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Flip the (Teacher Tenure) Question

Frank Bruni’s recent piece, “The Trouble with Tenure,” is yet another example of an uninformed and un-nuanced op-ed on education reform in the New York Times. This one even has the audacity of claiming to add a positive note to the ongoing discourse. Unfortunately, it only further muddles the debate rather than shed enlightenment. After […]

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The Highly Qualified Teacher Limbo: How Low Can It Go?

What do you think about when you read or hear people talking about the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirement that every child should have a highly qualified teacher (HQT)? Perhaps you envision one of your favorite teachers from school: someone who was warm and caring, knew their content area, provided engaging instruction of that […]

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The GREAT Teachers & Principals Act will (not) fix our teachers

Kenneth Zeichner recently wrote an article for The Answer Sheet at the Washington Post detailing why the GRowing Excellent Achievement Training Academies (GREAT) Teachers and Principals Act, which is currently under discussion in Congress, is not so great.  He notes that, if passed, this “would establish state-based competitive grant programs to create charter teacher and […]

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A Nation at Risk? One class’ perspective.

Coauthors: Cue, Katrina; Dunn, Kim Misener; Foxsmith, Eve Laney; Gash, Ashley; Nowak, Stacy; Santini, Joseph; Wright, Jordan We are seven graduate students and one professor at Gallaudet University learning together in a course called Education Policy and Politics. This class incorporates technology and social media using avenues such as Google Drive, Twitter (follow #EDU860), and […]

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@NYTimes’s Journalistic “Issue” vs. Journalistic “Integrity”

The NYTimes recently published a piece on teacher evaluation. I submitted the following comment (which they did not post) to the online forum: I searched through NYTimes’ archive of medical / law / finance / congressional / military reform articles looking for pieces that fail to quote a doctor / lawyer / banker / policy-maker / […]

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Matt Damon’s Save Our Schools Speech

Below is the speech Matt Damon gave at the Save Our Schools March on July 30, 2012 in Washington, DC. I had incredible teachers. And as I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my […]

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At the Intersection of Youth and the Future

Painting a picture that was both harrowing and hopeful, Van Jones titillated the gathering of educators on the final morning of ASCD’s 2013 Annual Conference with both the peril and promise of tomorrow. In short, despite the copious challenges we find ourselves in today, we can look to the generation currently in our schools to […]

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A REAL Paradigm Shift in Education

I envy Thomas Paine’s way with language. I’ve been searching for years for words that would have the impact of those he penned in his 1776 pamphlet, “The Crisis.” Admittedly, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” and the words that followed, weren’t a howling success. Only about a third of the colonists agreed with Paine’s call for […]

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Social Emotional Learning Core Competencies

Seeing the forest despite the trees. Our nation’s educational focus continues to zero in on “achievement” as defined by test scores in specific academic areas and the resulting gaps therein. This hyper focus exacerbates our nearly systematic blind eye related to learning for living and cultivating life long learners. As a result, policies that increase […]

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Reframing Education: A Call to Action

I recently attended the Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA) conference organized by ASCD, a professional organization for educators and administrators.  The keynote speaker at this conference was Diane Ravitch, a one-time staunch supporter of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  She has since recognized the damage being wrought in the name of achievement […]

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The Effective Teacher

There are several dimensions taken together in varying levels of degree that embody the effective teacher. Since teachers range from preschool through post secondary levels, and are unique people, no two teachers will have the same combination nor will all of them be present in every excellent teacher. There are also qualities that effective teachers […]

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Classrooms as Cages vs. Classrooms as Everywhere

Over reported research leads to “brain-based” products, perhaps at the cost of student learning. Under reported related research might provide an answer.

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What do the Budget Cuts Across America Mean for Your Kids?

With well over 60% of Americans supporting spending cuts at a federal level and budget cuts becoming one of the key issues in the Presidential election, it stands to reason that fiscal responsibility will be a top priority, regardless of who is elected in November.  If Obama wins, there will be massive pressure from the […]

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Language Rights of Deaf Children: Working within a Budget

It is hard to imagine that a person’s rights are only granted when there is money to pay for them.  Seriously, how would it go if people were given the freedom of religion only if there happened to be enough money to build the churches and pay for the preachers?  When times are tough, there […]

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Quick Rant: Early Childhood, Poverty, and PBS

Let’s just be clear for a second: Millions of children living below the poverty line have NO access to quality early childcare to nurture their minds. They enter school already well behind their more affluent peers. That deficit is minimized (not solved, just lessened) by the quality programming on PBS, the flagship of which is […]

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What we talk about when we talk about gaps

We debate testing, tenure, and “great teachers” ad nauseum. We one up each other over who is putting students more first than anyone else. We parse choice, accountability, and common core until we can barely stand one another. We do this, not because we are gluttons for punishment, but because we know learning matters, and […]

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Childhood Poverty: Shame of the Nation

I just attended a brief webinar with the Carsey Institute on their recent brief that identifies patterns in childhood poverty using data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. The brief is sobering to say the least. In short, despite the recession being “over,” poverty rates among children continue to rise, most dramatically in urban areas, among the unemployed […]

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A Message to My Teacher Friends at the Start of a New School Year

The start of a new school year is normally an exciting time. Teachers are busy decorating their classrooms, preparing their lessons, reconnecting with colleagues, imagining what they are going to say that first day when they meet their students. But this year, teachers will have many other things on their minds. We live in a […]

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What is Education For?

This essay was originally delivered as a commencement address to the graduating class of 1990 at Arkansas College and can now be found in David Orr’s book, Hope is Imperative (Island Press, 2010).  If today is a typical day on planet Earth, we will lose 116 square miles of rainforest, or about an acre a second. […]

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