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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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

February 21, 2017

Advice for New Teachers: Bring About Change

"New teachers: Don't stop speaking up when others may discount your thoughts, or make you feel as if you are too new to know any better."

February 14, 2017

Famous School Choice Pundit vs. Ordinary Teacher

While I toiled away at what you termed the retail level, you, Checker Finn, studied the research, analyzed the data, and made pronouncements impacting education across the nation. It's interesting to think that you have, in many ways, shaped the work that I actually did. For decades.

November 04, 2016

Amusing Ourselves Into Oblivion

When the election is over, schools will still be expected to exemplify neutral public spaces, accepting all students and honoring all family beliefs. Media and money, helped by attractive electronic technologies, have reshaped our values, and we will not be able to acknowledge that, as public institutions.

October 29, 2016

Teacher Leadership vs. Teacher Professionalism

Teacher leaders are everywhere. Often, they're doing precisely what the established system wants them to do--accepting leadership roles and tasks pre-defined by that same system, for the distinction of being named a leader in a flat profession. Sometimes, they even get compensation or perks. But are they acting as professionals?

August 06, 2016

Ten Non-Standard Ideas About Going Back to School

I had a colleague who spent most of August sorting books into leveled baskets, going steady with the laminating machine, and running up colorful curtains for the door to her classroom. Her husband, conversely, would mark the beginning of the school year by wandering around the house, trying to find his thermos. This was immensely irritating to her, of course. But it's hard to say who was the better teacher.

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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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