Why would the 1% place the country at such great risk? They are growing overseas and are now global entities and have no intent on giving back the wealth stolen over these few decades. They intend to take the US to the point of the Middle Eastern nations like Bahrain as one financial analyst described it. THAT IS WHY IT IS VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO ALLOW THIS MASSIVE MORTGAGE FRAUD TO GO UNADDRESSED. We could pay off the entire $14 trillion in national debt by just recovering corporate fraud over this one decade.
Returning now to public schools, for those of us decrying this charter school setup that allows schools designated as public to act as private (it really is a situation in which the 1% are telling all of us to suspend reality and accept the difference....JUST GET OVER IT AS FRASER SMITH SAYS!) Across the country Third Way corporate democrats like O'Malley, Cuomo, and Biden (running for President in 2016) are allowing schools to be funded differently, staffed differently, and to have data shielded from the public as is convenient. As we in Baltimore know the data released to the public to show improvements are often not accurate in many cases. Just take a look at the student achievements on standardized tests for one school......Johns Hopkins' Dunbar High School. You will see achievement high in 2009 and then drop to a 50% plus/minus achievement success in most test areas. Yet, 100% of students are listed as 'passing' to the next grade.
It is important for the students that these kinds of disconnect stop. If Baltimore and Maryland are going to create a statistic that makes them look good on paper while the students are not achieving, we are not Moving Forward as O'Malley and Anthony Brown like to say. The problem in this case may be that a historically black and underserved neighborhood school was handed to Johns Hopkins and made an AP high school. This will change the class dynamic as most underserved students in the city are not AP ready. So the schools statistics are not accurate and the children are being placed in a position making it harder for them to achieve. I want to say again that Dunbar is an example of a school designated as 'public' that has been given so many resources over and above other schools because of its connections with Johns Hopkins as to fail the 'public' equal access/equal opportunity principle. Below you see most schools in Baltimore do not even have a health aid as Dunbar has a medical unit. FUNDING EQUITY DEFINES PUBLIC SCHOOLS!!!!!
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School 601 North Central Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202 10 Overall School Rating Grades:9 to 12
District:Baltimore City Public Schools
The shaded area denotes the school attendance zone
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School Key Metrics Paul Laurence Dunbar High School is located in Baltimore, MD.
The high school is part of the Baltimore City Public District. The school serves grades 9 through 12. Approximately 449 students attend the school and 26 teachers provide instruction. The student-teacher ratio is 17 to 1. The average annual expenditure per student is $16,689. Based on test scores and other factors, the relative quality of education provided at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School is rated a 10 out of 10.
Ethnicity Free/Reduced Lunch
Students By Grade $16,689 Spending Per Student
17 TO 1 Student:Teacher Ratio
School Clinics November 30, 2012 WYPR
In Baltimore city, health officials say that increasing numbers of public school students are suffering from complex health problems, such as asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and allergies. However, health care still consists mainly of health aides in most local schools. This month, a pilot program kicked off that will give students who have minimum health care at their school access to a neighboring school’s fully-staffed, health center. WYPR’s Gwendolyn Glenn has more.
Gwendolyn Glenn: This blood pressure machine is used often at Dunbar High’s health center. The school is one of only 17 in the city and 71 statewide that have a fully-staffed health center. In addition to a registered nurse, a medical assistant, health aide and a mental health professional, it has a full-time nurse practitioner. School principal Kristina Kyles.
Kristina Kyles: Our nurse practitioner can do sports physicals, so our students can come here and get a full physical work up for their athletics. Another nice thing about our clinics is our students can do things like family planning.
Glenn: The nurse practitioner also writes prescriptions for the more than 800 students,, does immunizations, handles major illnesses, such as asthma attacks and consults with a part-time, on site physician. But the National Academy Foundation Middle/High School. NAF has only two nurses and two part-time health aides for its more than 800 students. Through the pilot program, NAF’s students can now take a short walk across the schools’ shared courtyard to get preventive and comprehensive care at Dunbar’s health center.
Ayanna Rodgers: What it means for us is anytime our nurses are either busy with students, those students if they have an immediate need, they are able to can get the care they need in a timely manner.
Glenn: NAF’s assistant principal Ayanna Rodgers says it will also mean fewer students with serious health issues will end up in emergency rooms. That would have been the normal procedure last week when a NAF student had an asthma attack and the school nurse was out of the building.
Rodgers: That student was sent over to Dunbar and they didn’t have to wait for our nurse to return and we didn’t have to call our local Fire Department or thel EMTs to come out.
Glenn: State regulations require all schools to have at a minimum a health aide. However, if a school has more than 750 students it must have a full-time registered nurse.
Nicole Johnson: A health aide can do a lot and provide some support, but the health disparities we’re seeing in East Baltimore and across the city, young people need more than that.
Glenn: Nicole Johnson sits on the Maryland Association of School-Based Health Centers board and is senior director for Elev8 Baltimore. Elev8 is working to turn around low-performing schools in East Baltimore. They upgraded the clinics in their schools with full-time registered nurses and part-time nurse practitioners. Johnson thinks all schools should have this type of health care.
Johnson: We have to look at ways to go beyond the policies and really look at the needs of young people and making sure young people have ongoing support for prevention rather than just emergency care.
Glenn: According to an Annie E. Casey Foundation study, in 2009 more than six percent of Baltimore city students did not have health care. That’s a reason Karen Ndour, the district’s executive director for student support thinks the pilot program is so important.
Ndour: We assume that students have services that they don’t have. Every child does not have a private physician, every child doesn’t go to the doctor once a year for a check-up, so if those school resources exist in certain schools, we just want it to have a broader reach.
Glenn: The city and school district spent about 17 million dollars on school health care last year. They say there’s no funding for new clinics, but hope the pilot program will provide ammunition to attract outside funding. I’m Gwendolyn Glenn reporting in Baltimore for 88 1, WYPR.
My Teach for America rants are famous, but this article below really shows how this program does not work for the most part especially in poor neighborhoods where they are most often placed.
MY COMMENTS TO THE ARTICLE BELOW.
cwals99 at 2:11 PM November 30, 2012For those of us fighting the Teach for America push that Superintendent Alonzo embraces, this kind of story is an example of how people with no background and life experience comes into urban schools and stay for a few years and leave for alternate careers. That is overwhelmingly the statistic for Teach for America. The revolving door environment this creates is the last thing schools in underserved schools need and a cultural understanding may have created a different experience.
As an educator, albeit old school, one of the basic tenets of learning is the ability to form a bond/trust with the students and an understanding of the communities in which you are to teach. There is no way to be successful if you do not have these two things. This is especially true of underserved students/neighborhoods. So, as I regularly decry at Baltimore City School Board meetings this Teach for America push in poor schools, academics can only wonder why a school leader would fail in meeting these basic tenets of learning.
Baltimore City School children have gotten the wrong end of the education funding stick for decades and now that school reform is at hand we expect that these underserved children will receive their day of fair and balanced funding and access to resources. Having this Teach for America person in the classroom shows the failure to meet these requirements.
I wanted to give one example of how critical it is to have experience in the communities in which you are to work. Baltimore has truly deep poverty and with it the social ills that come with living in survival mode. It is not sadly unusual, it is the fabric of life. Violence and crime permeate as a result. So to teach at an inner city school and not be prepared for these challenges is naive at best. Here is an example:
When I listen to the recent report of children in schools with knives and school administrators explaining how protecting children from juvenile records is important to them, I see someone who has that experience and knowledge of environment that will move the school forward. Do we want these incidences hidden with no response? NO. Is the current legal framework regarding these infractions adequate? NO. The answer is to change the legal framework to allow for reporting so children have no record. Then the administrators can effectively work to protect and correct these incidences. These children and the teachers assigned to give them all the opportunities needed for success need all the resources necessary to achieve this goal. More adults in each classroom to help with discipline is a no-brainer. More family counseling units are required. Educators with personal experience with at-risk populations is a must.
'Terrordome' describes teaching at a West Baltimore high school Heather Kirn Lanier describes death threats, administrators who sabotaged their staffs, and students who did — and did not — defy the odds
Heather Kirn Lanier, author of "Teaching in the Terrordome: Two Years in West Baltimore with Teach for America." (Justin Lanier, Baltimore Sun / November 17, 2012)
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun November 17, 2012
During Heather Kirn Lanier's two years in Baltimore as a neophyte teacher, she taught at a city high school that backed up against Mount Olivet Cemetery.
She could clearly see tombstones from her classroom window. Each time Lanier took in the view, she could practically watch another one of her illusions being buried.
She's written about her experience at the former Southwestern High School from 2000 to 2002 in a new book called "Teaching in the Terrordome: Two Years in West Baltimore with Teach for America." (Southwestern closed in 2007.)
Lanier, 34, writes that, for better or worse, her two years with Teach for America were a defining experience in her life. After leaving the program, Lanier earned a master's degree in creative writing from Ohio State University, taught remedial reading and writing to non-native speakers at the University of California at Berkeley, and moved to Vermont with her husband and their toddler. She recently chatted by phone about her book, which details death threats, administrators who sabotaged their staffs, and a few students who defied the odds and managed to thrive.
How did you join Teach for America?
I was nearing graduation at the University of Delaware, and I didn't know what I was going to do with myself. I loved learning and thought I might enjoy being on the other side of the classroom.
I'd read about this huge achievement gap between students at the middle-class suburban schools and those attending low-income schools. They were the kind of places teachers were trying to get out of, and I felt that's where I could do the most good. Private-school students would be fine whether I taught there or not.
The introduction notes that your book reconstructs some dialogue. In addition, the names of all students and most adults have been changed. How accurately can you remember things that were said 10 years ago?
All the conversations in my book really happened. I had an idea even then that I might write a book some day, and I was keeping notes. Most of the raw material went into my journal right after those events took place. I also was part of a group of four other teachers from Teach for America. I showed a draft of the book to them, and they didn't have any corrections.
What was your most memorable experience at Southwestern?
I didn't put this in the book, but I'll always remember this one day: I was teaching a difficult lesson during fourth period. It went really, really well and I felt great. But after class, this kid stood in the door and exposed himself to me. It was 4 o'clock, there was nobody in the hallway and it was traumatizing.
That [kind of sequence] would happen all the time. There'd be this great victory and —boom! — something would go wrong and undercut it. I had to remind myself, "I just work here seven hours a day, and then I go home to a nice neighborhood. But, my students live here." And we wonder why they're three grade levels behind.
Your book describes your reaction to a series of articles exposing conditions at Northern that ran in The Baltimore Sun beginning in December 2000.
[In my experience,] there were slight differences between the zone schools. Northern had a lot of knives, while Southwestern had a very high arson rate. Fires were set in the hallways every other day, it seemed. The bulletin boards were flammable, and the students figured that out.
Despite those regional differences, all across the city, teachers told each other, "That sounds just like my school. It sounds just like your school."
[The Sun wrote] a great expose, but the result was a glossing over. Someone got fired, and it was assumed that would take care of the problem. But, it didn't fix my school or Dunbar. [In 2002, Northern was split into two smaller schools.]
Have you received any push-back from the Baltimore school system, Teach for America or your former colleagues?
Not yet, but the book just came out. We'll see.
I know you think there isn't just one all-purpose fix for Baltimore's school system, because there isn't just one cause for all the problems. But what are some of the steps that you think should be taken?
From my experience teaching at Southwestern, I thought smaller communities were important. A place like Southwestern was so big and institutional. Even after it was divided into smaller schools, the building had all these nooks and crannies where students could hide.
A small, close-knit community, where the principal knows every single student by name and where the teachers work in teams, would have been helpful. It wasn't until I got to know my students and their problems that things started to click.
I'm also very pro-teacher. Teachers are getting a lot of blame right now because students aren't performing. But people aren't asking teachers what they need to do their jobs better. People always say that teachers have it easy and only work 10 months of the year. But I don't know any teachers who work seven hours a day. They work 10, 12 hours a day. Their summers are spent in professional development and in what little time is left, they detoxify.
They grew up in these communities, they're still living there, and they're not burned out quite yet. They're not movie star-worthy or turning out impressive statistics. They're just doing the job that no one wants to do but that everyone thinks they should do better. They're the real heroes.