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September 22, 2018

13 Things I Learned While Blogging for Education Week

This is the 500th blog I've written as the Teacher in a Strange Land, for Education Week Teacher. As it turns out, it's also my final blog for EdWeek. Here are 13 things I have learned in the past nine years of observing and writing about Ed World.

July 05, 2018

The Blessings of Liberty Include Fully Public Education

I think I was experiencing the sacred last night, watching the 90-something Navy man sing 'Anchors Aweigh' in the front row--and the grandfathers who served in Vietnam shyly nod to each other across the crowd. I also thought about where and how those men and women were educated. Where did they absorb the idea that citizenship is both blessing and duty? Who taught them to read and calculate, who nurtured their talents and their dreams?

June 15, 2018

Do Core Democratic Values Belong in Schools?

It is a point of pride, really, having these core democratic values as an anchor in the Mitten State Social Studies standards. Here's a list of those identified values: Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, justice, the common good, equality, truth, diversity, popular sovereignty and patriotism. Things we all agree on, right?

March 20, 2018

We Need Civic Online Reasoning in Our Schools

It's hard to imagine what could be more important than developing the critical thinking skills that facilitate our students' ability to discern truth from fake news. Media literacy may be in the standards, somewhere, but it's not on the test, so it gets short shrift in the classroom.

March 16, 2018

Sing On, Children! How the Arts Help Social Movements Take Flight

An urgent call to teach our children this: Making and appreciating art that reflects our collective joys and sorrows is part of what it means to be human. Art helps human movements and causes take flight.

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?

October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween! Be Playful and Artistic in School on Holidays

Dressing up and playing (often challenging) "scary" music is good curricular and instructional practice. It encourages young adolescents to be kids again in an increasingly frightening adult world—playful and artistic, sharing their burgeoning talents with their community.

June 16, 2017

The War on Teachers and the End of Public Education

We have genuinely reached a tipping point, one where we're struggling to get young people to go into teaching as professional career (as opposed to two-year adventure before law school). Our state legislators are openly declaring that teaching is now a short-term technical job, not a career, and thus public school educators don't really need a stable state pension. That's not only a war on individual teachers, but a war on teaching itself.

April 09, 2017

Misguided Things People Say About Public Schools

The unexamined national goal now seems to be a productive, compliant workforce, at the lowest cost, not an educated citizenry. Instead of building on our public education infrastructure, we talk about "failing schools," and bogus international testing data.

September 18, 2016

What Is the Purpose of School? Who Knows? Who Cares?

I can't help wondering what would happen if the question were phrased as a constructed response. What if we asked parents, childless millennials or retirees: What's the purpose of public education? Why do we collect taxes and build buildings and elect school boards and argue about phonics vs. whole language? What's the end game?

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