Teachers Are Giving 'Em Something to Talk About

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Education reform is on everybody's lips, and just about everybody has an idea for making schools better. The discourse is dominated by elected officials (or hopefuls), policy folks, academicians and researchers. And although we've heard plenty from the teachers unions, teachers themselves haven't really much of a platform. So, I was fascinated to learn about this new project called VIVA (Vision Idea Voice Action). The project just kicked off last Monday as an incubated initiative of the New York Charter Schools Association.

Here's how it works. There are two moderated online conversations -- one for teachers in New York, and one for teachers across the country -- and these websites allow classroom teachers to engage directly in education policy. They are tackling some meaty issues like Race to the Top and Title II, as well as teacher pay, burnout and class size. Best of all, their ideas will be presented directly to U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. A small group of these teachers will be asked to write a summary of the action plan they are crafting now, and then to come for a private meeting with Arne in Washington, D.C. or New York State Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch in Albany.

Classroom teachers helping to shape education policy...now, that's a novel idea, eh? I like it.

The conversation will be going on for the next three weeks. Check it out.

Submitted by drobinson on Tue, 10/05/2010 - 10:57am.

Dear My Foot,
We appreciate your comments, and just wanted to make sure you have the facts about charter schools. Charter schools absolutely do not eliminate teacher unions. In fact, about 12 percent of charter schools are unionized. It is always the teachers who decide whether or not they'd like to be unionized. Oddly enough, when given that choice, most of the time charter teachers decide not to. We at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools are neither pro-union nor anti-union. We are pro-child and pro-achievement. And by the way, we LOVE teachers.

Submitted by My Foot on Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:55pm.
Charter Schools eliminate teacher unions and thus lower teacher and staff wages further, increasing the growing gap between the rich and the poor. Want to see teacher benefits vaporize along with weekends off? Charter Schools are union busting! Say NO to charter schools now!

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