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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.

March 30, 2016

Whacking the Mole Again: More Thoughts on Teacher Leadership

I have seen any number of education organizations, with thoughtful and important goal statements on their websites, position teacher leadership as something they can somehow teach or imbue (kind of like grit, come to think of it). Yes, there is Stuff You Have to Know to become a teacher leader (teachers don't wade around in policy-making, traditionally). Yes, it helps to collaborate with others who have good ideas. But is there a formalized pathway to leadership? In a sense, it's an insult to excellent teachers everywhere, who have held their grade level cohort or department or buildings together through determination to maintain good programming or to mount campaigns against dumb policies. They are leaders, badge or no badge.

January 27, 2016

Do 'Upper Crust' Teachers Ignore Our Most Critical Problems in Public Education?

Affluence makes even mediocre teaching look good and poverty can make masterful teaching appear mediocre. It takes many clock hours within classroom walls to decipher the difference. Few education change-makers and upper crust teachers dedicate that kind of time to our neglected classrooms. The essential resource that is missing is our presence. Detroit's inhumane classroom conditions didn't occur overnight; they existed for at least a generation. Where were we?

November 03, 2015

Certification, Genuine Teacher Leadership, and Power Struggles

When authentic, experienced teacher leaders step out of their boxes to speak about education issues, they always run the risk of stepping on the toes--or in the limelight--of someone above them in the pecking order. Simply expressing a widely shared viewpoint feels like subordination to some school leaders. When teachers have a national platform and thousands of readers or fans--when their voice and leadership are elevated--they become a threat.

May 28, 2015

Six Questions About Teacher Evaluation

Recently, nearly every story about improving teacher evaluation begins with the Bad Old Days, where substandard teachers slipped through the cracks, due to thoroughly inadequate attention to and assessment of their work. If you believe these op-eds, teachers' core work was essentially carried out without scrutiny. Until--drumroll--new and rigorous evaluation protocols, always including lots of student testing data, turned everything around. Evaluations! The cure for both listless teaching and anemic test scores!

April 30, 2015

The Network for Public Education. Repeat: Public.

When I say "movement" to save public education, what I mean is this: People, like me, who have no particular resources or organizational funding/backing, who got on a plane to be in a room with those like-minded compadres--because they're terrified that America might lose public education. People who think it's not too late. People willing to stake their professional energy on doing right by all kids, keeping democratic equality as critical and central goal of the education system.

April 23, 2015

Why Aren't More School Leaders and Teachers Joining Forces to Get Rid of Destructive Policy?

If your district has a genuine professional collaboration model--different work, but same level of respect and influence for teachers and school leaders--that's admirable. So--are you working together to advocate for change? Or merely going through the motions of Schooling 2015? Why aren't teachers, parents and school leaders everywhere joining forces to put a stop to the worst of it--the selling off of public resources to for-profit CMOs, teacher evaluation by test data, and loss of local control over core work: curriculum, instruction, assessment?

January 29, 2015

Nine Reasons Teachers are Unwilling to Stand Up for Their Profession

If teachers are ever going to establish themselves as fully professional, they will need to develop an authentic, very public voice and vehicles to advocate for their professional interests and control over their own work. What did the teachers in one state believe were the core reasons for apparent teacher apathy, compliance and unwillingness to speak out against destructive policies and practices?

January 21, 2015

Women in Education Leadership: Why Is This Important? What Difference Does It Make?

There's a reason why we are now experiencing an all-out assault on one of America's best ideas--a free, high-quality, fully funded, fully public education for every child. It takes a compliant work force, people fearful of losing the low-paying jobs they love, who will put down their heads and do as they're told.

January 13, 2015

Six Questionable But Common Reactions to Gender Bias in Educational Leadership

The essential truth about men and women in leadership roles: It's "normal" for men to hold most high-profile leadership positions, normal for women to be grateful for special recognition, normal for folks to be indignant or confused about gender bias. Aren't we beyond all that? Gender bias is so endemic, so deeply and subtly woven into American society, that most of the time, it goes unrecognized.

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