Education

Dear Dr. Rao, I write to suggest that you and VCU's Board of Visitors examine a potentially embarrassing situation in the School of Education that smacks of favoritism, nepotism and a possible conflict of interest. The Dean of the School of Education, Christine S. Walther-Thomas, and associate dean, Diane Simon-Beatty, not only hired Yvonne Brandon, the failed, former Richmond Public School (RPS) Superintendent [and the former boss of Simon-Beatty's husband, Thomas Beatty], but also hired Mr. Beatty himself. Now, it may be perfectly legal for them to do this, but the situation certainly fails the smell test. What message does your university send when it hires people who were on the front line of Richmond’s ignominious and failed use and abuse of a special alternative...
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Dear Arne Duncan, In a recent interview with NEA Today you said of my book *36 Children,* "I read [it] in high school … [and] … wrote about his book in one of my college essays, and I talked about the tremendous hope that I feel [and] the challenges that teachers in tough communities face. The book had a big impact on me." When I wrote *36 Children* in 1965 it was commonly believed that African American students, with a few exceptions, simply could not function on a high academic level. The book was motivated by my desire to provide a counter-example, one I had created in my classroom, to this cynical and racist view, and to let the students' creativity and intelligence speak for itself. It was also intended to show how important it was to provide interesting and complex curriculum...
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Dear Sir Michael, I note from recent reports that you continue to consider no notice inspections. Ofsted recently announced forty snap inspections - within minutes of the announcement we received calls from worried head teachers. If Ofsted wishes to rebuild its relationship with the profession and to remove the deadening effect of the fear of inspection, this is not the way to proceed. We have spoken about this topic many times but I want to repeat our concerns. Faced with the permanent threat of inspection, few heads will be able to spend time outside school. The education system now depends on heads helping out in other schools. This will decline, the sharing of best practice will decline, and standards will decline as a result. We can have a self-improving school system or we can...
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Dear Lydia, Having never done anything like this before I admit I was absolutely terrified until about a week before when I took on the philosophical view that whatever happens, happens! As you know our pupils are not predictable and their own response to the story, play, and the experience of being on stage can vary depending on day, mood etc. I now feel that it is my biggest achievement as a teacher in 22 years and one of my assistants has worked at the school told me it was the 'highlight of her 26 years!' I was quite unprepared for the response of the audience particularly those who did not have an interest in our school. I wanted to keep it simple, very visual and meaningful for our pupils. There was no point in doing it if they did not understand and therefore respond...
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Dear SGB member, iol news pic school girls The Gauteng department of education has had to deal with a massive inflow of pupils seeking better education and that has put its system under pressure, the provinvcial deputy director general says. [email protected] We, the Department of Education, the provincial government and citizens of this province thank you for your energy and good intentions. I know you have yet to attend leadership courses at the Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance, but hope this clarification of your role will help you serve us with the distinction . These are your key performance indicators: * Your job is to represent the community and make sure school policies and the curriculum are implemented. * You are not doing the job for the...
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Dear Ms Morgan, Having read further reports today in the news regarding the situation of the so-called “Trojan Horse” schools in Birmingham, I feel compelled to write to you again (although I know from previous experience that you will neither read nor respond to my letter) about the contrasting fate of The Durham Free School. I read that one of the schools in Alum Rock is finally “making “reasonable progress” in its efforts to come out of special measures – having failed to do so in two previous monitoring visits.” I would like to know why this school has had yet another chance to prove itself, despite failing TWO previous monitoring visits and The Durham Free School has been given NO chance to even have a monitoring visit as you made your final decision to close the school the day...
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Dear Secretary of State, Last week, all six-year-olds in England’s primary schools were tested through the government’s phonics check, together with the seven-year-olds who ‘failed’ it first time round last year. We, the undersigned, have serious concerns about the usefulness of this test, as well as the emerging negative effects on how children are taught to read in Key Stage 1 and their confidence as readers. Officially, it is described as assessing text decoding skills. Actually, it is dangerously confused. The check contains twenty real words and twenty pseudo-words such as "vap" and "ect". The pseudo-words are indicated with pictures of imaginary creatures. It is claimed that all the words in the check can be blended from the letter sounds and therefore are an accurate...
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Dear Mr. Gove, Having ended my school career on Thursday by collecting my A-level results, I am writing to express my concern that future school-goers will have a worse time and learn less than I did. Public exams are certainly imperfect but, under your proposed reforms, I fear they’re about to get worse. I would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to read a pupil’s perspective. A-levels are hard. They require candidates to digest enormous amounts of information and, in order to score highly, to analyse and evaluate it on the fly when faced with unfamiliar exam questions. Punitive time constraints only add to the pressure – in June this year, I had to write an essay about the Angevin kings’ relationship with the English Church in 45 minutes. Books have been written on that...
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"Given that economic growth is so eagerly sought by all nations, too few questions have been posed, in India as in the U.S., about the direction of education, and, with it, of democratic society. With the rush to profitability in the global market, values precious for the future of democracy, especially in an era of religious anxiety, are in danger of getting lost." ----- Martha C. Nussbaum (2007) Education for Profit, education for freedom. Lecture delivered at the Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata. "It almost seems that the university’s motto, “seek wisdom”, has transformed into “seek money” and writing book doesn’t qualify authors as significant contributors to this latter endeavour." ----- Victoria Burbank (2011). Writing a book at the University of Western...
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First published on 3rd March 2014 Third Open Letter to Professor Ranjan Chakrabarti, Vice-Chancellor, Vidyasagar University. Dear Professor Chakrabarti, Prologue At the outset I must admit that your third meeting with the teachers of Vidyasagar University held on 27th February 2014 at the Birendranath Sasmal Hall was more systematic, if not less officious than the earlier two meetings held on 5th June and 7th October 2013. My earlier open letters and your replies are now uploaded in a San Francisco based academic website (Academia.edu) accessible through Google, as recorded documents of the meetings held by a vice-chancellor with the teachers of Vidyasagar University under the new political regime of West Bengal.(1) These letters have now found their niche in the global...
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