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Steve Zimmer’s Angry Rant about Class Size – A Must Watch

http://lausd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=58 

(Skip to 05:38:10 and watch him burn his opponents at 05:40:10) 

“You just get to give more individualized, personalized attention. You get to know the stories, the voices, the history, when there are less students in your classroom. That just is.”

 

He then takes out printouts of charter schools’ websites and says that if the audience still doesn’t trust his experience as a teacher, they should look at the choices parents have made. Each charter school boasts class size on their front page. 22:1. 20:1. even 12:1.

Earlier he also takes brilliantly about the blasphemy of dividing “adults issues” and “kids issues”. Students’ issues are everyone’s issue. Period.

I’ve never seen anyone so eloquent yet still so fiercely passionate during an angry rant. But that’s what the state of education reform has pushed dedicated teachers and advocates like Steve Zimmer to, I suppose. I’m so glad he’s on the Board, so excited to work with him in the future.

I was actually really scared of working in LA; the dominance and blind support of corporate reform is very overwhelming. Monica Garcia is the president of the Board of Education and she is a full-on supporter of corporate reform and charter schools. And John Deasy, the Superintendent is also aggressive with his reforms, and although I believe his intentions are good, he’s falling victim to the pressure of corporate reform.

So, for me, watching this was incredibly comforting. Hope to find more quality people like this in the field!

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10 ways to spend $30+ million

LAUSD recently announced that they would be purchasing $30 million worth of Apple iPads for its students.

But wait, there’s more…

Here’s what the LAUSD board of Ed envisions their classrooms to look like by 2014.

The district says it is spending $678 per iPad. That’s more than the regular price of one, but these iPads come equipped with learning and educational software. Sounds great right?

Except that there are over 650,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Excuse my lack of Common Core upbringing, but isn’t that like… almost $500 million?

Oh wait, I see. The $30 million is just phase 1 of their “let’s-spend-money-on-things-to-make-our-district-look-great-without-implementing-real-change-and-solutions.” In the fall, only 30,000 students will get iPads. They’re the test group for whether or not they should spend millions more on giving the rest of the district this cutting edge technology.

Don’t get me wrong. I love iPads just as much as the next person. I prefer Apple to Microsoft any day. I do think technology is a great tool in the classroom. And I do it’s important to prepare students for the digital age and instill technological literacy.

But there are other ways they could go about this, and a lot of other important things that they could fund with this giant amount of money. Classroom collaboration and active discussions and experiential learning are also very important. Technology is great but it limits student interaction when students are in front of a screen most of the time.

We ought to loosen restrictions on schools (ahem high-stakes standardized testing ahem), give teachers training and tools that allows them to creatively teach well-rounded curriculum to students that not only know how to use an iPad, but can also carry a discussion with classmates, communicate an original idea, fight for a cause, and produce valuable, original work in any area of education and life. 

With that said, here’s a list of what else they could use all that money for:

  1. Creating “cutting edge” computer labs at each school
  2. Building art, music, and physical education programs to give students well-rounded educations and more options
  3. Growing social justice and civic learning curricula in schools
  4. Renovating school facilities and creating an exciting environment for students to learn
  5. Funding more field trips, interactive workshops, service learning programs, extracurricular programs
  6. Rehiring teachers who were laid off
  7. Providing meaningful training for teachers (preferably training from a person who has been in front of a classroom before) and implementing meaningful evaluation systems that help improve rather than punish teachers
  8. Reducing class sizes
  9. Increasing teacher salaries
  10. Removing furlough days