Today's guest blog is written by from former N.Y.C teacher and present Columbia Doctoral Candidate Michael Albertson. Mike previously wrote Urban Education: Issues and the Future for Finding Common Ground. Students of all backgrounds face a variety of challenges during their years of formal education. Environment is a large factor -- that is, rural, suburban, urban -- and each present unique conditions. However, the problems faced by students in urban schools are the most glaring. While cities serve both culturally and economically diverse populations of students, too often this diversity is not reflected in the student bodies of ...


In honor of my friends Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody I am publically submitting the following letter to President Obama. Diane, Anthony and teachers, administrators, students and parents from across the nation are doing this today. 10/17/12 Dear President Obama: As an elementary school principal and blogger for Education Week I am writing this letter out of concern for the education of our children. The increase in time spent on taking high stakes tests in New York State has grown exponentially over the past few years. Our students, as young as 7 years-old are subjected to hours of ...


Recently I read an article based on the book Faster Isn't Always Smarter (2009) by Cathy Seeley. Seeley stated, "Certainly as part of a complete and balanced mathematics program it is useful to be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly, and it is important to know basic addition and multiplication facts without having to figure them out or count on your fingers. But asking students to demonstrate this knowledge within an arbitrary time limit may actually interfere with their learning." I'm one of those people who loved flashcards and doing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division at a fast ...


If you believe that technology is a distraction and not a way to enhance educational practices, you're probably not using it correctly. • Why do we have to talk about technology so much? • I'm too busy to use it. • Isn't Twitter for Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift? • Can't we just disconnect and move past this technology driven focus in education? • Kids are so disconnected from school. All they care about is playing games on their computers. There seems to be an issue with technology as well as social networking. There are those educators who are considered "connected" whom...


Testing, although seen as a way to hold schools accountable, has done nothing more than hold schools to a 20th century model of educating students. We have all heard the comment that there isn't a silver bullet to save education. I have said it from time to time but after thinking about it, there really is a silver bullet that can help us regain competitiveness and creativity. That silver bullet is getting rid of high stakes testing. I understand that at this point in our high stakes testing era it sounds impossible. After all, many of us have been giving ...


Perhaps it's my own need to write about happy moments after posting a blog about helping children who lost a parent but this is an attempt to focus on the positive. We read so many negative things throughout our day that I thought you might enjoy focusing on the positive. I heard a statistic that we only hear one positive statement for every ten negative statements. That is a staggering statistic if it is true, and considering we are knee deep in the middle of political campaigns, I'm sure the negative number is much higher these days. It feels as ...


This blog will not be popular. It won't be Tweeted hundreds of times or sent out to friends through Facebook. Many who begin reading it will most likely stop before they ever get to this point because they will have scanned the title and decided to move on. Readers will say, "Too sad," and never read the rest because they don't like to talk about losing a parent. A friend posted on Facebook that one of her friends lost his battle with Leukemia. In looking at the pictures, he could not have been more the 40 years old. He left ...


To keep moving forward with so much collateral damage is educational malpractice on the part of those in charge. A few days ago the Niagara Regional PTA (Resolution) in upstate New York passed a resolution to be introduced at the New York State PTA Convention. The resolution calls for a moratorium on 3rd -8th testing and the elimination of using test scores on teacher and principal evaluation. Thankfully, this shows yet another large group in the public school community who understands how harmful the focus on high stakes testing has been in America, and other PTA's should consider showing their ...


If principals build a school culture where their teachers can take risks, teachers will be more apt to have classrooms where risk taking is encouraged. Yesterday, most of the staff and students in our school district wore blue to Stomp Out Bullying. Students entered school with their homemade shirts while others just wore blue. It was a proud day when the K-12 buildings come together and everyone shows their support to end bullying. As Todd Whitaker always says, "It's people not programs." "There is extensive research that shows school climate having a profound impact on students' mental and physical health" (National...


A few years ago our school raised money for the Heifer Project. Though we had a two year goal, we raised the money in less than one year. We achieved our goal in less time because of a dedicated staff, hardworking students and very supportive parents. It didn't happen because of points on an evaluation. It didn't happen because someone told us we had to do it. The Heifer Project was an idea that a few staff members had and it was something they had never done before. Those staff members were not worried about failing or who was watching. ...


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