"Speak up, be a leader, set the direction - but be participative, listen well, cooperate (Bennis, 2003)." The other day I was on Twitter and came across an excellent blog titled, Do We Need Principals, written by Josh Stumpenhorst, a sixth grade ELA and social science teacher in suburban Illinois. At first when I read the blog title I wrongly assumed it was just another blog written by a disgruntled teacher who dislikes his administrator. After all, I've been a school principal long enough to know that there are many people who do not like administrators. Administrators represent authority and ...


"Many professional learning communities can be horrifically stilted caricatures of what they are really supposed to be." Andy Hargreaves In a perfect world educators would have the opportunity to take time and reflect on their practices. School districts would be able to offer a plethora of professional development opportunities to staff that would allow for true professional growth. Unfortunately, with budget cuts school districts are being forced to do more with less at a very crucial time in education. Most states have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and new teacher and administrator evaluation. The CCSS are designed to ...


As homes are in crisis, the children who live there attend our schools. That is why having high quality school psychologists and social workers is so important. In schools, we see a number of children who have social and emotional issues. The economic crisis over the past few years has brought a number of issues to families. Parents have experienced job loss, alcoholism and drug dependency. Students experiment with drugs and alcohol at a young age and need help to combat those experiences. As homes are in crisis, the children who live there attend our schools. That is why having ...


Today's guest blog is written by Christopher Reddy, an outstanding teacher in the Averill Park Central School District in Averill Park, NY. As educators, we see the current financial issues facing schools not only as an obstacle for ourselves, but more so as a potential hurdle for our students to overcome. Is teaching 30 students more difficult than teaching 20? Yes, absolutely. However, is learning in a classroom with 30 students more difficult than learning in a classroom with 20? Infinitely so. We find ourselves asking "What electives and extracurricular activities are my students going to be offered? Will project ...


It feels like education is moving at a rapid pace in a really bad direction at the same time schools scramble at a much slower pace to keep up with the changes. Many of us who are in public education feel as though we have been in a dark time over the past few years. As much as we understand we do not have control over our present situation, I worry that we are partly responsible for getting here. It feels like education is moving at a rapid pace in a really bad direction at the same time schools scramble ...


A few weeks ago, I sat on an author panel at the Albany Children's Book Festival in Albany, NY. The other three author panelists were Coleen Paratore, Jarrett J. Krosoczka and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. The moderator asked us when we first remembered writing something profound as children. We were supposed to describe the moment that defined us as writers...at a young age. The panel discussion took place after NY Times Best Selling Author Gregory Maguire gave an outstanding presentation about his childhood and how he became a writer. He began drawing pictures and writing stories at a very young age. ...


The other day I was watching the Ed Show on MSNBC and Ed Schultz was showing his support for teachers, which is always appreciated. During his excellent commentary he said that Republicans have been demoralizing teachers over the past few years. Unfortunately, demoralizing teachers, or education as a whole, is a non-partisan issue. Democrats, Independents and Republicans all talk about our present education system is a matter of national security. Most in education with agree with that sentiment. The constant focus on accountability (which seems to be on steroids) and high stakes testing will put our students at risk. Many ...


It is not a big secret that we have many issues in American public education. Whether it is high stakes testing, increased teacher and administrator accountability or publishing companies that are lobbying for more control over public schools; we all have something that we think needs to change about our schools. Although those are enormous issues, I always wonder what the true underlying issue is that brought us here. How did we get to a time when the public is not always invested in public education and choose to send their children to private schools, charter schools or decide to ...


On the third day of testing for the New York State Math Assessment, I sat across from the student whose test I was proctoring. He looked up at me after reading one of the difficult fifth grade questions and said, "I don't know what to do." I assured him to just try his best and he continued on to finish the test in 90 minutes. He and I were both tired of the test. As I walked back to my office, I received a notice in a used box that was converted into a package that our ELA exams were ...


In the U.S., we talk a great deal about diversity because we have so many students entering our schools that come from diverse backgrounds. The diversity we see may be economic, cultural or academic. Working with diversity can be an incredibly enriching experience. The educators who know that best are the ones who work in international schools around the world. With diplomatic parents or parents who are ex-patriates (ex-pats) working on international contracts, some of these students move to other countries after a couple of years. With the increased use of the internet and social media in education teachers ...


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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