Somebody's got to get angry and speak passionately about what's happening in education "reform."

It is an unexpected relief to move past this level of work--scavenging--on to the big questions--who are my students, how do they learn best, what can we do to engage them meaningfully in building a classroom community?

I did appreciate the film's efforts to highlight the intellectual complexity and intense humanity of teaching. But the subtext is troublesome.

Character matters. A lot. Here's where I get off the bandwagon, however: grading students on character as a means of highlighting and developing these critical qualities.

What students want most is to know that they belong somewhere, that they'll be accepted and valued by their classmates. Consistency? The last refuge of the unimaginative.

Improve the quality of our public schools by applying various management strategies used in the business world? Model business lessons, heralded as tough, effective reform, don't always look like the strategies being seen in business-to-business advice about managing systems and working effectively with people.

If test scores improve as a result of the imposition of CCSS, it will be because teachers decide--one at a time, school by school--to reshape their own instruction, conforming to these national standards and the aligned tests. Not the standards themselves.

Why should 21st century students use their valuable time building sets, memorizing corny dialogue and hoofing inexpertly across the stage?

Unlike other nations (hint: Finland), we have never had a structured, purposeful national conversation about gutting and reorganizing the system around the kind of education we want for all children. What are our primary goals? What does educational success look like?

Teachers know many ordinary things whose value is underestimated or even proscribed in the technocratic race to "improve student achievement."

The opinions expressed in Teacher in a Strange Land are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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