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Most of the State’s proceeds from the casinos were to be put in an Education Trust Fund dedicated to supporting the public schools. It was projected that the ETF would eventually receive about $600 million annually. But funds from the casinos have so far been less than half of what was projected. At the same time, the Governor and the legislature weakened the formula that mandates State aid for local public schools by eliminating the adjustment for inflation. This is now costing the 24 local school boards $718 million dollars each year in lost State aid – an average reduction of nearly $850 per student per year.

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It’s 2013.

Your child...has access to a private world that doesn’t include you. They speak a language in code that changes rapidly. They exist with their fingers and minds wrapped around an electronic entranceway to a society in which you have completely relinquished control. They deal with bullying, violence, and childhood hatred in ways that you never had to.

Guest columnist Renard Barton is a graduate from Heritage High School, and currently attends the University of Baltimore.

(Renard Barton, a former student of Iris Kirsch, is a guest columnist for Future Imperfect: An Education Report for Tense Times. Iris Kirsch will return to her column on March 11th.)

As a teacher, it is better to have a loving classroom environment than a fearful classroom environment. Of course there are pros and cons to both. But from a little research it is possible to determine whether one outweighs the other. Although it is the teacher’s job to determine how they are going to run their classroom, it is generally better for student achievement to have a loving classroom environment.

Students Not Scores! Activism at McKeldin Square. Photo By: Iris Kirsch. (Note: EDS and the ISO are unaffiliated.)

To Teachers, Students, Parents, and citizens:

As teachers, and as activists for social justice, Educators for Democratic Schools is proudly in solidarity with all teachers, parents and students who are standing up to the madness of standardized testing

Students protest tuition hikes. Source: CNN.

My mother was the oldest of 5 children, raised in a small apartment in the Bronx. Her immigrant parents had no opportunity to go to college, and were very proud of her when she graduated near the top of her class and got a full scholarship to study math at Mercy College.

Armed guard outside school. (Source: Steve Liss/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image)

It’s been a month since tragedy struck Newtown, CT: a small, wealthy suburb of New York. On a clear December morning, a regular day at the local elementary school exploded in gunfire, forever transforming that community. In a few short minutes, they lost six adults and twenty children to dumbfounding violence.

Baltimore City school teachers rally in solidarity with striking Chicago teachers. (Photo by: Bill Bleich, source: City Paper)

Baltimore teachers are in the final year of the “landmark” contract we reluctantly ratified in 2010. Many teachers and education professionals reviled the contract for its attacks on seniority in the form of merit pay. As the BTU and BCPSS move into the contract negotiation season, it is important for the public to understand this concept.

Jerrell is a good guy. Smart and funny, he generally helped lighten the spirit of class. I taught Jerrell for two years, as a High School Junior and then again as a Senior. He was on my roster the next year, too. But only until he turned 21, and the school district's automated system dropped him from our roll when he “aged out” of the public school system.

Why would anyone get as far as senior year and then drop out? Why would he let all those years of hard work go to waste?

SGA member Samantha Hubbard marches around campus with fellow Dreamers. Photo by: Glenn Daniels, Jr.

Immigration reform is undoubtedly needed, and the DREAM Act is said to be a step in the right direction. Recently, students at Towson University launched their own campaign to increase awareness, encourage voter registration, and dispel myths about immigration. Indyreader video editor Glenn Daniels, Jr. discusses the MD DREAM Act and Question 4 on this November's election ballot.

Chicago Teachers Union on strike. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Today marks one month after 80% of the Chicago Teachers Union's (CTU) rank and file members voted to accept a major victory, ending a week-long strike. The CTU has been fighting for better working conditions for teachers, and therefore better learning conditions for students. As part of her ongoing column, "Future Imperfect", Iris Kirsch gives us an analysis of why the CTU campaign was so effective, and why it's important to teachers' struggles across the US.`


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