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April 01, 2013

Gates and Murdoch "Personalize" Learning with Larger Classes and Big Data Systems

A personalized learning environment is driven by the relationships between learners and one another, and with their teacher. That is why class size is so important. That is why it is so important to honor the knowledge, skill and culture that our students bring to school - because a respectful relationship with each student is based on our acceptance of them, and our desire to help them achieve their goals, rather than force them to meet predetermined benchmarks.

February 12, 2013

Could Community Based Accountability Get the Federal Government Out of Our Schools?

Schools today are seeing an unprecedented expansion of federally-driven accountability practices. In addition to annual high stakes standardized tests, more and more students now take interim assessments for use in teacher evaluations, mandated by NCLB waivers and Race to the Top grants. Soon we wil...

February 05, 2013

Does the Battle in Seattle Foreshadow Trouble for the Common Core?

We are approaching a real crossroads. Educators, parents and students have come to loath NCLB and the tests that have become ever more intrusive in our schools. Secretary Duncan and well-paid functionaries from all sides have promised that the "next generation" of assessments will be so superior that we will no longer object to high stakes being attached to them. Unlike any large scale standardized tests ever devised before, they will measure and promote critical thinking. But we n longer need to suspend our judgment. Teachers in Seattle have seen the future. Their verdict is clear. The emperor has no clothes.

February 04, 2013

Opposition to Common Core Grows Across the Political Spectrum

The drive towards Common Core State Standards and standardized assessments to enforce them has been described as an unstoppable train, and teachers are warned that we had better get on board with the process, or risk being run over. But opposition to this juggernaut is emerging from some surprising places, which creates the possibility of some unusual alliances.

December 18, 2012

NEA and AFT: Let's Apply the Lessons of NCLB to the Common Core

Our two major unions are one of the best vehicles teachers have for communicating with the public. Teachers have gotten on board with efforts to raise standards in the past, but we have to have our eyes wide open this time. There is going to be a major publicity campaign associated with the results we will get from the Common Core assessments. This will be yet another iteration of the wails we heard with the release of the Nation at Risk report in 1983. We have got to be prepared to mount a robust defense of the very institution of public education. Tests associated with the Common Core are going to be used to discredit our schools. We must be ready to respond.

December 02, 2012

Algebra For All Yields Failure for Many

If we follow the pattern of NCLB, we will declare these unsuccessful students, their schools and teachers to be failures once again. But if we can LEARN from failure, we will back up and look at how we can restructure math instruction in middle school and earlier so that these students can truly achieve at high levels. We will look at smaller class sizes, earlier interventions, and programs that address the health, safety and security of our children. We will look at how to retain well-prepared teachers of math, and strengthen professional development so that we are all learning together. We will not expect new standards, even the Common Core, to do this heavy lifting for us. It won't be easy or cheap, but that is what REAL reform looks like.

October 09, 2012

Nikhil Goyal Interview: A High School Student Offers a Critique of Our Schools

Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody A seventeen year-old high school student from New York named Nikhil Goyal has been speaking out on education reform. In addition to several high profile television appearances, he has authored a book, One Size Does Not Fit All, A Student's Assessment of School. ...

August 29, 2012

Dialogue With the Gates Foundation: What Is the Purpose of K-12 Education?

Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody This week, our exchange is focused on these questions: What is the purpose of K-12 education? How do we think about college and career readiness? How do the Common Core Standards fit in? This post is a response to one posted yesterday, authored by Irvin Scott o...

August 28, 2012

The Gates Foundation Writes: K-12 Education: An Opportunity Catalyst

Guest post by Irvin Scott. In this fourth of five exchanges with the Gates Foundation, we take on some of the biggest questions of all: What is the purpose of a K-12 education? How do we think about college and career readiness? How do the Common Core Standards fit in? This post can also be viewed ...

July 13, 2012

The Gates Foundation's Education Philanthropy: Are Profit Seeking and Market Domination a Public Service?

Guest post by Chemtchr. Part Two of Two. See Part One here. The Gates Foundation favors a charitable model known as a public-private partnership, which appears at first to be an enlightened model for corporate engagement. For-profit ventures are "partnered" with the government for funding, to d...

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