess, I suspect that Toch and Whitmire realize that neighborhood schools can't be compared to magnet schools. There are some extraordinary principals who could clean up their buildings even under the rules that neighborhood school principals have to follow. One such principal has done that in a school near mine. But they are outliers. And if other principals followed in their paths, the central offices would take away their power. When you cream the most motivated students to magnets, you have to find a place for the rest. Few neighborhood school principals have the politcal power required to enforce disciplinary consequences. And they won't until we invest in alternative schools, you can't blame the central offices either. As an old principal used to tell us about violent and chronically disruptive students, "they have a right to be somewhere, and they might as well be in your class." Under current circumstances, when the central office allows one school to raise its behavioral standards, usually they have to take away the power of another school to provide a safe and orderly environment. Teachers and principals see that reality every day, and if outsiders don't believe us then they can show us the respect of checking out the facts.

I'm sure Toch and Whitmire have seen plenty of examples of the dynamics I describe. What don't they write about them? If people believe that magnet and neighborhood schools are not two completely different things, then do some reporting. They wouldn't have to take the words of teachers. They could try to find some neighborhood schools that are allowed to enforce their rules, and tell their stories.

The chart in The Quick and the Ed would be a good place to start. How many of the high-poverty but improving schools are magnets? Since there were only four (as I recall) it would take much effort to report their stories.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.