Can offering more boy-orientated, relevant texts and freeing up the space for more dialogue and self-expression turn ten boys who are indifferent to school into well-behaved students who do their homework and enjoy reading? That's the experiment.

As a reform-minded teacher who has never had an anti-testing stance, I am concerned that the good intentions of the test (i.e. to measure student growth and to hold teachers accountable for a measure of that growth) is quickly becoming something much more than that ... something much scarier.

My first day back at school after a three-month maternity leave revealed just how much I had forgotten about teaching.

I got an education in the truest sense of the word while attending a predominantly white university. Persevering through loneliness and being misunderstood at college worked to build my character and identity, as did being exposed to opera, classical music and European travel.

The hardest intellectual decision teachers have to make is what content to directly, explicitly teach and what to leave open for students to learn through a process of questioning, dialogue, and self discovery. Finding the perfect balance of direct instruction and student inquiry is a tension that is pulled even tighter by the constraints of time in the school day. But teachers must always leave room for student questioning.

Dr. Anthony L. Moore, an assistant superintendent of schools in Kansas City, Missouri, writes Part 2 of his guest blog on increasing low parental engagement in urban settings. He challenges schools to roll out the "red carpet" for parents and provides his "Top 10" list of ways parents can elevate their own level of engagement in their child's education.

Urban schools are notorious for having low parental engagement. In part one of his two-part guest blog, Dr. Anthony L. Moore, a school district leader in Kansas City, Missouri, outlines the difference between parental involvement vs. parental engagement and sets the stage for laying out his specific, practical strategies for increasing parent participation.

Guest blogger John Choi was addicted to the hit TV show Breaking Bad. Now that the show has ended, Choi manages his withdrawals by analyzing both the inspirational and more ominous lessons the main character Walter White—meek high school science teacher turned ruthless drug dealer—teaches us.

Yes, teachers deserve a seat at the table when systematic reforms are being decided, but the vacuum of teacher voice isn't just in City Hall, the state capitol building, or in the U.S. Department of Education. The true power of teacher voice is local. It's in our schools. If we feel powerless to change our local schools, how will our voices ever effectively reach Washington? (See TEDx Talk video)

This post is by an anonymous guest blogger. A long-time reader and university professor, the author sent me this post to explain why so many minority teaching candidates are recruited to study education but never actually become certified teachers. One might say they are set up to fail.


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