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Posted by on in Literacy

Michigan Judge Stephen Murphy III recently ruled children do not have a fundamental right to learn to read and write. This long lasting, far reaching decision responded to a lawsuit filed in 2016 by Public Counsel, for plaintiffs, students in five of Detroit's most poorly performing schools, including public and charter. 

The case was called Gary B v. Synyder. It named, among others, Governor Snyder, Michigan Board of Education etc. The 136 page complaint, highlighted need for literacy and adequate education for all Detroit schoolchildren, as well as remedies for lack of appropriate facilities, class sizes, learning conditions and access to the proverbial level playing field for beleagured students.

I really don't know where to start or what to say. It is so disheartening to read the backstory of the Michigan Judge's decision that children don't have a fundamental right to literacy.

I saw the story on Twitter about a week ago, have been knocking it around in my head until I found a day to cocoon, do significant research and then write what I think. So that is exactly where I am and not really happy about it. It's just stuck in my head and heart.

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Posted by on in General

  

"Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, commited citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

Well, it's official, I graduated. Preschoolers are now ready for Kindergarten in the fall. Last night I happened to see one of the littles with his family at a Mexican restaurant. He looked at me, like Teacher Rita what are you doing here?

Maybe it's because teachers are always teaching, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, too. We are all teachers, whether in the schoolhouse, at home or out and about. There is always a lesson in there somewhere. And we instinctively know how to teach.

With world events swirling around us, seems like focusing on health and life's simple pleasures makes sense. Savoring a flower petal, river rapids, hearing wind chimes becomes more important than ever.

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Posted by on in General

But could you do it? Could you face a shooter and pull the trigger? Or tackle? And not panic? Tough questions. Easy to say what we would do, but could we do it? Our split second decision lasts forever, with so many ramifications.

As of now eighteen states allow teachers to carry firearms, undoubtedly there will be more. Obvious concerns including insurance companies worrying about liability, teachers questioning the idea, incidents already occurring with teachers making errors with guns, inevitable, and the social dilemma of what to do next about this growing and heinous problem.

In 2017 there were forty-four school shoortings, elementary and high school. The grisly toll was twenty-five lost and sixty injured. Thus far this year statistics are horrid, twenty- eight school shootings, with forty deaths and sixty-six injured. 

Just another day. Another shooting at school. Yesterday's shooting was at a Middle School in Indiana, just a bunch of innocent kids. A class taking a science test in the classroom. Not just any classroom, happened to be Jason Seaman's, former football player, school football coach, most important science teacher. Hired to be a science teacher, not a hero. But hero he is. However unintentionally.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

Empathy. Can't teach it, surely can model it. "Market Street", 2015, a Newberry, Caldecott and winner of other prestigious prizes, reads as a modern masterpiece for children of all ages. 

Not only does it appear to be a gentle intergenerational love story between a boy and his grandma,  we experience diversity, kindness and empathy throughout this simple story.

And the most lovely descriptions of a beautiful world maybe not so readily apparent until we really look beyond the obvious. Which is what we all certainly need to do.

 Let's take a bus ride, a very special one. Just us, like Nana and CJ, main characters in this heartwarming urban tale. 

Yesterday I went on the bus with Morgan's first grade field trip. She was so excited! I did a sleepover the night before. She woke me up about two hours before time for school, all dressed and lunch sack ready.

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Posted by on in Assessment

standardized test

Don't show Mama Our Nation's Report Card. Not so good. 

Tonight I'm sharing my opinions, not a major statistical treatise, but I will toss some information into the bowl, like Strega Nona, and let's mix it up, and put a little honey on top. 

Tonight I offer heartfelt, plain talk about yesterday's shocking headlines, or not so, really, that our kids have failed. Or at least, didn't show any growth in fourth and eighth grade reading. Goodness. Yet here we are in America, right in the middle of endless standardized testing.

Now this. Drat. Flat scores. The sideways. Up scores, like Florida. Down, like second language learners and special needs labeled students.

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