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September 12, 2012

Honk If You Don't Support A Teacher Strike in Chicago

For the past three days my morning drive to work has become a bit awkward at two stop signs. As I inch closer to the intersections near two different schools, I am beckoned by a throng of teachers in red shirts holding picket signs, chanting, and banging on the metal guard rails that line the sidewa...

August 08, 2012

Reforming the 'Myth' of America's Failing Schools (It's Actually True)

I recently read a Salon article by Michael Lind stating that the failure of the American public school system is just a myth perpetrated by education reformers to justify school vouchers and charter schools. I laughed—before realizing he was serious. The article asserts that white suburban c...

July 18, 2012

Teachers Play A Mean Game of 'Would You Rather?'

Last year during a staff professional development, we played a fun little game called Would You Rather? A moderator asked a series of ridiculous questions and the staff had to choose between two distasteful options, indicating our choice by moving to either side of the room. Let's play a few rounds...

June 20, 2012

Teachers: Heroes, Victims, or Somewhere in Between?

Teachers come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us are good teachers and some of us should have quit a long time ago. Some of us are excited about life while others tame thoughts of suicide with daily doses of Prozac. Some teachers are madly in love with their spouses while others enjoy illicit affai...

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...

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