No matter the depth of our understanding of how poverty affects our students, this season invites us to commit to learning more about poverty and how to reach and teach our children who live in poverty.

What will happen when the groundswell of opposition to the overuse of standardized testing affects change? We must be prepared to lead the revival of the democratic principles from the bottom up in state and local debates about education.

The use of social media as a communication tool for educators is inevitable. The paramount value of using social media is the creation and maintenance of relationships. It is a communication accelerant that moves information between people faster than we have ever experienced and, in fewer words than we are used to using.

The potential the evaluation process holds has been diminished by the rush to implement. It takes time to reflect on practice and have discussions about changing behaviors. Are we allowing for the creation and protection of environments that encourage people to develop their creativity, adaptability, and passion?

Teachers have worked harder within the same system that has been in place for many decades. There comes a point where harder won't help. Too many factors exist now for a 'work harder' mentality to be successful.

Courage requires great heart and it calls us to withhold power from the hands of fear. There is so much fear around us now we must be more courageous. Whether leading a nation or a school, we are called to dare greatly, some days more than others.

If the ideals in which we are in service are to create successful learners, ready for college, career and life...we can not dismiss the work done each day in schools by teachers and leaders that contribute to an environment in which all students can flourish.

We need a bolder reform agenda, one that opens minds and creativity, radically changes how schools are funded, reinvents classroom and school house, changes our calendars and keep our youth engaged in learning year round, envisions less brick and mortar, more community connection and, that brings little ones to school at 4 and allows them move on, when they are ready.

While calling for transparency of student, teacher and principal data, policy makers and state leaders ignore calls from the field to have open and honest conversation.

If we elevate the value of reading, model and communicate, teach skills and solutions to reading challenges and set a goal of 'all students will read well,' perhaps the love of reading, for some, will be part of the result.


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