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February 06, 2014

My Common-Core Classroom

We have all heard Common Core bashing. Statements like the Common Core will "undermine student individuality, teacher autonomy, and mark a dangerous takeover of local control." Unlike many of the Core-bashing voices, I am a classroom teacher with actual experience teaching with Common Core, and I beg to differ.

February 05, 2014

Garage Band Lessons in Collaboration and Leadership

As a teenager, I was in a band. Well...technically, I was in the band. Anyone who has survived high school can tell you that there is a huge difference. Guys in a band get gigs, friends, and dates. Guys in the band--they get punched.

February 04, 2014

The Teacher With a Thousand Faces

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell describes the archetypical protagonist who feels compelled to embark on a quest. Over the course of the journey, there are many challenges, as well as support, assistance, and successes. Ultimately, after enduring and overcoming a supreme ordeal, the hero undergoes a form of resurrection because of the life-changing power of the experience. It is a universal formula for transformative stories across cultures and generations.

February 03, 2014

Teacher Leadership

We need more teacher leaders in our schools. To be clear, one does not need to be an administrator, a team leader, or even a department chair to be a leader. Leadership is not a position, but rather action. This can be done by anyone regardless of title or position within a school building.

January 31, 2014

Introducing Your Special Guest Stars: An NNSTOY Medley, Polikoff, & Hochleitner

Hidy all! It's been a lively January at RHSU. I unveiled the 2014 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings (appreciate the enthusiastic interest in this little pet project) and have gotten into a heated discussion with some good friends about how to respond to Secretary Duncan's continuing, cavalier urge to treat the Common Core push as just one more element of his copious agenda. Meanwhile, I'm deep into writing my new book, The Cage-Busting Teacher, and am taking the next few weeks to work on it. The upshot: you get a break from me, and we've got a terrific lineup of guest bloggers.

November 22, 2013

Part III: American Pragmatism

Neerav Kingsland writes: There is good reason to be skeptical of Relinquishment: most significantly, it has yet to be tried at scale. To change hearts and minds, we will need multiple proof points that Relinquishment works.

November 20, 2013

Part II: Why Relinquishment Is Not Yet Inevitable

Neerav Kingsland writes: That Relinquishment is not yet inevitable is in some ways obvious. After all, only one city in the country, New Orleans, has adopted its core principles. But, surprisingly (I didn't expect this to be the case when I started formulating this piece), I believe Relinquishment could become inevitable over the coming decades. Here's why.

November 18, 2013

On the Inevitability of Social Movements

Neerav Kingsland writes: In part because of my heritage - my mother is Indian and my father is African-American - I've spent a lot of time thinking about social movements, both in India and the United States. The causes of societal change are of course complex, but in a recent conversation with my father, I (perhaps naively) asked him: when did you know that legal racial discrimination would come to an end? When did it become inevitable?

November 15, 2013

Final Note: Deeper Learning and the Common Core

Jal Mehta writes: I just wanted to offer a concluding thought about "deeper learning" and the Common Core. Along with doctoral student Sarah Fine, I have been doing a three year study of high schools that are seeking to promote instruction that pushes kids to think, and have come to the conclusion, shared by many others, that most high school classrooms are not very stimulating places. NSSE data says that 70 percent of high school students say they are bored daily, and Gates MET Study data says that only 20 percent of their sampled classrooms feature ambitious instruction.

November 14, 2013

Building Expertise in Teaching: A Few Ideas

Jal Mehta writes: One central challenge in American education is building more expertise in teaching. In recent years we have tended to think about this in terms of rating individual teachers, but what if we were to step back and see it more as a systemic issue, in terms of how well the field is organized to promote the development of expertise in teaching? Presumably the development of expertise is a two part equation: the development of knowledge that would guide work in a field, and then helping practitioners gain that knowledge, either during their training or on the job. We are particularly bad at both parts of that equation.

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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.

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