March 2013 Archives

What does the public fight over school closures in Chicago say about the state of our civic discourse -- and where can we look for models of how to make decisions more effectively and collaboratively?

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of that state's expansive voucher program, widening a central front in the ongoing battle to expand our national experiment in school choice. In the end, is this a good or a bad development for American families? And will it help or hinder our ongoing efforts to guarantee every child a high-quality public education?

In a recurring guest post for the "Of, By, For" blog, educator Zac Chase views the 10-part video series "A Year at Mission Hill" through the lens of what he's studying as a doctoral student at the University of Colorado, and asks: "What would school look like if adults tended to the full developmental needs of children?"

As educators, what are we to make of the ongoing tragedy in Steubenville, Ohio - a community in which one teenage girl was raped and publicly humiliated, two teenage boys are being shipped off to juvenile detention, and two other teenage girls are now under arrest after threatening to beat and kill the victim?

In schools where teachers are largely trusted to make the main decisions about teaching and learning, students and families are eager to attend. What is it about teacher autonomy that creates learning environments in which all people are valued?

Last week's renewed push to get prayer back in our public schools - first, when Sarah Palin announced a new book about the war on Christmas; and next, when Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill to allow student-led prayer at school-wide events - would be a newsworthy new chapter in America's ongoing culture wars, except for one thing: student prayer in school never actually left.

In theory, full inclusion is a great idea - and a great way to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. But is it feasible in practice? The latest video chapter of A Year at Mission Hill gives us a chance to reflect on the pros and cons of creating inclusive classrooms.

What would it take to ensure that every action taken by a staff of teachers mirrored the sorts of learning opportunities they wanted to provide their students? The Mission Hill School in Boston has an answer -- and it's not as complicated as you might think.

In maintaining our fixation on reading and math achievement, what do we fail to see? A recent announcement of the test results of one school -- a school in which the author knew all 56 of the tested students -- prompted some reflection.

What does the superintendent of a major urban school district think about the proper balance between district expectations and school autonomy?

Is Sugata Mitra's vision of building "school in the cloud" indicative of the future of learning, the death of public education, both, or neither?

What happens when a seven-year-old girl discovers what a hands-on learning environment really looks and feels like -- only to realize that none of the schools in her community look and feel the same way?


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