Friday, September 26, 2014

Lesson Plans

Nice piece of writing by Chicago high school teacher and Louder Than a Bomb poetry coach, Dave Stieber at Huffington, "Lessons Learned in Englewood: 8 Years of Reflections From a CPS Teacher". Worth sharing with my students and fellow educators.

Dave Stieber's I Teach website is here.

THE POINT OF PRODUCTION... I did some classroom walk-throughs and observations (not evaluations) with a middle school principal yesterday. Watched him interact and give good, welcomed feedback to teachers. He's trying to help build a professional community based on trust and collaboration.

The classroom, for him, is where most good discussions of school improvement and teaching/learning start. But few principals I see are prepared or have the time or inclination to be instructional leaders, coaches, connoisseurs of good teaching, and many of the new ones, coming out of the power philanthropists' training programs, have little teaching experience themselves. They're increasingly sent in to become building managers and ramrods. Walk-throughs and observations, little more than gotchas, trying to affirm the dominant narrative about "bad teachers" being the problem. 

Thanks for that narrative, Arne Duncan.

ANOTHER REASON I'M A FAN of Karen Lewis. She's carrying on the legacy of our first black mayor, Harold Washington.. Chicago Reporter's Curtis Black writes:
The New Era Windows Cooperative was the perfect setting for Karen Lewis to deliver her core message to an enthusiastic group of supporters: What Chicago needs is “a restoration of participatory democracy.”
“When you have participatory democracy, people can determine what’s best for their communities, as opposed to waiting for years for some development from on high that may or may not be meaningful” in addressing issues faced by residents, the teachers union president and prospective mayoral candidate told a gathering sponsored by the McKinley Park Progressive Association this week.
Karen's rap got Black to remark:
 It sounds like she would restore something like the community hearings on the city budget that Mayor Harold Washington instituted in 1983. Mayor Richard M. Daley continued those hearings, though their number was reduced sharply and they became rather perfunctory. Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled them after his first year in office.
Remarkable isn't it, that 30 years later, Harold's name is still invoked by all sides as the model of good government.

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