As an English teacher, what I appreciated most about the book "The Fault in Our Stars" was that it pushed the kids to contemplate "deep questions" in an enjoyable manner, without relying on the promise of a plot "payoff" in the form of sex, violence, or mythical beasts.


Discipline ends up being a sort of "zero to 60" system, wherein students' negative in-school behaviors are either not addressed at all, or dealt with in such a draconian manner as to have life-long repercussions. This needs to change.


Removing policies that place poor kids at a disadvantage when applying to elite colleges, and instituting ones that will afford them better chances to graduate, will certainly yield long-term dividends in the fight against systemic social inequality.


In inner-city schools such as ours, Advanced Placement courses and exams bring many challenges--but that makes our students' successes that much sweeter.


I had not thought to ask what my students believed a teacher's role actually was, or whether they questioned the validity of the negative attitudes they heard articulated about the teaching profession. It turns out they're pretty thoughtful on the subject.


Parents who convey the importance of learning and education to their kids, both by espousing high expectations for college attendance, and by promoting an atmosphere of literacy and studying at home, will likely foster the best outcomes--ideally, these parents toe a happy median line between "helicopter" and "uninvolved."


Data obtained through diagnostic exercises can be used to inform decisions about content or level of material; they are less good for categorical judgments about instructional techniques, assessment of students' mastery of material, or evaluations of teachers.


Dear Seniors, I want to take this opportunity to tell you that senioritis is NOT a real disease, nor is it in the DSM-IV (or whichever DSM we're on, now), and thus you should stop trying to use it as an excuse for not turning in your papers. Seriously? Get back to work! What I really want to talk about is...colleges. Today is April 1st, and that means that--in what may seem like one giant, cruel April Fools' Day prank--you're receiving notification either now, within the past few days, or within the next few days, from all those schools ...


By what cosmic law does the SAT have to remain the gatekeeper of college admissions? Wouldn't the simplest thing to do, rather than go to all these efforts to mitigate the SAT's irrelevance to coursework and pernicious impact on poor college applicants, be to eliminate the SAT altogether?


As you might imagine, I have some antipathy towards the MOSL, though perhaps not for the reasons one might immediately think. Herein, I talk about the problems with the MOSL (and with similar types of assessments), what information we can and cannot gain from their administration, and how assessments could be used effectively in a different context.


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