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--- Teach For America coming to WV?

Published by waner in education · 14/2/2015 16:46:00
Tags: educationcertification
Miners and construction trade unions aren't the only workers the Republican-led WV legislature is going after. Teacher unions appear to be next in line as the legislature considers charter schools and alternate teacher certification bills. Our local "newspapers" seem especially interested in charter schools;  they've published one news report and three editorials/columns this month alone. While bills to allow charter schools in the state have gotten the most coverage, the alternate teacher certification bill would also affect teachers in that it would allow those without education degrees to teach in WV:

CHARLESTON (AP) - West Virginia House lawmakers have approved a bill opening up teacher certification to more people without education degrees.

The push is aimed at allowing programs like Teach For America to start up in the state.

On Tuesday, the Republican-led House of Delegates voted 60-35 in favor of the reform.

Bill proponents said the option would be essential to fill hundreds of teaching vacancies across the state.
Opponents said formal education training prepares teachers for situations they otherwise may not be able to handle.

Some delegates who voted "no" said it'd be more productive to focus on getting raises for teachers, so their pay is more competitive.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Would these Teach For America do a good job? Diarist Hillbilly Fairy over at Daily Kos writes:

They haven't studied pedagogy, educational psychology, learned how to make lesson plans, deal with difficult students, etc. Compared to a real teacher who spends at least 4 years in college studying these topics as well as his or her teaching concentration, TFA recruits get 5 weeks of training.

Does WV suffer from a teacher shortage?  No.  If good teachers are leaving because of low salary, why not just pay them what the the state/district would pay Teach For America in additional salary.  (According to the diarist, it's $9000 in Cleveland.)  If it may cost more for untrained teachers, why bother in the first place?  Here's a hint:

This move will only weaken the teachers' union with the threat of hiring non-teachers to fill teacher positions.

The diarist makes a number of additional points - it's worth a look.

--- A month late - the Intelligencer finally looks at the science standards controversy

Published by waner in education · 27/1/2015 09:28:10
Tags: coalscience

This story was broken one month ago tomorrow by the Charleston Gazette. Since then, the Gazette has updated the story a couple of times.  Two weeks ago, a number of national online sites started covering the story. Today the Intelligencer finally did its first story on the controversy: "Group to Get Say on Climate."The Intelligencer’s coverage of the story features West Virginia Science Teachers Association Libby Strong whose organization, for the last month, has been very vocal about the proposed changes.

And despite a number of quotes from Strong, the article also includes this paragraph:

According to published reports, state Board of Education member L. Wade Linger Jr. said human-driven climate change "isn't a foregone conclusion," and he believed the board's changes added balance to the curriculum. Board President Gayle Manchin - wife of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. - has denied any political motivation by the board in making those changes.

Right! And the wife of Senator Manchin would never be politically motivated. Of course the Intelligencer article never mentions any of the Linger or, for that matter, fellow board member Tom Campbell’s quotes which started the controversy and suggest just the opposite:

When asked why climate change was the particular "unproven science" that he and Linger were concerned about, Campbell responded that "West Virginia coal in particular has been taking on unfair negativity from certain groups." He also noted the coal industry provides much money to the state’s education system.

"I would prefer that the outlook should be ‘How do we mine it more safely and burn it more cleanly?" Campbell said. "But I think some people just want to do away with it completely."

The Intelligencer – a month late and yet, still biased.

--- University of Pennsylvania is offering "Wasting Time on the Internet" course

Published by waner in education · 20/1/2015 16:21:51
Tags: internet

Born too late - I would have "aced" this class!

I realize that this has nothing to do with Wheeling but I can't resist passing along the info about this Penn class. Kenneth Goldsmith is teaching a class called "Wasting Time on the Internet" to 15 creative writing majors. He gave his justification for the class last November for The New Yorker:

We are awash in a new, electronic collective unconscious; strapped to several devices, we’re half awake, half asleep. We speak on the phone while surfing the Web, partially hearing what’s being said to us while simultaneously answering e-mails and checking status updates. We’ve become very good at being distracted. From a creative point of view, this is reason to celebrate. The vast amount of the Web’s language is perfect raw material for literature. Disjunctive, compressed, decontextualized, and, most important, cut-and-pastable, it’s easily reassembled into works of art.

He explains how the class will work:

Although we’ll all be in the same room, our communication will happen exclusively through chat rooms and listservs, or over social media. Distraction and split attention will be mandatory. So will aimless drifting and intuitive surfing. The students will be encouraged to get lost on the Web, disappearing for three hours in a Situationist-inspired dérive, drowsily emerging from the digital haze only when class is over.

You can read more about the class here.

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