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Sharron and Virgil Walker
Virgil Walker, M.A. and Sharron Walker, Ed.D are a pair of educators who have been teachers and administrators for a combined total of more than 80 years. Although, they spent most of their time in smaller public secondary rural schools in West Africa, California and Arizona, they have worked at all levels of education with a diversity of ethnicities and academic preparation. Mr. Walker is a reading specialist with practical experience in school and district wide programs. Dr. Walker’s is co-author of Principals as Maverick Leaders: Rethinking Democratic Schools and author of Keeping Democracy Alive: Principals and Teachers as Maverick Leaders.
Interests: golf, writing, education and research
Recent Activity
It was her first day on the job as principal. Dina Macksy stood alongside a tri-colored basset hound sleeping each morning at the schoolhouse gate waiting for the scents from the cafeteria to awaken his senses. As she entered through the gates, he looked up at her as he sniffed the air. Perceiving that she was neither a threat to his school or breakfast, he stretched his body back against the pavement, laid his chin firmly on the ground and shut his bloodshot eyes. “Now what do I do,” Dina asked the basset hound. “You come for breakfast everyday. Why... Continue reading
Thankyou Jim. The Tucson issue shows a number of misunderstandings in accountability. Ironically, the Hispanic curriculum started in response to desegregation orders and it got very complex with dissent about who is running the school board. Initially, the program was hailed as a major advance in achievement, but later reviews decided this was more an issue of stats than growth. Such bumps in scores often happen when new standards for promotion are enforced, but later growth is much less as retentions and student enrollment balance out. Now the whole state is on a standards binge and if the pattern holds, initial growth will be hailed and a few years later a significant loss will be discovered among those left behind. This is further complicated in that students grow skeptical about whether the standards will ever be actually enforced, and, as in Tucson, political posturing becomes the focus of discussion rather than what is to be learned. When it comes to local control, who are the controllers and who gets controlled?
3/28/13 The recent passing of a former student reminded many who knew him to recall learning experiences in high school. In this case it was a class play. From the discussion the impact of school memories brought recall of past teachers and student interpersonal interactions and reopened long past debates about who had the most impact. In many ways it recalled Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland memories with an occasional nod to Glee. However, the educational experience today is changing with a new world economy and international measures and debates about moneys and debts and achievement standards. The two of... Continue reading
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Mar 16, 2010
1. Randomization in educational research is almost impossible, even more so in international studies. 2. Ed research should be a dialogue. Participation should include the evaluated, the design and the process of rating. 3. Instruction looks most effective when the curriculum and the evaluation are aligned. Is this teaching to the test? 4. The instruments of evaluation are predominately norm referenced in design- not criterion referenced. 5. Evaluation of process is more possible now. 6. Most comparative studies reflect correlations rather than cause and effect. This is true of test scores. 7. Education placement and decisions are predominately political. 8.... Continue reading
In a special session the Arizona legislature passed a budget which will make substantial cuts to education at the state universities ($142 million) and in K-12 ($133 million). State Superintendent Tom Horne estimates the cost will be about 2% in each district and includes restrictions that will change the meaning of getting hired as a teacher forever. When considering a reduction of force dismissal or recall from same, senority will not be allowed to be considered. Teachers salaries will be set individually and not by experience. Existing salaries can be reduced on a person by person basis rather than equitably across the board. Evaluation deadlines are reduced or eliminated. Continue reading
Sharron and Virgil Walker added a favorite at Chalk Talk with Sharron and Virgil Walker
Nov 4, 2009
Sharron and Virgil Walker added a favorite at Chalk Talk with Sharron and Virgil Walker
Nov 4, 2009
The day after this note was posted the NY Times editorial page endorsed an AFT agreement in New Haven to consider a formal review of student achievement in teacher evaluations and further options for failing schools to be reorganized with new staff and administration. The editorial acknowledges that the devil is in the details, but warns that the measures of achievement must be given preponderance of weight with a “fine-grained analysis that tells teachers where they stand.” Apparently, the details are what and how things are measured and the levels required for success. Committees of teachers and administrators will “hash... Continue reading
Competent administration can provide the organization, valid evaluation can assess the growth, and politicians can take the credit, but with parents and colleagues alike, teachers take the blame Continue reading
I intend it to break down the barriers between teachers (the closed door syndrome) and promote group participation and communication. It is a rather obvious application of data to instruction, but why isn’t it already common practice? Continue reading
We offer this site as a forum to host ideas from our colleagues, supervisors and students to discuss and dismiss issues confronting the system and emerging from our past. We offer the following organization of topics: 1. What’s the purpose of K-12 Schools? 2. How real is the current atmosphere of crisis? 3. How do we really measure schools? 4. How should teachers be selected and trained? 5. Unions, boards, communities and departments of education- who sets the agenda? 6. What are the politics of curriculum? 7. Where should we put our resources? 8. How does research become outcomes? 9.... Continue reading
K-12 schools are the universals of education for our children- the common experience of all citizens for adult life as Jefferson envisioned it. The original goals were to assure that all participants have sufficient knowledge to share in democratic processes and values. In colonial periods, it was to allow individual access to the Bible. However, as the country and economy grew the goals became infused with the need for skills of the industrial workplace and consumerism. At present, there is an emerging view that K-12 must be sufficiently rigorous to allow success in further education. State Legislators are considering college... Continue reading