Get instant email alerts from EdWeek's blogs. Learn more.

July 2011 Archives

Follow the Money?

Note: Jeff Henig, a professor of political science and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, is guest-posting this week. "Follow the money" can be good advice. Knowing who is footing the bill--for a political campaign, policy notion, or advocacy group--doesn't tell you all you need to know; candidates, policies, and organizational platforms need to be judged ultimately on their own merits. But you're right to put on your skeptic's glasses if Walton Family Foundation is sponsoring a conference on elected school boards; if the American Federation of Teachers is funding a study of charter schools; or if Eli Broad is ...


Policy by Algorithm

Note: Jeff Henig, a professor of political science and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, is guest-posting this week. There is a satisfying solidity to the term "data-based" decision-making. But basing decisions on data is not the same thing as basing them on knowledge. Data are collections of nuggets of information. Compared with "soft" rationales for action--opinion, intuition, conventional wisdom, common practice--they are hard, descriptive, often quantitative. When rich and high quality sets of data are mined by sophisticated and dynamically-adjusted algorithms, the results can be powerful. Google's search engine is the prime example here. Google scores web pages based ...


What Do Teachers Want?

Note: Jeff Henig, a professor of political science and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, is guest-posting this week. A bit over ten years ago (December 2000), Mel Gibson--not yet the semi-pariah he's become due to his high profile breakdowns--starred in the movie "What Women Want." The premise was that men and women were so alien from one another and so unlikely to communicate honestly and directly that it takes a freak accident (giving Gibson's character the ability to hear women's thoughts) for any kind of real cross-gender understanding to develop. I think about this sometimes when I listen to ...


We're More Than Just Teachers, We're Experienced Beginners

Note: Cole Farnum, a teacher in New York City, is guest-posting this week. As a beginning educator embarking on a career in schools, I am constantly reflecting on how I can improve what I do and, more deeply, who I am. My series this week was about exploring why I'm at risk of failure as a beginning teacher, the challenges I faced with colleagues in schools, and a shared mindset between early career educators like myself and my more-experienced colleagues that will help us challenge and support one another. In the process, I've outlined the basic elements of my philosophy ...


In Time, A New Mindset: The Beginner Mentors the Veteran

Note: Cole Farnum, a teacher in New York City, is guest-posting this week. As a beginning teacher, I've experienced times when communicating with my colleagues has been challenging. I've discovered that allowing alternative perspectives to inform my own, not just working harder as an individual, is the key lever to continuously improving my teaching. That's why my next steps for improvement are so ambitious: I'm relying solely on my colleagues to challenge and support me. And as I'll explain, experienced teachers committed to growing as educators (like the successful Zak Champaign) must also rely on beginning teachers like me. What ...


If We All Want Student Success, Why Don't We Allow It Of One Another?

Note: Cole Farnum, a teacher in New York City, is guest-posting this week. On Monday, I introduced my central belief for this week: all teachers, regardless of their background experience or training, need one another to grow as an educator. Yesterday, I explained that regardless of the assets I had as a beginning teacher or my work ethic, I'm at risk of slowly failing my students by acting alone in my practice, as if I don't need my colleagues to replicate success. Now, I've been able to reflect on the times where my limits and need for alternative perspectives were ...


Success Breeding Failure: When Working Hard Wasn't Going To Be Enough

Note: Cole Farnum, a teacher in New York City, is guest-posting this week. Yesterday, I made the case that beginning teachers have an amazing potential to shape the development of their colleagues. Today, I want to begin by explaining what assets I felt I developed in my early years as a teacher and, later, the responsibility I now bear to hold on to them. Understandably, it's easier to see what a beginner like myself doesn't possess in a school: I've yet to experience student cohorts passing through K to 6, on to high school and then college. Three years in ...


Not Just a Beginning Teacher

Note: Cole Farnum, a teacher in New York City, is guest-posting this week. "Well, Cole, what do you think we should do next year?" an experienced colleague asked me regarding changes to the way our school approached behavior management. We were near the end of our school year, sitting together in my classroom and exploring out-of-class responsibilities in addition to my teaching role. This was a pivotal time for me as I tried to figure out my plans for the upcoming year as an educator in a high-performing school with a truly professional staff. I'd been thinking on my own ...


Making Sense of Math and Science: It's Elementary

Note: Zak Champagne, an award-winning teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, is guest-posting this week. So I have spent my week guest blogging about a few topics that have been at the forefront of my mind during my career as an educator and I cannot thank each of you enough for your considerate affirmations and thoughtful critiques of my posts. You have confirmed that I am not alone in these thoughts and also challenged many of my existing ideas. I have one last topic that I'd like to comment on and it is one that is at the core of my existence ...


The Often Unrecognized Sign of an Effective Teacher

Note: Zak Champagne, an award-winning teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, is guest-posting this week. With all of our recent conversation about the importance of keeping great teachers in the classroom, it becomes important to understand what an effective teacher looks like. It is a very tough, and sometimes subjective, criteria depending on what grade level/subject one teaches. It has been said by Geoffrey Canada "when you see a good teacher, you are seeing a work of art." And while there are definitely some consistencies among works of art that make them great, there is also some subjectivity and differences in ...


A Classroom Career Ladder for Teachers

Note: Zak Champagne, an award-winning teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, is guest-posting this week. First and foremost I am blown away by the amazing and thoughtful remarks in reference to my first post, "Just a Teacher." (If you haven't read that post, it will most likely make more sense to read it first.) It is a topic that has perplexed me for quite some time and I am thrilled that it has resonated with so many. Having said that, I definitely left some ambiguity in the last paragraph of my previous post. If it is so simple to fix the "just ...


Just a Teacher

Note: Zak Champagne, an award-winning teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, is guest-posting this week. I have been a classroom teacher for thirteen years in Jacksonville, Florida. I have taught hundreds of students, received numerous awards for my teaching, completed an advanced degree, and have only just begun to master the craft of teaching. As a result of my successes I have been offered countless "opportunities to grow" in this field. Those are the facts. However, it must be clarified that these "opportunities to grow" have all included me leaving the classroom. Whether it is as a curriculum specialist, school or district ...


Introducing Your Special Guest Stars: From the Classroom...and Columbia

Hi folks. So, I'm about to take a break from the hustle and bustle of RHSU for the better part of a month. I'm going to be doing some teaching at UPenn and Rice, cranking it up on my "Cage-Busting Leadership" book (more on that in the fall), and taking a little downtime. It being summer and all, I thought it'd be a terrific time to turn RHSU over to some fresh thinkers that tend to be preoccupied during the school year. Especially after the rousing reception for Roxanna Elden last winter, I've heard from readers that there's plenty of ...


Straight Up Conversation: KIPP Co-Founder Mike Feinberg on KIPP Turbo and His New Gig

Mike Feinberg is co-founder of the KIPP Academies and superintendent of KIPP Houston, which serves more than 6,000 students in 18 schools. In 2007, KIPP Houston announced its "KIPP Turbo" plan, under which it aims to grow into a Pre-K to 12 network of 42 schools. The goal is to enroll 10 percent of the students in Houston, making KIPP Houston by far the largest network of charter schools in one city. As part of this effort, Mike recently announced that he'd be shifting roles to focus on fundraising, advocacy, and external relations, while handing the superintendency of KIPP ...


Some Tips on Working with Legislators

I'm heading out to Denver tomorrow for the big Education Commission of the States conference, including a raft of smart policymakers, scholars, and educational leaders. It got me thinking about the frustration I've so often heard from educational and civic leaders who are having trouble connecting with policymakers, and from legislators and legislative staff who get tired of being approached in inept or unproductive ways. More than once, I've had legislative staff tell me they feel like Tom Cruise pleading with Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire, when he beseeches, "Help me help you." Anyway, it just so happens that ...


Beach Listenin'

Hey, starting next week, I'm about to take a month's hiatus from the rigors of blogging. Okay, okay, so much for "rigors"--shooting my mouth off is a whole lot easier than when I've taught, landscaped, or staffed the early a.m. shift at a doughnut shop. Regardless, on Friday, I'll introduce your all-star lineup of guest bloggers. Today, though, I wanted to give you a quick head's up on some terrific iPod beach fodder to fill some of those summer hours that you won't spend slogging through my stilted prose. Here's the deal: my pal, and Fordham Gadfly show ...


Obama & Schooling: Two Fact Patterns

In recent weeks, some observers have repeatedly indicated surprise at big developments in edu-politics that should not have been surprising. Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott withdrew from CCSSO. Sec. Duncan's chest-thumping talk on conditional NCLB waivers provoked backlash in the commentariat and a smackdown by House Education Chair John Kline. Idaho told ED it's going to ignore elements of NCLB, basically asking, "What are you going to do about it, huh?" Despite Duncan's gambits and threats, even the most reality-resistant now acknowledge that NCLB/ESEA reauth is going nowhere until 2013. GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, at a New Hampshire town ...


The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up 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.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments