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July 20, 2017

The Many Ways We Are De-Professionalizing Teaching

The policy goal here is de-professionalizing teaching, establishing it once and for all as a short-term, entry-level technical job designed to attract a revolving door of "community-minded" candidates, who will work diligently for cheap, then get out because they can't support a family or buy a home on a teacher's salary.

May 04, 2017

Can We Trust Policymakers to Make Good Decisions for Schools?

Can we trust policymakers to make beneficial decisions for schools? Can we rely on their deep understanding of the issues, their moral compass, their desire to craft policy for the common good?

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."

August 16, 2016

The So-Called Right to Teach

There is no "right to teach," in a public institution, for compensation. None. Nobody has the right to decide--hey! I think I'd like to work with children, mold their little minds. I'm smart! I'd probably be great--with no preparation or experience whatsoever. The "right to teach" and "teacher shortage" blah-blah masks a darker truth. We're not willing to solve problems--health care, clean water, racism, rampant childhood poverty, neglected schools--with hard work and investment in our collective future.

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!

January 08, 2015

The Nonexistent Secret Sauce in Hiring Good Teachers

Jose Vilson's book reflects teacher hiring, teaching, and public education, perfectly: the most important truths emerge in the dialogue, but it's a messy and imperfect process. The qualities essential for good teaching are place-based, deeply personal and rest more on character than quantitative measures. You can't test scientifically for an outstanding educator like Jose Vilson. Thank goodness.

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