It’s a Hamburger Helper World we’re living in these days. Times are hard and budgets are tight. People are eating out less and clipping coupons more. The weekly newspaper's Food supplement is featuring “stretching your food dollar” rather than “expanding your epicurean sensibilities.” While eating is a necessity, where we eat and what we eat is discretionary, so when a dollar needs squeezing, the food budget is one of the first categories to take a hit. Unfortunately, a lot of policymakers put education spending in the same category as food budgets. They know that public education is a ...


Lately there is a miasma of stress that hovers in the halls of my school and community. In a high speculative and very expensive real estate market, property values have dropped precipitously, leaving more than a few mortgaged folks with a negative value. The stagnant building industry and retail market will leave some of our students' families without work. Property taxes are our primary funding source for education, so we are looking at draconian cuts on top of last year’s merely drastic cuts. As a suburb of Washington, we live in the shadow of the Capitol and the Pentagon. ...


I am trying to wrap my head around our current fiscal crisis. Not only am I having a hard time trying to grasp the implications of the still-developing disaster or the proposed interventions, I'm having a hard time just trying to really get a fix on what $700 billion dollars is. This is what it looks like: $700,000,000,000.00 That’s a lot of zeros. I trolled the internet to get some perspective on what $700 billion really amounts to. If the federal government siphoned off Florida's gross domestic product, we could cover the bailout. Invading the ...


My TLN colleague Laura Reasoner Jones addressed gender equity last week in her Teaching Secrets: Bridging the Gender Gap essay here. I understood her point to be that each child is unique and that we need to be thoughtful in responding to them as individuals. It was really interesting to me that the responses her article solicited clearly demonstrate that the same information can be perceived differently by various readers. In fact, some of the responses were pretty inflamed, and I went back to see what was so controversial. Do you know what re-reading the piece and the comments caused ...


In the last two weeks, I’ve been hearing a lot about change. It seems that everyone is in favor of it. Me too! My poor old laptop was retired from active duty and replaced a new machine with more stamina, but less weight. My virtual teaching community moved on from a listserv to a slick new platform. My 54 year old house finally got the dream kitchen that I have been planning for 22 years. My 58 year old body got brand new legs in the form of titanium knees. And this week, after 20 years of teaching middle ...


“What a shame, he missed breaking the world record on that one!” “Well, I just don’t know if it was good enough..she had a balance check after that double back flip and then she took an awfully big step on the landing!” “Oh man, he missed that rebound? He’s got three inches on that guy!” As you can surmise, I’ve been spending some of my last lazy summer evenings watching the Olympics. My husband and I lolled in our easy chairs with a chilled beverage in hand and make uninformed judgments on diving and gymnastics. “The ...


It’s wonderful to discover people who share your secret indulgences. My fellow blogger Donalyn Miller writes of reading in airports -- and I had to smile because I, too, have been reading my way back and forth across America this summer. I left Virginia in the morning and arrived in California in the afternoon. Along the way, I wedged in a trip to Ireland where I spent the intervening hours with a flock of sheep as they avenged the murder of their shepherd in Three Bags Full. Not only can we take books with us, books can take us ...


In summertime, the urgency of the classroom fades a bit in the sun, and there's more opportunity to consider best practice. My friends in the Teacher Leaders Network Forum have been discussing the issue of just how much additional time and support a teacher can/ought/must provide to students who are struggling. Determining the tipping point between helping a child grow and retarding that growth can be difficult. And while we as teachers continually advocate for parental involvement, the formula becomes more complicated when parents become part of the equation. "Call me every day if you have to," one ...


Imagine . . . What if classroom teachers were acknowledged as experts on what teachers should know and be able to do? What if classroom teachers were critical partners in determining the quality of teacher preparation? What if classroom teachers worked alongside university faculty as colleagues? What if classroom teachers really did find a place at the table? You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one… because two things happened this week that were beyond my dreams a couple of years ago. On Thursday, my TeacherSolutions partners from The Center for Teaching Quality -- Nancy Flanagan, ...


Here in Fredericksburg, the home town of George Washington, and 50 miles from the nation’s capital, the Fourth of July is a big deal. There is a parade, a wonderful wacky raft race featuring almost anything that floats, a street fair with vendors and a stage for local talent. The day ends, of course, with fireworks bursting in the air above the park along the river. It is a Norman Rockwell Fourth of July — the way we like our history. But the Fourth of July isn’t over for me until I have watched 1776. It just isn’t ...


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