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And with teachers reaching into their own pockets for classroom supplies, making ends meet is more problematic than ever.As for the future, educators see no end to the freeze.

That money has been used to mandate teacher “training” in the form of new certification programs and mandatory after-school workshops.

Throughout this “training,” I learned nothing that couldn’t have been put on a postcard.

I believe in the democratizing influence of public schools.

This should be a place where civic virtues are taught and affirmed, an incubator for a sense of community, a place where minds and manners are disciplined and where each child progresses at his/her own pace of learning.

James Weldon has been teaching social studies and language arts at Myrtle Grove Middle School.

His last day on the job will be sometime next week, after he finishes his paperwork.

"More than 3.5 billion years ago, small single-celled organisms acquired the capacity to photosynthesize" "Plants were restricted to the aquatic world until three billion years later, the first uncontroversial evidence for life is found 2,700,000,000 years ago.

The reference relates to sulphate and iron reduction as early forms of microbial respiration.

Radical reform is desperately called for, though there is little hope of realizing it.

Oppressive and arbitrary high-stakes testing, quantifying everything about a child and his teacher that can be reduced to a number, feels like abuse of process. Teachers do, and I can no longer, in good faith, perpetuate this perversion of what was once a joyful undertaking. Teaching is about passion for learning and inculcating that passion.

Quantifying a middle-schooler’s academic year based on a three-hour multiple choice test will satisfy the statisticians, yet fails to answer George Bush’s fundamental question – “Is our children learning? When I began teaching in the New York City public schools in the late 1980s, there was a feeling of respect from the public and camaraderie with civil servants such as firefighters, police and nurses. Physicians, attorneys and engineers are all recognized professionals. A British prime minister said people deserve the government they choose.

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