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June 22, 2011

A One-Sided Dialogue: Teacher Frustration Leads to Protest

We are just over a month from the Save Our Schools March on Washington, DC, and I have been asked how we got to this place, where we are motivated to protest. So here, with links to relevant posts from this blog, is the story, from my perspective as one frustrated teacher. In September of 2008, I ...

June 13, 2011

President Obama, We Were There When You Needed Us

It has been a year and a half since I wrote an open letter to President Obama, and started a project called Teachers' Letters to Obama. Back in December of 2009, I sent a package of 107 letters to the President and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (downloadable here). Sadly, there has been no c...

May 24, 2011

The Antidote to Astroturf: A Real Grassroots Movement

A New York Times article published on Saturday has uncovered some of the strategies billionaire Bill Gates is using to influence the future of education in America. Reporter Sam Dillon has dug beneath groups that appear to represent ordinary teachers or parents, and found that often, these groups ar...

May 18, 2011

California Governor Puts the Testing Juggernaut On Ice

California Governor Jerry Brown has taken a big step towards reducing the testing mania in the nation's most populous state. Up until his administration we have been on an accelerated path towards the comprehensive data-driven system that test publishers and corporate reformers have convinced leade...

May 17, 2011

Standardized Testing Mythbusters!

An excellent new book, "The Myths of Standardized Tests," has hit the shelves, and its authors, Phillip Harris, Bruce M. Smith and Joan Harris, are taking a systematic look at the belief system driving current education reform. They explain their outlook in the introduction: We are referring to ...

May 09, 2011

The "Counter-Manifesto" Against a National Curriculum

Today a "counter-manifesto" was released, opposing the move towards a common national curriculum. Entitled "A Critical Response to the Shanker Institute Manifesto and the U.S. Department of Education's Initiative to Develop a National Curriculum and National Assessments Based on National Standards,"...

May 02, 2011

An Open Letter from an American Teacher to Secretary Duncan

Today, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized Teacher Appreciation Week with another of his confusing tributes - a mixture of fulsome praise, acknowledgment of the errors of NCLB, and a reiteration of the fierce urgency he feels for pushing forward his agenda. This has become a familiar messa...

April 08, 2011

High Tech Testing on the Way: a 21st Century Boondoggle?

In my recent exchange with the Department of Education regarding President Obama's remarks critical of our obsession with testing, it became clear that there is a vast expansion of testing on the horizon. Few reports have emerged that describe this, and I fear the public may be unaware of the resour...

April 07, 2011

President Obama: We Want for Our Children What You Want for Yours

Last week I kicked the hornet's nest by pointing out that President Obama's remarks at a town hall meeting do not align with the policies being carried out by his Department of Education. This was picked up by a number of fellow bloggers, including Valerie Strauss, Deborah Meier, Doug Noon and Ira S...

April 05, 2011

The Department of Education Cannot Unring the Bell Obama Struck

Last Monday, President Obama went off script at a town hall meeting, and in response to a question from student Luis Zelaya, offered us a vision for education. In 338 words, he made it clear that current Department of Education policy is way out of line with what he knows is best for his own daughte...

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