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June 13, 2012

Closing Argument: Chicago Must Finish What It Started in Education Reform

On May 23, Indiana school principal Faren D'Abell guest blogged about why he took his own child out of Chicago Public Schools and moved to another state. D'Abell had the resources to "get out" of a low-performing school system, but he understood that the average student in large urban districts have...

May 23, 2012

This Way Out: Few Options for Average Students

A friend I used to work with nine years ago recently contacted me in response to my post Amber Alert: Teenage Boy Mentally Kidnapped by Gangs. He wondered if the 20-year-old man in the post who was killed in an apparent gang shooting was the same student he had taught in 2004 when the deceased was ...

January 25, 2012

The State Of The Union is Bleeding Out

How do we stop the bleeding? The non-stop drip of one teenager dropping out of high school every 26 seconds? What would it take to keep 1.2 million teenagers in school who would otherwise walk out this year and never come back? At last night's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama pr...

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...

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

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