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March 04, 2015

Where's the Creative Thinking on Charter Schools?

We can't afford to get stuck having the same argument over and over again instead of finding new solutions for our kids.

March 02, 2015

The Declining Value of Value-Added Models, and Why They Persist Anyway

Not content to leave a bad idea alone, policymakers now seem intent on applying value-added methods as a means of assessing teacher effectiveness. To just about anyone who has ever actually spent a significant amount of time teaching, this is a terrible idea. But the policy machine marches on anyway—how come?

March 02, 2015

Open Letter to Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis

The bid for mayor in Chicago is just heating up. Ailing teachers union president Karen Lewis is backing Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, but can he manage the city's fiscal crisis while also improving the Chicago Public Schools?

February 24, 2015

Homework, Oh Homework...

What do you get when you put unreasonable expectations on teachers and parents to make sure kids do things that adults they've never met really, really think they ought to do? You get homework. Even in first grade.

February 19, 2015

Oklahoma Is Not OK

Out in Oklahoma, a state representative wants to repeal and replace AP US history. Here we go again.

February 18, 2015

Squeezing More Entrepreneurial Juice Out of Public School

It's not exactly clear what the Reimagine Learning network will do with the $50 million start-up cash. Their mission: "Making a difference in the lives of millions of students who may be marginalized or disengaged in school because of learning and attention issues or social emotional issues." That's a lot of scratch dedicated to letting students with "issues" discover their own power and uniqueness. And here's the thing--I don't know many teachers who aren't doggedly working toward that very end already.

February 14, 2015

The Future Is Now for NCLB... Or Is It?

The battle lines in the debate over ESEA reauthorization—the debate to put NCLB behind us, once and for all—are now as clear as they've ever been, but the bills likely to come out of Congress do more to push an ideological agenda than they do to improve education. Don't expect big changes any time soon.

February 13, 2015

The Amazing Power of Snowpants

Playing outside in warm clothing, using sleds and snow toys--with follow-up hot chocolate-- represented a special treat to the children at Palmer Park Academy in Detroit, courtesy of a dedicated teacher and her kind-hearted friends and colleagues. But--the children in her class deserve free play and a refreshing drink every day, year-round, as part of best pedagogical practice for very young children. The research on this is iron-clad.

February 08, 2015

Are We Ready to Have a Real Conversation About K-12 Grading?

Looking at all the ways my kids are being graded has me thinking: is there anything we can do about it? We could start by slowing down to think about the nature of intelligence, what graded assessment tells us about it, and what it would take to think about it differently.

February 05, 2015

Are School Choice and Equity Incompatible?

It's difficult to argue against the concept of educational choices - but practices involving competition and profit-seeking will not advance the goal of building a strong and equitable public education system.

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