This never-ending tinkering with instruction and curriculum is called building an effective practice. It's challenging intellectual work, entirely dependent on teachers' commitment to experimenting, then paying attention to their results.
How do we build lessons that go deep, into the place where school learning shapes motivation?
One of the by-products of the accountability movement and high-tech data management tools--like on-line grade-books--is the elevation of filling in boxes over actual learning. The grade, the test score, the completed assignments--all physical manifestations of obedience--become the target.
Our rich country has the resources to provide a free, high-quality education for every child. The fact that we don't is a matter of political will and preference.
There is no secret "reform critic" handshake. There are more people speaking out against "reform" because--well, because they're finally mad as hell and...etc.
We're losing our cultural roots. Seasonal music draws from deep cultural wells located around the globe, from the distinctive societies and environments we came from, as well as our common beliefs.
Don't we have much bigger fish to fry, educationally speaking, than fretting about setting strict guidelines for what parents can spend on a present?
In America, we're stripping teachers of much of their classroom autonomy, and questioning their mastery. Once we remove teachers' intrinsic purpose, no amount of money will pull promising candidates into long-term careers in the classroom.
Honestly, I have never met a parent who said "Well, nobody in my family is gifted, but I fully support a special teacher, classroom, budget and field trips for the gifted kids. Because those kids are going to be the leaders of tomorrow--not my children."
A quick look at our most gifted leaders--Americans whose work has saved or enriched millions of lives--tells us that being identified as "gifted" is never a prerequisite for world-changing discoveries or great statesmanship.