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January 17, 2012

Wisdom From Dr. King Helps Center My Education Activism

Like many of you, I spent some time on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday reflecting on his life and legacy. I attended a commemoration service with my two little girls, and I listened to a choir sing the old Negro spirituals. I sang along and shed some tears. Like many of you, Dr. King is my h...

January 11, 2012

Our Children Are But Grass, So Let's Stop Fighting!

"When elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers." - an African proverb. I am relatively new to the world of education policy. I entered the arena two years ago through Teach Plus, a non-profit organization that aims to offer leadership opportunities to high quality teachers with at least three y...

November 23, 2011

Chicago Reformation: Q&A with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard (Part 3)

During my interview with Jean-Claude Brizard, I asked him to explain the source of his aggressive ambition to fix Chicago Public Schools. Reforming a massive, decades-old, broken urban educational system is not a job one man can do alone. And it's not a job without difficult decisions, political pr...

November 16, 2011

Chicago Reformation: Q&A with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard (Part 2)

Urban school districts across America are grappling with how to improve their education quality while also cutting programs to fix their massive budget deficits. In Illinois, the failure to win a $400 million Race to the Top grant exacerbated the problem because well-intentioned but expensive refor...

November 08, 2011

Chicago Reformation: Q&A with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard (Part 1)

I first met CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard in August and then wrote the blog post "Ready or Not, Here We Reform." One of my teacher-friends was so upset that I called Brizard "a very smart leader" that he wouldn't read my blog for a month. Controversy is nothing new to Brizard: From his $250,000 sa...

November 02, 2011

Race to Inflate: The Evaluation Conundrum for Teachers of Non-tested Subjects

In honor of my last post which chronicled my personal perils under Chicago's teacher evaluation system, I thought it would be interesting to take a deeper look into the reform measures being considered to replace the current evaluation system. Quantifying quality teaching on a large scale is a comp...

October 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Teacher Evaluations

As one of my opening lessons on science lab safety, I use a scenario of students who create utter mayhem in the lab with glimpses of them also being safe. This anticipatory set is fun to read and students quickly identify things they should never do. By the end of the lesson they have internalized a...

October 12, 2011

Columbus Day and African American Education

On Monday, we closed our schools in honor of Christopher Columbus Day. I love always having a long weekend to celebrate my Oct. 9 birthday. But it annoys me that we celebrate a man whose exploratory ambitions led to the demise of millions of indigenous people in the Caribbean and opened the Atlant...

October 05, 2011

Charter School Teacher Dines With Union President

Last night I met Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis at a Teach Plus roundtable discussion and sat right next to her at dinner. Lewis is a fascinating figure, a former high school chemistry teacher whose humorously blunt personality helped catapult her to the union's top spot in 2010. She...

September 28, 2011

Here's Why I Teach, Brian Williams

It was a provocative question: Is the role of a teacher to educate students for college or for the wider world? That was the first question that NBC newsman Brian Williams asked on Sunday at the second annual Education Nation Teacher Town Hall. Now I know that college has become the new high schoo...

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The opinions expressed in Charting My Own Course are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.
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