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Twentysomething, transplant to Chicago, 2nd-year-ish elementary special education low-incidence teacher in Chicago Public Schools. These posts and reblogs (often queued) are thoughts about the special education teacher and person I am growing to be.

Hints of wellness and social justice throughout (and considering my own female/cis/New Yorker/Chicago transplant/Asian/bilingual/2nd-gen American/low-income background/well-educated/ intersections of identity through my posts). misseducation23[at]gmail[dot]com

twitter.com/misseducating:


    New study examines the impact of snow days on student performance →

    YES YES! What will Chicago Public Schools do this Monday and Tuesday when temperatures will be -4 and -6 as HIGHs?!?! And up to -35 and -45 degree wind chills?!

    (Source: teachmoments, via weightingtoteach)

    — 2 months ago with 39 notes

    #chicago  #snow days  #reblog 
    pag-asaharibon:

Chicago’s burgeoning, diverse Asian-American community faces challenges

Devon Avenue on Chicago’s North Side is vastly different from the coastal city in India that Sam Varghese left two years ago. Yet, in this growing population of old and new Asian-American immigrants, he has found his life’s work registering them to vote.
Though Varghese, who came to the United States on a family visa, has not been here long enough to obtain his own voter’s card, he can draw from an ample pool. In the past decade, the Chicago area has seen an explosion of new residents from India, the Philippines, China and other Asian countries, part of a national surge that pushed Asian-Americans ahead of Latinos as the fastest-growing immigrant group in country, according to the 2010 census.
The Asian-American population in the six-county metro area grew 39 percent from 2000 to 2010, creating a burgeoning community of more than 580,000 that increasingly has migrated away from its hub on Devon to the suburbs. But along with the rapid growth has come a barrage of social and economic issues that set the Midwest apart from other regions with higher concentrations of Asian-Americans.
Contrary to their stereotype as “model minorities,” many Asian-Americans in the Chicago area — home to 87 percent of Asian-Americans in Illinois — live in poverty and lack education, problems that are exacerbated by inadequate language and job skills, according to a study released Thursday at a national conference of Asian-American organizations meeting in Chicago.
In such a diverse community of more than 25 ethnic groups, needs and interests differ considerably, making it difficult for community organizers such as Varghese to get people to coalesce around a common cause. As a result, the community, while swelling in numbers, is splintered and has struggled to build the political muscle needed to demand attention.
“I tell people it’s their right, privilege and responsibility,” said Varghese, a 34-year-old community organizer for the Asian American Institute, an advocacy group in Chicago. “People don’t think their vote matters, but (voting) is an important way to get our voices heard.”
The report, compiled by the Asian American Institute and the Washington-based Asian American Justice Center, is the first of its kind to analyze 2010 census data to determine the economic and social status of Asian-Americans in the Midwest. It is the focal point of the two-day civil rights and social justice conference that brought together hundreds of professionals, community activists and others to discuss issues affecting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The study paints a dismal picture in the aftermath of the recession. In contrast to more established communities in California and New York, where Asian-Americans are more likely to be among the highest-income and best-educated immigrants, Chicago’s Asian-American community saw a 40 percent increase in the number living in poverty — a growth rate higher than all other racial groups, according to researchers.
One in 3 Asian-Americans have difficulty speaking English, and adults 25 and older are less likely than whites to have a high school diploma. Asian-Americans also suffered because of the stagnant job market. From 2007 to 2010, their number of unemployed in Illinois grew by 200 percent, the study found.
“A lot of people, when they think of Asian-Americans — if they think of them at all — think of the model-minority myth. It’s the idea that Asian-Americans, as a recent minority group, are well-educated and therefore doing fine in terms of finances,” said Marita Etcubanez, program director for the Asian American Justice Center. “But if you disaggregate the data, you see that while some segments are doing well, there are some that are definitely struggling and need help.”
The Chicago area has become increasingly attractive to immigrants because of its diverse businesses and large corporations that have a global outlook. But it also has become a relocation area, drawing immigrants from other parts of the country looking for opportunities. Although the largest concentration of Asian-Americans are in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, Kane, McHenry and Will counties saw their numbers more than double.
Advocates have long pushed for political and legislative changes that would give Asian-Americans a stronger voice in choosing legislators and other elected officials. Asian-Americans also have a huge stake in issues such as affirmative action and immigration policy, said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute.
That makes voter outreach efforts crucial, particularly during the presidential election year, she said, adding that voter registration among Asian-Americans in Illinois increased 53 percent from 2000 to 2008.
“There is a large number of Asian-Americans who are undocumented. Sometimes we’re not as vocal, and we’re hoping someone else will fight that fight,” said Le. “But we have to realize that it’s important to stand up and voice our concerns because when policies come down, (policymakers) may write things in a particular way that doesn’t benefit us.”
Redistricting has been a particularly difficult issue in the community, Le said, because of population patterns. But last year, Chicago’s first Asian-American alderman, Ameya Pawar, an Indian, was elected, in the 47th Ward.
“The redistricting process is difficult in terms of the way our communities are dispersed, which impacts the fact that there aren’t districts that have large numbers of Asian-Americans,” Le said. “But there is potential and things are beginning to happen now. Ald. Pawar won in an area that did not have a large number of Asian-Americans.”
This year, Illinois was the first state to be required by the U.S. Justice Department to offer ballots printed in Hindi because of its population surge of South Asians. Poll workers who speak Hindi, Gujarati and Urdu also must be on hand in some polling places. Indian-Americans represent the largest ethnic group among Asian-Americans in the Chicago area, with a population of more than 180,000.
“One thing that’s unique about Illinois is that South Asians are so prominent and comprise a large part of the Asian-American population. That’s not true in all parts of the country,” said Ami Gandi, executive director of the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute in Chicago. “That’s why it’s so important to have South Asians at the table when issues concerning Asian-Americans are being discussed.”
Asian-Americans have suffered from home foreclosures as well as social issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse and crime among young people, according to Kiran Siddiqui, executive director of the Hamdard Center, a social services agency in the Devon Avenue area.
Over the past two years, the agency has seen a 25 percent increase in families applying for public benefits such as food stamps and cash grants, she said. Many are moving into joint-family living arrangements because they can’t afford to live on their own.
“Things are very bad for them if they come and ask for help, especially from the government. … Asking for a hand is a dishonor to them and their families,” Siddiqui said. “But unfortunately they are faced with not being able to pay rent or buy groceries.”
Five years ago, Asian-Americans owned more than 59,000 businesses throughout Illinois, employing more than 100,000 people, the study found. But during the recession, many businesses, such as Korean-owned dry cleaners and beauty supply stores, shut down.
“About 40 percent of our clients that have small businesses have maintained them, but the other 60 percent have not been able to maintain it, and closed shop,” Siddiqui said. “They’re not trying to stay one step head. They’re actually just trying to keep their head afloat.”
In many ways, 63-year-old Carmelita Dagmante considers herself lucky since arriving in Chicago from the Philippines 12 years ago. A manager at a laundry on West Devon Avenue, she works a 14-hour shift six days a week, earning money to send back home to her family.
With three grandchildren in school in the Philippines, including one in college, Dagmante said she sends about half her paycheck home to cover their tuition and other expenses. She keeps enough to cover her rent, utilities and groceries but little else.
“That is my life here,” she said, tears trickling down her face. “I’m happy doing it. I’m working for them.”
Varghese, the outreach worker from India, also has dreams. In Kerala, India, he said, he earned three master’s degrees, in sociology, anthropology and religious studies. His long-term goal, he said, is to work hard at his contract job as an outreach worker and gain more responsibility.
“This is our country,” Varghese said, armed with voter registration forms and informational fliers that he hands out along Devon. “We’re not aliens. We need to participate in this process so our government pays attention to us.”



Interesting article about the population of Asian Americans in Chicago. Mostly focuses on South Asians.

    pag-asaharibon:

    Chicago’s burgeoning, diverse Asian-American community faces challenges

    Devon Avenue on Chicago’s North Side is vastly different from the coastal city in India that Sam Varghese left two years ago. Yet, in this growing population of old and new Asian-American immigrants, he has found his life’s work registering them to vote.

    Though Varghese, who came to the United States on a family visa, has not been here long enough to obtain his own voter’s card, he can draw from an ample pool. In the past decade, the Chicago area has seen an explosion of new residents from India, the Philippines, China and other Asian countries, part of a national surge that pushed Asian-Americans ahead of Latinos as the fastest-growing immigrant group in country, according to the 2010 census.

    The Asian-American population in the six-county metro area grew 39 percent from 2000 to 2010, creating a burgeoning community of more than 580,000 that increasingly has migrated away from its hub on Devon to the suburbs. But along with the rapid growth has come a barrage of social and economic issues that set the Midwest apart from other regions with higher concentrations of Asian-Americans.

    Contrary to their stereotype as “model minorities,” many Asian-Americans in the Chicago area — home to 87 percent of Asian-Americans in Illinois — live in poverty and lack education, problems that are exacerbated by inadequate language and job skills, according to a study released Thursday at a national conference of Asian-American organizations meeting in Chicago.

    In such a diverse community of more than 25 ethnic groups, needs and interests differ considerably, making it difficult for community organizers such as Varghese to get people to coalesce around a common cause. As a result, the community, while swelling in numbers, is splintered and has struggled to build the political muscle needed to demand attention.

    “I tell people it’s their right, privilege and responsibility,” said Varghese, a 34-year-old community organizer for the Asian American Institute, an advocacy group in Chicago. “People don’t think their vote matters, but (voting) is an important way to get our voices heard.”

    The report, compiled by the Asian American Institute and the Washington-based Asian American Justice Center, is the first of its kind to analyze 2010 census data to determine the economic and social status of Asian-Americans in the Midwest. It is the focal point of the two-day civil rights and social justice conference that brought together hundreds of professionals, community activists and others to discuss issues affecting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.

    The study paints a dismal picture in the aftermath of the recession. In contrast to more established communities in California and New York, where Asian-Americans are more likely to be among the highest-income and best-educated immigrants, Chicago’s Asian-American community saw a 40 percent increase in the number living in poverty — a growth rate higher than all other racial groups, according to researchers.

    One in 3 Asian-Americans have difficulty speaking English, and adults 25 and older are less likely than whites to have a high school diploma. Asian-Americans also suffered because of the stagnant job market. From 2007 to 2010, their number of unemployed in Illinois grew by 200 percent, the study found.

    “A lot of people, when they think of Asian-Americans — if they think of them at all — think of the model-minority myth. It’s the idea that Asian-Americans, as a recent minority group, are well-educated and therefore doing fine in terms of finances,” said Marita Etcubanez, program director for the Asian American Justice Center. “But if you disaggregate the data, you see that while some segments are doing well, there are some that are definitely struggling and need help.”

    The Chicago area has become increasingly attractive to immigrants because of its diverse businesses and large corporations that have a global outlook. But it also has become a relocation area, drawing immigrants from other parts of the country looking for opportunities. Although the largest concentration of Asian-Americans are in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, Kane, McHenry and Will counties saw their numbers more than double.

    Advocates have long pushed for political and legislative changes that would give Asian-Americans a stronger voice in choosing legislators and other elected officials. Asian-Americans also have a huge stake in issues such as affirmative action and immigration policy, said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute.

    That makes voter outreach efforts crucial, particularly during the presidential election year, she said, adding that voter registration among Asian-Americans in Illinois increased 53 percent from 2000 to 2008.

    “There is a large number of Asian-Americans who are undocumented. Sometimes we’re not as vocal, and we’re hoping someone else will fight that fight,” said Le. “But we have to realize that it’s important to stand up and voice our concerns because when policies come down, (policymakers) may write things in a particular way that doesn’t benefit us.”

    Redistricting has been a particularly difficult issue in the community, Le said, because of population patterns. But last year, Chicago’s first Asian-American alderman, Ameya Pawar, an Indian, was elected, in the 47th Ward.

    “The redistricting process is difficult in terms of the way our communities are dispersed, which impacts the fact that there aren’t districts that have large numbers of Asian-Americans,” Le said. “But there is potential and things are beginning to happen now. Ald. Pawar won in an area that did not have a large number of Asian-Americans.”

    This year, Illinois was the first state to be required by the U.S. Justice Department to offer ballots printed in Hindi because of its population surge of South Asians. Poll workers who speak Hindi, Gujarati and Urdu also must be on hand in some polling places. Indian-Americans represent the largest ethnic group among Asian-Americans in the Chicago area, with a population of more than 180,000.

    “One thing that’s unique about Illinois is that South Asians are so prominent and comprise a large part of the Asian-American population. That’s not true in all parts of the country,” said Ami Gandi, executive director of the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute in Chicago. “That’s why it’s so important to have South Asians at the table when issues concerning Asian-Americans are being discussed.”

    Asian-Americans have suffered from home foreclosures as well as social issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse and crime among young people, according to Kiran Siddiqui, executive director of the Hamdard Center, a social services agency in the Devon Avenue area.

    Over the past two years, the agency has seen a 25 percent increase in families applying for public benefits such as food stamps and cash grants, she said. Many are moving into joint-family living arrangements because they can’t afford to live on their own.

    “Things are very bad for them if they come and ask for help, especially from the government. … Asking for a hand is a dishonor to them and their families,” Siddiqui said. “But unfortunately they are faced with not being able to pay rent or buy groceries.”

    Five years ago, Asian-Americans owned more than 59,000 businesses throughout Illinois, employing more than 100,000 people, the study found. But during the recession, many businesses, such as Korean-owned dry cleaners and beauty supply stores, shut down.

    “About 40 percent of our clients that have small businesses have maintained them, but the other 60 percent have not been able to maintain it, and closed shop,” Siddiqui said. “They’re not trying to stay one step head. They’re actually just trying to keep their head afloat.”

    In many ways, 63-year-old Carmelita Dagmante considers herself lucky since arriving in Chicago from the Philippines 12 years ago. A manager at a laundry on West Devon Avenue, she works a 14-hour shift six days a week, earning money to send back home to her family.

    With three grandchildren in school in the Philippines, including one in college, Dagmante said she sends about half her paycheck home to cover their tuition and other expenses. She keeps enough to cover her rent, utilities and groceries but little else.

    “That is my life here,” she said, tears trickling down her face. “I’m happy doing it. I’m working for them.”

    Varghese, the outreach worker from India, also has dreams. In Kerala, India, he said, he earned three master’s degrees, in sociology, anthropology and religious studies. His long-term goal, he said, is to work hard at his contract job as an outreach worker and gain more responsibility.

    “This is our country,” Varghese said, armed with voter registration forms and informational fliers that he hands out along Devon. “We’re not aliens. We need to participate in this process so our government pays attention to us.”

    Interesting article about the population of Asian Americans in Chicago. Mostly focuses on South Asians.

    (via fascinasians)

    — 1 year ago with 79 notes

    #Asian Americans  #Chicago  #reblog  #link  #article 
    What Happened With the Chicago Teacher Strike, Explained | Mother Jones →

    For those still wondering about the strike that happened in Chicago. Hope it won’t just be a strike that goes into the history books- hope something comes of it.

    — 1 year ago with 2 notes

    #link  #reblog  #original 
    fortune-n-glory:

I’ve vocalized on here the problems that I’ve had with the upcoming drama Won’t Back Down since I first saw the trailer a few months back. In my view, the trailer oozed with the misguided (or hell, flat out wrong) “blame the teachers” ideology behind many theories of how to reform public education in America.
Obviously, there are major problems with public education. There are significant problems with our unions. Teachers, above all, know about this firsthand. Many of us are fighting diligently for the needed changes, while fighting against a political system which serves only to put up walls which serve stifle any progress we make. We also are well aware what the problems are not and what reforms will be detrimental to our students. Education is, after all, what we devote our lives to - and while there are the often portrayed images of teachers as quasi-professionals who only half-know what they are talking about, that image is complete crap. The majority of us are not just great, but spectacular at what we do and we know the ins-and-outs of the public education system. In fact, most of us are experts. 
But I digress. The point being: from the moment that I first finished watching the cringe-worthy trailer for Won’t Back Down, I had a hunch that this movie goal was to encourage that inaccurate image of most American educators being buffoons hellbent on figuring out the easiest way to slide through their days while bleeding the system for as high of salaries as possible. Of course, there’d be that small handful of teachers with truly altruistic intentions, but no… not the majority.
I also felt that the movie was about to portray the complex problems with public education in a much too simplistic light, as if the solution to the problems were right at our fingertips, that the answer was easy, if only someone took action.
That’s obviously not the reality.
I haven’t seen the movie though, so I can’t criticize the film firsthand. I’ve only seen the trailer. Yet, it sounds like my preconceptions may have been right on. If you’d like the opinions of people who have seen the film, well… here you go.
From Andrew O’Hehir at Salon:

So teachers’ unions don’t care about kids. Oh, and luck is a foxy lady. This is what I took away from the inept and bizarre “Won’t Back Down,” a set of right-wing anti-union talking points disguised (with very limited success) as a mainstream motion-picture-type product. …
[T]he big picture is that the movie is unbelievable crap and the whole project was financed by conservative Christian billionaire Phil Anschutz, also the moneybags behind the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” which handled a similar agenda in subtler fashion. Even though I personally find the politics of “Won’t Back Down” noxious - and the film seems half-seriously meant to launch some sort of activism, on behalf of whom or what I don’t know - that’s only a small part of the problem. …
There’s so much human drama in and around the charter-school movement that it should be easy to tell a powerful story, from almost any perspective you like. Nothing’s off limits in a dramatic context, of course, and given the enormous crap-storm that is American public education, there’s more than enough blame to go around. …
[A]ll we get here is the most blithe and moronic kind of “let’s put on a show” magical thinking, in which ripping up the union contract and wresting control of the school from the bureaucrats becomes an end in itself, and what happens later is shrouded in the mists of an imaginary libertarian paradise. There are attempts at Fox News-style balance here and there, as when someone observes that most charter schools fail to improve outcomes and when a bombastic union exec played by Ned Eisenberg delivers a monologue about the current assault on labor (right before announcing that he couldn’t care less about children). …
As presented in this script (written by Barnz and Brin Hill), the Pittsburgh teachers’ union has no goal beyond protecting the status quo at all costs, and no interest whatever – no altruistic interest, no self-interest and no public-relations interest — in improving the quality of public education. Most people still understand, I believe, that teachers work extremely hard for little pay and low social status in a thankless, no-win situation. But this is one of those areas where conservatives have been extremely successful in dividing the working class, which is precisely the agenda in “Won’t Back Down.” Breeding hostility to unions in themselves, and occasionally insinuating that unionized teachers are a protected caste of incompetents who get three damn months off every single year, has been an effective tactic in what we might call postmodern Republican populism, especially in recent battles over public employee contracts in Wisconsin and elsewhere. It works something like this: 1) Turn the resentment and frustration of people like Jamie – people with crappy service-sector jobs and few benefits, whose kids are stuck in failing schools – against the declining group of public employees who still have a decent deal. 2) Strip away job security and collective bargaining; hand out beer and ukuleles instead. 3) La la la la, tax cuts, tax cuts, I can’t hear you!

Here’s another review from Ella Taylor at NPR:

Joining forces with Nona (the great Viola Davis), a disheartened educator at Malia’s failing public school who also has a learning-disabled son (Dante Brown), Jamie handpicks a few burned-out but salvageable teachers. Going door to door, Jamie and Nona recruit an army of madder-than-hell parents to take on a bound-and-gagged principal, the board of education and the dreaded union, the better to take over the school and do things right.
All cynicism aside, the movie taps a rich vein of accumulated public frustration at the continued failure of government to provide decent access to public schools for all American children. Aside from religion itself, no subject lends itself more to arm-waving entrenched positions than education. And perhaps a movie aimed at a mainstream audience can’t help but distill the discussion into culture-war sound bites.
For all its strenuous feints at fair play, though, Won’t Back Down is something less honorable — a propaganda piece with blame on its mind. Directed with reasonable competence by Daniel Barnz from a speechifying screenplay he co-wrote with Brin Hill, the movie is funded by Walden Media, a company owned by conservative mogul Philip Anschutz, who advocates creationist curricula in schools. Walden also co-produced the controversial pro-charter school documentary Waiting for Superman, so the outfit is not without axes to grind.
That movie’s love affair with the charter movement seems to have cooled somewhat in Won’t Back Down, which features a lottery scene complete with nail-biting parents vying for a handful of vacancies at the excellent Rosa Parks Charter School. The fact that many charter schools have failed to produce better-educated kids, however, is not where this strenuously populist scenario is headed. Nor is the movie interested in the vexed question of what makes a good teacher …
In fact, it’s nuance and reason that fall by the wayside amid the sloganeering rhetoric of Won’t Back Down. Like most large institutions with interests to protect, the unions could use some reforms, especially when it comes to shielding bad teachers from scrutiny and discipline. But if you were to wave a magic wand that replaced unions and bureaucrats with a rainbow coalition of local parents and educators coming together to create the kind of school they want, the result would be chaos, not to mention an end to the tattered remains of our common culture. 

I like the actresses involved. As for them, I can only believe that their intentions weren’t devious. But they’re not educators. And, if the reviews are accurate, this movie has it wrong. I won’t be seeing it when it comes out in theaters, because I don’t want to spend my money to support something with such a message.
I would eventually like to see it though and see for myself what we, as perpetually criticized educators, continue to be up against. Maybe with a free Redbox rental or when I can stream it on Netflix.
Other reviews worth reading: 1, 2, 3

I saw this movie a few weeks ago at a screening- there are a lot of issues I had with it. Going to try to type out a review I had of it before it comes out on Friday.

    fortune-n-glory:

    I’ve vocalized on here the problems that I’ve had with the upcoming drama Won’t Back Down since I first saw the trailer a few months back. In my view, the trailer oozed with the misguided (or hell, flat out wrong) “blame the teachers” ideology behind many theories of how to reform public education in America.

    Obviously, there are major problems with public education. There are significant problems with our unions. Teachers, above all, know about this firsthand. Many of us are fighting diligently for the needed changes, while fighting against a political system which serves only to put up walls which serve stifle any progress we make. We also are well aware what the problems are not and what reforms will be detrimental to our students. Education is, after all, what we devote our lives to - and while there are the often portrayed images of teachers as quasi-professionals who only half-know what they are talking about, that image is complete crap. The majority of us are not just great, but spectacular at what we do and we know the ins-and-outs of the public education system. In fact, most of us are experts

    But I digress. The point being: from the moment that I first finished watching the cringe-worthy trailer for Won’t Back Down, I had a hunch that this movie goal was to encourage that inaccurate image of most American educators being buffoons hellbent on figuring out the easiest way to slide through their days while bleeding the system for as high of salaries as possible. Of course, there’d be that small handful of teachers with truly altruistic intentions, but no… not the majority.

    I also felt that the movie was about to portray the complex problems with public education in a much too simplistic light, as if the solution to the problems were right at our fingertips, that the answer was easy, if only someone took action.

    That’s obviously not the reality.

    I haven’t seen the movie though, so I can’t criticize the film firsthand. I’ve only seen the trailer. Yet, it sounds like my preconceptions may have been right on. If you’d like the opinions of people who have seen the film, well… here you go.

    From Andrew O’Hehir at Salon:

    So teachers’ unions don’t care about kids. Oh, and luck is a foxy lady. This is what I took away from the inept and bizarre “Won’t Back Down,” a set of right-wing anti-union talking points disguised (with very limited success) as a mainstream motion-picture-type product. …

    [T]he big picture is that the movie is unbelievable crap and the whole project was financed by conservative Christian billionaire Phil Anschutz, also the moneybags behind the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” which handled a similar agenda in subtler fashion. Even though I personally find the politics of “Won’t Back Down” noxious - and the film seems half-seriously meant to launch some sort of activism, on behalf of whom or what I don’t know - that’s only a small part of the problem. …

    There’s so much human drama in and around the charter-school movement that it should be easy to tell a powerful story, from almost any perspective you like. Nothing’s off limits in a dramatic context, of course, and given the enormous crap-storm that is American public education, there’s more than enough blame to go around. …

    [A]ll we get here is the most blithe and moronic kind of “let’s put on a show” magical thinking, in which ripping up the union contract and wresting control of the school from the bureaucrats becomes an end in itself, and what happens later is shrouded in the mists of an imaginary libertarian paradise. There are attempts at Fox News-style balance here and there, as when someone observes that most charter schools fail to improve outcomes and when a bombastic union exec played by Ned Eisenberg delivers a monologue about the current assault on labor (right before announcing that he couldn’t care less about children). …

    As presented in this script (written by Barnz and Brin Hill), the Pittsburgh teachers’ union has no goal beyond protecting the status quo at all costs, and no interest whatever – no altruistic interest, no self-interest and no public-relations interest — in improving the quality of public education. Most people still understand, I believe, that teachers work extremely hard for little pay and low social status in a thankless, no-win situation. But this is one of those areas where conservatives have been extremely successful in dividing the working class, which is precisely the agenda in “Won’t Back Down.” Breeding hostility to unions in themselves, and occasionally insinuating that unionized teachers are a protected caste of incompetents who get three damn months off every single year, has been an effective tactic in what we might call postmodern Republican populism, especially in recent battles over public employee contracts in Wisconsin and elsewhere. It works something like this: 1) Turn the resentment and frustration of people like Jamie – people with crappy service-sector jobs and few benefits, whose kids are stuck in failing schools – against the declining group of public employees who still have a decent deal. 2) Strip away job security and collective bargaining; hand out beer and ukuleles instead. 3) La la la la, tax cuts, tax cuts, I can’t hear you!

    Here’s another review from Ella Taylor at NPR:

    Joining forces with Nona (the great Viola Davis), a disheartened educator at Malia’s failing public school who also has a learning-disabled son (Dante Brown), Jamie handpicks a few burned-out but salvageable teachers. Going door to door, Jamie and Nona recruit an army of madder-than-hell parents to take on a bound-and-gagged principal, the board of education and the dreaded union, the better to take over the school and do things right.

    All cynicism aside, the movie taps a rich vein of accumulated public frustration at the continued failure of government to provide decent access to public schools for all American children. Aside from religion itself, no subject lends itself more to arm-waving entrenched positions than education. And perhaps a movie aimed at a mainstream audience can’t help but distill the discussion into culture-war sound bites.

    For all its strenuous feints at fair play, though, Won’t Back Down is something less honorable — a propaganda piece with blame on its mind. Directed with reasonable competence by Daniel Barnz from a speechifying screenplay he co-wrote with Brin Hill, the movie is funded by Walden Media, a company owned by conservative mogul Philip Anschutz, who advocates creationist curricula in schools. Walden also co-produced the controversial pro-charter school documentary Waiting for Superman, so the outfit is not without axes to grind.

    That movie’s love affair with the charter movement seems to have cooled somewhat in Won’t Back Down, which features a lottery scene complete with nail-biting parents vying for a handful of vacancies at the excellent Rosa Parks Charter School. The fact that many charter schools have failed to produce better-educated kids, however, is not where this strenuously populist scenario is headed. Nor is the movie interested in the vexed question of what makes a good teacher …

    In fact, it’s nuance and reason that fall by the wayside amid the sloganeering rhetoric of Won’t Back Down. Like most large institutions with interests to protect, the unions could use some reforms, especially when it comes to shielding bad teachers from scrutiny and discipline. But if you were to wave a magic wand that replaced unions and bureaucrats with a rainbow coalition of local parents and educators coming together to create the kind of school they want, the result would be chaos, not to mention an end to the tattered remains of our common culture. 

    I like the actresses involved. As for them, I can only believe that their intentions weren’t devious. But they’re not educators. And, if the reviews are accurate, this movie has it wrong. I won’t be seeing it when it comes out in theaters, because I don’t want to spend my money to support something with such a message.

    I would eventually like to see it though and see for myself what we, as perpetually criticized educators, continue to be up against. Maybe with a free Redbox rental or when I can stream it on Netflix.

    Other reviews worth reading: 1, 2, 3

    I saw this movie a few weeks ago at a screening- there are a lot of issues I had with it. Going to try to type out a review I had of it before it comes out on Friday.

    (Source: fortunenglory)

    — 1 year ago with 41 notes

    #education  #Won't Back Down  #movie  #review  #reblog 
    thegrownuplife:

I think I’m really going to try this finally. such a cheap meal. 

Woww i never thought of that! Looks weird, though…

    thegrownuplife:

    I think I’m really going to try this finally. such a cheap meal. 

    Woww i never thought of that! Looks weird, though…

    (Source: theamericankid)

    — 1 year ago with 282 notes

    #reblog  #photo  #food 
    iamlittlei:

hisnamewasbeanni:

Eat your heart out, iamlittlei. ;)

I love how everyone knows I hate puns.
Well, not my para. Last week he made a really awful pun, and I just stared at him blankly (I have the world’s best poker face). So he thought I didn’t get it and started to explain the pun to me, and I let him sort of stutter through it for about a minute before I told him that I disapproved of puns as humor, unless they’re in verse. It was hilarious, mostly because I didn’t laugh about it until much later.
(Just to be clear, my para and I get along really well, and he’s excellent, and we constantly give each other a hard time.)


Yess i need to print this out and post it on my wall. Maybe that’ll help me think of a pun-ny Halloween costume.

    iamlittlei:

    hisnamewasbeanni:

    Eat your heart out, iamlittlei. ;)

    I love how everyone knows I hate puns.

    Well, not my para. Last week he made a really awful pun, and I just stared at him blankly (I have the world’s best poker face). So he thought I didn’t get it and started to explain the pun to me, and I let him sort of stutter through it for about a minute before I told him that I disapproved of puns as humor, unless they’re in verse. It was hilarious, mostly because I didn’t laugh about it until much later.

    (Just to be clear, my para and I get along really well, and he’s excellent, and we constantly give each other a hard time.)

    Yess i need to print this out and post it on my wall. Maybe that’ll help me think of a pun-ny Halloween costume.

    (Source: elphabaforpresidentofgallifrey, via musicalbunny18)

    — 1 year ago with 33933 notes

    #reblog  #puns  #photo 
    teachersintiaras:

Wow! I wish some of my teachers had seen these ideas when I was the shy new kid moving to new schools every year. It is so important to recognize that I have to go out of my way to care for every type of person in my classroom.

As I am a true extrovert I sometimes forget about these things. Hopefully the visual will continually remind me!

    teachersintiaras:

    Wow! I wish some of my teachers had seen these ideas when I was the shy new kid moving to new schools every year. It is so important to recognize that I have to go out of my way to care for every type of person in my classroom.

    As I am a true extrovert I sometimes forget about these things. Hopefully the visual will continually remind me!

    (via technicallyinvisible)

    — 1 year ago with 832 notes

    #photo  #reblog  #teacher tips  #life 

    teachingtoday:

    wanderlustandfaeriedust:

    I’ve just come to the sudden realization that Alonso is Henry Knight from Sherlock. I can’t believe I’ve only just now realized

    Don’t forget about him as the werewolf from the BBC version of Being Human!

    (Source: edmacfarlane)

    — 1 year ago with 16598 notes

    #reblog  #photo  #meme 
    "

    25 Things To Do Before You Turn 25

    1. Make peace with your parents. Whether you finally recognize that they actually have your best interests in mind or you forgive them for being flawed human beings, you can’t happily enter adulthood with that familial brand of resentment.

    2. Kiss someone you think is out of your league; kiss models and med students and entrepreneurs with part-time lives in Dubai and don’t worry about if they’re going to call you afterward.

    3. Minimize your passivity.

    4. Work a service job to gain some understanding of how tipping works, how to keep your cool around assholes, how a few kind words can change someone’s day.

    5. Recognize freedom as a 5:30 a.m. trip to the diner with a bunch of strangers you’ve just met.

    6. Try not to beat yourself up over having obtained a ‘useless’ Bachelor’s Degree. Debt is hell, and things didn’t pan out quite like you expected, but you did get to go to college, and having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world to have. We will figure this mess out, I think, probably; the point is you’re not worth less just because there hasn’t been an immediate pay off for going to school. Be patient, work with what you have, and remember that a lot of us are in this together.

    7. If you’re employed in any capacity, open a savings account. You never know when you might be unemployed or in desperate need of getting away for a few days. Even $10 a week is $520 more a year than you would’ve had otherwise.

    8. Make a habit of going outside, enjoying the light, relearning your friends, forgetting the internet.

    9. Go on a 4-day, brunch-fueled bender.

    10. Start a relationship with your crush by telling them that you want them. Directly. Like, look them in the face and say it to them. Say, I want you. I want to be with you.

    11. Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun.

    12. Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won’t be.

    13. Find a hobby that makes being alone feel lovely and empowering and like something to look forward to.

    14. Think you know yourself until you meet someone better than you.

    15. Forget who you are, what your priorities are, and how a person should be.

    16. Identify your fears and instead of letting them dictate your every move, find and talk to people who have overcome them. Don’t settle for experiencing .000002% of what the world has to offer because you’re afraid of getting on a plane.

    17. Make a habit of cleaning up and letting go. Just because it fit at one point doesn’t mean you need to keep it forever — whether ‘it’ is your favorite pair of pants or your ex.

    18. Stop hating yourself.

    19. Go out and watch that movie, read that book, listen to that band you already lied about watching, reading, listening to.

    20. Take advantage of health insurance while you have it.

    21. Make a habit of telling people how you feel, whether it means writing a gushing fan-girl email to someone whose work you love or telling your boss why you deserve a raise.

    22. Date someone who says, “I love you” first.

    23. Leave the country under the premise of “finding yourself.” This will be unsuccessful. Places do not change people. Instead, do a lot of solo drinking, read a lot of books, have sex in dirty hostels, and come home when you start to miss it.

    24. Suck it up and buy a Macbook Pro.

    25. Quit that job that’s making you miserable, end the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic, lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you’re perpetually on the verge of vomiting. You’re young, you’re resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you’re patient and open.

    "

    Oh god, I’m old.

    (via inthisglasshouse)

    I have 5 years. I can do these no problem!

    (via followthepurpleline)

    if you’re over 25 or older, like me, this could just as easily be “25 things to do if you haven’t already”

    (via thefloodgates)

    Ooh, you make me live now, honey!

    (Source: lydiamichelle, via atthefloodgates)

    — 1 year ago with 345616 notes

    #reblog  #link  #life 
    stevenwontons:

Top Five Regrets From Dying People —-                                                                                
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.  
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. 
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

By Bronnie Ware

Speaks for itself.

    stevenwontons:

    Top Five Regrets From Dying People —-                                                                                

    For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.  

    People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

    When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

    1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

    This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

    It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

    2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. 

    This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

    By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

    3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

    Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

    We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 

    Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

    It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

    5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

    This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

    When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

    Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.


    By Bronnie Ware

    Speaks for itself.

    (Source: theburiedlife, via investyourloveinvestyourlife)

    — 1 year ago with 15668 notes

    #reblog  #link  #life 
    System of a Down’s beautiful setlist for Thursday August 2nd

    robbikinz:

    Prison Song 

    Soldier Side - Intro 

    B.Y.O.B. 

    Needles 

    Deer Dance 

    Radio/Video 

    Hypnotize 

    Question! 

    Suggestions 

    Psycho 

    Chop Suey! 

    Lonely Day 

    Bounce 

    Kill Rock ‘n Roll 

    Lost in Hollywood 

    Forest 

    Holy Mountains 

    Aerials 

    Tentative 

    Cigaro 

    Suite-Pee 

    War? 

    Toxicity 

    Sugar 

    I pretty much know all the songs on this list…if the setlist for the August 15th concert is half as awesome I will probably lose my voice for the rest of that week. Holy crap am I excited!

    (Source: watashi-no-namae-wa-robaato)

    — 1 year ago with 8 notes

    #prison system prison system prison system  #reblog  #squeee  #SOAD  #system of a down  #August 15th  #Chicago  #original 
    Team Teachers: Education Websites: A Collection of the Essentials* →

    teamteachers:

    A great submission from teacher-girl. Have something you’d like to share with the Education community on Tumblr? Send it in!

    *Edit*: Welcome back! I’ve finally pushed aside some time to commit to the Education Website series I started a bit back. Below you’ll find direct links to the older…

    — 1 year ago with 27 notes

    #teacher tips  #reblog 
    Positively Persistent Teach: Small Victories →

    positivelypersistentteach:

    Teaching in a special education self-contained classroom taught me to celebrate small victories. Accomplishments are not always measured by tests, checklists, or projects. Progress may not always be academic. A child identified with PDNOS plays with another child for 10 minutes a game that the…

    Few in this world will understand my excitement (and tears), when I opened the fridge today and my uncle said, “Tada!”  There was no garbage.  I know my special education teacher pals get it. 

    I do get it, I do. Ooh, do I (and will I) miss my kids more than ever. Thank you so much for writing this. When I doubt myself at times I know I’m coming back to these moments where I know I’ve made that difference.

    (Source: positivelypersistentteach)

    — 1 year ago with 35 notes

    #reblog  #link  #special education  #love  #small victories 
    Hey Special Education Teachers! Check out/Fill out this Google doc so I can compile a SpEd resource list. →

    paeacefuleyes:

    jbizzle329:

    All are welcome! Student teachers, studying to be a sped teacher, paraprofessionals…

    I added myself!

    I’m added, too! Tumblr Special Education Teachers, unite!

    — 1 year ago with 18 notes

    #reblog  #link  #SPED  #original