Friday, July 17, 2009

About ethics

Two days ago, the Alabama state legislature made to changes to the state's ethics laws for teachers. This came after the Mobile newspaper ran an editorial claiming that, though the language was "subjective," the rank-and-file educators had nothing to worry about within the legislation, and tarred the association's challenge of the change with the damning taint of unionism.

The fact of the matter is that the new law is overly broad. It allows for dismissal of teacher for failure to supervise students sufficiently or using inappropriate language, for example. Who among us cannot think of an exemplary educator who could have been indicted and removed 0n those grounds? So the legislature, which has already succeeded in preventing any state employee, including teachers, from holding office, now wants the latitude to remove public school teachers at-will.

The two recent special elections in our area have both been won by large margins by far-right Republicans, one of whom argued with a school principal in front of a reporter in support of abolishing the state teacher's association. Both candidates claimed their cause was ethics reform, but what sort of ethics preclude schoolteachers in the state legislature and teacher's unions? I can think of no better model of citizen politicians. No, I think it is a backlash against Obama and perceived socialism. As a public school employee, I am scared.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

NECC for the Second Time

Whenever I meet friends, they don't understand where it is I'm going or where I've been. I know "librarian meetings" and thoughts thereof are considered by some to be quite dull, so if that's you, you can leave now...

but if you don't consider that sort of thing quite dull, perhaps you'll agree that NECC was a wonderfully stimulating opportunity to hook up with LMSes who really know their technology. There, and at the Constructivist Consortium event at Sidwell Friends last Sunday, I met some amazing people, some of them I'd been in touch with via Twitter, & other who were there sharing amazing things they were doing with digital literacies.

Unfortunately, my excitement was tempered as I know I probably won't get to return to the conference (which from here on out will be known as ISTE, the name of the parent organization rather than NECC) since it always conflicts with ALA. Making that choice means you have to decide which relationship you privilege, school libraries within libraries writ large OR school libraries within schools. 

Some people say go to AASL  & ALA Midwinter, but go to ISTE not Annual. Other say, fly from one to the other. I tried that last year, it produced two deeply unsatisfying conference experiences. I am not sure what the answer is, but it was sad to leave NECC and my ed tech world friends for now.