There is little evidence that actual learning--the useful kind that sticks--can be linked to some kind of Amazing Teacher Fairy Dust.

As a nation, we still have no clue, let alone consensus, about the purpose of public education. Is it building democratic equality? Job training? Credential collecting?

Something important is lost when kids assume that mom will always play backstop to any academic negligence.

When it comes to school mascots, however--and the ongoing lawsuit-based drive to rid high schools of their Native American/Tribal/American Indian mascots and nicknames--I find myself wondering if this battle isn't the elevation of form over substance.

What to do about a city like Detroit? What's the best way to serve the children there, who deserve the same free, first-rate democratic education that children all over this country are receiving?

What are the ultimate outcomes of scrapping publicly funded education in favor of relying on luck, connections and philanthropy?

We're all products of our expectations. And some of those expectations just might be first world problems.

What are your three most salient ideas about the Common Core? Are they criticisms? Can you put them into shovel-ready bullet points, for the limited attention span of your average legislator?

There will always be gaps between experienced teachers and new ones-- and it's good to have fresh ideas, untainted by cynicism. But we have a long national history of not listening to the collective wisdom of experienced educators.

Nuggets of truth wrapped in sentiment are the most dangerous kind of marketing. I'd like to believe that education will help our future citizens tell the difference between cheap emotional manipulation and what really matters.

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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