Do administrators think there are more than 24 hours in the day of a teacher? Dennis Fermoyle of From the Trenches of Public Ed. finds himself pondering this question after receiving an edict from his high school’s administrative office requiring teachers to post all of their lesson plans online every day. Yes, communication with parents is a wonderful thing, but you know what? The amount of time and effort I'm able to put into instruction matters, too. I want to be the best teacher I can, but in order to do that I need be given some latitude regarding ...


Something smells fishy in New York, and it’s not coming from the Hudson. On the United Federation of Teachers’ blog this morning Leo Casey of the United Federation of Teachers came down hard on New York’s pilot project that would use standardized test scores to evaluate teacher performances. The DoE has no contractual or legal authority to use test score data in the evaluation of teachers, and the UFT will oppose it with all the means at our disposal. This is a line in the sand for the UFT. NYC Educator, however, contends that the UFT itself virtually ...


Some folks have qualms about whether it's in teachers' best interest to blog about their work. Joel of So You Want to Teach, on the other hand, counts the ways—eight, to be precise—in which blogging has made him a better teacher. Highlights: "If it weren’t for blogging, I would honestly get home and focus on my personal life. Visions of cafeteria duty sure wouldn’t dance in my head until I rolled into the parking lot the next morning." Wait, is that good thing? Anyway, this one's much more compelling: As I said before, blogging forces me...


Many quite reasonable people wonder why teachers seem hesitant to adopt performance-pay plans. Renee Moore explains that it's at least partly because they know how shoddy school performance-evaluation systems are: [It's] not, as many uninformed critics have argued, because teachers don't want to be held accountable. I believe teachers do want to be held to high standards and meet them; this is our life's work. However, teaching quality can't be measured with a test-score print out at the end of the year and a "walk-by" peek in the window of my classroom door. Moore uses herself as a case in ...


Teacher blogger Susan Graham, in taboo-breaking mode, questions whether our education culture might not put too much emphasis on the goal of college: Our students need post-secondary education. But there are many fields where the necessary knowledge and skills can be acquired with a more modest investment of time and money. We don’t tell our kids that. We tell all of them, "Go to college. In four years you'll get a degree and you'll get a good job and you'll make a lot of money." We rob them of other options by implying that any other path leads to ...


A frustrated Ms. Frizzle wishes there were a pill to make students care about their work....


Ever heard of "a Quaker Read"? We hadn't. (Google wasn't much help.) But Fred the Fish of Are We Doing Anything Today describes the process and says it's great way bring students closer to the language and imagery of a story....


Nancy Flanagan comments on a proposed bill in Michigan that would automatically hold back any student who is not reading at grade level by the end of the 3rd grade. Not a good idea, she says: Research on retaining kids is nearly all negative, in terms of their subsequent academic progress. Publicly failing kids makes them behave as failures, plain and simple—we have abundant examples of mandatory retention policies that didn’t make kids more motivated or smarter. And plenty of evidence about retained students dropping out of school earlier, hardly an indicator of progress in a depressed economy. ...


Edwize blogger Maisie is a bit confused. She thought that class size reduction actually meant reducing the number of kids in the classroom. Luckily, the New York City Department of Education set her straight: Based on the class size data that the Department of Education released last week, they’ve been thinking a tad more incrementally. Like, this year average K-3 classes were reduced by about two-tenths of a child. Grades 4-5 are down six-tenths of a child; middle schools are down seven-tenths of one kid. For Maisie, these statistics are more than just numbers: It’s not human to ...


Always in the loop, John Norton of Teacher Leadership Today reports that a number of teachers who went to the National Staff Development Council's annual conference earlier this month came back abuzz about a presentation given by cultural anthropologist Jennifer James. Details are somewhat scattered, but James seems to have emphasized the importance of teaching kindness and recognizing mythological transitions in our culture. John's got more....


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