Ronni 
Member since May 21, 2011

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Currently

Teacher/Blogger

Updated on June 3, 2014 at 6:29 PM

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Born in Queens, NY, I traveled with family to the Tucson desert on the proverbial hippie bus about 35 years prior. Since then, I attended school for a total of about 20 years, have been a retail manager, tattoo artist, teaching assistant, and now a teacher of about 5 years. I have a teen daughter, 2 dogs, a cat and a couple of parakeets. I am a "townie", and enjoy cultural and musical events, reading, writing, and hiking in the mountains.

Latest Review

Re: “Brooklyn Pizza Company

Tasty and reasonable, although uncomfortable standing in line.

Posted by Ronni on 02/21/2015 at 5:32 PM

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Recent Comments

Re: “Experts Discuss the Past and Future of Family Separations at the Border

This administration only cares about one thing--undoing anything progressive that helps people--"real" Americans and immigrants alike. This administration is all about what is good for the rich, the powerful, the racist, and about the domination of an economy that will likely spiral into yet another recession. Denial is the rule of the day, due process is dead.

22 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Ronni on 08/10/2018 at 10:50 AM

Re: “School Closures Continue Into a Second Week of Walkouts

You know, I pretty much expect the usual "We hate TUSD" replies here. It's easy to go on http://greatschools.com or the ADE website and collect data about how awful TUSD schools are. You guys can't see the bigger picture, just lay blame with one district or another, and berate teachers you had bad experiences with--or all teachers!

The problem is bigger than that. Believe or not, most of us are doing the best we can with what we have. But awesome scores and high ratings do not come so easily, when the resources, and yes, highly-qualified teachers, are in short supply! There are barely any new teachers coming into the profession, knocking down AZ's door for a job. Is it any wonder why? We are hugely UNDER-FUNDED. Our state government does not value public education. And they create much of the problem with the constant mandates and testing. Here is a bit of research for you:

Changing the Nature of Teaching

http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Reso…

One of the effects of the increased number and heightened stakes of standardized
tests is that the roles played by teachers have changed. Specifically, teachers institutional tasks have increased because they are expected to take up work related to testing in addition to their regular teaching duties. Institutional tasks include:

- collecting, organizing, and analyzing data associated with tests
- grouping and regrouping students according to test performance
- developing vertical articulation of the curriculum to align with tests
-coordinating students assignments, based on test scores, to remedial

programs. As a result of spending more time on institutional tasks like these,
teachers have less time for instruction in their own classrooms. One study found
that teachers lose between 60 to 110 hours of instructional time in a year
because of testing and the institutional tasks that surround it.

Instruction is also diminished by mandatory curricula that have been
developed to prepare students for standardized tests. Such curricula
require teachers to use prepared materials which they did not develop
and which may not address the needs of actual students in their classes.

66 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Ronni on 05/01/2018 at 1:27 PM

Re: “School Closures Continue Into a Second Week of Walkouts

The ones who complain the most usually have no stake in education, no children they care about, or any understanding of economics. Teachers could have (and maybe should have) walked out a long time ago...maybe at the beginning of a school year, instead of at the end. Maybe they should have walked out during state testing! But they stuck it out---for the last 10 years! And now, at the near close of this school year, they decide to unify and rise up, and demand what was taken from the classrooms--from the students, and therefore all of us. The state government and some of the media try to put a spin on it that teachers are being greedy and unreasonable--but I think most parents, and hopefully the public, now know the truth! This walk-out is hard on families...it's also hard on teachers and other supporters of our children's educations. This is being done to secure a reasonable future for them! So if you are "sick of it" now, wait until you see how hard teachers are willing to fight for that money the state sucked away, when the governor and his supporters try to broker a deal that still benefits them and their special interests, and does nothing address the real issue: We need to FUND EDUCATION. NOW.

70 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Ronni on 05/01/2018 at 9:26 AM

Re: “Which Has a Greater Effect On Student Achievement: Inequality/Poverty or Teachers/Schooling?

I no longer consider Ruby Payne PhD, to be an eminent "authority" on poverty in education, because her work, though broadly accepted in educational circles, is not based in scientific evidence. It is also rife with classism. Thank you.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ronni on 02/01/2016 at 8:23 PM

Re: “Which Has a Greater Effect On Student Achievement: Inequality/Poverty or Teachers/Schooling?

Berliner has certainly made some good points. Here is a quote from another thinker on the subject: "Individuals who made it out of poverty usually cite an individual who made a significant difference for them." and, if you believe it, "The hidden rules of the middle class must be taught so students can choose to follow them if they wish".
( https://www.usd253.org/respect/documents/P…)

For those of us who have been working in the public schools for some time, and have studied the affects of poverty from researchers such as Ruby Payne, PhD (whom is quoted above), the fact that poverty is a great inhibitor is a "no-brainer". And, although the quote above may be true for those who do in fact make it out of poverty, the problem remains that so many more children do not.

Take those of us who grew up in the Recession of the 1970's: Long before the influx of refugee and immigrant populations (though they were still here, albeit not in as great a number), we were struggling in an education system that was still mired in outdated methodologies AND experiencing poverty across the nation. The line between the "haves" and "have nots" in society and in educational accessibility were pretty clearly defined. As one of those "have nots" from that era, I can say honestly that, yes, although several individuals encouraged me to keep going academically, it was poverty that kept me from doing so at a practical pace. I am certain that I am not the only one of my generation that had to work full time, while attending junior college, or perhaps even during high school. And if we did "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps", it was because our parents, from the previous generation, believed in a good work ethic and in the "American Dream" or something similarly iconic.

Those of us (working poor) who did manage to make it to undergraduate and graduate programs, did so through years of blood, sweat and tears. I did not make more than minimum wage until I began teaching, at the advanced age of 41 yrs. I had to take out huge loans, and counted on scant scholarships to pick up part of the tab, while working part-time at the very least. Poverty was always looming (and still does, to a lesser degree) in my life. But I see MANY more parents, who live in abject poverty today...they don't believe in the "American Dream". They don't instill good work ethics or hope into their children; they live day to day, moment to moment, just staying above water; many more seem to have drug and mental problems, then pass these on to their kids. And no amount of masterful teaching, mandated curriculum, or standardized testing is fixing the problem.

So, even with studies such as those conducted by Payne and Berliner being shared with the public, the problem persists, while so few heed their words, or make any real changes at a societal level. Instead, rhetoric remains popular, like "Public schools are failing our kids", and "Liberals and (insert typical racist remark) are destroying our country and education!". And now, it looks as if the Donald Trumps of our society will dictate who should have and have not, further dividing society, and widening the gap to a "nearly free" and equal education for all. Sad, sad times.

12 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ronni on 07/15/2015 at 1:23 PM

Re: “Are Too Many Black Children in Special Education Programs?

I have seen first hand the effects of a child being passed over for special or exceptional education. And I have not seen a disproportionate number of African American kids in SPED programs, at least not here. Because districts are so concerned about racial equity, it seems as if, sometimes, students of color are passed over for child study. We are encouraged to try every intervention first, before requesting an IEP meeting. The list of "identified" students seems to get longer every year, and they don't all end up in SPED/EX Ed programs. Whether this is due to an overburdened system, racial equity issues, or a lack of identification is not clear...I'm sure it varies from school to school. But one thing I really wish is that readers and those who comment would stop making politically and racially-charged assumptions. They have little or no understanding of what is going on in education, and a very one-sided grasp of what is going on in society. This is just one study. There are no easy answers. "Get on birth control, stop making poor kids" is not a very helpful suggestion.

7 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Ronni on 06/26/2015 at 9:53 AM

Re: “Structured Recess and Brain Breaks

I can attest to how good an idea this is. I can also attest to the fact that teachers already knew this, and have been implementing for at least 4 years. Some of the less physical teachers may not have had "structured" play in place, because they were often required to participate (something some older and physically challenged teachers have difficulty with), but where there's a will, there's a way! Gonoodle.com is a LIFESAVER! Students respond to it in a big way, and during transitions of 3-5 minutes, it barely takes from instructional time...in fact, compared to all the time wasted redirecting and dealing with behavior issues, getting up and moving to goofy music videos or almost meditational offerings is much more preferable. At first, "structured play" sounds very 1984, but if done right, can give the kids a real boost physically, mentally, as well as emotionally. And since PE teachers are a thing of the past, we need this. I hope it becomes part of our "mandated curriculum", but really, it's a no-brainer idea that we don't really need to legislate, unless we are protecting it!

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ronni on 05/25/2015 at 10:22 AM

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