Diane Ravitch

Conversations Episode 99 - Teachers Advocating for Themselves

This week, Lisa, Maria, and Sheila got a bit political, talking about today's politics of teaching.  Our kickoff was a series of tweets by Diane Ravitch, @dianeravitch, about the need for educators to advocate for themselves.  Join us this week in finding a way to promote educators to the public - or at least to your parents.


11:25:21 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Have video/sound on ustream

11:25:51 Sheila : no sound though right?

11:26:43 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : had sound.

11:26:47 Sheila : stopping for a moment

11:27:00 Lisa Parisi : Hello Scott

11:27:08 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Hello Lisa

11:27:36 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Coffee refill before show starts.....brb

11:29:03 Lisa Parisi : Hi Lori

11:29:11 Lori Feldman : Hi there kiddo!

11:30:53 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : He Peggy

11:31:00 PeggyG : Hi everyone

11:31:01 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Hi,...

11:31:31 Lisa Parisi : Hi Peggy

11:31:35 PeggyG : Didn't see a tweet this morning! So glad you're here

11:31:53 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Sound back

11:32:27 PeggyG : I can see and hear ustream today!!! Woo hoo!! Going to be a great day :-)

11:32:30 Sheila 2 : We are a little behind the times. .

11:32:36 Lisa Parisi : Sorry Peggy.  Took a while to decide on a topic

11:32:37 Sheila 2 : Yeah Peggy!

11:32:41 PeggyG : we hit 95 degrees yesterday in Phoenix!

11:32:45 Lori Feldman : Mostly listening today...trying to set trays for Passover

11:33:00 PeggyG : Hi Lori

11:33:34 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : 33 here last night

11:33:37 PeggyG : some people start ahead of time of things--I'm not one of them :-)

11:33:45 Lori Feldman : not off of work...

11:34:13 PeggyG : spring break is over in AZ

11:34:46 Lori Feldman : Nebraska not quite full of Members Of the Tribe!

11:35:03 Lisa Parisi : No Lori

11:36:49 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : No,  it is the BEST time to be a new teacher.  Getting in at the bottom... no where to go but up.

11:37:02 Sheila 2 : :)

11:37:33 Lisa Parisi : True Scott

11:38:10 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : (and I'm going to be a rockstar.  Will have a guitar in my classroom)

11:38:14 Lisa Parisi : LOL

11:38:48 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : I took my 6-string to kindergarten. We wrote songs for poetry month

11:38:49 PeggyG : gee whiz! briefly lost my internet connection and saw it on the ustream screen :-)

11:40:00 PeggyG : did you share a link for Diane Ravitch as the basis for this conversation?

11:40:13 Lisa Parisi : No Peggy. 

11:40:15 MariaK : just here twitter feed from last week April 11

11:40:18 Lisa Parisi : Just came from her tweets

11:40:22 PeggyG : ok thanks

11:40:23 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : I was at the school board meeting last week.  I was one of three parents.  :-(

11:40:27 Lisa Parisi : @dianeravitch

11:41:48 Sheila 2 : Morning Maureen.

11:42:09 Maureen : Hi Sheila- what are you talking about today?

11:42:34 MariaK : Teachers advocating for themselves

11:43:21 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : So you think individual voices are stronger than the collective voice of the umion?

11:43:35 Lisa Parisi : I think we need both, Scott

11:43:45 PeggyG : http://twitter.com/#!/dianeravitch

11:43:59 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : me too....

11:44:57 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : sound?

11:45:14 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : back now.

11:45:15 Sheila 2 : I think that was Maria's connection.

11:45:51 Maureen : no sound?

11:46:04 PeggyG : no sound for me either right now

11:46:22 Lisa Parisi : Go to ustream for sound

11:46:48 PeggyG : ustream is off air for me

11:46:54 Maureen : It

11:46:57 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : back now

11:46:58 MariaK : etta stream is up

11:46:58 Maureen : It's back now

11:47:02 PeggyG : ok now

11:47:18 PeggyG : repeat your rants :-)

11:47:18 Maureen : you'll have to rant again

11:48:09 Sheila 2 : Sorry about that all!

11:48:23 Maureen : I don't feel hated, but no longer respected as in the past

11:48:47 Lisa Parisi : I feel scared to tell people I teach.  Sort of waiting for the backlash when I say it.

11:48:59 Lisa Parisi : Used to be really proud to be a teacher.

11:49:17 Sheila 2 : Lack of trust.

11:49:32 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : I LOVE to tell pepople I'm changing careers to teaching.  The look on their face is priceless.

11:49:35 PeggyG : it seems wherever you go if you say you're a teacher you are expected to defend all teachers everywhere

11:49:44 PeggyG : I love that Scott!

11:50:07 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : especially when they figure out im taking a 50% pay cut!

11:51:58 Maureen : It still feels like people like their own local teachers, but mistrust all the rest.  Much like people like their own congress person, but hate the reat of them

11:53:15 PeggyG : I keep losing my connection!

11:53:25 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : That is true, Maureen.  That mindset is why people fight so hard to keep their local (but failing) schools open.

11:53:44 PeggyG : Parents should be on those committees!

11:53:50 Maureen : It has a lot to so with the economy- when people have lost so much, lost their jobs, etc and are worried about their own future- they lash out at others who they see as having a "soft, secure job".

11:54:11 PeggyG : It isn't us vs them! We are all working towards the same goals.

11:54:42 Lisa Parisi : I know Maureen but don't we deserve something for taking care of their children all day and helping them be successful?

11:54:52 Lisa Parisi : Not so sure of that, Peggy.

11:55:04 PeggyG : we always talk about how important it is to build these relationships! It really is!

11:55:05 Lisa Parisi : Parent's goal...make ed cheaper.

11:55:13 Lisa Parisi : Teacher's goal ... make ed work

11:55:41 Lisa Parisi : Hello John

11:55:46 woodenmask : Good morning

11:56:39 PeggyG : parents want a good education for their children

11:57:03 Lisa Parisi : But they don't understand what it takes to get that good education.  They do think test scores say it all.

11:57:29 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : It's hard to get that support for elementary schools.  Adults frequently hold HS and college as fond memories, but elem grades are just "kid stuff".

11:58:29 PeggyG : I think inviting them into the classroom can be life changing! When we brought community leaders in as Principal for a Day their attitudes (and support for education) were significantly changed.

11:58:38 Sheila 2 : Really Scott? I have former students coming back to the middle school.

11:59:16 Sheila 2 : We don't have a high school so that may be the reason.

11:59:31 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : MS is love/hate. Not much middle ground.  Much depends on school culture.

12:00:17 PeggyG : our Middle School students always come back to elementary events like Open House and Fairs, etc. They want to stay connected to former teachers.

12:01:00 PeggyG : a good local reporter for education is so powerful!! hard to find them though

12:01:14 Sheila 2 : I've had former students join the Belize program! :)

12:01:31 PeggyG : that's so neat Sheila! full circle!

12:01:44 Maureen : We're not allowed to talk to newspapers- it all have to come from our "communications" person.

12:01:55 PeggyG : that's so true Maureen!

12:02:02 Maureen : Sorry- *has"

12:02:11 woodenmask : Oops. Crashes, explosions and the sound of panicked crowds in the background. It was short, but sweet....

12:03:05 PeggyG : that's unfortunate though because the public tunes out when they hear from the PR persons or official spokesperson for a district. It would be different if they were hearing from the teachers.

12:03:11 Maureen : Funny- that'll never happen to me- independent schools pay less than half of that :-) Choices, choices

12:03:15 Lisa Parisi : Yes, Peggy

12:03:31 mardelle : it would be different if they were hearing from kids

12:03:39 PeggyG : salaries vary around the country--related to cost of living in each area

12:04:51 PeggyG : that's a really good point Sheila

12:05:10 Maureen : I would like to have the kids reflections on what it means to them when they achieve sucess to be in the newspaper- not just the final results or awards. What does it really mean to kids

12:05:40 PeggyG : the kids get excited when they can talk about projects they are working on

12:05:57 Sheila 2 : Great idea Maureen!

12:06:11 Sheila 2 : The process!

12:06:34 PeggyG : sadly the newspapers don't often feel that is noteworthy--they want to report the controversies and negative stories about teachers/kids

12:06:41 Sheila 2 : And what learning happens when you don't get the final product you anticipated.

12:07:39 PeggyG : sounds like you have to educate them about how it relates to the budget :-)

12:07:45 MariaK : What about inviting business leaders and community members into the school. Find the leaders and invite them, not challenge them - but show them what we do.

12:07:47 PeggyG : some people are just rude

12:08:30 mardelle :  - it is social media that will move the nation - good or bad.

12:09:37 Lisa Parisi : I think social media is moving the nation...not so good right now.

12:10:27 mardelle : you just cannot control the direction of the message without huge numbers of a united voice

12:10:59 Sheila 2 : Are we so fast-paced now as a society that we only see the superficial details and not thinking deeply?

12:12:04 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Reform, like curriculum, is not effective when it is an inch deep and a mile wide. 

12:12:41 PeggyG : when you're part of a big crowd things can get out of control and individuals may do things they wouldn't normally do. But everyone in that "crowd" gets lumped together with that bad behavior. Guilt by association...

12:12:51 PeggyG : I agree mardelle

12:13:11 Maureen : I guess I've stopped worrying about what parents, etc think about what I'm doing. My 6th graders are so excited about learning sketchup... my 5th graders are writing their own blogs about game reviews. They come into class and ask not to have to type ( for 10 min/class) but just to get right to work.

12:13:46 PeggyG : when kids can explain what they needed to know to be able to create something like a Voki parents will be so impressed

12:14:07 PeggyG : great example Maureen!! love it!

12:14:18 Maureen : My goal with student portfolios is that they eventually turn into a showcase for student process and learning- not just pretty pictures of final results.

12:14:52 PeggyG : yes!! the process is really important!! parents often don't know how to interpret the product

12:15:58 Maureen : But if you use a portfolio system where the kids and teachers choose to represent their work according to standards, etc... then they can speak to them in a way that parents can see and understand. 

12:17:19 PeggyG : wow! 90 kids?!

12:17:29 Maureen : But Lisa, as a parent they are overwhelmed with info. If this is part of a process that they kids are involved in all the time- the parents can get involved as well... not just twice a year

12:17:33 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Make a raffle out of parent views/comments.  Kids will beg parents to leave comments on the blogs.  

12:17:48 Maureen : @ Peggy- I have 134 ;-)

12:17:59 mardelle : the challange is not just promoting what a teacher is doing in a classroom.  it is building support for our profession nationally

12:18:08 MariaK : I seem to be the only teacher here, which is reasonable since it-s a school day. One small advantage of retirement, I guess. That is, until they diminish my pension and I-m forced to return to work. If I could find a job. The ripple effects of these budget cuts will definitely cause a considerable rise in unemployment. I think about the teachers I know who are probably as outraged as I am by this anti-teacher, anti-kids, anti-public schools budget and wish they could be here, too. I hold this small square of floor-space in their honor

12:18:57 Sheila 2 : I do give extra credit for parent feedback. Wish all would do it.

12:19:13 PeggyG : great statement Maria!

12:19:39 mardelle : me too maria - and kinder teachers both - the best place to promote to parents

12:19:59 PeggyG : someone recently asked why there aren't more teachers in some of the fantastic, free, online webinars and I said they were in their classrooms teaching.

12:20:19 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Not all households around here have internet/computer.  Has anyone used bulk text messages to keep parents informed?

12:20:20 PeggyG : the ISTE webinars are all during the school day--1:00pm in AZ

12:21:09 Lisa Parisi : ISTE webinars are too expensive for me to attend.

12:21:26 PeggyG : ISTE offers some free webinars--one a month I think

12:21:41 Lisa Parisi : I think all should be free.

12:22:07 PeggyG : I wish they were all free! But they are income generators for ISTE

12:22:39 PeggyG : wear a button "Proud to be a Teacher" :-)

12:23:26 mardelle : i am from canada, and your media scares the bjezuz out of me - it is a powerful destructive force to go up against,  but therein lies the battle

12:23:29 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : deep breath....

12:23:49 Maureen : @Scott I don't use text messages, but beluga would be a great app for that-group messages and easy to add photos.

12:24:16 MariaK : @mardelle - it is scary - the money trail and the media must have some connection

12:24:34 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : Maybe even text out a message every time there is a new blog post, etc. 

12:25:08 mardelle : @scott - texting,  why did i not think of that . . . thanks

12:25:26 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : :D glad to help

12:25:50 Maureen : @Scott It's a good idea- we have parents sign up for email message when blogs are posted, but text option may be easier for some. I'll put the idea out to our parents.

12:25:56 PeggyG : it's important not to be defensive when you speak up :-) focus on what you're doing that's working with examples

12:26:11 Lisa Parisi : I have a hard time not being defensive, Peggy.

12:26:36 PeggyG : it is hard!

12:27:14 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.....

12:27:44 PeggyG : generalizing is a big issue!

12:28:52 PeggyG : people often say different things in person than they say in public forums--even teachers in the parking lot after the teacher's meeting

12:29:07 Maureen : The negative stuff makes the news- think the rubber room teachers in NYC- that certainly made headlines. Great teaching doesn't. It is not really different from all the other negative stuff that "we" all read every day. One negative story can go viral, one positive story- not so much.

12:29:08 Sheila 2 : True Peggy!

12:29:23 Lisa Parisi : True, Maureen.

12:29:25 PeggyG : yes Maureen!

12:30:01 PeggyG : schools have to tell their own positive stories in their own forums--they can't rely on the public media to do it

12:30:14 Lisa Parisi : Who do we tell, Peggy?

12:30:26 Maureen : We use our facebook page mostly for alum stuff- you could do that Sheila

12:30:33 PeggyG : just like you do--post it in your blogs and online

12:31:14 Sheila 2 : (I don't really use facebook. Should I admit that?)

12:31:21 Sheila 2 : But food for thougth.

12:31:23 PeggyG : do your own public spots/videos on your local tv channels--we have an educational channel in Phoenix

12:31:27 Sheila 2 : (thought)

12:31:48 Maureen : @Sheila- neither do i- but that's where the alum  stuff is for our school

12:32:09 PeggyG : oh oh--a homework assignment :-)

12:32:10 Sheila 2 : @Maureen - yes, I'm thinking about it!  :)

12:32:26 Sheila 2 : http://earthbridges.net/live  - April 22

12:32:41 MariaK : @dianeravitch

12:32:45 Sheila 2 : Earth Day Plug ! There's a voicethread.

12:32:51 PeggyG : she has 12,000 followers :-)

12:32:57 Sheila 2 : Link coming.

12:33:11 Sheila : http://voicethread.com/#u76291.b1954278.i10306656

12:33:12 MariaK : http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2011/03/dear_diane_i...

12:33:38 Maureen : Are you off next week or?

12:34:02 PeggyG : nice voicethread Sheila! Thanks!

12:34:10 Maureen : Do you have school on Good Friday?

12:34:30 PeggyG : so many schools are on vacation or holiday on Earth Day!

12:34:44 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : We are off that day

12:35:03 PeggyG : you are an amazing example Sheila!!!

12:35:11 Maureen : We have a 3 day week coming up- Patriot's Day on Monday- Good Friday on Friday...

12:35:29 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr) : My 'real job' gives me the day off too

12:35:37 PeggyG : :-)

12:35:48 Maureen : good luck with that Maria- I've noticed that the GP are getting younger than me every year

12:37:17 PeggyG : Grandpersons Day was always a really special day at our school!!

12:37:56 PeggyG : we planned them to coincide with Thanksgiving when many grandparents were coming to visit family and got fantastic participation

12:38:00 Maureen : My kids had their GP go on Google earth and show them where they used to live and talk about how things have changed. It was fun

12:38:09 PeggyG : what a great story Maria!!

12:38:22 Maureen : @Peggy- ours is Columbus Day weekend

12:38:50 Lisa Parisi : http://ettconversations.blogspot.com/

12:39:00 PeggyG : thanks everyone for another great conversation!

12:39:15 Lisa Parisi : Bye

12:39:18 PeggyG : bye everyone

This week, Lisa, Maria, and Sheila got a bit political, talking about today's politics of teaching.  Our kickoff was a series of tweets by Diane Ravitch, @dianeravitch, about the need for educators to advocate for themselves.  Join us this week in finding a way to promote educators to the public - or at least to your parents.
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