Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Seize the Teachable Moment!

Have you discussed the issues surrounding the current Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike with your students? If not, why not?

This is a great opportunity to discuss:

• new media
• intellectual property
• labor history
• human rights
• the American middle class
• unions
• contracts
• negotiation
• the nature of work
• creativity
• royalties/residuals
• economics
• point of view/perspective

and a host of other issues that will capture the imagination of your students and engage them in matters of critical importance to their future.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

You Will NOT Believe This Story!

I just wrote the following for The Pulse: Education's Place for Debate...

The New York Times reports that New York City Public School teachers accused of wrong-doing or incompetence are made to spend 181 days per year in one of twelve "reassignment centers," commonly referred to as the "rubber room."

A room designed for 26 people routinely warehouses "upward of 75" (one report said, 100) from 8 AM until 3 PM each day. The windowless rooms don't even have a clock.

“From our perspective, it’s not punitive,” said Andrew Gordon, the director of employee relations at the department.

Read the rest of this unbelievable article, Where Teachers Sit, Awaiting Their Fates (NY Times 10/10/07)

Here are a few quotes from a similar New York Post article (9/30/07)...
"David Pakter, 62, has been in a rubber room for a year for buying a plant for his school and giving students watches he'd made, he said...

Pakter, a former "teacher of the year" honored at City Hall during Rudy Giuliani's mayoral tenure, just bought a new Jaguar with his $90,000 salary for 'doing absolutely nothing.'"

"Yet another, an Army reservist who spent almost 3½ years in a rubber room before he retired, begged to be able to go to Iraq instead of staying in DOE Siberia."

"The union now counsels its members to avoid becoming too involved - including even in breaking up student fights - because it could land them in a rubber room."

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