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November 13, 2011

America Leads the World in Nonsensical Comparisons: What Really Matters?

Efforts to improve our schools have always been spurred on by comparisons between our nation and others, which usually find us somewhere in the middle of the pack. In the 1950s the Russians were winning the space race because Ivan studied 12 hours a day, while his American counterpart goofed off at ...

November 08, 2011

NCLB Waivers get a Reality Check

The trajectory of our nation's schools from the train wreck of No Child Left Behind to a new and fresh set of calamitous policies has been checked by the ways in which these so-called reforms are playing out across the country. First, what is happening with student achievement? The latest results ...

November 07, 2011

NCLB Waivers are not Worthy Reforms in California

A slightly abbreviated version of this post ran as an op-ed column in yesterday's Sacramento Bee. No Child Left Behind has put the schools of California in a vise. Next year, the vast majority of our schools will be declared "failing" based on our inability to make every child in the state profici...

November 05, 2011

Bill Gates' Big Play: How Much Can Money Buy in Education?

What would happen if one of the wealthiest men in the world decided to remake the institution of public education in America? What if that man believed he understood the secrets to success, and sought to align the nation's schools to his vision and methods? What if he decided to devote all his time ...

November 03, 2011

Occupy Oakland: Striking Questions

I spent yesterday back in Oakland, participating in the Occupy Oakland general strike. Several hundred Oakland teachers were there as well, part of a crowd that swelled to around ten thousand in the afternoon. Below are photos and a video that capture some of the spirit of the day. And some thoughts...

October 29, 2011

If Only the Billionaire Reformers Cared about THIS Data

Billionaire Bill Gates was in the news again this week, bemoaning the sorry state of America's schools, insisting that business leaders like him have a lot to teach us about measuring performance. Mr. Gates, in years past, has worried about the fact that we rank poorly on international educational...

October 26, 2011

The Legacy of NCLB: Can We Force Schools to Improve?

When I was in Washington, DC, last July, I participated in a press conference prior to the Save Our Schools March, which I had helped organize. A gentleman who had asked several critical questions spoke with me afterwards. He tried to help me understand why tough federal mandates were needed to impr...

October 25, 2011

Lesson Study Works! An Interview with Dr. Catherine Lewis

Research consistently shows that teacher effectiveness and satisfaction with our work increases when we are able to engage in deep and meaningful collaboration. Earlier this month I wrote about one model for this sort of work, Teacher Action Research. Today I am sharing an interview focused on anoth...

October 23, 2011

John Thompson: Will Duncan Learn Lessons from Chicago?

Guest post by John Thompson. In 2009, I assumed that President Obama appointed Arne Duncan to split the differences between data-driven and traditional reformers. I sure hoped the President did not think that a non-educator who became the CEO of Chicago schools at the age of 37 would have had the ...

October 22, 2011

The Dialogue Heats Up over Teach For America

A few days ago I posted this: Civil Rights Groups Press for Truly Qualified Teachers. I have hit a nerve, because the piece has gotten a number of comments. Last night some sharp questions arrived from a reader named Mike Hailey. I am interested in highlighting this dialogue, so I am going to post h...

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