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January 22, 2018

Should Teachers Invite Policymakers Into Their Classrooms?

In my teaching career, I have had more than the usual number of opportunities to have outsiders (including media, education organizations, researchers and, yes, legislators) visit my classroom. And I can testify that most visitors don't come to learn something new from an hour or two walking in the teacher's shoes. They come with an agenda.

January 08, 2018

Redefining Giftedness

What tangible benefits have there been, for all of us, in categorizing children and offering enrichment to those with high potential?

December 31, 2017

Teacher in a Strange Land: The Best and Worst of 2017

Angst is not what teachers, parents and school leaders are looking for in their op-ed/blog reading. Inspiration, perhaps—or confirmation that their observations and ideas are shared. Thoughts about coping, adapting, revising—it's what teachers do, and have always done. But this has been an extraordinary year. The entire realm of education policy is up for grabs (and grabs is the correct word).

November 30, 2017

Are Schools Responsible for Teaching Boys to Respect Girls?

There isn't a teacher in America who has been able to avoid what happens on CNN or Fox News--children bring their families' values into the classroom. And the easiest path for educators is to reproduce the cultural norms of the communities where they teach. But maybe these past few days represent a sea change in national thinking about gender inequality.

November 26, 2017

Talking About Public Education: The Good, the Deceptive, and the Destructive

We have the human capital, the resources and the technical knowledge to transform public education over a generation. What we lack is the public will to do so—for children other than our own, at least.

October 24, 2017

In Defense of (Some) Standards

The funny thing is this: while Reformsters and policy-makers and researchers write and rewrite standards, benchmarks and assessments (or change the names of state standards to avoid the taint of "Common Core"), teachers go on teaching, standards or no standards.

July 20, 2017

The Many Ways We Are De-Professionalizing Teaching

The policy goal here is de-professionalizing teaching, establishing it once and for all as a short-term, entry-level technical job designed to attract a revolving door of "community-minded" candidates, who will work diligently for cheap, then get out because they can't support a family or buy a home on a teacher's salary.

June 01, 2017

Top of the High School Class? Not Good Enough!

There seems to be a social movement (or at least a book) suggesting that success in a professional career is not enough, that valedictorians are merely conformists, hard workers, even suck-ups, not the kinds of disruptive movers and shakers who change the world. But--should they be disrupters?

May 04, 2017

Can We Trust Policymakers to Make Good Decisions for Schools?

Can we trust policymakers to make beneficial decisions for schools? Can we rely on their deep understanding of the issues, their moral compass, their desire to craft policy for the common good?

November 11, 2016

Get Rid of the Department of Education? Why Not?

I think a case could be made that the last two administrations have so morphed the originating aims of a federal department in charge of educating all students--whether intentionally or not--we might not find the loss of a department of education and burning down 16 years of questionable policy such a loss. But then--I think of equity. We are responsible for all children. Aren't we?

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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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