The War Report on Public Education, 22/05/2016
The War Report on Public Education with Dr James A. Miller Jr.
1st Hour: Guests, Peggy Robertson, Nancy E Bailey, Dr. Jess P Turner and
2nd Hour: Guests, Troy LaRaviere
Peggy Robertson has taught kindergarten, first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth grade, beginning her career in Missouri and continuing in Kansas, for a total of ten years.
She was hired by Richard C. Owen Publishers in 2001 to serve as a Learning Network Coordinator and spent the next three years training teacher leaders and administrators in educational theory and practice in the state of Colorado, as well as around the country during the summer months.
In 2004 she was hired as the Literacy Coordinator by the Adams 50 School District in Westminster, Colorado. While working in Adams 50 she mentored teachers and administrators and supported them in the writing and implementation of school development plans.
She earned her master’s degree in English as a Second Language at Southeast Missouri State University. She currently is an instructional coach at an elementary school and devotes the rest of her time to her work at United Opt Out National. Contact Peggy at email@example.com or 720-810-5593.
I taught special education for many years. I left teaching due to the current reforms that are taking over the nation’s classrooms. I am now committed to writing about the profession that I hold dear and the public schools that are critically important to the future of America and its children.
Along with my book, Misguided Education Reform: Debating the Impact on Students, I have been published in Phi Delta Kappan and Education Week. I am an activist on the issue of safe school facilities. In 2012, I was invited to speak about school building safety at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s annual meeting in Memphis, Tennessee.
I have a B.S. degree in special education from Central Michigan University, a M.Ed in special education from the University of North Florida, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Florida State University. I earned credentials in teaching students with emotional disabilities, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and school administration. I also obtained post-doc credentials in teaching gifted and talented from the University of South Florida. My student teaching involved working under wonderfully talented veteran teachers who I still hold in high regard.
As a professional and scholar I conscientiously and actively pursue professional activities in order to keep myself current with issues and concerns surrounding reading and language arts, maintain and expand professional relationships with colleagues in my discipline and other related disciplines, continue to be a relevant and productive contributor to my discipline and other related disciplines, and to add visibility to my department, school, and university.
Among my professional affiliations include: National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), National Reading Conference (NRC), International Reading Association (IRA), Connecticut Association for Reading Research (CARR), New England Reading Association (NERA), Phi Delta Kappa, CCSU Chapter (PDK), and the Center for Expansion of Language and Thinking (CELT). I am also active in the Connecticut Literacy Think Tank, a consortium of professional educators who are either directly or indirectly involved in reading and language arts from the State of Connecticut, i.e., Central Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University, Western Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, St. Joseph’s College, University of Hartford, University of Bridgeport, University of Connecticut, and the State Department of Education/Bureau of Curriculum and Instruction. The Think Tank committee serves as a consulting/advisory body to the Connecticut Association for Reading Research and the Connecticut Reading Association on issues that impact on curriculum and instruction, and assessments in reading and language arts in the state of Connecticut. I also served as Publication Chair and Editor for the Connecticut Association for Reading Research (CARR). CARR is a professional organization dedicated to the enhancement and improvement of professional development of reading and language arts educators in Connecticut. It advocates leadership in support of research, policy and practice that improves reading instruction and supports the best interests of all learners and reading professionals. It also encourages and supports research at all levels of reading and language arts education to promote informed decision making by reading professionals, policy makers, and the public. Through CARR, our graduate students in reading and language arts have received scholarships and research awards. Additionally, I am Treasurer and Chair of the Membership Committee of the Phi Delta Kappa, CCSU Chapter. PDK is an international professional association in education designed to stimulate the professional growth of members and to deal with current problems and issues related to public education. My appointment to the State of Connecticut Task Force for helping struggling readers in Connecticut grades four to nine is beneficial to our department particularly in informing our curriculum and instruction in the clinical sequence—diagnosis and remediation in reading and language arts.
I have always been passionate and committed to working with teachers in classroom practice as well as parents in supporting their children’s literacy learning through professional development programs. I facilitated a series of Annual Parent University Collaborative Professional Development Project in the New Britain Consolidated Schools (2007, 2008 & 2009).
Recently, I have been invited to serve on the Board of the New Britain Grade-Level Reading Campaign, a funded program in collaboration with the Annie E. Casey Grade Level Reading Campaign, the Connecticut Center for School Change, the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, and the Connecticut Department of Education to ensure that all students in New Britain are reading at grade level by the end of grade 3, and the Welcome to My World Autism-a support group for parents with children with autism. Serving on executive boards allows me to influence policies or decisions that impact student learning.
Teachers—and the culture in which they work—have the most significant impact on student achievement. Teachers must have a deep understanding of instruction; that is, they must (1) understand the principles that govern how the human mind integrates, processes, stores and masters new skills and information, and (2) be skilled in implementing instructional strategies that capitalize on those learning principles.
It is my responsibility to put the most highly skilled teachers in front of my students; to engage teachers in continuous professional learning of effective instructional practices; and to orchestrate and invest in a collaborative adult learning environment that gets groups of teachers working together with purpose and persistence--an environment that respects the infinite intellectual capacity of teachers to identity problems and to work collaboratively to solve them.
At my current school we are in year three of a six-to-eight-year effort to completely transform teaching and learning through a combination of directed professional education, collaborative-teacher directed learning communities focused on problem solving, and the capacity building to bring it all together. Data has a place in our work, but it does not drive our efforts, it informs them. Our efforts are driven by our love for our students, our respect for our profession, and the sense of responsibility and purpose that each of us experiences as we work with our students.
After just two-and-a-half years, our results have been impressive. Some of our achievement information is illustrated below.
Unfortunately, our politicians and their education appointees do not always have an appreciation for--or understanding of--the systems and resources it takes to develop and maintain high performing schools and school systems. As a result, I have engaged in advocacy for our city's public schools
The format of THE WAR REPORT ON PUBLIC EDUCATION explores one of the most important events in our life time - the total takeover of our educational system by corporate interests. This show is about the 'corporate' war on public education and the rising public resistance movement to the war. Dr. James Avington Miller, Jr. invites guests from all over who join the rising public resistance movement against the corporate greed taking on our public school system. He is interested in growing a grass-roots movement here in the United States and in Europe against the 'corporate interests' that are limiting both teachers and students everywhere.
This October 2015 he is taking his show on the road as he embarks on a very special project. His long awaited project ‘The People’s Story' is an effort to reach out to those individuals whose voices are not being heard in educational arenas everywhere. He will be interviewing, filming and collecting stories from parents, teachers, students and community members in the rural and urban areas of the Eastern United States to include Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Washington D.C. Many lives are being impacted and harmed by the ongoing corporate war on public education that exists today. The consequence of the rapid privatization of our schools is inhumane and devastating to our teachers, schools and most importantly, our children.
His primary mission is to create a documentary/television series for PBS and the Arts & Entertainment Channel that will expose the human cost of man’s inhumanity to man. The objective is to document people’s stories from each state and create a one hour TV Episode for that state evolving into a 30-35 part series. Dr. Miller expects to have the first TV show ready by next summer. This will propel the ‘corporate war on public education’ front and center as a local, state and national campaign issue. Determined to awaken the world on a national level by providing a series of programs that will lead to understanding the whole picture – he hopes to demand an end to the Corporate Elite and their destruction of public education.
Dr. Miller is seeking funding for ‘The People’s Story’ project from friends, family and the public to cover the expenses that this will entail. If you care about the future of education, please support this most important project and be part of history in the making. This has been and will continue to be Dr. Miller's dream to complete and certainly his life's legacy.