Association of school boards asks Rotherham 5 questions. Why bother?


The American School Board Journal interviews Andy Rotherham and asks him five questions?

Didn’t they use to do the five question thing on the Daily Show before Jon Stewart was in charge? The host, Craig Kilborn, would ask some celebrity dopey questions like, “Who left the cake out in the rain?”

Andy gets asked questions like, “How can school board members forge better relationships with union representatives in contract negotiations?”

Hmmm. That’s a tricky one. Good thing they brought in a wonker like Rotherham to get some insight.

As you would expect, Rotherham explains the teacher union role by speaking out of both sides of his mouth. We’re engaged in a ” a very public argument over teacher pay for performance” with Congressional leaders like George Miller on the one hand, but are not really “participants in the national education conversation” on the other.

Question six: Why bother?

Tenure and test scores.


All the usual suspects went ape s*** after the NY state legislature actually passed a bill that limited the use of student test scores in determining teacher tenure.

But Woodlass teaches a lesson on the use of data based on (hold on to your hats!), classroom experience.

I can’t imagine any legislator knows how to use data in the classroom. What I can imagine is how people whose business it is to use data try to persuade them that data is essential to good teaching.

Naomi explains it to the state reps.


Naomi Shepherd, Des Plaines EA local prez.

A drive up to Northbrook where north suburban Illinois House representatives were holding budget hearings.

Naomi Shepherd is my union sister president of the Des Plaines District 62 IEA Local. She’s also Region 36 Chair. She talked to the three state reps and represented the IEA position well: Support Senator Meeks’ Senate Bill 2288.

What Meek’s bill would do is raise the state income tax and rebate the school districts for the local property tax bill. Local districts can raise, keep static or lower their local property tax bill, but the state would meet their constitutional obligation to equitably fund local schools.

This will be what we will be taking to Springfield on April 30th when we head down there to talk with State Senator Dan Kotowski.

Small Talk: Russo and Almontaser.

My brother Mike has two posts on his blog Small Talk I want you to go to.

One concerns the blog that Alexander Russo runs under the sponsorship of Catalyst, a Chicago journal that covers school reform. Russo, who was one of those responsible for the bogus story of Obama’s support for vouchers, is now linking his readers without making any comment to a web site of a wing-nut outfit called Patriots and Liberty.

And Mike reports on the latest news about Debbie Almontaser, who was forced to resign her position as principal of Khalil Gibran Academy last year after attacks by the NY Post and anti-Arab groups.

Fire a tutor. Hire a British consultant.

There’s a proposal before our board of ed to hire more middle management while leaving years of classroom supply cuts in place, even after we busted our butts to pass a referendum.

I know it is no news to anyone, but apparently this is universal SOP.

Eduwonkette reports that NY’s Bloomberg and Klein are paying 1.1 mil to a British consulting company to explain to NY teachers what they are doing wrong while at the same time they are cutting funding for tutors of 8th grade students who are facing retention.

A fan of stupid reading.

My friend Jon Scieszka (OK. I had a ten minute conversation with him at a party in Brooklyn last summer) is the U.S. Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and the author of the Stinky Cheese Man.

In an interview with the Washington Post:

Scieszka calls himself “a fan of stupid reading.”

“I’ve been a big champion of stuff like ‘Captain Underpants’ and ‘Junie B. Jones,’ ” he said. “It horrifies some parents and teachers because it is not grammatical and there are misspellings, but that is fun reading.”

The mambo king played songs of love.

Cachao dies at 89.

This was close enough to the truth about their real lives – they were musicians and songwriters who had left Havana for New York in 1949, the year they formed the Mambo Kings, an orchestra that packed clubs, dance halls, and theaters around the East Coast – and excitement of excitements, they even made a fabled journey in a flamingo-pink bust out to Sweet’s Ballroom in San Francisco, playing an all-star mambo night, a beautiful night of glory, beyond death, beyond pain, beyond stillness.

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love: A Novel by Oscar Hijuelos