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. ...


"If we visualize each student as a jar of potential, our responsibility is to take the lid off and point the jar in the right direction, not tighten the top so the highest level of creativity never gets out." Todd Whitaker Recently, I read an outstanding and very eloquent blog by Todd Whitaker. He wrote it for Smartblog on Education. The blog is entitled When We Get There Are We Going to Be Happy When We Arrived. Whitaker said, "I always tell my children that a follower will never cure cancer. And personally, I would like someone to come up ...


"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009) recommends school climate reform as a data driven strategy that promotes healthy relationships, school connectedness, and dropout prevention" (Thapa et. al. 2012). According to the latest National School Climate Study (2012) "A growing number of State Depart¬ments of Education are focusing on school climate reform as an essential component of school improvement and/or bully prevention" (page. 2). Schools are often looking for quality ways to create a safe atmosphere for students. Using advisory groups is one way to promote a healthier and more nurturing school climate. Student advisory groups are ...


"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear...It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to." Marilyn Ferguson A few years ago, I stood in front of all of our fourth and fifth grade students in the school cafeteria and told them that I was allowing them to bring handheld games to school for inside recess when the weather does not allow us to go outside (Handheld Games in School). ...


When comparing the growth of a student from last year's test to the one they took this year (and keeping the same cut points) is like taking their time from running the mile on a rubberized track last year and expecting them to run the same time on a steeplechase track with a few water pits thrown in for a mile and a ¼ this year. About five years ago I was a member of a team of administrators who went through a training to understand the Value-Added Model. Although one of the days was during a snowstorm bad enough ...


The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt's 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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