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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 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.

September 23, 2017

Should 5th Graders Be Studying the KKK?

Will difficult student conversations go awry and get muddled? All the time. But that's the precise reason why we ought to be holding them now, with our young citizens. One of the central purposes of public education is developing core understandings of democracy and hey---no time like the present for that.

September 08, 2017

Do Perks for Teachers Compromise Their Integrity?

Schools and teachers are the objects of commerce and policy, not co-creators or idea-generators or genuine partners. We get "gifts" from business, if we are producing what they need.

September 01, 2017

What It Takes for Families to Support Public Education

When it comes to education, we've certainly allowed all kinds of predators and vandals to chip away at America's best idea: a completely free, high-quality public education for every child. No matter what they bring to the table.

March 23, 2017

What 'Hillbilly Elegy' Doesn't Say

"Hillbilly Elegy" is impressive personal narrative--plaudits to Vance for his persistence--but hardly illustrative of poor habits and prospects of an entire region of the country. Nor does it illuminate any of the very real problems--crises, per the book's title-- facing working-class families in America today, beginning with the dangerous income gap between the haves and the have-nots that threatens the social order.

March 15, 2017

The Kids Are All Right

I am fortunate; I get to spend time in a range of public schools, as observer, presenter, consultant and, on occasion, substitute teacher. I know that the plural of anecdote is not data--but there are hundreds of thousands of vital examples of what needs highlighting and replicating in public education. Why aren't we focused, like a laser, on those?

December 21, 2016

The Year of the Lie: Fake Ed-News

The actual truth about public schools? Well, as always, it's complicated. And we are not fond of complicated, in America. We'd rather grab onto a catchy meme--Dump Devos!--than explicate the pros and cons of a national curriculum, explore the long-term consequences of privately-managed, publicly-funded schools, or carefully deconstruct overly casual (not causal) use of student achievement data.

October 21, 2016

Reflections from a Nasty Woman: What's at Risk for Women Who "Come Forward"?

It is undeniable that character matters greatly in public leadership. Women who recognize and call out sexism and the sometimes-subtle aspects of rape culture are correct. And it isn't until the moral rot is laid bare and understood that we have any chance of living in a better, safer, more equitable world. We're not there yet, as this election illustrates.

October 04, 2016

Seven Things I Learned From Attending a Charter School Board Meeting

I have been to hundreds of school board meetings in my life, mostly in the district where I taught for 30 years, and neighboring districts. I have attended Board meetings in Detroit, Lansing and Denver. Recently--I decided to check out the board meeting of a local charter school. I did this because the charter in question had been co-opted by an unreliable and ethically challenged operator. Who was guarding the citizens' interest and tax monies?

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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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