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June 13, 2015

When the School Becomes the Graduation Sheriff

Rude behavior is so deeply embedded, even rewarded, in American culture--just turn on cable TV--that making assumptions about who knows how to behave, and who doesn't, is pointless. I like a nice, dignified graduation ceremony as much as anybody. But the way you get that is by teaching appropriate, respectful behavior for more formal events, beginning in kindergarten. Not with threats and recriminations, and certainly not by pressing charges.

April 30, 2015

The Network for Public Education. Repeat: Public.

When I say "movement" to save public education, what I mean is this: People, like me, who have no particular resources or organizational funding/backing, who got on a plane to be in a room with those like-minded compadres--because they're terrified that America might lose public education. People who think it's not too late. People willing to stake their professional energy on doing right by all kids, keeping democratic equality as critical and central goal of the education system.

April 23, 2015

Why Aren't More School Leaders and Teachers Joining Forces to Get Rid of Destructive Policy?

If your district has a genuine professional collaboration model--different work, but same level of respect and influence for teachers and school leaders--that's admirable. So--are you working together to advocate for change? Or merely going through the motions of Schooling 2015? Why aren't teachers, parents and school leaders everywhere joining forces to put a stop to the worst of it--the selling off of public resources to for-profit CMOs, teacher evaluation by test data, and loss of local control over core work: curriculum, instruction, assessment?

March 24, 2015

I Love My Job. Really.

You cannot measure self-esteem, self-worth, or readiness to face the world. You cannot quantify these teachable moments, ever. The more you try to do this, the more you tell me that my professionalism is equated to the scores that a set of my kids have received on a test that has no relevance to their daily life, the more you demean the battle against poverty, adolescence, and apathy that I fight each day.

March 16, 2015

Those Amazing, Groundbreaking Schools of the Future!

There are major things about effective schooling that never go away: getting kids motivated, finding good materials, building a sense of community or relationships, nurturing persistence, quality staffing and how to cope with abundant mandated testing, state regulations, and the management of finite resources. Did I mention testing and subsequent uses of the data it generates? Oh yeah. The main reason that innovative, cage-busting ideas go bust. That and money.

February 18, 2015

Squeezing More Entrepreneurial Juice Out of Public School

It's not exactly clear what the Reimagine Learning network will do with the $50 million start-up cash. Their mission: "Making a difference in the lives of millions of students who may be marginalized or disengaged in school because of learning and attention issues or social emotional issues." That's a lot of scratch dedicated to letting students with "issues" discover their own power and uniqueness. And here's the thing--I don't know many teachers who aren't doggedly working toward that very end already.

February 13, 2015

The Amazing Power of Snowpants

Playing outside in warm clothing, using sleds and snow toys--with follow-up hot chocolate-- represented a special treat to the children at Palmer Park Academy in Detroit, courtesy of a dedicated teacher and her kind-hearted friends and colleagues. But--the children in her class deserve free play and a refreshing drink every day, year-round, as part of best pedagogical practice for very young children. The research on this is iron-clad.

February 03, 2015

The Gap of All Gaps: How ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization Makes the 'Purpose Gap' More Visible and More Painful

The purpose of education in the United States in 2015 is not clear or shared despite all pretension otherwise.

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