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Q & A Collections: Education Policy Issues

I'll begin posting new questions and answers in late August, and during the summer will be sharing thematic posts bringing together responses on similar topics from the past three years. You can see those collections from the first two years here.

I'm alternating those posts with interviews I'm doing with authors about their new education books.   So far this summer, I've interviewed:

'There Are So Many Inspirational Teachers Out There': An Interview With Meenoo Rami

'Collaboration Is Crucial': An Interview With Carmen Fariña, Chancellor of the New York City schools, & co-author Laura Kotch

'A More Beautiful Question': An Interview With Warren Berger

Teaching Without Connecting Is 'Futile': An Interview With Annette Breaux & Todd Whitaker

'Myths & Lies' That Threaten Our Schools: An Interview With David Berliner & Gene Glass

'Digital Leadership': An Interview With Eric Sheninger

'Read, Write, Lead': An Interview With Regie Routman


Today's theme is on education policy issues. Previous themes have been:

Student Motivation

Implementing The Common Core

Teaching Reading and Writing

Parent Engagement In Schools

Teaching Social Studies

Best Ways To Begin & End The School Year

Teaching English Language Learners

Using Tech In The Classroom

I'll be spending the summer organizing questions and answers for the next school year, and there is always room for more!

You can send questions to me at [email protected].When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it's selected or if you'd prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo.

Anyone whose question is selected for this weekly column can choose one free book from a variety of education publishers.

Also, you can listen to ten minute interviews I've done with contributors to this column at my BAM! Radio Show.

Lastly, remember that you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email or RSS Reader.

And, now, following an excerpt from one of those posts, here's a list of all my columns related to education policy issues:

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From 2013/14

Ways To Reduce Teacher Attrition In High Poverty Schools

Educators Angel Cintron and Paul Bruno contribute guest responses here.

Building 'Political Will' to Retain Teachers in High-Need Schools

Barnett Berry and Ilana Garon share their thoughts in this post.

Reducing Attrition in Urban Schools 'By Listening to Our Teachers'

Liam Goldrick and David Orphal contribute responses, and I feature many comments from readers, too.

Race To The Top Has Been A 'Fiasco'

Several educators -- Barnett Berry, Ariel Sacks, John Thompson, Alice Mercer and David B. Cohen -- weigh in with their thoughts on the fifth anniversary of The Race To The Top program and I include comments from readers, too.

Race To The Top Was A 'Wasted Opportunity'

Educators John Kuhn and Gary Rubinstein share their thoughts on RTTT.

'Teacherpreneurs Can Lead Reforms': An Interview With Barnett Berry

I interview Barnett Berry about the book Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead but Don't Leave (Jossey-Bass 2013) authored by Barnett and Center For Teaching Quality  colleagues Ann Byrd and Alan Wieder.  In it, they document the leadership journeys of eight classroom educators (several who are regular contributors to this blog) who are spreading their expertise beyond their schools, districts, and states -- and even nationally and internationally.

From 2012/13

1. Ways To Observe Teachers Without Demoralizing Them

This post contains some great guest responses from four educator/authors: Trent Kaufman and Emily Dolci Grimm; PJ Caposey, and Brian Nichols.

2. We Need "Fewer John Waynes & More John Deweys"

This is Part One in a series responding to the question: "How can teachers best relate to Superintendents -- and vice versa?"

This post provides responses from a teacher's perspective, with contributions from Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers; Dean Vogel, President of the California Teachers Association ; and Barnett Berry of the Center For Teaching Quality.

3. Teachers & Superintendents Must "Work To Understand Each Other"

This is Part Two, and provides responses from a Superintendent's perspective, with contributions from three Superintendents (along with comments from readers): Joshua Starr, Pamela Moran, and John Kuhn.

4. Several Ways to Balance Between District Mandates & Student Needs

This post contains an exceptional guest response from well-known educator/author Rick Wormeli.

5. Finding a Balance Between District Mandates & Student Needs - Part Two

Educator/authors Kimberly Kappler Hewitt, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Heather Wolpert-Gawron contribute their thoughts in this post.

6. Creating a Culture of Improvement With Peer Assistance & Review (PAR)

This post starts with a brief introduction to PAR from Dean Vogel, President of the California Teachers Association. Then Shannan Brown and Cheryl Dultz from the San Juan Unified School District in California and Doug Prouty from the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland explain the PAR programs in their districts.

7. How Peer Assistance Can Improve Teacher Practice

This Part Two post includes American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten providing her perspective and Julie Sellers telling about the program in Cincinnati. In addition, reader Marie Costanza shares about the PAR program in Rochester, New York and Brenda Sherry offers her experience in Ontario, Canada.


From 2011/12

1. Standardized Test Critiques & Potential Alternatives

Professors David C. Berliner and Yong Zhao offer their thoughts on the topic.

2. Helping Long-Term ELL's & Evaluating ELL Teachers Fairly

Katie Hull Sypnieski, the best teacher I've ever seen in the classroom, and staff from the American Federation of Teachers researching teacher evaluation contribute their responses.

3. Several Ways To Tell The Difference Between Good & Bad Education Research

Experienced researchers Matthew Di Carlo. from the Albert Shanker Institute and P. L. Thomas from Furman University discuss the issue.

4. Factors Behind The Success Of Ontario's Schools -- Part One

Paul Taillefer, President of the Canadian Teachers' Federation; Vice-Principal (& parent) Shannon Smith; and parent leaders Annie Kidder and Sheila Stewart share their varied comments.

5. Hopes For The NEA's "New Action Agenda"

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association; my friend and colleague Renee Moore, who was a member of the Commission that helped develop the "Agenda"; and Steve Owens, an NEA leader from Vermont are guest contributors in this post.

6. Reasons For The 'Downgrade' In Respect For Teachers

Dennis Van Roekel, President of The National Education Association and Barnett Berry, President of The Center For Teaching Quality respond, and I contribute an intriguing chart.

7. Factors Behind The Success Of Ontario's Schools -- Part Two

Michael Fullan, professor emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto and special advisor to the premier and minister of education in Ontario, writes about what's happening in....Ontario.

8. Thoughts On Grade Level Retention & Social Promotion

Donald Moore, the Executive Director of Chicago-based Designs For Change, and a nationally-recognized expert on the issue, shares his perspective.

9. Ways the "Next Generation" of Standardized Tests Should Treat ELL's

Representatives from the two groups of states preparing the new assessments, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC, and The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers Consortium, or PARCC, contribute responses.


I hope you've found this summary useful and, again, keep those questions coming!

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The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo 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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