Education

Dear Teachers, During Teacher Appreciation Week, now is the time to reflect on the great work you are doing across the country for our children and the impact you’ve had on our lives. We depend on you each day to not only teach the next generation of Americans how to read and write, but to help build a skill-set to prepare children for 21st century jobs, many of which haven’t even been invented yet. This is no easy feat. Teachers have one of the toughest jobs in America. You’re likely mentally, emotionally and physically drained from your more than 50-hour work weeks, and the underlying expectation to be “on” 24/7. Like all of us, I know that teachers have good days and bad days. You’re under increasing pressure to stay abreast of the ever-changing new policies, programs and...
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Greetings and Salutations! We haven’t met yet, but we will meet soon. I need to apologize in advance because I am going to be one of “those” parents. You know, the ones who are constantly checking in, perhaps over protective to a fault. In my defense I feel like I know a bit more about this whole school thing than most parents. Having taught kids in the same city where I grew up and now teaching teachers (who, in many ways, are just bigger kids) in a city far away from home, I have learned a good deal about what goes on in classrooms nowadays. There is also the matter of me teaching university courses that deal with educational policy (yuk!) and educational psychology (wow!). Did you know that most of our current educational policy flies in the face of educational psychology,...
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Dear Premier Christy Clark, I am concerned by your approach to public education. As you may know, I have two small children. My son is in grade two, and my daughter, who is almost three, is already very excited about joining her big brother at school. In the last year, our public education system was crippled during an extended labour dispute. The bad faith and mistrust between the BC government and the teachers’ union exploded into a public feud while our children sat at home. The government rhetoric we had to endure during the strike was deeply troubling. You maligned teachers as selfish and entitled, inaccurately stating that they wanted “unlimited massages” and implied they were not as “dedicated” as other public sector employees. This characterization of BC teachers is...
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Dear Shri Narendra Modi, For a country of 1.3 billion people, the biggest resource is human resource. You have yourself acknowledged our human resource potential in Japan. However, successive governments have lacked the will, intent and vision as regards to the most important ministry that can decide the future of India--the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). Barring empty slogans, there is zero initiative on how we can make India's youth more productive. We are looking at our demographic dividend turning into a demographic nightmare, if we don't change our attitude towards HRD ministry and education. " Many approvals are granted for just a year to ensure control (and collection)." The tragedy lies in how everything to do with education has been split and each ministry...
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DEAR FELLOW NON-“REFORMERS”: I have serious concerns about the current direction of education reform in this country. And I am not alone. Yet I think many of us who try and express these concerns feel like we are small voices outside of what has become an echo chamber of reform rhetoric. Money, relationships and opinions inside of this echo chamber have become increasingly insular over the last fifteen years. The end result is a self-proclaimed “Education Reform” community that comes across as self-righteously willing to dismiss the concerns of those of us who are not part of the inner circle. This reform community includes foundations; government agencies at the federal, state and district level; schools and advocacy organizations that hire and work primarily with people who “share...
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Dear Montgomery County Board of Education Members:Susan Burkinshaw Abuse thrives in secrecy – in 2012 the Maryland State Board of Ed directed you to take concrete steps to protect children in schools. Your response was silence. In September of 2014, MCPS, under the direction of Dr. Joshua Starr, began to respond to media attention to “isolated” incidents of child sexual abuse at Baker and Clemente. Since then, dozens of cases have been publicized that had previously been mishandled. We all know now that these incidents are not isolated. There is a systemic problem in MCPS and there should be accountability for the travesties committed against children in our schools. As a parent volunteer on this workgroup/advisory group, there has been selective transparency – we are still...
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Dear Professor Putnam, I write as a long-time fan on the right who shares your deep concerns about our county splintering along class lines. I’ve written two books about it in recent years, From Family Collapse to America’s Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation (2011) and Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future (2014). The immediate reason for this note, in addition to thanking you for Our Kids, is to respectfully take issue with your comments about school choice at the Fordham Institute last week, which I just watched on Fordham’s website. I would argue that enabling more poor children to attend religiously animated schools, via vouchers or tax credits, can play a much more beneficial role in their lives than you...
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Dear Shri Narendra Modi, For a country of 1.3 billion people, the biggest resource is human resource. You have yourself acknowledged our human resource potential in Japan. However, successive governments have lacked the will, intent and vision as regards to the most important ministry that can decide the future of India – the human resource development ministry. Barring empty slogans, there is zero initiative on how we can make India’s youth more productive. We are looking at our demographic dividend turning into a demographic nightmare if we don’t change our attitude towards the HRD ministry and education. The tragedy lies in how everything to do with education has been split and each ministry has taken a piece for itself to control, govern, eat, fleece and reap. The objective has...
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Dear College Dropout Factories, As part of our quest to increase the public demand for greater accountability in higher education, The Education Trust has continued our commitment to identifying four-year colleges and universities that fail to graduate the vast majority of their students in a timely fashion. Roughly 95 percent of all other four-year institutions have higher graduation rates than you do. This year, 113 institutions made the list of college dropout factories, 65 of which were on this same list last year. You appear on this list if your institution: was eligible to receive student federal financial aid (Title IV funds), enrolled at least 30 freshmen that began their studies as full-time students in the fall of 2007, and had a 2013 six-year graduation rate below 18...
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An Open Letter to the Governor of West Bengal, Dear Mr M K Narayanan Being the Chancellor of all the State Universities of West Bengal you are empowered by the West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2011 to remove any Vice-Chancellor if you are convinced that a Vice-Chancellor has abused or misused the powers vested in him or if the continuance in the office of the Vice-Chancellor is detrimental to the interest of the university. The new law has given you the power to show cause a Vice-Chancellor to provide him a reasonable opportunity to defend his case. You can also remove a Vice-Chancellor if evidence of gross financial irregularity is found to have been committed by him. But what you would do to a Vice-Chancellor who had abused power and committed gross financial...
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