Regarding the Zuckerberg donation to the Newark Public Schools…

I am not hopeful at all. I am concerned. What makes you think that Christie hated public education and teachers yesterday, but not today?

Will the funds be used to supplement or supplant local school funding? In other words, will Christie steal $100,000,000 from Newark’s budget as soon as the check clears?
This is a hostile takeover of another urban school district and a surrender of democracy to mayoral control. Neither Cory Booker or Chris Christie have a clue how to end the poverty and terrible infrastructure deficits in Newark, let alone run a school system. Until, quite recently (kudos to Booker), Newark didn’t have a supermarket, movie theatre or bowling alley. It was a dead city.

How high do you expect student achievement to be in a once-majestic city with intergenerational poverty? I have said it before and I will say it again. I have worked in schools all over the world (on 6 continents) and have never come across more genuinely committed, hard-working or generous educators as those who work in the Newark, NJ Public Schools.

The teachers in that district have been maligned through decades of “state control” of the district and yet if we are to believe the politicians, nothing has improved. Shame on the politicians, not the poor kids and their teachers.

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I’ve offered Cory Booker my assistance (via Twitter) many times. He’s never had the courtesy to respond.

The teacher-bashing, charter school takeovers and endless standardized testing is sure to follow turn this gift into a weapon against common sense and the children of Newark.

Sadly, $100,000,000 is probably not enough money to build one new high school in Newark.

Zuckerberg’s generosity is laudable, but the money won’t help when marshall law/mayoral control is declared, the community is pushed aside and teachers are demonized.

Read the following articles for related information:

After years of avoiding the whole sordid mess, I’ve gone an done it. I am officially on the FaceBook.

I apologize for waiting so long to announce this to the world. I’ve been way too busy friending people who beat me up in high school.

Now I have an entirely new venue in which to waste time.

teacheroftheyearAmidst the hoopla surrounding the silly tradition of naming a national “Teacher of the Year,” the President of the United States and Council of Chief State School Officers made major policy news by endorsing the unblocking of Internet access in American classrooms – all in pursuit of educational excellence!

A high school English teacher from Iowa who incorporates everything from singing to Facebook in her lessons has been recognized by President Barack Obama as the nation’s top teacher.

Obama introduced Sarah Brown Wessling on Thursday in a ceremony in the Rose Garden.

“Her students don’t just write five-paragraph essays, but they write songs, public service announcements, film story boards, even grant proposals for their own not-for-profit organizations,” the president said, adding that one of Wessling’s students reported that learning in her classroom was never boring.

“I’m not sure I could have said that when I was in school,” said Obama. (original article)

…The Council of Chief State School Officers selects the recipient of the annual honor and cited Wessling’s passion and innovative approaches, including incorporating Facebook in her classes.

So, congratulations are in order for Ms. Wessling and for every teacher in America who can now go tell their school “network nazis” that the President of the United States wants them to stop blocking the Web. Blocking Facebook and other web sites is unpatriotic!

Thank you, Mr. President!


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