Alabama public school educators, teacher unions and advocates protest recently passed GOP legislation diverting public funds for private schools, creating an environment which will significantly seperate black and white students, and set paths for stripping away of more public school employee rights and benefits.
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Alabama GOP leaders recently passed legislation giving millions to rich white families with families in charter schools under the disguise of helping poor students in public schools escape “failing” public schools. Read more and share your views at voices.yahoo.com
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General Bayard Rustin would be an appropriate title for Bayard Rustin. Rustin fought some of the most challenging equal rights skirmishes for Negroes decades before the full-fledged war for Civil Rights for Blacks was implemented in the 60’s.
Bedroom v. Boardroom: Continual Contrasts.There were some significant similarities and contrasts between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bayard Rustin. Dr. King, Jr. was a degreed Baptist theologian. Jervis Anderson wrote in Bayard Rustin: Troubles I’ve Seen that, “one of the three colleges he (Rustin) entered (graduating from none) was a teacher-training institution, he excelled at another school as a student of music, and at a third college that Rustin committed himself wholly to a career in social activism.” Even though Rustin was not a licensed minister, Anderson reported that, “While attending high school in West Chester, he (Rustin) preached an occasional sermon at the local African Methodist Episcopal church.”
However, the personal lives of these two Civil Rights icons were are different as night and day. Dr. King, Jr. was married with children, and Rustin was an openly gay Black man. Daniel Levine wrote in Bayard Rustin and the Civil Rights Movement that, “He (Rustin) was not aware of his homosexuality in high school. In high school he was an outstanding athlete and student. He was also good friends with two of the girls in his honors class. When he was in prison as a conscientious objector during World War II, he told the prison doctor that both awareness and activity began around the age of fourteen.”
Yet, in spite Rustin’s moral dilemma regarding his homosexuality, and objections to WWII, Rustin remained an effective officer during the Civil Rights Struggles. Anderson wrote, “At movie theaters like the Warner and the Rialto, he (Rustin) and other blacks were directed to the balcony. He was arrested at the Warner, on South High Street, for refusing his “reserved” place in the balcony and daring to sit in the white section—-the first of more than twenty-five arrests he was to log in a near lifetime of social protest.”
The Wind Beneath Rosa Parks Wings.Many years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., there was Irene Morgan. Anderson wrote, “Morgan was convicted in 1944 because she took the first occupied seat she saw on a Greyhound bus in Gloucester County, Va., because she was weak from recent surgery. On the advice of the NAACP, Morgan appealed the Virginia law against integrated seating on vehicles of interstate transport. The Virginia Supreme Court upheld the conviction. Thurgood Marshall argued this case before the United States Supreme Court in 1946, where by a vote of seven to one, the court concurred with Marshall that the Virginia code was not only unduly burdensome but also unconstitutional, a violation of statutes governing interstate commerce.”
Following up on Morgan v. Virginia, Rustin and many other Civil Rights leaders organized what became known as the “Journey of Reconciliation”, which began in the North and spread throughout the South spurring the Rosa Parks legacy.
Rustin: The Soul Food of the Nation.Anderson wrote, “In January 1963, after conferring with Norman Hill and Tom Kahn, Rustin presented A. Philip Randolph with an outline of the Emancipation March, entailing “the co-ordinated participation of all progressive sectors of the liberal, labor, religious, and Negro communities.” The Emancipation March became known in history as the March on Washington where Dr. King, Jr. delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech. Rustin was the chief coordinator and organizer of the March on Washington, but he was one of the last speakers before the program ended. Even though Rustin was often last to get recognition for organizing some of the most important engines for change in regards to Civil Rights for all minorities, Rustin was certainly no caboose.
More: littlegreenfootballs.com>littlegreenfootballs.com> Too many black boys in public schools across America are pipelined into Special Education, which is a multi-billion dollar industry in education. Title 1 funds keeps many public schools operating smoothly, and creates many education jobs for paraprofessionals and Title 1 educators, which is good for many school employees.
However, we still must ask ourselves why so many black males are disappropriatedly placed in Special Education when they misbehave compared to white students who show the same pattern of misbehaviors.
Read this article in my link, and share it, if you like to get a fresh and comprehensive perspective on this issue with facts:
More: littlegreenfootballs.com>littlegreenfootballs.com>The boxing gloves are on as Alabama stakeholders fight over House Bill 84(HB 84). HB 84 was introduced in the state House under the parameters of “Flexibility Bills” in 2013. Many opponents allege that HB 84 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As a public school employee in this state since 1992, I believe that we need to address this issue more comprehensively.
Address economic mobility in public school stakeholders.
The Department of Labor should find a way to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $9-$12 an hour. I believe that parents who consistently struggle with financial issues such as under-employment, unemployment, and stagnated wages can become more active stakeholders if this issue is resolved.
Employers will need to create more jobs to hire more parents. Parents will need to acquire more job skills per employer’s demands.
I do not believe that parents should have to decide whether paying utility bills and rent is more important than investing in supplemental resources to advance their child’s education.
Parents should not continually expect classroom teachers to pay out of their pockets for supplemental resources such as more school supplies, more technology in the classroom, some snacks for children who miss meals,etc. State allocated teacher supply monies hardly ever covers annual expenses needed to effectively meet all students’ needs.
Researcher David Berliner wrote in American Teacher (Jan.-Feb. 2013) that, “Both logic and research suggest that economic policies that reduce income inequality throughout the United States are quite likely to improve education a lot.” A lot does not always mean significantly.
Public vs. Charter Schools battle continues.
Former D.C. chancellor Michelle Rhee created Students First to allow a path for charter schools in all states. According to information published on Students First website, “StudentsFirst created the State Policy Report Card to evaluate the education laws and policies in place in each state.
We believe state policies must empower parents to make the best choices for their children, and they must enable school administrators to recognize, reward, and retain the best teachers and principals.(reportcard.studentsfirst.org Alabama received an F from StudentsFirst on the state’s report card.
Dr. Gregory T. Graves, Associate Executive Secretary of Alabama Education Association argues in Alabama School Journal that, “The Republican leadership in the House has introduced House Bill 84(HB 84)(in which) educators become at-will employees subject to being fired on a whim by an administrator who has a friend who needs a job.
Most of your benefits and working conditions are set by law. HB84 would make all of those laws meaningless. They will be free to give their money away to their friends, cronies, and campaign contributors in the guise of contracts. They are determined to destroy public education in this state and to take away your livelihood with it.”
Charter schools can basically be run like private schools. Teacher unions like AEA and AFT will not be able to represent charter school employees. Therefore, the concerns of Graves are authentic in opposition to HB 84, and charter schools.
After serving as a substitute teacher since 1992, I can attest to the fact that many students struggle, and there are some leadership/financial issues that must be resolved in public schools. However, this is evident in many other large public schools districts locally and nationally.
We should empower all stakeholders in public schools by offering parents professional and personal developmental opportunities like we do for school employees. We should allow classroom teachers to teach students using a holistic paradigm, and not just teach to the test.
Do not cut HeadStart, but expand this pre-K program. Pay all school employees fair cost-of-living (COL) wages and benefits commensurate with the standard of living increases we face annually. I’m not implying that we give school employees raises annually, but that equitable pay raises are fair when implemented according to current cost of living expenditures. Fair COL pay rates would exempt school employees from being eligible for food stamps, public housing and social programs for the poor.
Substitute teachers with four-year degrees should earn no less than $80-$100 a day in my school district, regardless of whether subs work on-call, in long-term sub assignments, or possess 4-year degrees in education/teacher certification. The Substitute Teaching Institute asserts that, “One full year of a child’s elementary and secondary education is taught by substitute teachers.”
Charter schools will eventually be allowed in Alabama, but don’t erode public schools to promote charter schools. Charter schools should be an option that parents choose based on facts, not political fiction and skewed data. You don’t have to belong to any political party to acknowledge that students will always come first.
Without students, none of us would have jobs or careers. Students are just waiting on adults to practice with public policies what many of them hear preached at school, home, church and in the community.
Make no mistake…substitute teachers earn considerably less than regular certified classroom teachers. In my school district, subs earn $60 a day and certified ‘highly qualified’ new classroom teachers earn close to $40,000 a year. However, you have to compare and contrast the pros and cons if you decide to sub.
Substitute Teachers Autonomy and Benefits
Substitute teachers choose daily when and where they work. In my school district, we use SubFinder, a computerized employee placement system that allows subs to call on the phone or access sub jobs through the Internet. You choose which schools, which grade levels, and what days you will work based on available jobs. However, regular classroom teachers are contracted to work in one classroom, with the same students all semester, for at least one year, unless they get fired, sick, or take an extended leave of absence.
Unlike student teachers in a teacher education program in college, substitute teachers manage their own classes for that entire day. Student teachers must work under the direct supervision of cooperating teaching mentors. Substitute teachers often have to create emergency lesson plans in case none are left by the regular teachers. This is why I advise subs to come to work at least 30 minutes early in case you have to create lesson plans to keep students busy bell-to-bell.
Many parents choose to work as subs in school districts close to where they live, work in schools where their children attend school, and often work with school officials that taught them. I often walked to work as a sub, and knew most of the parents and school staff at the schools I worked at. Familiarity with school climates, culture, personnel and community is good for you when you’re a sub or regular teacher.
Pros and Cons of Subbing.
Besides employment autonomy, subs can choose to go online and pursue teacher certification while you work on-call or full-time as subs. I completed a master’s degree in Secondary Education online from the University of Phoenix while I subbed daily.
The Pros to completing a teacher certification program online is that you can go to class online during hours of the day or night when you feel most comfortable, and relaxed. Trying to commute to college in person often conflicts with your work schedule. You don’t have to worry about parking, student traffic issues, professors with conflicting attitudes, and possible school violence issues when you attend classes online in the safety of your homes. Hopefully, you don’t have any deranged or violent family members.
Another benefit of subbing is that subs can join the National Education Association (NEA) for significantly reduced union member dues, and receive outstanding employee benefits. I paid $50 a year to join NEA. Recently, the Birmingham American Federation of Teachers (BAFT) approved its membership category to allow subs to pay only $10 a month, and receive full employee benefits.
I am also a member of AEA (www.myaea.org), BAFT (aft.org), National Substitute Teachers Alliance (www.nstasubs.org), Substitute Teacher Institute (stedi.org), and President of the Birmingham Professional Substitute Teachers Alliance (BPSTA). Contact these organizations for more specific information about benefits and issues for subs.
The Cons to going to school online is that you have to rely mostly on huge student loans to complete your education. Secondly, you have to submit your work timely or face stiff academic penalties; you have to sign in to class at least four times a week, and participate substantially in class discussions, and work on teams online with students you can’t see. You also have to try and resolve any academic grade issues completely online compared to being able to settle your academic disputes in person with college deans and department heads.
School Accreditation and Certification Issues.
Always ensure that you check first with your State Department of Education to make sure your online teaching certification and degree will be accepted for teaching certification processing in your state, and school district. Usually, the State Department of Education lists which online teacher education programs will be considered/accepted as part of a teacher certificate transfer or reciprocity programs.
An Institutional Recommendation (IR) is not the same as an actual teacher’s certificate. However, some school districts may grant you an Emergency teaching certificate or Provisional/Alternative teaching certificate with an IR while you pursue, and complete requirements for a full teacher’s certificate. You are usually only able to teach for one year with an Emergency teacher’s certificate, and up to three years with a Provisional/Alternative teaching certificate.
I graduated from the University of Phoenix earning two master’s degrees in education. There are six regional accreditation agencies in the United States that are responsible for making sure colleges and universities in their geographic regions meet minimum standards before they are granted accreditation. There is also a Birmingham campus of the University of Phoenix in my state in case you want to go to school in-person or online.
Jill Brown wrote in ‘go4learning.org’ that, ‘The University of Phoenix is accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, and does have some department accreditation, depending on which program you pursue. The school’s master’s degree program is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).’
Do you research before you enroll in any online programs. Consider the costs and student loan debts. Consider departmental accreditation issues. Consider your technology skills and family obligations. Consider whether you want to take on full teaching responsibilities after you sub for a while. Most of all, consider whether you have what it takes to change the world, one child at a time.
More: Little Green Footballs
After 3 major tornadoes tore through the community that I have lived in since 1967, I feel compelled to write this article on how my Faith was increased after surviving 3 major tornadoes. Pratt City is the oldest community in Birmingham, and Birmingham is one of the largest cities in Alabama. The April 27th 2011 tornadoes nearly wiped my community off the map this time!
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I would love to hear similiar stories from other tornado survivors or your comments after you read my article. Feel free to share my link.