Speak Out: Waiting for "Superman"

Phone Booth, February 2008 by Flickr user Maggie Osterberg.

The documentary film, Waiting for “Superman,” by producer Davis Guggenheim is scheduled to open in Columbus on Friday, Oct. 14. A film that evokes strong emotions, it tells the story of injustice in America’s education system. It says important things about the challenges of the public education system. However, the reductive messaging—“charters are good” and “teachers unions are bad”—oversimplifies complicated issues and threatens to thwart thoughtful discussions about improving public schools.

You will be tempted to get defensive about this film. But CEA welcomes and encourages filmgoers to join us in our mission of making great public schools for every student. Association members have always led the fight for great public schools, and we hope the movie inspires others to become engaged in a larger discussion about the shared responsibility for public education.

The CEA Blog wants to know:

What are your thoughts about  Waiting For “Superman”? Do you think this film will create a constructive or divisive dialogue about improving public education? Feel free to write a review if you have already seen the film!

Visitors to the CEA Blog do not need to be registered to leave a reply. Simply click on the “Comments” link directly below the post title. Type in a screen name of your choice, enter your email address and leave your comment. Please make sure your comment adheres to our posting guidelines. Once your comment has been moderated, it will be visible to all visitors to the CEA Blog.

NEA grant to CEA expands Peer Assistance and Review program

Peer Assistance and Review (PAR), one of CEA’s most successful programs, is now expanding. The program will now serve second-year teachers in the Briggs and Linden-McKinley feeder patterns. PAR II will be facilitated by a PAR Consulting Teacher and the building principal.

Support for PAR II is being provided by CEA’s $1.25 million grant from the NEA Foundation. One of CEAs goals is to strengthen teacher preparation and build a stronger web of collaborative support.

PAR will provide two full years of mentoring, assistance and review for these teachers. The extended PAR program will focus on:

* Professional self-reflection assessment
* Identifying four goals for the year
* Building and maintaining a professional portfolio to track progress and goal completion

PAR is a national model. For more than 20 years, the district and the Association have worked together to sponsor and mentor new teachers and those who find later that they need assistance. PAR ensures that there is a high quality teacher in every classroom.

Ohio wins Race to the Top Round 2

The Columbus Education Association is proud to announce that our signing on to Ohio’s Race to the Top (RttT) grant application helped the state win $400 million. The Columbus City Schools will receive $20.5 million over the next four years.

The competitive grant was designed to promote reform across four key areas:
* Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace
* Building data systems that measure student growth and success and informing teachers and principals how to improve instruction
* Recruiting, developing, rewarding and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most
* Turning around their lowest-performing schools

Ten states won this time. Each has adopted rigorous common college- and career-ready standards in reading and math and have created pipelines and incentives to put the most effective teachers in high-needs schools. Additionally, all second-round winners developed alternative pathways to teacher and principal certification.

The next step is planning the specifics the grant will address. The Reform Panel will act as the transformation team to oversee the RttT program. Management and labor have committed to work collaboratively through the collective bargaining process to address areas of the RttT program that differ from the contract. The deadline for the plan is November 2010.

Ohio has a great strategy for public schools–the Ohio Education Opportunity Act, also known as House Bill 1. RttT dollars now give us the chance to implement that vision at a faster pace than without this funding.

OEA staff will provide technical assistance and consulting advice to CEA as we strive within our school community to use RttT dollars wisely.

OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks said at the press conference: “I want to congratulate everyone who worked on Ohios application. This will truly help all of us move our public education system from fifth to first in the nation.”