Renee Moore of TeachMoore responds to a Los Angeles Times editorial by Jonah Goldberg titled “Do Away With Public Schools.” She says Goldberg’s article—which proposes that the government simply require kids to go to school, provide tuition subsidies to families in need, and then get "out of the way"—implies America cannot educate its children. Moore begs to differ. Neither past nor present failings (some of which, by the way are greatly exaggerated) of public education are sufficient cause to throw up our hands as a nation and leave education at the mercy of the market economy....


Graycie, from Today’s Homework, nostalgically reflects on the end of her first year as a teacher in 1986: My first year was also the first year for that particular principal. He had his faults, but that man knew how to close down a school. When we re-entered the building for the inevitable faculty meeting and room clean up and paperwork marathon, we were greeted by the strains of the Hallelujah Chorus played full blast over the PA system. The windows of the building actually rattled. Teachers danced up and down the hallways. I think we were shouting because everyone’s...


As Washington state teacher Mr. McNamar, from The Daily Grind, teaches his students about themes in literature, he draws some disturbing connections between the totalitarian society in George Orwell’s 1984 and some school systems. As my students discussed Orwell's 1984, my mind drifted away from their intriguing recap of plot to what Orwell's themes would look like in a public school system. The first thing to go would be freedom of speech. Teachers, administrators, or curriculum facilitators would no longer be allowed to speak freely about what the Central Office (Big Brother) dictates. Once all avenues for dissent had ...


Q6, an assistant principal from Southern California, reflects on the four weeks in May he spent “losing his mind” while administering Advanced Placement (AP) Exams. For the students, it’s about inflated GPAs and college credit; for the parents, it’s about prestige, family honor, and one-upping the family down the street; for me, it’s about getting the paperwork right and giving as many tests as necessary using the fewest resources. In a word, AP tests embody education as a whole—do it well, do it better than the other guy, and do it cheap. He sarcastically highlights some ...


Inspired by the Portable Princess, 33-year veteran social studies teacher Dennis Fermoyle answers the question, "If you could change anything at all about the education system in the U.S., what would it be and why?" Among his suggestions: Give teachers the authority to remove disruptive and blatantly apathetic students from their classrooms. (In other words, give classrooms teachers the same power that coaches of high school athletic teams have.) And he knows whereof he speaks, because he's a hockey coach, too. See more from his wish list....


Bogusia of Nucleaus Learning offers an instructive explanation of why schools teach advanced math. Teaching advance math is like teaching a baby to walk. Of course, it is not absolutely necessary, and we could get around with only arithmetic (and many people do this). As teachers, however, we should realize that the world is designed for people who know advanced math, and instead of crawling, with the skills of math our students can get up on two feet and run....


Epiphany in Baltimore, a high school English teacher, is fed up with the “benchmark” tests he is supposed to administer to students in preparation for the state's High School Assessments (HSAs). The system, he says, is an inefficient mess: The benchmark tests have been nothing but the recycling of HSA questions already released on the Maryland State Department of Education website. Basically, the [Baltimore City Public School System] is spending nearly a million dollars to a company to recycle and repackage questions into benchmarks for the students of Baltimore, something that any teacher worth his snot has already done. It's ...


Hobo Teacher on the last day of school: Don’t ask me how it went. The only thing I can remember was a bunch of shouting and shoving, then I blacked out. I woke up later in the day in the school’s dumpster with a skull-splitting headache and a copy of my sign-out sheet with all the signatures on it. That was good enough for me....


The Science Goddess of What It’s Like On The Inside is used to having students tell her secrets in her classroom and going to the proper authorities when those secrets require intervention. But, as a district curriculum specialist, she now has colleagues divulging secrets about other teachers, administrators, and employees. I get all sorts of things whispered in my ear about what's happening with various departments and programs. It frustrates me because as much as I am ready, willing, and able to listen to whatever teachers wish to share, I'm often powerless to do anything about it. But if ...


Doug Johnson of Blue Skunk comes away impressed from a virtual conference he attended on the educational potential of Second Life. However, he acknowledges educators'—and his own—doubts about the simulation program's place in the classroom: Many educators seem to have a reticence about Second Life as a teaching tool, even those folks I would otherwise consider visionaries in other ways. Yes, Second Life has an "adult" side to it. Yes, it is crash prone, slow and unreliable. Yes, there is a steep learning curve to creating content for it. Yes, it sounds just like the WWW of about...


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