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Education in 2017 Through the 'Top Performers' Lens

We are at the end of another year, here at Top Performers, and I, as is my usual custom, would like to take some time to reflect on the ground we have covered together in that time.  This has been a year we are unlikely to forget for many reasons—reasons that have been covered in this blog and reasons that are outside its scope. While all of these pieces were written by me, I always feel that this "Top 10" list really says more about you, the reader, and the world that you find yourself navigating. I hope you will enjoy this look back at some of the education issues and items that drew the most eyeballs, clicks, visits, or whatever today's parlance dictates we call it.

Teachers' Pay: What On Earth Are We Thinking?  

In this, my most popular blog of the year, I argued that with the United States facing the largest pay gap between teachers and similar professionals, per the OECD, it is long past time that we address this embarrassingly obvious problem.

Differences in Performance WITHIN Schools: Why So Much Greater Than in Other Countries?

The second most read piece on Top Performers in 2017 looked at the reasons why the United States has one of the largest gaps in student achievement within schools.

Have We Got Special Education All Wrong?

In this blog, I asked a very simple question that seems to have resonated with thousands of readers: Would disadvantaged students be better served with additional supports of a kind different than labeling them as special education students?

Our Students Can't Write Very Well—It's No Mystery Why

The ability to write well is a foundational skill essential for success in career and college. However, I argued in this popular blog, that it is a skill that most of our students have not mastered by the time they leave college, never mind when they leave high school because our education system simply does not focus on it.

The False Choice Between Vocational and Academic Education

In this piece, I challenged the notion that policymakers must choose between a strong academic education and vocational education that prepares students for the working world of tomorrow.

College Readiness: Are Different Definitions Driving Inequality?

Another piece from early in the year that caught the attention of many readers, I explored in this blog how various definitions of "college readiness" for different students may be perpetuating the very inequalities our education system aims to address.

Germany Rapidly Improved Their Schools and We Didn't—Why?

After disappointing PISA results in 2000, Germany reacted with system-wide reform while the United States responded with complacency, I argued here.

Trump's People: Understanding Thy Neighbor

I sought in this blog to better understand supporters of President Trump and explore the experience of those who have lost out in a globalizing economy.

The Netherlands: Top-Performing School System Looking to Get Better

In this piece, I spoke with Dutch State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker about the Netherlands' unique system of school choice and where it's headed.

The School Choice Debate

In this, my tenth most-read piece of the year, I took a look at the domestic and international evidence regarding school choice, including charters, and what it means for building high-achieving, equitable school systems.

Thank you as always for joining me in this space.  I hope the New Year is filled with good fortune for you, your loved ones and our mutual work of making the future a bit brighter for our students.

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