Education Policy Advocate

From ideology to action

Stop the Sea of Red Ink!

Six Trait Gurus

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Maybe sometime over the next month, you’ll find yourself coming home with a BIG stack of papers, finding a comfortable chair, whipping out your red (or purple or green) pen, and correcting the conventional errors you find. Not a pleasant task (most would agree), but essential—right? Actually, no. Not only is the correction of errors non-essential, it’s ineffective—and may actually keep your students from becoming the editors they could be. What??!! How can something so time consuming, labor intensive, and downright tedious have a negative effect? Isn’t that against the laws of the universe?

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Let’s take a closer look at what really happens when we over-correct:

1. Students feel overwhelmed. It’s too much to process. I mentioned at the close of our last post a note from a colleague who saw students pitch their corrected work into the trash as they left class. We shouldn’t be surprised. Think about…

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September 18, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Outgrow Captivity by Kjpgarcia

Outgrow Captivity.

July 5, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Attraction To Teach: Who Are They!

Teaching is an attractive profession because of the light bulbs of empowerment that is seen in the eyes of the students we teach on a daily basis. Those who flock to see just how many light bulbs they can turn on despite adversity all possess common characteristics. These educators most notable quality is their passion. Passion gives them drive to be innovative when resources are limited. Passion is their alarm clock that wakes them up in the morning even when weather conditions seem more suitable for a snow day.  Passion is what started them on the path to become educators when they themselves were first asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This passion guides them to another important quality, their need to be life long learners. Students of these outstanding educators see their teachers reading just as much if not more then they ask of their students. During SSR these teachers are reading too. They participate in professional development meetings as great listeners and presenters of research based teaching strategies and theory. They are consistently growing because of the plethora of information they expose themselves to. This makes them able to synthesis their knowledge into an expanding tool box of tricks to meet student needs on the spot.

These teachers also value and respect all cultural and ability levels. They inquiry from parents and the students themselves about their values and incorporate their traditions into the classroom environment. Students are given a plate form to express their personal identities within their academic work. Seeing an “All About Me” poster for each student in their educators classroom throughout the entire year is not uncommon.  Student strengths are sought out in order to support their weak areas. Students feel appreciated and hence when corrected do not take it personally, but know that the teacher has good intension to make them grow wiser and stronger.

Lastly, these educators incorporate technology into the classroom. They do not over look the simplicity that technology can be in the form of an index card with a whole cut out of it help struggling readers focus. They apply for grants to get their students access to laptops and programs that have been proven to be successful. These educators also use technology affectively to establish great communities with parents. Keeping them up to date on student progress and providing them with opportunities to get involved as volunteers. The teacher also increase affective communicate styles with their peers and administers with the help of technology. And yet, overall the most important qualities of an outstanding educator are ever growing all the while with the goal that remains the same from the beginning. The passion to see just how many light bulbs they can turn on in the minds of the students they teach on a daily basis.

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Passion | Leave a comment

Special Edition: History Through The Eyes of Texas..and Arizona too

Normally my posts are about issues in Education that I have proof to show a direct effect on Pennsylvania’s learning community. However, today I have been compelled to write about the current talks of curriculum changes in Texas and Arizona. In Texas, some of the proposed changes include adding the democratic importance of the National Rifle Association, reducing the importance of Thomas Jefferson and changing the name of the slave trade to Atlantic triangular trade. In total, the Texas Education Agency has presented a possible 20,000 changes to the current History curriculum. Meanwhile Arizona is attempting to erase ethnic studies with House Bill 2281. All of these changes have the significant ability to dismantle any advancement in the right direction between race relations and peace in America. Below I have outlined a few of my concerns and how I believe these decisions will affect our children.

Concern 1) The National Rifle association:

In 1999 at Columbine High School, students killed 12 Students and one teacher while harming many others. In 2010 alone there have been 5 school shooting across the nation with 7 casualties. Who would have thought that America’s Educational institutions were actually battle fields incognito? I do not see an issue with mentioning the National Rifle Assoication in the text books, History is history and we can not exclude parts of history. I do have a strong issue with pushing political ideology on to our children as well as giving them an outlet to say its ok to shoot people. It is not and never will be ok to kill other people and by allowing such changes in our History books we are only encouraging children to use guns to solve their problems. We are sending our children mixed signals and we will have to bare the burden of our negative influence if we all this change.

Concern 2) Thomas Jefferson:

Again, it is ok to share all options of how Thomas Jefferson is viewed by each political party, but to reduce his importance or to create an image of Thomas Jefferson that makes him to be a villain because he encourages separation of Church and State is extremely manipulative. The decisions made through this change and the other changes will show our children that there is only one way to see the world around them and thus they will make false judgements because they are not aware of the whole truth. Not only will they make false judgements but feel as tho they have been lied to as well. This causes me to reflect on the untruths that I was tought as a child about Malcom X. When I was a child the history books tought me that Malcom X was a very violent person. He was innately evil compared to his counterpart Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  As i grew older I learned that Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were fighting for the same cause, just in different ways and that Malcom X did not encourage violence, but thought it necessary to use at times. I also learned that Malcom X admired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. King admired Malcom. Not to mention also learning about Christopher Columbus “discovery” America. I struggled for a while because I lost trust in my teachers. I felt as if i was lied to, and this came from individuals who told me that living was not ok. Our children, as I did, will also receive this mixed signals by not sharing the whole truth of our history in America.

Concern 3) Slavery and the elimination of Ethnic Studies

Discrimination and prejudice is at the forefront of the mouths and actions of many individuals in this country and the result is explicit in the thought of these two proposals. Changing the name of the Slave Trade to the Atlantic Triangular Trade totally disregards the importance of a human life and the importance of what Slavery means to America. This changes devalues Africans and their descendents as to say they were merely items and not human beings. It is as if to say or hide that enslaving other human beings was even a factor, when it was the main focus in the triangular trade. Then to not stop there and Arizonia propose to Eliminate Ethinic Studies, we should truly be ashamed. We should be ashamed that we would continue to devalue the lives of other human beings and disregard an individuals culture, which is an intricate part of American history. Yet, we are blind to how much we as American people need one another in order to grow stronger. Our demise is evident as we continue to put our energy into oppressing other instead of inspiring positive and genuine interactions between human beings.

As per this Special Edition, I encourage you all to think about the decisions you make and how it is negatively effecting our children, as I will do the same, in order to build a world that is one of honesty and embraces differences we all bring to History.

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Current Policy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2.8 GPA…Being Ok with Almost

The most effective teacher is the one who is able to grasp the ability to implement scientifically based pedagogy (future Blog:We need to be researchers too) and maintain a high level of understanding of the content knowledge being taught. And lets not forget their ability to not discriminate against their school community.  In Pennsylvania, individuals who are applying for certification are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA. A 3.0 symbolizes that an individual performs above average in completing the tasks at hand. Many universities within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education have upheld this push for their teacher certification candidates to maintain this high level of achievement, however just recently decisions are in the process of being finalized to reduce the GPA requirement from a 3.0 to a 2.8 GPA. The 2.8 GPA does comply with state standards, but requires that the individual student with a 2.8 score higher on the Praxis Exam. A 2.8 GPA can be described as just below being above average, but not quit just average. I am highly concerned that if we continue to produce slightly above average teacher our acceptance of being average will be passed down to the children that we teach. Average has become something that is ok to be, in fact it has become all that we aspire to be and it is displayed in our educational policies. The words we preach at our Elementary school Promotions and our actions through out their educational experience through  policy are just not matching up. The compliant window, which includes, but is not limited to the Achievement Gap, Drop Out Rates, and the lack of Free appropriate Public Education issues rise, however we lower the standards for our Teacher candidates. Education Policy allows the production of Average Teachers which results in the need to create more policies (School Choice) to solve these issues. Prevention of these issues needs to be at the forefront of out decision-making instead of working out the kinks to possible alternative solutions. We can’t be ok with allowing policy to tell us and the future leaders we will teach that is ok to be almost average.

Best Regards,

Rian Nichole Reed

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Current Policy | Leave a comment

Career Advacement and Technology

Just recently I had the opportunity to assist a 9th grade World of Work teacher in a city High School in Pennsylvania. As I was typing up a document one of the students startled me saying “WOW Miss you can type fast!” I was shocked by his comment and ask him if he had ever taken a typing class. He replied, “No, I do not know how to type.” When the opportunity came for me to speak with the classroom teacher I explained to her what happened and asked if the students had the option to take a typing course. She said No. They used to have one, but the school district decided that they did not need it anymore. Most of the students do not know the proper way to type they only can “henpeck”. As the pace of educational enlightenment did not slow down, I started to observe just how much the students did not know about computers in general.  They were given a Powerpoint assignment, however most of the students were never had experience using Powerpoint in the past so it was difficult for them to navigate through the program. It was also brought to my attention that some of the students do not have access to computers at home. Taking all these factors into consideration, it was duly noted that the school was putting their students in at an extreme disadvantage in their career and personal advancement.

Not teaching the students how to type properly totally excludes them for the competitive job markets that the majority of them dream to excel in.  The decision to remove typing as an option for these students is already affecting their performance in school with their inability to use Powerpoint effectively. The negative impact of the livelihood of these students is surly not far removed from the current crime that is being done to them. It will become more of a reality for them when they are denied employment and or fired from a job because they are unable to complete their tasks as quickly as their peers. Sadly this observation is not limited to this particular school for each day school districts and government officials are making decisions that limit our children as individuals, which subsequently limit America’s ability to compete in the global playground. Technology is the way of the world and if we continue to limit children from receiving comprehensive education in Technology we are essentially taking away their ability to read in the near and far future of the 21st century. All those fears of being left behind will become a blatant reality signified by America’s rank in the Global Achievement Gap.

Best Regards,

Rian Nichole Reed

May 17, 2010 Posted by | Current Policy | Leave a comment

The Waiting List…

As of January 31, 2010 there were 18,013 persons with disabilities waiting for services in Pennsylvania.  3,187 of those individuals were in the emergency status, which means they could possibly be homeless. The people on this list are either currently matriculating out of the Education system(turning 21 at the most) being well-informed that they needed to apply for services covered under the American’s with Disabilities Act, recently became disabled, it is their high school graduation day and are uninformed as their local education agency is taking all of their services away just as they walk across stage.  (These particular individuals have not yet applied therefore are not even representing in the waiting list numbers) It is reported that some individuals have been waiting for 14 years for assistance. The type of assistance that these individuals with special needs deserve would help them obtain jobs to support themselves or be able to properly care for their everyday living. In the meantime they sit in isolation from self dignity, the community and sometimes even their family. Regardless of how their situation came about all these individuals are still waiting. Waiting for services that are owed to them. Owed to them by our Pennsylvania Government. How can we stop their waiting?  First we can encourage them to be advocates for themselves, but the support of the community is needed to do so. We must write and lobby in person and phone our local legislators. We must be persistent!

For many of these individuals the damage of the “wait” has been done, however as Educators we can prevent such things from happening. This would include informing students and parents of what will happen after they graduate, providing all students with a sound education; instilling self-pride, advocacy skills, a hard work ethic. We must also think outside the book in order to design inexpensive methods if possible that the leaders of the tomorrow can access no matter how much money they have.  If we do our job effectively we can prevent students from entering the waiting list and reduce the wait time by encouraging students too apply early for services.

Of course the goal is to eliminate the entire waiting list, but it can not be done with all the collective efforts of every American citizen. Please view video to get a first hand experience of the effects of the PA Waiting List.

March 6, 2010 Posted by | Current Policy | | Leave a comment

Passing Judgement…

In life people judge. We are full of many opinions yet tend to not look at our own selves.  It’s like a one way mirror with no reflection. Ignorance is bliss..an understatement for those who judge without any validity in their words and actions. Yet they keep their mouths moving, spreading falsehood instead of converting into truth seekers. In reality everyone is equal. No person is on a higher level than another, however due to unrighteous judgments we separate ourselves. Separation based on many dynamics. These dynamics far extend my comprehension for they are designed by each individual. We forget that without those individuals we alienate we could and cannot be who we are. In some way shape or form, those we alienate have contributed to the essences of the individual and the society. However, the extent of our productivity as individuals and as a society is determined by our willingness to accept. Accept the differences of others…Accept ourselves…accept truth….yet…..we judge

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Our Human Errors | | Leave a comment

Response to Segregation

Below is my response to an article that was written by a Student at Millersville University about her perception of segregation. Please feel free to read her article first, which can be found as a link at the bottom of this article. Both articles have been published in the schools local newspaper.

 I was saddened to read the article in the Snapper on September 24, 2009 concerning segregation at MU. However, I had no reason to be surprised by Ms. Gilstein’s opinion or react in a hostile manner. There are many misconceptions that individuals form when they quickly observe a situation and/or do not obtain all the facts before forming an opinion. This is wrong, yet it happens everyday, and we are all guilty of it. Ms. Gilstein formed a quick opinion about the BSU and the NAACP without obtaining all the facts. She also neglected to list the names of every single organization on campus for their inability to visibly show members from diverse backgrounds. The quest to create a more caring community far expands one group reaching out their hand if there is no hand to grab back. This goes both ways and can be applied to not only race relations, but other types of relationship as well such as gender and social class. I also want to stress that a group of individuals of the same likeness who are gathered together to improve the community concerning issues that they feel strongly about is not a negative thing at all. It is a sign of self-love and taking responsibility for an issue they feel strongly about. Ms. Gilstein would have been welcomed to either the BSU or the NAACP. In regards to the NAACP attempt to create a more welcoming environment, we talked with any and everyone who stopped to listen. When a non-African America stopped to listen, the board members at our table would have stressed our poster, which displayed all the founders of the NAACP of whom are majority European American with the exception of two individuals. We stressed that the right to Civil Rights cannot be obtained through the efforts of one group, but all individuals. The need for Civil Rights is not an African-American issue, nor Hispanic American issue, nor an American issue at all, but an issue for all mankind to address. In order to combat this issue, as human beings, we must be open to talking and listening to those who are different without passing quick judgment or reacting with anger. We must strive to dismantle these misconceptions by closely analyzing our day-to-day actions. We must ask ourselves questions such as why do I form certain opinions about people and where am a getting my facts from. Am I doing anything to improve my perception of others who are different than me or am not moving outside my comfort zone by choosing one aspect of a human being to separate me from them? When we take the time to ask these questions, we will be reminded that each of us are different in many ways. We will also find that the problems that we must address affect every single one of us. Again, these issues cannot and will not be solved with the efforts of one type of people. Our hands are extended with an invitation to attend both the BSU and NAACP Meetings. The following is a list of the NAACP meeting days, which take place at 9:09pm in room 49 of the Student Memorial Center: September 28th, October 26th, November 16th, and November 30th. And remember as Dr. Edeh always says, “Our differences are to be appreciated.”
Best Regards,
Rian Reed
Millersville University NAACP College Chapter President

Opinion Article “Segregation at MU”
http://thesnapper.com/2009/09/23/segregation-at-mu/

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Our Human Errors | | Leave a comment