Monday, December 6, 2010

Emerson and Parent Revolution

Sorry we've been away for so long.  I guess that's what the school year can do to you...

Hope all is well and as winter break nears, we know that means Parent Revolution will potentially be organizing while we're away on vacation. If you don't know this group, they are an astroturf organization who worked to pass the public school choice motion through LAUSD in the summer of 2009 in the name of "reform" or the charterization of our schools.   

There have been a few emails hinting that Parent Revolution once again is targeting Emerson, this time with the California State Parent Trigger which would set our school up for some sort of take over.  This hasn't been confirmed, but please, particularly those of you who live in the Emerson vicinity, let us know if Parent Revolution is gathering signatures in the name of public education reform.

We believe ALL stakeholders deserve a voice in our school.   Parent Revolution and the parent trigger give priority ONE group of stakeholders.  Remember, if you are a stakeholder and you are invested in Emerson, we welcome you on campus.  Please join the Emerson Advocates and be the change you want to see in public education.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What is your reform "Superman"?

My favorite shirt-sighting at the LA Times protest. 
Emerson students got back to school this week and the nation is abuzz about public education.

On Tuesday, here in LA, several Emerson teachers joined UTLA at the LA Times to protest their education series which published teacher rankings based on student test scores.  In DC, many blame school chancellor Michelle Rhee for the election loss of Mayor Fenty and hope this result might change the tide for "reform" education policy.  And in Philadelphia, President Obama addressed students with a message about the importance of education in pursuing their dreams. 

But the buzz that is growing in our national media and about to swarm around us is the upcoming release of the movie Waiting for Superman.  This documentary from the director of An Inconvenient Truth is garnering lots of national attention for taking a pro-charter, anti-teacher stance on the education "reform" debate.  Ed. Secretary Arne Duncan even called it his, "Rosa Parks moment" and he's getting all kinds of grief for that.  Prepare to hear lots about this documentary on an NBC education panel and on Oprah. 

Doesn't look like many parent or teacher voices will be heard as this conversation about education reform goes national, but here at Emerson Advocates, we want to know what you think.

What reforms would you like to see at your public school to improve the quality of education for our students?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Conversation to Follow

Keeping up with Educational Reform news can be a full time job. As a teacher, I follow numerous ed blogs and groups (not all ones that I agree with) on Twitter and FaceBook. I read the LA Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, CNN and any other articles that make their digital way to me. Summer allows me to stay up late. When I finally close my laptop, I can still pick up my novel and read into the wee hours of the new day. My kids don't need to be anywhere at any particular time. We don't have homework or a need to pack lunches. There is always time in the morning to wash the dishes or do a load of laundry. There is even time to ramble on in a blog.

For those of you interested in news on National Education Reform and interested in 8 hours of sleep, take a peek at Bridging Differences, an Education Week blog by Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier. Both women are highly regarded in the education world and often at odds on education policy. Their conversations on this blog will give you insight into the policy discussions happening now. If you want even more information, follow Education Week or check out the subject specific links on the website.

Do you have a topic or article for discussion? Post it on the Emerson Advocates. If you have questions about policies and how they will affect your child's education, share them here. Conversations move us forward. Michele

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome Back, Emerson Teachers!

In a couple of weeks, many of us will be struggling to fall asleep filled with equal parts anxiety and excitement for our first day of school.  Well, that was me last night, anxious about our professional development sessions and excited about the prospects for exciting changes this coming school year.  And just as teachers and school sites are getting ready for students to arrive on the 13th, many people put in numerous hours prior to our arrival this morning.  They all helped make Emerson's first day for teachers pretty great.  So, thanks to our administration, Michelle Bennett, the PD committee and our facilitators for planning our PD sessions. Thanks to our office and facilities personnel for all your work this summer while we were away.  Thanks to our parents for another delicious lunch and thanks to all of the teachers for being fully present.  There are great things going on at our public school!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get Federal Funds to California's Classrooms Now!

A Call to Action from the California State PTA urges you to contact your legislator and the governor about SB 847 which will release funds to help save school jobs.  There is also an action in Glendale on Monday, August 30 at 11:00 am. I know this is short notice, but State Superintendent Jack O'Connell has a scheduled press event and we hope to have parent/educator voices present to encourage the release of $1.2 billion in education funding. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer News...

Over the summer our school, the city, and the federal government have been busy.  Emerson hosted three days of Camp Emerson welcoming incoming students and their families to get the year started.  The Los Angeles Times intensified conversations about teacher evaluations with their "value-added" series and the Department of Education moved forward with their Race to the Top.

We will likely revisit these topics for discussion, but let's take a look at this article from The Star Tribune in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  "Americans less happy with Obama's education agenda, but still love their local schools."

There seems to be a disconnect between the experiences teachers, students and families have at their local schools, and what the press and federal government want us to think about our public schools. Are all of our schools struggling or is it just those other schools?

Despite what the press and test scores say about the state of education what has been your experience?

Welcome to Emerson Advocates

Emerson Advocates hopes to organize parents, future parents, teachers, administrators and community members committed to quality education at Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School in Los Angeles, California. Despite ongoing attacks on our public schools we believe we can organize school staff, families and prospective families to meet the diverse needs of our school community.

Our goal is to utilize this blog to engage in thoughtful conversations about public education/education policy and consider opportunities for action.  We hope these interactions will allow stakeholders to be accurately informed, express concerns, and organize to strengthen the Emerson learning community and public education at the district, state and federal levels.

Please contact Michele Levin or Noriko Nakada if you want more information or if you are interested in guest blogging for Emerson Advocates!