School is out, and my students and my colleagues are reveling in summer. Summer delights the eye with sunlight through the trees, fireworks on the Fourth, sunburned skin and sun-bleached hair. Summer resonates with the sounds of birds singing in the morning, children splashing and laughing in the midday, and fans softly whirring in the evening. Summer air is perfumed with the scents of spicy sweet petunias, fresh cut grass, and roasting meat and veggies on the grill. Summer has almost, but not quite, begun for me. I am on an extended contract, working an extra ten days at the ...


You can’t pick up a newspaper without reading something about education, and when The Washington Post carried a huge ad for A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, it got my attention and piqued my curiosity. So I went to the Broader Bolder website to read the entire report. “Schools can’t do it alone,” said Co-Chair Helen Ladd. “Accountability is a pillar of our education system, but schools need the support of the community – both before children arrive at school and during their school years – for all children to achieve high standards.” As a teacher, my first thoughts were: “Thank...


The 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee is a Super Bowl of American academia, a place where 12-year-olds who can spell ophthalmoplegia are TV stars and spelling judges are hounded for autographs. -- The Washington Post Two hundred and eighty-eight spellers came together to compete in a high stakes, high profile battle of etymology and Sameer Mishra, 13, emerged as the new champion. He was up against some formidable opponents, many of whom are repeat participants, but he had an inside track since his sister had been a three-time contestant and his coach. The Bee made front page headlines. The final ...


Our neighborhood will celebrate Memorial Day with a picnic in my yard this afternoon. We will remember those who served and died in service to our country in our armed forces. With no intention of minimizing military service, I would like to remember some individuals who gave their lives, not by dying, but by serving their country consistently over the years. Today on Memorial Day I can't help but think of all those who invested a lifetime in service to their fellow citizens in classrooms across our nation. They have served quietly and without fanfare, but they have certainly helped ...


Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm. "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm." — Bob Dylan On Thursday, May 9th, in the early morning hours, a tornado ripped through 160 homes here in Stafford County, Virginia. At least 40 homes were destroyed. The damage is about two blocks from my school. Some of the devastated houses, of course, were our students’ homes. We can see these houses from our playing fields. The roof was gone from some, others were missing the whole second story. Still others looked almost like doll houses, the rooms ...


Eighth graders cluster around the world map, peeling off their little sticky tags and moving them. Ashley: China—Again??? Amritpal: Oh yeah! I’m Belarus! Nobody’s ever been Belarus! LeMaj: Yeah, but now you have to find it! Ryan: I’m Greenland! Kristen: Not! No way you are Greenland, Ryan! You made that up! Geography? No, this is my eighth grade Family and Consumer Science class. For the last week, they’ve been checking the permanent-care labels in their clothes and "claiming" their shirts' country of origin. It's an eye-opening activity. While China may have produced the majority of ...


It'll be interesting to see if she actually reads the book or is content to pontificate based on the EdWeek capsule. I wonder if she reads books or just pontificates. Posted by Chester Finn on A Place at the Table, March 5, 2008 6:02 Chester Finn was pretty miffed back in March when, after reading an Education Week commentary based on his new book Troublemaker, I suggested he might not have learned as much as he thought during his years as a student (long), teacher (short), and policy wonk (interminable). If I hadn't promised my readers, I wouldn't take ...


My physical therapist has warned me, "Don't get too ambitious." My teaching partner has lectured me, “No one loves a martyr. The world will turn without you.” My principal has told me repeatedly, “Take as much time as you need. I want you back, but I want you back healthy so you’ll live to teach a few more years!” But it’s been 28 calendar days and 15 school days, so on Monday I will go back to school. What’s the big deal? My regular readers may remember that I have been Knee Deep In Guilt since Tuesday, ...


For three weeks, Beth is being me. We are amazingly alike. As women of a certain age we share a birthday and short gray hair, and we are by nature and lifestyle the nurturing type. Our brilliant 29 year old sons and talented 25 year old daughters went through school together for most of their lives. We live near each other, read constantly, love to travel, cook, talk over dinner, and we both think diagramming sentences is entertaining and gratifying. But that’s not why Beth is me. Beth is me because she’s my long term substitute at school ...


I’m thinking about getting out of the classroom. There is a job that sounds really interesting. According to USAJOBS The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is looking for the best and brightest to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation. If you are a highly motivated, creative individual who would like to work for an agency that establishes policies on federal financial aid for education; distributes as well as monitors those funds; collects data on America’s schools and disseminates research; focuses national attention on key educational issues; and prohibits discrimination and ...


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