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August 13, 2011

John Thompson: What Happens when Magical Thinking is a Condition of Employment?

Guest post by John Thompson. Sometimes it seems like every five foot tall male 8th grader is convinced that he will make it in the NBA. Teachers have to gently explain the need to study in case, by some fluke, a teenager does not become a first round draft choice. The Washington Post's education ...

July 18, 2011

Confronting the Inequality Juggernaut: A Q&A With Jonathan Kozol

Jonathan Kozol has been a tireless advocate for civil rights in education for the past five decades. His book, Savage Inequalities, was a call to conscience for the nation. He will be among the speakers at the Save Our Schools March and Rally in Washington, DC, on Saturday, July 30th. I asked him t...

July 13, 2011

Stephen Krashen: Race to the Top for Tots: Don't Measure the Temperature of the Fire - Put it Out!

Guest post by Stephen Krashen The federal government plans to establish detailed standards and assessments to see if children of poverty are ready for kindergarten and are healthy (The "Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge," termed the "Race to the Top for Tots," by the New Brunswick Patch.) Th...

July 06, 2011

The Brooks/Ravitch Dialogue Expands

A week ago New York Times columnist David Brooks launched a broadside against Diane Ravitch. This was rather reminiscent of the recent attack by Jonathan Alter. These pieces generally lack substance, but seem designed to reassure those inside the policymaking circle that their assumptions are safe, ...

July 02, 2011

Why Pedro Noguera will be Marching to Save Our Schools July 30th

Pedro Noguera has been a leader in education reform for decades. I came to know him during the battle to end apartheid in the 1980s, when we were both students at UC Berkeley. As a parent, he became very involved in the local schools, served on the Berkeley Board of Education, and went on to center ...

June 25, 2011

John Thompson: School Transformation in the 21st Century: Turtles, Frogs or Butterflies

Guest post by John Thompson In an earlier contribution to the Harvard Futures of School Reform, Richard Elmore described "the dismal, glacial, adult-centered, congenially authoritarian, mindless soup in which our children spend the bulk of their days." I assume he was mostly describing failing sch...

June 13, 2011

President Obama, We Were There When You Needed Us

It has been a year and a half since I wrote an open letter to President Obama, and started a project called Teachers' Letters to Obama. Back in December of 2009, I sent a package of 107 letters to the President and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (downloadable here). Sadly, there has been no c...

June 07, 2011

Interview: How Does Classroom Stress Affect Learning?

The Wall Street Journal recently carried a report about a study that found that students are often affected by the stress that adults working with them are experiencing. In a time when education "reform" and budget cuts often seem to be making schools more stressful, this seems like a very significa...

June 05, 2011

Jonathan Alter Kicks the Hornet's Nest

@anthonycody It has happened again. An "education reformer" has used the pages of corporate media to go on the attack against a leading critic, Diane Ravitch. And lived to regret it. Jonathan Alter, an MSNBC commentator and former Newsweek columnist, penned an op-ed two days ago in the Bloomberg w...

May 30, 2011

Education Policy Should Honor the Obvious

I offer here a short list of seven things that have become obvious, from my position as a teacher. If only our education policies might be constrained by the requirement that they honor the obvious! 1. Children do not learn well when they are under stress. This single fact is enough to explain so m...

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