Educators have been on the defensive for so long that many s have forgotten that the best defense is a good offense.

Although it may be hard for some education leaders to acknowledge, the substance of the Tea Party's criticism of common-core standards is solid

I first recoiled at Arthur Levine's tired old vision of schools in his Education Week Commentary. Then I saw how out of place it was.

Under the fear created by NCLB/RTTT, large scale ability group tracking has made its way back into schools. Because tracking is commonly considered odious, and the research does not support it, no one calls it that. It is now given cuter or more palatable names like 'Walk to Read' or 'Intervention Time' even 'Flexible Grouping.' (Although some schools have flexible grouping and intervention time that takes place in classrooms and is quite lovely.)

The salient point is that in addition to making these schools a priority, the staffing at these schools underwent a change that now has created swiss-cheese-like holes in our teaching contracts. You see, the schools are allowed to hire teachers outside the district surplus process, and only have to take surplus teachers they want. Open positions at "priority schools" are not on the district's list of available positions at the surplus meeting. They've made a practice of picking up the least senior teachers, and even brand-new hires from outside the district. This has occurred while elementary teachers with up to ...

Schools of Education will become an endangered species if this bill becomes law. Advocates have long hungered for "disruption" of the "monopoly" that schools of education have had on teacher preparation. This bill would create big incentives for states to allow virtually anyone to set themselves up as a teacher preparation academy.

Bill Gates suggested that in time teachers and voters would come along to see the benefits of the experiments the billionaire reformers want to do in our schools. That was four years ago - and the experiments have run their course. A research paper by Elaine Weiss and Don Wong took a close look at the results in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago, exactly the three cities touted by Gates as the petri dishes for his market-driven experiments.

The experienced teacher is the key: the conductor, musician, coach, and magician-of-motivation all wrapped into one person. Those who push the corporate education reform agenda do not understand or have forgotten what a great teacher does, so their solutions "crowd out" experienced teachers. Rather than investing in the human potential of teachers and students, they choose to invest in "bubble tests" and self-paced digitalized learning that are good for the profits of education corporations, but lousy for kids, parents, and communities.

inBloom, the non-profit started with a hundred million dollar investment from the Gates Foundation, is planning to create a digital record which, barring catastrophe, truly could be a permanent record of every K12 student, from their first interaction with the schools to the last. The amount of information they are planning to collect is staggering. Here are the several hundred categories, which include academic records, attendance records, test results of all sorts, disciplinary incidents, special ed accommodations, and more.

I did some of my own data analysis to determine how many school days will be non-teaching for me this year. It does not include the amount of classroom time that was lost to preparing my students for state tests. That data is forthcoming. In addition to the 40 days I will have spent doing state test work, seven school days were devoted to attending New York City DOE professional development workshops. A few were quite useful to my teaching practice; at one I learned new strategies for teaching reading and writing to ELLs (English-language learners), and another validated my ...


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