education

TruthToTell Sept 19: TEACHERS AND TENURE: Achievement, Contracts, Certification - Listen Below

On-air date: 
Mon, 09/19/2011

Watch us from Studio 5! TruthToTell is now seen on Blip.tv or in our Archives above.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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Education in Minnesota seems ever in upheaval. Well, everywhere. Witness the assault on teaching and teachers by Tea Partiers over the last year or so, resulting in several states going after teacher pay, benefits and general rights. Major changes have been installed in the schools over the last year or two or more. Teachers, parents and administrators in all districts, especially, face renewed pressures to build in reliable systems for teacher accountability and, in core city systems in particular, aimed at significantly narrowing the well-known achievement gaps between students of color and their white counterparts, but also improving learning overall, what with recent math and reading scores hitting historic lows nationally.

Several perceived remedies have been passed by the State Legislature, including:

•  alternative licensing and certification of professionals outside the system to enter the classroom – with proper supervision (since teaching methods are themselves are part and parcel of the field);

• despite many doubts and failures, charter schools continue their increases in numbers as alternatives for parents concerned with system schools;

• private and nonprofit teachers corps, such as Teach for America have been introduced to Minnesota, permitting newly graduated semi-volunteers to enter our classrooms for a couple of years’ service, then depart.

• teacher tenure has come under fire, especially when teachers’ union contracts ensure seniority as the time-tested safety net for teachers, good and bad.

Minneapolis is in the midst of contract negotiations and some parents and activists are stepping up and insisting on historic shifts in how teachers are evaluated and whether contracts should use only seniority to release or retain teachers or base tenure on some combination of seniority and competence and other criteria. It’s possible Minneapolis will become the bellwether for contractual reform.

TTT’S ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI examine these issues with our guests this week.

GUESTS:

REP. CARLOS MARIANI-ROSA – DFL Lead, Minnesota House Education Reform Committee, Member of Education Finance Committee and Executive Director, Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP)

MARY CECCONI – Executive Director, Parents United for Public Schools

LYNNELL MICKELSEN – Minneapolis Education Parent Activist; Blogger (Put Kids First Minneapolis); Editorialist and former Co-host, TruthToTell

LOUISE SUNDIN, President Emeritus and Lobbyist, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers; Trustee, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; Executive Vice President of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.


57:06 minutes (52.29 MB)

TTT This Week: March14-9AM: THE WAR ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEES: Myths and Realities - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

CALL AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION Monday morning: 612-341-0980

The ultimate example of what can happen when wealthy owners and managers ignore the human condition and exploit their workers to the maximum happened in many venues, but one of the worst was the fire at Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City 100 years ago this month, trapping garment workers, mostly young immigrant women, many of them Jewish, needing to escape and killing 146 of the 500 who worked there. Managers had locked the exits to prevent theft by employees, who worked six days a week, weekdays for nine hours a day. The foreman who held the key escaped another way. This week’s show honors this anniversary even as public employees across the country are fighting to save their bargaining rights – even after agreeing to share in the pains of cuts to benefits and pensions Republicans claim are necessary to balance state budgets.

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So. Now it’s done – by a contrivance of excising the provisions requiring Democratic participation in the legislation, Wisconsin’s senatorial Republicans have passed their long-held-up bill essentially dumping collective bargaining for public employees. The state’s Democratic senators had skipped for weeks to prevent this very vote and it worked as long as it was tied to the budget bill. They've gone home now.

This week's guests:

PETER RACHLEFF  - Labor Historian and Professor of History, Macalester College

GLADYS MCKENZIE – Business Representative, AFSCME Council 5 and affiliates

BARB KUCERA – Editor Workday Minnesota; Director, Labor Information Office, UofM

MARY CATHRYN RICKER – President, St. Paul Federation of Teachers

The astounding thing about all this is the entrenched arrogance behind this nationwide rightwing effort to kill unions. Wisconsin is but one of the more volatile battlefields in this war on unions (and I hate military metaphor). Fifteen other states are out to do the same thing. This is what raw nerves in a declining economy hath wrought – and the wealthy backers of this tsunami of cultural division between middle-class working groups – pitting public workers – including teachers, police officer, firefighters and any number of those who serve us – against each other in a scramble for equity know all to well how easy this has been. Setting one worker against another is a long-time practice by corporate managers and powerful politicians who know that dividing and conquering is the way to hold onto the levers of power and the money that goes with it.

Contempt for public employees among unemployed and private sector workers whose pensions and health care have disappeared in the phony shortages created by the same rightwing giving tax breaks to the wealthy is now running rampant through the culture. The wealthy right is surely rubbing its hands with glee as Fox News and other right wing talk shows serve as the megaphone for assertions that all public workers are leeches on society, unwilling to work or given benefits and perks no one else receives.

Public educators have long been under assault from a public told to be suspicious that these union workers work just nine months of the year and earn amazing sums when their salaries are combined with their benefits.

The facts bespeak the lies perpetrated by these forces whose divisive rhetoric successfully placed them in office by the frustrations of a public needing scapegoats for their economic hardship. Public employees, including teachers, even after figuring in benefits have total compensation levels falling far short of comparable private sector jobs. But, of course, not many comparable private sector jobs even exist anymore – not to mention the fallout of 50 years of corporations and politicians convincing the middle class that these workers, along with immigrants and people of color, are out to kill them and their kin, denying them the jobs that have actually been shipped overseas or replaced by technology.

The uprisings in all of the states out to scuttle their public employee unions and to discredit public education even further are testament to the power of people who have finally had it with all of this. It may not unite them with their private sector brethren right away, but the underlying power of showing people that their neighbors are part of this may turn the political games to their advantage.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL talks with a labor scholar, reporter/analyst and those on the front lines of public employment about why this has come to a head. Did we actually need the arrogance of a Scott Walker and a John Kasich (Ohio) to bring this seedy business out in the open? How might public sector advocates link with Tea Party activists and others who rail against them to come to a meeting of the minds? What role has mainstream media – and that includes the networks as well as Fox News – added to the plight unions and public workers face these days?

Race and gender play a critical role in this, as well, women and people of color, not surprisingly, making up more a percentage of public employees than they do the private sector.

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First Person Radio March 9: GEOFFREY BLACKWELL, FCC - Audio is UP - HERE

 

First Person Radio hosts Laura Waterman Wittstock and Richard LaFortune with Andy Driscoll talk with Geoffrey Blackwell, a recognized expert in Tribal economic and critical infrastructure development.

Geoffrey Blackwell is the Chief of the Office of Native Affairs and Policy (ONAP) at the Federal Communications Commission.  On June 22, 2010, Mr. Blackwell was appointed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to lead the Commission's efforts to work with Tribal Nations and Native communities. One of Mr. Blackwell’s first duties was to lead the FCC’s effort to establish ONAP, which was officially established by the Commission on August 12. Mr. Blackwell directs efforts to develop and drive a FCC-wide agenda to bring the benefits of modern communications technologies to Indian Country, including telecom, broadcast, and broadband internet services. The Office works with the FCC Commissioners, bureaus, and offices, as well as with other government agencies, private organizations, and the communications industries, to develop and implement FCC policies regarding Tribal Nations and Native communities, and ensure that Native concerns and voices are considered in all relevant Commission proceedings. 

Mr. Blackwell previously worked as the Senior Attorney/Liaison to Tribal Governments at the FCC from 2000 to 2005, where he played a central role working throughout the agency in the FCC’s development of its 2000 Statement of Policy on Establishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with Indian Tribes, adoption of the Enhanced Lifeline and Link-Up support for residents of Tribal lands, and creation a new programmatic agreement rules for cultural preservation review and protection of Tribal sacred sites in the siting of communications towers. 

Mr. Blackwell is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and is also of Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Omaha heritage.

LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK RECEIVES THE FARR AWARD

Minnesota Journalism Center, Premack Board announces winners of 2010 Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Awards

MINNEAPOLIS (March 5, 2011) — The winners of the 2010 Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Awards include the Star Tribune, Twin Cities Daily Planet, St. Cloud Times and the Bemidji Pioneer. Winners will be honored at the Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Awards program at 5 p.m. April 18 in the A.I. Johnson Room at McNamara Alumni Center, located on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus.

The 34th annual awards program will celebrate the winning works and best practices of public affairs journalism, and also will feature the presentation of the Graven Award to Gary Eichten of Minnesota Public Radio and the Farr Award to Laura Waterman Wittstock of Wittstock and Associates, a media and education consulting firm. The winning journalists and award winners will have the opportunity to speak about their work.

TruthToTell, March 14: THE WAR ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEES: Myths and Realities - Program Below

On-air date: 
Mon, 03/14/2011

The ultimate example of what can happen when wealthy owners and managers ignore the human condition and exploit their workers to the maximum happened in many venues, but one of the worst was the fire at Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City 100 years ago this month, trapping garment workers, mostly young immigrant women, many of them Jewish, needing to escape and killing 146 of the 500 who worked there. Managers had locked the exits to prevent theft by employees, who worked six days a week, weekdays for nine hours a day. The foreman who held the key escaped another way. This week’s show honors this anniversary even as public employees across the country are fighting to save their bargaining rights – even after agreeing to share in the pains of cuts to benefits and pensions Republicans claim are necessary to balance state budgets.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So. Now it’s done – by a contrivance of excising the provisions requiring Democratic participation in the legislation, Wisconsin’s senatorial Republicans have passed their long-held-up bill essentially dumping collective bargaining for public employees. The state’s Democratic senators had skipped for weeks to prevent this very vote and it worked as long as it was tied to the budget bill. They've gone home now.

The astounding thing about all this is the entrenched arrogance behind this nationwide rightwing effort to kill unions. Wisconsin is but one of the more volatile battlefields in this war on unions (and I hate military metaphor). Fifteen other states are out to do the same thing.

Public educators have long been under assault from a public told to be suspicious that these union workers work just nine months of the year and earn amazing sums when their salaries are combined with their benefits.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL talks with a labor scholar, reporter/analyst and those on the front lines of public employment to talk about why this has come to a head. Did we actually need the arrogance of a Scott Walker and a John Kasich (Ohio) to bring this seedy business out in the open? How might public sector advocates link with Tea Party activists and others who rail against them to come to a meeting of the minds? What role has mainstream media – and that includes the networks as well as Fox News – added to the plight unions and public workers face these days? Race and gender play a critical role in this, as well, women and people of color, not surprisingly, making up more a percentage of public employees than they do the private sector.

GUESTS:

PETER RACHLEFF  - Labor Historian and Professor of History, Macalester College

GLADYS MCKENZIE – Business Representative, AFSCME Council 5 and affiliates

BARB KUCERA – Editor Workday Minnesota; Director, Labor Information Office, UofM

MARY CATHRYN RICKER – President, St. Paul Federation of Teachers


57:31 minutes (26.33 MB)

TruthToTell Jan17: MLK SPECIAL REPEAT: COLLEGE ATTAINMENT: Higher Ed for Students of Color - Audio Below

On-air date: 
Mon, 01/17/2011

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY REPEAT SPECIAL:

How in heaven’s name can Minnesota possibly achieve a 75% rate of  high-schoolers attending college by 2020 when the very survival of the state’s pre-school through senior high school system is in dire straits – facing a questionable future given recent budgets and a disastrous combination of  higher education tuition increases and  K-12 budget cuts and shifts over the last few years?

Moreover, the drop-out rates among large percentages of our kids of color, especially, would seem to work severely against any notion of successful educational attainment by anywhere near the 75% advanced as a goal by Growth and Justice Policy Research group and its partner in this enterprise, the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP).

But 75% remains the goal – or rather a challenge – issued by the coalition to this season‘s major party candidates for governor. How did they respond? Tune in Monday morning and find out – just in time for Tuesday’s elections.

What is it about Minnesota that results in such a disgraceful set of statistics? What have we done to our public education system that our state’s best and brightest are too often sent to schools that segregate them from kids of color, leaving the public schools deprived of the needed resources to graduate everyone who walks into a public classroom and receives a solid education? Money, yes. But irresponsible public policies and decisions have slowly but surely undermined what was once regarded as the country’s finest.

What to do about generating both the public will and the public pressure to act in the enlightened self-interest to adequately fund and invoke policies that favor the state’s economic future through education? TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with a few of the leaders in this effort.

REP. CARLOS MARIANI-ROSA – State Representative and Executive Director, Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP)

JENNIFER GODINEZ – Associate Director, Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP)

DANE SMITH - President, Growth and Justice Policy Research


62:00 minutes (28.38 MB)

TruthToTell Nov 1: COLLEGE ATTAINMENT: Higher Ed for Students of Color - Audio Below

On-air date: 
Mon, 11/01/2010

How in heaven’s name can Minnesota possibly achieve a 75% rate of  high-schoolers attending college by 2020 when the very survival of the state’s pre-school through senior high school system is in dire straits – facing a questionable future given recent budgets and a disastrous combination of  higher education tuition increases and  K-12 budget cuts and shifts over the last few years?

Moreover, the drop-out rates among large percentages of our kids of color, especially, would seem to work severely against any notion of successful educational attainment by anywhere near the 75% advanced as a goal by Growth and Justice Policy Research group and its partner in this enterprise, the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP).

But 75% remains the goal – or rather a challenge – issued by the coalition to this season‘s major party candidates for governor. How did they respond? Tune in Monday morning and find out – just in time for Tuesday’s elections.

What is it about Minnesota that results in such a disgraceful set of statistics? What have we done to our public education system that our state’s best and brightest are too often sent to schools that segregate them from kids of color, leaving the public schools deprived of the needed resources to graduate everyone who walks into a public classroom and receives a solid education? Money, yes. But irresponsible public policies and decisions have slowly but surely undermined what was once regarded as the country’s finest.

What to do about generating both the public will and the public pressure to act in the enlightened self-interest to adequately fund and invoke policies that favor the state’s economic future through education? TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with a few of the leaders in this effort.

REP. CARLOS MARIANI-ROSA – State Representative and Executive Director, Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP)

JENNIFER GODINEZ – Associate Director, Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP)

DANE SMITH - President, Growth and Justice Policy Research

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59:31 minutes (0 bytes)

TTT Sept 20-9AM: COMMON CORE CURRICULUM: What is it, and Do We Need It in Minnesota? KFAI-FM 90.3/106.7/Listen live at KFAI.org

A reminder that TruthToTell and CivicMedia are holding our first fundraiser this coming Wednesday, September 22nd from 7:00-9:00PM, hosted by Barbra Wiener and co-hosted by 36 Friends and Fellow Travelers*. Join us at the home of George Reid3114 W 28th St Minneapolis, MN 55416 View Larger Map for an evening of great food and fun - and a little more about the future of CivicMedia, TTT and First Person Radio, TTT's newest sibling. You can RSVP HERE. Hope to see you on the 22nd. Can't come? DONATE HERE or HERE. And thanks.

*See the list of co-hosts and supporters below:

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How should our kids learn their school subjects? The issue has been considered critical for educators and lawmakers across the country. Thirty-seven states have adopted the curriculum standards known as the Common Core standards. Minnesota, although having adopted the Common Core English Language Arts Standard (encompassing English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects), is among the few that has balked at fully adopting the part of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice describing how mathematics should be taught, what students should learn and how their knowledge of these subjects should be measured as they head for graduation. Most parents and citizens know little, if anything, about these seemingly arcane discussions. We just want the kids to know what they need to know to enter college or get a job or understand the world around them and to live within in it.

But those reasons are precisely why all of us should wonder - and, perhaps, worry - how the kids are faring in learning these important subjects, and you should listen to the pros and cons of Minnesota's adopting the Math Standards, now.

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN discuss the issues surrounding the Common Core with an advocate and a skeptic and an involved observer of the process Monday morning at 9:00.

Additional Resource: Australia's Open College System

MARI URNESS POKONORSKI – President, Minnesota PTA

ELLEN DELANEY – Associate Principal, Spring Lake Park High School

MIKE LINDSTROM – Immediate Past Executive Director, SciMathMN

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TTT Sept 20: COMMON CORE CURRICULUM: What is it, and Do We Need It in Minnesota? Audio below

On-air date: 
Mon, 09/20/2010

How should our kids learn their school subjects? The issue has been considered critical for educators and lawmakers across the country. Thirty-seven states have adopted the curriculum standards known as the Common Core standards. Minnesota, although having adopted the Common Core English Language Arts Standard (encompassing English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects), is among the few that has balked at fully adopting the part of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice describing how mathematics should be taught, what students should learn and how their knowledge of these subjects should be measured as they head for graduation. Most parents and citizens know little, if anything, about these seemingly arcane discussions. We just want the kids to know what they need to know to enter college or get a job or understand the world around them and to live within in it. (Herewith an additional link to the Grammar Guide for Web 2.0 from Online College.)

But those reasons are precisely why all of us should wonder - and, perhaps, worry - how the kids are faring in learning these important subjects, and you should listen to the pros and cons of Minnesota's adopting the Math Standards, now.

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN discuss the issues surrounding the Common Core with an advocate and a skeptic and an involved observer of the process Monday morning at 9:00.

Additional Resource: Australia's Open College System

GUESTS:

MARI URNESS POKONORSKI – President, Minnesota PTA

ELLEN DELANEY – Associate Principal, Spring Lake Park High School

MIKE LINDSTROM – Immediate Past Executive Director, SciMathMN


57:46 minutes (26.45 MB)