Over the Transom

Some stuff that came in this week:

Jeni Meresman asked me to post this announcement from Reinvention:

The tenure revision team at Reinvention is currently reviewing the classroom observation forms. They ask that administrators, department chairs, and other faculty who are familiar with this form offer feedback to improve it. Most faculty members are currently using this form. If you are a faculty member or administrator who has completed classroom observations (using the form above or any other form), please take this brief survey. Also, please forward this e-mail (or the link http://faculty.ccc.edu/mmaltenfort/Tenure/Observation.htm) to others you know, especially those who report to you, who conduct observations. Please be sure to only complete the survey once.
Thank you!

Michael Heathfield sent this fascinating research report by Linda Darling Hammond on Teacher Evaluations (he writes, “While it concentrates on school teachers–much applies to us. General findings are that most teacher evaluation systems stink! What a shock.” There’s a summary of it here. This is obviously relevant to the ongoing CPS/CTU negotiations, too and was used back in March to “blast” CPS reform attempts.

Michael also sent along this announcement about a Jonathan Kozol event (Thursday September 27th from 6 to 8pm, at the Northwestern Law School Auditorium (downtown). The event is FREE and open to the public (reservations recommended):

Activist author Jonathan Kozol will speak in Chicago – the epicenter of the corporate-style “education reform” storm – on September 27 about his new book Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America.

Kozol argues that there is a profound connection between urban poverty, racism and educational neglect. Today, he says, the public schools and teachers who serve children in poverty are under attack. Kozol, author of a series of notable books about the conditions of children in urban America, will speak in Chicago on September 27. He will address the current, unprecedented assault on public education and on public school teachers.

In Fire in the Ashes Kozol reconnects with some of the children his readers first met in Amazing Grace (1996), Savage Inequalities (1991) and Shame of the Nation (2006) and his other works documenting the social and educational conditions facing urban children. Kozol argues that as a society, we must judge ourselves by the way we treat our children–particularly our poorest children–and that public schools are a critical anchor in a democratic society.

And Adriana sent in this one from the AACU on the purpose and value of the Humanities:

Together, the arts and sciences continue to provide foundational knowledge that Americans need for civic and societal responsibility and for creative leadership, at home and abroad. Although the arts and sciences necessarily evolve as knowledge itself expands, our need for the broad explorations they enable remains a constant. The liberal arts and sciences are basic to participatory democracy because only these studies build the “big picture” understanding of our social and physical environment that everyone needs in order to make judgments that are fundamental to our future.

AAC&U has long taken the position that the aims of liberal education—broad knowledge, high-level intellectual skills, an examined sense of civic and ethical responsibility, and the capacity to adapt learning to new challenges—should be addressed across the entire curriculum, in professional and career fields as well as in arts and sciences disciplines. Liberal education across the curriculum will continue to be the central focus of our LEAP endeavors. But we also intend to assert—far more forcefully—our corollary view that no student can be well, or even minimally, prepared for twenty-first-century challenges absent a strong grounding in the liberal arts and sciences, across both school and college.

Thanks and a h/t to all three for the info!

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