A local guy running for political office showed up to my door the other day and said that he supported education. In his defense, he did not know that I am a school principal. He also did not know that many of us have experienced millions of dollars in budget cuts. Nor did he know that I have had to lay off teachers and have watched students leave to go to private school or homeschool because their parents were concerned over high stakes testing and our changing education system. He merely showed up to the door and said his name ...


Beware of information junk food. Every morning I get up and check Facebook to see what my friends have been up to; then I skip over to Twitter and catch up on some educational reading. While that is happening I'm listening to the local news on the television in the other room. It's a lot of noise coming at me in the morning but it's how I get energized before I leave for school. After all, I want to stay informed in case I get any really tough questions from my fifth graders. I enjoy being connected and learning new ...


Teachers need to make sure that they are fostering strong PLN's in the classroom because as much as it is important to learn from a teacher, we also understand that the conversations students have with one another can be invaluable as well. Through social media and other venues there is a lot of talk about personal learning networks (PLN). A PLN consists of all of the places where you get your information and its how educators tap into educational conversations with colleagues near and far. It's a fantastic way to stay current in our practice as educators. As a principal, ...


In response to NY Times columnist David Brooks: Everyone has an opinion about school. It happens because most people have been affected, positively or negatively by their school experience, so therefore they have an opinion about how it needs to change. Opinions are as diverse as the people who hold them but it is amazing how one can come off accusatory and sarcastic while the other comes of inspiring. In a recent NY Times column (Honor Code), David Brooks gave the example of how Henry V, "one of Shakespeare's most appealing characters" would be medicated and verbally abused by today's ...


Lately, I have been struggling with the changes in education because so many of them are being done for the wrong reasons. However, some of those changes could have a positive impact on how administrators and teachers work together if they are done correctly. Blanket rules and high stakes testing are not healthy, but multiple observations and professional conversations can be. Can there really be pros and cons to accountability? Teachers and administrators need to be evaluated, and those that I work with and connect with on Twitter want to be evaluated. However, the tools that are being used to ...


In our present educational reform, there are organizations that fall into several categories; those who want to work with the public education system, those who want to make money off of the public school system and those who want to work at the governmental level to change policy. As a public school principal I see the benefits of working with those organizations who want to help us progress but I lack patience for those who want to work with us to make a quick buck. As much as this is a very difficult time for education it is also an ...


The summer offers educators a time to reflect on the past year and focus on the year to come. During the summer we can unwind, get to see family and friends a little more often and we get time to read. As much as we like to read something non-education related we often find ourselves reading articles and new books that solely focus on education. It's important for us to maintain a connection to the career we love. And for some educators who have lost the love of education because of changes that seem more about blame than about educating ...


Given all of the communication tools that we have, bullying happens in many forms and it constantly surrounds us. If we wonder why it continues to happen we need only to look to a society that constantly focuses on someone's flaws, reality television where real housewives of wherever make mean-spirited comments about one another, bad parenting, politicians who are the poster children for bad behavior and an influx of anonymous blogs where people post ignorant comments about things they really don't know much about; all because they're angry about something. In schools, two of the areas that bullying happens is ...


The very people who are supposed to be giving us directions are drawing the map as we are driving. We are all at the center of a debate about the true definition of public education. It is a debate that has been going on for decades but the changes that we are presently seeing are unlike any that have come our way in a very long time and it is having a damaging impact on education. Many politicians and corporate reformers believe a public education is about preparing American students to beat out international students. This competition is solely left ...


"It's people not programs." Todd Whitaker On July 1st all public schools in New York State must have safeguards in place for students who are harassed based on race, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, gender, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Will making it a law to safeguard all of these groups change the status quo? Will educators take it all more seriously now that the legislation is in place in schools? Parents send their kids to school to learn. They expect their children to be safe when they walk into their schools. Parents ...


The opinions expressed in Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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