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Education in 2015: A Look Back

The days have gotten shorter, the nights colder and longer and we once again find ourselves looking ahead to a new year. Before the flame of 2015 is fully extinguished, I wanted to provide readers with a look back on some of the ground this blog has covered. From ESEA reauthorization and debates about annual testing requirements to growing teacher shortages and trying to make sense of what kind of education and skills a person ought to have in today's world, we have traversed a vast breadth of the education landscape. Below are 10 or so of the blogs that I feel capture the year that was 2015 for Top Performers.

Teacher Shortages: Catastrophe or Opportunity?

In this, my most-read blog of the year, I take a look at how current teacher shortages will ultimately be worse than any we have faced before because the causes are structural, not cyclical, and what we can do about it.

Why Have American Education Standards Collapsed?

Another blog that readers took a great interest in focused on the broad range of factors that have led to an across-the-board decline of standards in American education over the last 45 years.

Annual Accountability Testing: Time for the Civil Rights Community to Reconsider

Much of the civil rights community's efforts with respect to ESEA reauthorization were focused on maintaining annual accountability testing. In this blog, I asked why that was the case when there is no evidence that it helps poor and minority students.

What Does It Mean to Be an Educated Person Today?

Has our definition of being an educated person kept pace with today's fast-changing world? In this blog, I argued it was time to reopen the question.

Too Much Testing in U.S. Schools: The Department of Education's 'Mea Culpa'

A new report from the Council of the Great City Schools shows over testing is rampant in U.S. schools. The Obama administration says it recognizes its role in the flood of tests, but will this acknowledgment of responsibility result in real change?

Are We Just Fooling Ourselves? Is American Education a Colossal Failure?

The United States once led the world in educational attainment, but that is no longer the case. Now other nations have more than matched us on attainment and have beaten us hollow on quality. How did we get here?

The 'T-Shaped Curriculum': Liberal Arts, Technical Education, or Both?

In this blog, I explain why strong technical skills alone are not enough for students who will enter today's rapidly changing workforce. Now, more than ever, students need a solid education in the liberal arts.

Common-Core Test Results: The Moment of Truth Arrives

The first administration of common-core assessments Smarter Balanced and PARCC was a major milestone in U.S. education ... and a big moment of truth for our schools, school leaders, and public officials.

Organizations in Which Teachers Can Do Their Best Work: Part I and II

In this two-part blog, I first discussed how to build school organizations that get the best out of their teachers and students. In part two, I described how the world's top performers are creating entire systems of school management and organization that produce world-leading results and what the United States can learn from it. 

Dear Luke: A Letter to My Grandson on the Future He Faces

And finally, I would command to your attention a blog post that was prompted by an impending trip with my grandson that spurred me to consider the challenges that young people in our country will confront in the economic landscape that lies ahead.

Thank you for taking some time every week or every few weeks to read, consider, and chew on my offerings in this space. I appreciate the opportunity to explore the many ideas, events, and new developments along with you.

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