Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Really? By Felecia Tucker

After the confirmation of Betsy DeVos  as the Secretary of Education, I was both frustrated and quite frankly a bit perturbed. I can’t be the only one that notices this person is not qualified to lead the department of education! She has the resume of a lobbyist, not of an educator.

Historically, she has been a proponent of school choice meaning private and charter schools and also school vouchers. She has been successful in Michigan with more charter schools in the country other than New Orleans. These schools are run by for profit business people who are perpetually competing for every dollar that the state gives to children to attend school.

The problem is less then 15% of students that graduate from these schools are considered college ready. The schools are failing, most of them do no better than traditional public schools and yet they are still creating them, in contrast the school population in Michigan is shrinking every year.

After knowing the history of DeVos, I am seriously concerned.  One of my prodigious interest is that DeVos will try to impose the re-purposing of $20 billion that is currently used to support Title I, to subsidize private schools. Inner city or low income schools need these funds to operate day to day. Taking this money will not only effect teachers, support staff, supplies, and programs that assist our students but it will hurt them academically. The education gap will once again widen and our lowest performing schools will fall further behind.

 As citizens and tax payers what can be done to save the future of our students, our schools, and our communities? Well for starters become informed with who is elected as your representative (click here to find yours.) Begin to advocate for this $20 billion, by calling, texting, tweeting, and emailing your congress person. Finally, when midterm elections come up next year 2018, all house seats will be up for re-election and on the ballot.

If your congress person or any local, state or national representative is not supporting your interest then it’s time to replace them. Please don’t sit back allow this to happen to our children. Betsy DeVos’ track record corroborates the notion that she only cares about the bottom  line and it is very clear that it is not our children.

Contributing Writer

Felecia Tucker M.Ed

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Extracurricular Activities-by Felecia Tucker, M.Ed

Extracurricular activities can give your child the arsenal he or she needs to be successful now and in years to come. As parents many times we are overwhelmed with our own lives and some may feel that adding anything extra will be too much. Studies show that if we sacrifice time and money our children will benefit.

If we allow our students to step outside of the conventional, normally activities it will have a holistic effect. An extracurricular activity teaches them to be accountable, timely, and disciplined. This will improve academics and even reduce negative classroom behavior. Being part of a team will boost social skills, long term commitment, and build lifelong friends while preparing them for the world beyond the classroom. Students will see how diverse the world is and learn how their contributions can make an impact. If parents don’t expose children to these activities how will the student know they are good or unique at anything?

Many of these activities are offered for free or at a very low price at community centers across the country, even the YMCA has great programs. Take advantage of these opportunities. Here are just a few ideas that can possibly be your child’s new adventure.

Swim, basketball, football, cheerleader, debate, volleyball, chess, pottery, painting, performing arts, student government, etc. These are just a few areas but there are so many more.

These activities can start while your child is still crawling, so don’t wait start now. You will enjoy seeing your child grow and prosper into a confident well rounded student.

Felecia Tucker M.Ed

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Testing, Testing, Testing By Felecia Tucker

Testing, Testing, Testing

The school year is well underway and as a 5th grade teacher I am excited that we are approaching a well needed break in December. I am exhausted and so are my students. My day is full of activity and much learning for my students. We are approaching yet another testing week, the fourth one since school started. My employer is data driven and we use data to drive instruction. After testing the results are used to create small groups to work on skills that particular students have scored low. It also shows how students are performing, those percentages are used to gauge how a teacher is doing in her class and at her job as a teacher. If all students fail a particular standard then either the test question was poorly worded or the teacher needs to reteach and reevaluate her instructional practices.  This data is then reported to all stakeholders  and decisions are made on where to go in regards to teaching and learning. It is a great system and it is exciting to see high percentages of students be successful. Many school have data chats where grade level teachers come together to discuss all the information that the test provided and if there is a high performing class then a teacher can discuss his/her strategies in hopes to help fellow instructors increase their percentages as well.

Although, this system has great advantages for everyone involved, it can be quite laborious for both teacher and student. If there were only two test a semester instead of four it would be understandable. As a teacher I believe the same results can be achieved if we use classroom assessments to create small groups. I don’t understand why we put so much pressure on students right in the middle of a school semester when the same goals can be reached using classroom data. If a school is low performing then I could understand testing could be used as a way to monitor teachers. Some teachers aren’t doing the best job at instructing for various reasons and this sort of monitoring may not always be the best, but having four major test in a semester is a bit much. I can honestly say that many students at this point don’t care about the test, it has become part of the everyday school routine.

I was excited to see that President Obama has listened and reacting. No more than 2% of classroom time can be used towards testing. Wow, this is great news for many schools and in January the details will be discussed. I recently read an article that stated “the devil is in the details.”  This is true and we will have to see if the details of this new rule will have a positive effect on all involved. As a teacher I like the information that these test provide and would hate to see them all go away, but I do believe that their should be a balance and I hope in January that harmony is achieved (

Felecia Tucker M.Ed