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 ...


"Teachers are also more than four times as likely now than they were five years ago to say that they do not feel their job is secure." The Metlife Survey of the American Teacher The other day I read the Metlife Survey of the American Teacher. To say it was a depressing document to read is an understatement. I happen to read it on a day when I had to inform several of my teachers that they may lose their jobs at the end of the year. It's the third year in a row that I have had to spend ...


"When people find their medium, they discover their real creative strengths and come into their own. Helping people to connect with their personal creative capacities is the surest way to release the best they have to offer." Sir Ken Robinson Over the past few years our nation has become very data driven. Data can provide us with a great deal of information about students. It can tell us whether students have learned specific information which is typically assessed through standardized testing. There are many researchers who push for data driven decision making and they make learning sound very scientific. However, ...


Today's guest blog is written by Patrick T. Kobler, an inner city high school social studies teacher from Texas who reads Finding Common Ground. Patrick is the founder of Solutions-for-Schools.com: an education reform website that seeks to bring all backgrounds and viewpoints to the table for thoughtful solutions and bold actions to end America's education crisis. According to the CDC, 39.1 per 1,000 teenage females birthed a child in 2009. Two-thirds were unintended and 57% were born to African-American and Hispanic parents, even though these groups represent only 35% of the total population of those ages 15 ...


The relationships we create with others are vitally important to who we are and who we want to become. When I was younger I hated the word "networking" because I thought it sounded like a word shallow guys used to describe how they worked to build business connections. They attended "networking" lunches and "networking" cocktail parties. I put myself through college, wanted to do everything on my own and not count on influential people in my life to help me out. In my immaturity I neglected to realize two very important things. The first is that I didn't have any ...


Schools are supposed to be educational institutions where students are engaged, teachers are nurturing and offer rigorous lessons, and principals are educational leaders where they can help create inclusive environments. Unfortunately, this is often a Utopian view of schools. Too often principals stay in their offices and teachers close their doors and become their own islands. Fortunately, those old practices are changing. Walkthroughs are becoming popular with principals. At least, they should be popular with principals because they are an effective way to observe what is going on in the classroom. Walkthroughs also provide administrators with the opportunity to establish ...


"NOTE: No one, under any circumstances, including the student, may alter the student's responses on these tests once the student has handed in his or her test materials. Teachers and administrators who engage in inappropriate conduct with respect to administering State examinations may be subject to disciplinary actions in accordance with Sections 3020 and 3020-a of Education Law or to action against their certification pursuant to Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education." NY State ELA Examination Manual Something new appeared on the state assessments manual this year. It was in a box on one of the ...


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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