The Secret to Fixing Schools (My Next Bestseller)


The Secret to Fixing Schools (My next bestseller)

Prologue

I just finished watching a fascinating documentary on Netflix entitled, “The Secret”. The film presented opinion from many speakers of various walks of life, ranging from meta physicists and authors to teachers and pastors. The message was simple:

You are what you think.

In a nutshell, those who think positive thoughts reap positive benefits. The positive energy that emanates from a positive thought is reflective in nature, bringing back to us what we truly desire and focus upon.

Brilliant. As we always knew, prayer works.

I then began to think about my own life. As a public school teacher, now for close to three decades, and as a mom, for at least two of those decades, I couldn’t help but to realize just how important this “Secret” is with regards to our own public schools. It seems so logical.

Just think positive. Teach positive. Believe they can and they will. Period.

It makes total sense. After all, one of the first lessons we were taught as students in the universities for education is that of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Robert K. Merton coined this term in 1948. He described the situation in which ‘a false definition evokes a new behavior which, in turn, makes the originally false conception come true.’ All teachers know and live by this rule. This is why we are warned to not listen to teachers who complain about students. Give each child a fresh start, they teach us; do not bring preconceived, negative stereotypes into the equation when teaching children because you quickly learn that children will live up to your every expectation. If you expect the worst, that is exactly what you will get. This is every teacher’s golden rule so, it only makes sense that it is the rationale behind “The Secret to Fixing Schools”.

#ComingSoon

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Shunned. The Shame of My Teachers Union – A Good Friday Reflection


Day 1 of Spring Break. I am up bright and early on this beautiful Good Friday morning.

The sun is shining over my little piece of Florida. We say tomorrow will always be a better day. Today, it came true.

I am thankful to be the mom of two wonderful daughters, raised among a family that stretches far and wide. I am thankful for my hardworking husband who never fails to be there for us. I am thankful to live in a caring, compassionate community of citizens.

Good Friday is a good day to remember what we are thankful for. After all, Jesus is a good ol’ hero of mine. He fought for what was right. He was persecuted. He would not be held down…

I’m with him.

I’ve been shunned by my teachers union, all the way to the top.

Make no mistake. Once, they loved me. I joined, I rallied, I organized, I affected change. But, then I witnessed, and then I whistled …

I blew the whistle. Hard.

I blew the whistle on election violations. I blew the whistle on unfounded, unvetted, early endorsements. I blew the whistle on backdoor deals. I did what you are never supposed to do – I blew the whistle on union leadership.

I blew hard. And, they buried me.

I am the shame of my union.

I am ashamed of my union.

I’m not with leadership. I’m not with Hillary.

I’m not with her. .

In my classroom, I have a saying written across the top of my board:

“Tomorrow is Always a Better Day.”

It is a daily reminder to keep on keeping on. It is a reminder to keep up the fight and to keep up the faith. I will do just that.

Will you?

I’m with you.

 

thorn

 

The Testing Games : Part 2 – Starring Hillary Clinton as Effie Trinket #WhatTheEff?


Do your students look at you, like we look at Effie Trinket, and wonder, “What the Eff?”

Listen to GrassRoots Mom’s latest podcast:  The Testing Games, Part 2, Starring Hillary Clinton as Effie Trinket! #WhatTheEff?

For more GatorBonBC Snark, check out my  GrassRootsMom Podcast!

effie.PNG

 

Hypocrisy of My Teachers Union: If It Looks Like A Duck & Quacks Like A Duck, It’s Duck, Baby


Can I take a quick break from the Testing Games to point out a quick example of hypocrisy?

Specifically, I’d like to note the hypocrisy of our Florida FEA union suing our state for the Best & Brightest scholarship, based on it being a form of age discrimination against older teachers, when our own local union bargained to give huge raises to young teachers and nothing to old fogies like me. Really? Really?

Old fogies unite.

Here is my point:

On Monday, the Florida Education Association put some heft behind the words, filing a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations. The complaint states:

 

“The exemption of first-year teachers from the requirement that they provide evidence of being rated “highly effective” under the respondent employers’ performance evaluation system further discriminates against and has a disparate impact on teachers older than 40 years old. First-year teachers are overwhelmingly younger than 40 years of age.

OK. Makes sense. They filed a lawsuit.

But, now this. Our local Lee County union, TALC, just released it’s proposed contract changes, bargained for local Lee county teachers. Turns out, older teachers won’t see a penny of increase in their pay.

Not a penny.

But, younger, newer teachers are getting a hefty chunk. Very hefty.

How is that not age discrimination?

Why would our union sue against age discrimination and then commit the act themselves?

Hypocrisy. Call that duck what it is …

duck

Wake Up. Our unions. Our contracts. Our choice. Our vote.

ps. I would provide a copy/link of our local union contract changes proposal but, even though we must vote in just a few days, the official document has not been sent out to members by our local union. So, instead, I will borrow the comment of a wonderful Lee County teacher who posted this online:

“I know you all work hard for us, but I, too, am very disappointed. If you look at how much I have made in the last 10 years, it hasn’t changed very much. I am working towards my retirement and I’m disheartened by how people who have given so much to our district are constantly left out.

 

The idea to increase the beginning teacher’s salaries is to bring in more people on an annual contract and to appease those who are thinking of looking elsewhere for employment. Just like the Best and the Brightest “Scholarship” helps Teach For America and it’s corporate and political backers, this just helps some.

 

When I first started teaching I would get so excited to see the possibility of what I would be getting at my retirement when the forms came in the mail. I didn’t realize that they were figuring in 6% raise each year in their predictions. As it is now, I would make a little more than half of what I make now, and for each year I work, my future cost of living increase goes down. It was definitely bait and switch.

 

New teachers, realize that you will be me someday. Do you want to be left out after you have put so many years into the system? Do you want the book, computer, and test companies taking money from our families’ lives? We ALL deserve more!”

Bravo. I could not have said it better. Do the right thing, Lee. Expect better.

#JustVoteNo

The Hypocrisy of OUR Teacher Union Leadership Bragging about Hillary Clinton in Nevada


So, I see our president,  Randi Weingarten, president of our 1.6-million member American Federation of Teachers union,  bragging that they helped Hillary Clinton win Nevada.

Ha. Really?

Listen. Teacher unions have a few mantras. If you have ever been involved in one, you know. Fight charter schools. Fight against tying test scores to contracts. Fight against privatization.

Who are they fighting? Big corporations, like, um … Walmart.

Oh yea. Walmart and unions … not friends.

But …

Who is our teacher union leadership  running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get elected to President of the United States?

Yup. You guessed it. Poster child for Walmart, herself…

Hillary Clinton.

Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

Ward Harkavy, Village Voice, 2000 – Twice in three days last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton basked in the adulation of cheering unions . . . They would have dropped their forks if they had heard that Hillary served for six years on the board of the dreaded Wal-Mart, a union-busting behemoth. If they had learned the details of her friendship with Wal-Mart, they might have lost their lunches. . . 


As she was leaving the dais, she ignored a reporter’s question about Wal-Mart, and she ignored it again when she strode by reporters in the hotel lobby.

But there are questions. In 1986, when Hillary was first lady of Arkansas, she was put on the board of Wal-Mart. Officials at the time said she wasn’t filling a vacancy. In May 1992, as Hubby’s presidential campaign heated up, she resigned from the board of Wal-Mart. Company officials said at the time that they weren’t going to fill her vacancy.

So what the hell was she doing on the Wal-Mart board? According to press accounts at the time, she was a show horse at the company’s annual meetings when founder Sam Walton bused in cheering throngs to celebrate his non-union empire, which is headquartered in Arkansas, one of the country’s poorest states. According to published reports, she was placed in charge of the company’s “green” program to protect the environment.

But nobody got greener than Sam Walton and his family. For several years in the ’80s, he was judged the richest man in America by Forbes magazine; his fortune zoomed into the billions until he split it up among relatives. It’s no surprise that Hillary is a strong supporter of free trade with China. Wal-Mart, despite its “Buy American” advertising campaign, is the single largest U.S. importer, and half of its imports come from China.

Was Hillary the voice of conscience on the board for American and foreign workers? Contemporary accounts make no mention of that. They do describe her as a “corporate litigator” in those days, and they mention, speaking of environmental matters, that she also served on the board of Lafarge, a company that, according to a press account, once burned hazardous fuels to run its cement plants. . .
And the Clintons depended on Wal-Mart’s largesse not only for Hillary’s regular payments as a board member but for travel expenses on Wal-Mart planes and for heavy campaign contributions to Bill’s campaigns there and nationally. . .

Lisa Featherstone, Nation 2005– Unlike so many horrible things, Wal-Mart cannot be blamed on George W. Bush. The Arkansas-based company prospered under the state’s native son Bill Clinton when he was governor and President. Sam Walton and his wife, Helen, were close to the Clintons, and for several years Hillary Clinton, whose law firm represented Wal-Mart, served on the company’s board of directors. Bill Clinton’s “welfare reform” has provided Wal-Mart with a ready workforce of women who have no choice but to accept its poverty wages and discriminatory policies.

Just read this from today’s edition of USA Today and ask yourself … why did our union leadership jump to endorse Hillary Clinton ?

First, some background. Clinton was a director at Wal-Mart from 1986-1992, a time of rapid growth for the company. From 1986-1991, Wal-Mart created 230,000 jobs, more than any other firm in the country. The company grew quickly because it was wildly profitable and it was wildly profitable because it obsessively managed expenses. Cost management was vital to Walmart because, like most retailers, its profit margin — the amount of profit a business makes on each dollar in sales— is notoriously thin. For every dollar in sales Walmart makes, the company pockets just about three cents in profit.

Of course, then, as now, Walmart’s biggest cost was labor. And to keep labor costs in check, Wal-Mart took pains to make sure its workers didn’t unionize. During Clinton’s tenure, the company’s strategy for dealing with organized labor was directed by fellow board member, John Tate. Mr. Tate famously summed up his philosophy at a 2004 managers meeting: “Labor unions are nothing but blood-sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living.”

According to former board members, Clinton did not denounce the ‘anti-union’ efforts Tate spearheaded, nor rail for increased employee wages. Donald G. Soderquist, the board’s then vice chairman, has said that not only was Clinton “not a dissenter,” but that “she was a part of those decisions.” Wal-Mart’s stock rose by more than 500%during her tenure and Clinton’s shares were worth nearly $100,000 by 1992.

Clinton’s Wal-Mart tenure not only not only raises the issue of hypocrisy, but it makes one question whether she even believes in her own policy prescriptions.

Whose interests are our teacher union leaders representing?

Not ours.

Maybe they should have polled more than 2% of members before endorsing. #JustSaying

Wake. Up. Members. Wake. Up. Voters. #WithAQuickness

walmart

ps. Really, Randi?

Ms. Weingarten suggested that some of the blame for confusion about the level of labor support for Mrs. Clinton resided with the A.F.L.-C.I.O

Pitting us against AFL- CIO?

Choosing Hillary over solidarity? That’s low…

The reason folks doubt support your endorsement of Hillary is

because you endorsed without even asking.

Big mistake.

#Huge.