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April 10, 2014

John Thompson Reviews John Kuhn's 'Fear and Learning'

It was a Texan, Diane Ravitch, who rallied teachers when it seemed like public schooling was condemned to its Alamo. Now, it may be a Texan, John Kuhn, who points the way out of the educational civil war launched by data-driven reform.

November 07, 2013

Momentum Grows Against Zero Tolerance Discipline and High-Stakes Testing

Across the country, resistance is growing against public education's increased dependence on high-stakes standardized testing and on exclusionary discipline, such as suspensions, expulsions, and school-based arrests.

October 09, 2013

Paul Horton: Students and Educators Suffer PTSD in the Chicago School Wars: The Road to Gatopia IV

more and more teachers are being identified with PTSD symptoms due to the "perception of an increasingly hostile work environment."

September 16, 2013

Chicago Teacher: Inhumane Working Conditions are Inhumane Learning Conditions

At my large elementary school on Chicago's southwest side, the mercury on the thermometer soars to a scorching 90 degrees. Sweat drips down the students' little round faces,

August 13, 2013

Common Core Tests are Not Good for Children or Other Living Things

People who are disenfranchised and deprived of meaningful opportunities must somehow be convinced that their second-class status is THEIR FAULT.

July 25, 2013

Teachers Still Dodging Silver Bullets of Ed Reform

Teachers themselves are not, unfortunately, going to eliminate poverty, even if we get rid of the "bad" ones supposedly responsible for poor test scores.

May 10, 2013

John Thompson: An Improbable Tale of Successful Reform

Kirp then dissects the dramatic turnaround of the entire school system of Union City, New Jersey, and he shows how we can build great schools on the strengths of our democratic culture. Its answer did not come from technocrats from the outside, but from a local culture of "abrazos" or caring. Rather than firing our way to the top, Kirp shows that school improvement must come from trusting relationships. The secret sauce of Union City's success is "respeto," or respect.

May 06, 2013

Will a Year's Delay Save the Common Core? A Response to Weingarten's Proposal

Teachers - and union leaders -- may feel as if they should get on board, to try to steer this process. However, I think this is a ship of doom for our schools. I think its effect will be twofold. It will create a smoother, wider, more easily standardized market for curriculum and technology. This will, in turn, promote the standardization of curriculum and instruction, and further de-professionalize teaching. The assessments will reinforce this, by tying teachers closer to more frequent timelines and benchmark assessments, which will be, in many places, tied to teacher evaluations. And the widespread failures of public schools will be used to further "disrupt the public school monopoly," spurring further expansion of vouchers and charters and private schools.

May 03, 2013

Steve Cohen: From Closing the Achievement Gap to Closing the Opportunity Gap

The kids who come to school with less get less from school. Closing the achievement gap with high-stakes, test-centric teaching combined with low resources, few opportunities and a lack of support has failed. The best way out is to close the mushrooming opportunity gap, create more equitable opportunities and gauge how well states and districts are doing to create those opportunities. Achievement follows from opportunities to learn.

March 16, 2013

John Thompson: Documentarians Uncover the Trauma in Urban Schools

These great documentaries may not mention the prime theory that "reformers" brought to school, but they explain the trauma that the kids carry to the classroom. They do not diminish the importance of classroom instruction as they focus on the socio-emotional keys to schooling. These documentaries can now take their place in a great tradition of print and internet journalism.

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