In the mid-1920s our economy boomed. The stock market, then relatively new, soared to amazing heights, as the middle class invested their money and saw their wealth grow. But there was a problem. The stock market prices had inflated beyond the intrinsic worth of the companies they were based upon. This came to be known as a stock market bubble, because when the inflation of value stopped, the bubble burst and the economy collapsed. The nation experienced another bubble recently with the rising value of real estate, which blew up in our faces a few years ago, and is still ...


Today I am sharing a guest post from a reader -- I will let him tell the tale: By Ron Fink I compose musical plays that are used in regular classrooms, grades K-9, all over the country. My writing partner and I build the plays around mandated curriculum, but we add stories, catchy tunes, clever lyrics, and lots of really dumb jokes. Over the last 16 years teachers have produced about 115,000 performances of our 50+ shows. (We sell the scripts, the musical CDs and instructions on how any teacher, no matter how musically timid, can do a fun ...


My recent dialogue with the Department of Education after President Obama acknowledged that we have gone overboard with standardized tests revealed that, in fact, there are plans to actually expand the number of mandated tests. Though we have heard a great deal about the $350 million the Dept of Ed is investing in the development of new tests, we have heard nothing about what these new tests will cost to administer, score or prepare for. As our collapsing state budgets result in increased class sizes, shuttered school libraries and the elimination of frills like music and foreign language classes, we ...


Teachers in Oakland have spoken. At the first Oakland Teachers' Convention, more than 200 teachers - close to ten percent of the teachers in the District, gathered and spent two and a half days in intense dialogue to come up with recommendations for the future success of our schools. Last October I joined something called the Effective Teaching Task Force, one of more than a dozen task forces formed under our Superintendent, Dr. Tony Smith. Oakland Unified had been under the control of administrators appointed by the State of California following a financial bailout nine years ago. Dr. Smith was ...


Three years ago I started serving as a mentor for a young teacher at an alternative middle school in Oakland. This school was for special cases - students who had been pushed out of regular middle schools, usually because they were having behavior issues or getting in fights with other students. You can imagine the kind of environment you get when you gather all these students under one roof. The next year she landed a new position, this time at one of the wealthiest elementary schools in the hills of Oakland, surrounded by million dollar homes. She has left Oakland, ...


Three weeks ago I shared an interview with Superintendent John Kuhn of the Perrin-Whitt Independent School District in the great state of Texas. Today he offers us a reflection on a recent experience at the state Capitol. Yesterday I testified before the Public Ed. Committee of the Texas House of Representatives on behalf of a bill that would initiate a two-year moratorium on standardized testing, known as STAAR in Texas. Here are the remarks I shared before the representatives began asking questions: I have a dilemma: I personally believe state testing is morally compromised because TEA has overwrought test security ...


Parent activists Tim Slekar and Michele Gray have recently made headlines with their decision to publicly boycott that state's standardized testing of their children. In this guest post they offer some advice, and urge others to help our politicians understand what is happening to our children in the name of reform. By Tim Slekar and Michele Gray In the days since Anthony "misrepresented" the President's comments concerning high stakes standardized tests, the narrative is shifting. The opposition of parents and education professionals to the current school reform direction is finally being heard. Although I am not foolish enough to believe ...


The New York Times posted a column this morning titled The Deadlocked Debate over Educational Reform. And last week the Times ran a story covering the dialogue I was able to provoke with representatives of the Department of Education regarding President Obama's critical remarks about testing. This latest column was a bit confusing. Just as soon as they have discovered that the debate exists, they wonder if a debate is even possible! Remember NBC's Education Nation last fall? The "supermen" of reform ruled the stage, and the leading experts were Bill Gates, Davis Guggenheim and Michelle Rhee. Teachers were given ...


In my recent exchange with the Department of Education regarding President Obama's remarks critical of our obsession with testing, it became clear that there is a vast expansion of testing on the horizon. Few reports have emerged that describe this, and I fear the public may be unaware of the resources that soon will be diverted from our already decimated classrooms. I asked two of the nation's experts on this trend to share what they have learned about this recently. Here is their report. by Stephen Krashen and Susan Ohanian When the plans to create Common Core Standards were announced, ...


Last week I kicked the hornet's nest by pointing out that President Obama's remarks at a town hall meeting do not align with the policies being carried out by his Department of Education. This was picked up by a number of fellow bloggers, including Valerie Strauss, Deborah Meier, Doug Noon and Ira Socol.Today, the New York Times ran an article on the imbroglio, featuring quotes from myself and our correspondent at the Department of Education, Justin Hamilton. Let me explain why I think this is resonating so much. The Obama campaign relied on the energy of millions of us, ...


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