"Sadly, these days our politicians think you can raise the bar and crack the whip. They believe that if you threaten teachers and principals with sanctions, learning will increase. That strategy will never work." Carol Burris Depending on what North American state you are in, you are being inundated with questions about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Whether you are a teacher or an administrator, the CCSS are somewhere near the forefront of your mind. Like any massive educational reform, there are educators who are looking forward to the change while there are others who do not see the ...


Kindergarten has long been the place where children go to strengthen their social and emotional growth. Through interactions with peers, students learn how to get along with others and how to make mistakes and move forward. Over the years, before play dates made their way into the mainstream, kindergarten was the venue to level the playing field between those children who had numerous social interactions in their early years and those who had none at all. Most educators can agree that kindergarten is extremely important. After all, how many of you have heard the phrase, "Anything I really needed to ...


"CfE places the teacher at the heart of curriculum development - as an agent of change. And yet, schools are places where such agency is often restricted by accountability practices that hinder innovation" (Priestley & Minty). Recently, I read Developing Curriculum for Excellence (CfE): Summary of Findings from research undertaken in a Scottish local authority by Dr. Mark Priestley and Sarah Minty. Scotland is undergoing a major change in educational reform, much like the United States. One of the areas of concern by the teachers surveyed for the study was in the area of professional development opportunities associated with CfE. Professional ...


"Curriculum implementation is an ongoing, rather than a one-off activity. Development of new approaches needs to be cyclical, and accompanied by regular evaluation and reformulation of plans. We emphasise that implementation activity often raises as many questions as it addresses." (Priestley & Minty) In the U.S. we have been inundated with educational "reform." Researchers, writers and bloggers like to refer to it as the Corporate Reform Movement. One of the biggest changes to our educational system has been the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). There are educators who love it while some who don't like it much ...


"The test was too long. In the middle of it I could not feel my butt." Third Grade Student's response on his weekly review. The third grade response above was age appropriate for how he was feeling about the test. In his mind, the tests were far too long. We have now come to a point that makes education look ridiculous. It is no longer about creativity....it is about accountability. In NY, we have officially entered state testing time and parents, students and teachers are frustrated. In New York State, 3rd - 8th grade students had to take the ...


Today's guest blog is written by my friend Dr. Robert McGarry. Robert is a former NJ school district administrator who now serves as the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) Director of Education. This Friday, students in schools across the country will observe what is known as the National Day of Silence, a day of action during which students pledge to let silence occupy their school in a collective effort to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), harassment and discrimination in schools. The day's roots go back to 1996 and the campus of ...


Although we have the anchor of high stakes testing chained to our ankles we still need to find ways to move forward. Our students are counting on us. High stakes testing begins today in our school. School climates change when the tests arrive. As much as we try to maintain normalcy, students and teachers are nervous about the next two weeks. These days, too much is riding on the test. How do we move forward with a test that is being used in an unproductive way? We are at a crucial point in education where great value has been put ...


"I don't know if we should resist change, but I do know we should insist on improvement." Todd Whitaker Recently there was a great article published by Joan Almon and Edward Miller called The Crisis in Education: A Research-Based Case for More Play and Less Pressure. The article focuses on the push down of curriculum to grades where it is not age appropriate for those students because they cannot academically and emotionally handle the work. All of this push down creates a situation where students are left with less play and end up with more stress. As we watch politicians ...


"As school leaders, we must recognize that no matter what programs we introduce or seek to strengthen, our most important work is to improve the people in our schools." Todd Whitaker In the old days if teachers and administrators wanted professional development, they would have to take a day from school and head to an alternate site to get some hands on training....or sit through a speaker who may not be very engaging. Although we still get multiple mailings now, we used to have to wait until a professional development opportunity worth our time showed up in our mailbox. ...


In February, I wrote a commentary for Education Week called Dignity for All and it focused on safeguarding LGBT students. I should begin by saying that everyone has an issue that they care about and mine happens to be safeguarding LGBT students. However, I feel strongly that we need to work harder at safeguarding all students, regardless of whether they are gay or straight. The commentary touched a nerve with some readers on the Ed Week website as well as on Facebook. They were concerned that I wanted to classify students by whether they were gay or straight. That is ...


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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