After the blog I wrote about safeguarding LGBT students a few weeks ago I heard from many readers. However, Christine, a special education teacher from Minnesota said, "Many of my students are also ostracized because of their behavior, socialization style or lack of style, and/or learning difficulties. It is not ok to treat anyone disrespectfully. It is amazing to me that this is 2011 and we as a society are still struggling with this concept." After Christine's e-mail I reflected on the past sixteen years I've been in education and the stigma I have seen that is attached to ...


We live in an increasingly complicated world. Some of us have a moral compass that is shaped by our experiences. We all have our own opinions on what truth, beauty and goodness means. However, we also meet people who have diverse opinions of those three virtues and thus problems ensue. Our society has changed a great deal. The implementation of technology and the need to remain connected 24/7 has many implications for all of us. In addition, in order to meet the demands of mandates and high stakes testing, some of what we taught to students that offered a ...


"Students should certainly think about what they read, but they should read something worth thinking about" (Ravitch, 2010, p. 20). 21st century skills is a common topic of discussion these days so I decided to use my 21st century skills and do a search on career and college readiness. The search garnered 21,800,000 hits. From college reports to consultant and businesses offering unique ways to meet the career and college readiness goal, there is certainly a great deal of support and research out there. However, not all of it is very beneficial. Although we are educators and it ...


"Atheism is a non-prophet institution" (Fletcher, 2010, p.43). I'm a huge fan of children's literature. Some of my friends get star-struck when they see celebrities but I get tongue-tied when I meet children's authors that I admire. I met Tomie dePaola at a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference and couldn't speak. I love cracking open books written by Phil Bildner, Mark Teague, Loren Long, Emily Arnold McCully and Moira Fain, just to name a few. In Albany, where I live, I am surrounded by awesome nationally-known children's authors such as Coleen Paratore, Eric Luper, Peter ...


As a former struggling learner, I know that there are factors that interfere in a student's academic progress. Those factors cover many different areas and some students can have more than one of the factors working against them. However, for educators to know how to solve the puzzle for struggling learners, they need to be able to indentify them. The factors are: Medical Social Emotional Behavioral Home environment/stressors Learning style Learning impairment Medical is fairly easy to take care of if the parents bring their children to the doctor for regular check-ups. So many times the solution to a ...


"When the principal sneezes, the whole school catches a cold. This is neither good nor bad; it is just the truth. Our impact is significant; our focus becomes the school's focus" (Whitaker, 2003, p.30). We know, as administrators, we set the tone in our buildings or districts. Some of us set a positive tone and others set a rather negative one. We all have tough jobs where we have to communicate effectively with parents, students and teachers. The level of difficulty increases depending on the size of our student population, age of students, and whether you are in an ...


When I taught elementary school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., we used to take a field trip every year to Hahn's Farm. First graders love to go to a farm to see cows, pigs, chickens and other animals. They also learn where some of their food comes from, and it provides a great way for students to learn about proper nutrition. Unfortunately, many children lack real life experiences, which is why schools offer field trips to bring kids out of the classroom and into the real world. There are great inequalities between those students who have real life experiences that take ...


Public policy towards children has moved towards treating them more like adults and ways that increasingly mimic the adult criminal justice system. The most recent version of this movement is so-called "zero tolerance" in schools, where theories of punishment that were once directed to adult criminals are now applied to first graders (Martin, 2001). When we think of zero tolerance in an elementary school, there are most likely many things that come to mind. Most elementary schools do not have to worry about students bringing weapons in an effort to hurt their peers, although we all understand that the potential ...


"Conservatives are attracted to the idea that some schools can eliminate the gap with the present levels of funding because, if these schools can do so, more money spent on educating lower class children is not needed" (Rothstein, 2004, p. 70). On Thursday, July 28th I will be in Washington D.C. with thousands of other educators from across the country as we kick off the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action (SOS). The march will take place from the 28th of July through Sunday, July 31st. Jonathan Kozol will provide the keynote speech at the conference ...


Dear U.S. Secretary Duncan, A few months ago you spoke about the "New Normal." Considering the speech was given in November of 2010, we all have had time to get used to this concept. During the speech given to the American Enterprise Institute you mentioned that educators are going to have to learn how to do more with less. Thank you for providing the speech on the U.S. Department of Education website, because it was worth reading a few times. As a former small city school teacher, I completely understand the need to do more with less. This ...


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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