I hope you were as alarmed as I was when you read the recent Washington Post article on the increasing numbers of young children being suspended from school. We are sending the wrong message to these students--a message that diminishes the value of education. When it comes to creating discipline systems, we should have one vision that does not punish students by withholding learning and their education. And I know we can achieve that vision because I've seen it done. Never doubt the creativity and determination of a group of teachers, education support professionals, and administrators in creating a pathway ...


When I read about the latest study from the University of Michigan's "Monitoring the Future Survey, " I will admit that I was a little skeptical. How could this be? All we hear is about the irresponsibility of teenagers. Yet, they are less likely to do illegal drugs, have sex, smoke, and drink than their parents according to this research. Last week, I spent two days with teenagers in Northeast Ohio, I can attest that this may be the most responsible generation in some time. I suspect it is not just the Lady Gaga version of "Born this Way." This generation ...


It may surprise a lot of you, but I am a great reading teacher. It could be because I was a great reader and loved reading everything I got my hands on. It could be because I had great education professors who taught me how to teach reading through phonics and whole language. It could even be that I knew nonreaders would most likely be relegated to poverty without knowing how to read, and I was unwilling to give up on any student. Like all teachers, I have my success stories. Zack was a towheaded 1st grader who came from ...


I usually reserve my loudest cheers and high fives for televised games of the UNC Tarheels basketball team. However, as I was watching the State of the Union speech by our President, I was caught by surprise with one proposal. President Obama said, "So tonight, I call on every state to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen." Thank you, Mr. President. May I offer you a loud cheer and a high five? You are so right!!! Compulsory attendance laws were first enacted in the 19th and early 20th century. Massachusetts was first ...


"No more pencils, no more books, but lots of engaging teacher looks..." That's the ditty that was running through my head as I sat at a town hall meeting for the first Digital Learning Day. I was there to represent the Pearson Foundation, one of the sponsors. The Alliance for Excellent Education, led by former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, has championed this event to showcase great exemplars of digital learning as well as the challenges and opportunities that come with assuring that all children have equal access to the new tools for learning. You may ask, "What is digital ...


One of the highest compliments a teacher can get from a student is to be told that she or he is fair. When students believe their teacher is fair, they accept test grades, homework assignments, and discipline without drama. Teachers, like their students and like people in other professions, appreciate fairness and should expect it. With that in mind, I am not surprised by the pushback on new evaluation systems from teachers in Hawaii, New York, Tennessee, and many other state and local school districts. Using student test scores from flawed standardized tests as a measure of teacher evaluation does ...


I have to admit that I have been a little cool to Sir Michael Barber. During his tenure as a chief advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair, my friends at the National Union of Teachers in the United Kingdom were often at odds with his obsessive advocacy for testing and his infatuation with private schools. He seemed to embrace No Child Left Behind more than most in America. All this when he had been a former official with the union in the UK! That did not add up for me. In my old age, I have decided to read, listen, ...


There has certainly been a lot of traffic about Teach For America (TFA) in the cyberworld lately. It all started with the audacious nerve of Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association, and Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach for America, daring to appear together with Secretary Duncan to support his new blueprint for teacher preparation. Then of all things, they penned together a commentary for USA Today. As a result, many of my fellow bloggers have launched a storm of criticism. I respectfully ask them to "cool their jets" on that and to look more carefully at the ...


It was July 31, 1966. I was a new high school graduate working at a local restaurant and getting ready to go to college. My hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, was abuzz. On this day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was speaking at Reynolds Coliseum, and the Ku Klux Klan was gathering at Memorial Auditorium for a counter-protest. These two sites were in walking distance, at least for my young body. When you work split shifts in a restaurant, you have this wide gap of time to consume. A co-worker and I decided to go downtown to see what was ...


I have read with interest the articles in the New York Times attacking education leaders for taking study trips that were underwritten by the Pearson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Pearson Education. I will admit that after the first article, I had hoped that this would be a one-time article by a cynical reporter looking for a good story that would resonate. Now, there have been two other articles. Of course, I could be cynical, too, and assume that his corporate bosses are pushing this story for other reasons since I know the New York Times Foundation has sponsored very ...


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