Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My inquiry project

As a teacher, I believe in modeling whatever I can for my students. As we move into the inquiry project phase, it is only fair that I share with you a project that I am working on. In fact, I will be completing a project along with you, with the hopes of having a paper ready to go for submission to a journal at the end of the course. And, if any of you are interested in publishing or writing with me, let me know. I get a lot out of writing with students.

All that said, let me share with you what I will be exploring.

I am very interested in No Child Left Behind, as you all know. Much of my recent work has focused on how the Department of Education frames NCLB. In particular, I have focused on the political discourse surrounding teachers and issues of democracy, equality and social justice. I have also started branching out into how media outlets frame teachers, teaching, and the role of unions. Part of this is because I am fascinated by the political process of winning the hearts and minds of the public. Another part of it is my ongoing effort to understand why people think what they do about public education in general, and urban education in particular. It's not that I don't want to contribute to our understanding of how to prepare better teachers; it's just that I think that understanding what people outside of education think is also really important. After all, they have a stake and say in this, too.

In following the New York Times, I am often boggled by what the paper focuses on as the "real" story. I get the idea that "if it bleeds, it sells." But, following that practice all the time, I think, paints a very inaccurate picture of what teachers and students do every day. It's all about test scores, violence, bad teachers, and unruly students. Or so I feel. So, I have decided it's time to really dig into the news (the NYT) and really explore what it presents, in order to consider its influence on the public.

So, that's where I am at. I have already sent out a very rough piece to some colleagues, and I will be posting that, hopefully tomorrow after I get some feedback. Then, in the spirit of modeling, I will be sharing that with you.

Till then, my intrepid urban educators...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

For those of you who think racism is a thing of the past...

Watch this. And this. And no, this is not some old guy who is expressing his own sad and sick point of view. There are many others around him who are laughing and encouraging him.

I'd like to say that I am shocked, but sad to say, I'm not.