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Think playground bullying is a problem? Check out the vitriol on “Parents of…” Facebook pages

Here on the East Coast, we just had three back-to-back school cancellations because of snow. “Oh, happy day!” said no superintendent, ever. Grief has five emotional stages, but parents during snowstorms shuffle through countless stages. The drama that ensues waiting for the answer to “will they or won’t they cancel school?” is something to behold. And no matter what decision… Read more →

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States and districts now get to decide if low-income students get a break on AP and IB exams: Will they make the right call?

In my home state of Illinois, more than 112,000 high school students took at least one Advanced Placement course last school year, and more than a fourth of those students are from low-income families. An even greater proportion of low-income students were able to to access International Baccalaureate last year–of the 4,500 students taking IB classes, more than two-thirds are low-income.… Read more →

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All that money poured into failing schools and nothing to show for it

The School Improvement Grants program poured $7 billion down the drain between 2010 and 2015, as a recent Washington Post article pointed out. One of the Obama Administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis. Test scores, graduation rates and college… Read more →

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Redirect your misplaced fury over DeVos to the truly dangerous cabinet picks

So Betsy DeVos is our new Education Secretary, a job she secured by the skin of her teeth thanks to a historic tie-breaking vote by Vice President Pence. Her shaky approval weakened her in a department already weakened by a major change in K-12 education law that relegated nearly every meaningful accountability decision to states and local districts. Yet it  was… Read more →

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Our kids can’t write–and they can’t get jobs because of it

Nearly 500 people — all college graduates — applied for a communications job at Marc Tucker’s organization. Candidates were asked to write a one-page summary of a report published last year. “Only one could produce a satisfactory summary,” writes Tucker. The kids can’t write, he concludes. . . . we do not build our curriculum around the assumption that we… Read more →

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The ‘black hole’ of middle school: Why my daughter needs me now, more than ever

A few years ago, on a return flight from some random conference, I was settling in to read my Time magazine with Sheryl Sandberg, when the passenger next to me begged to read it when I was through.  This beautiful Indian woman and I spoke for three hours, breaking all my inflight rules. I learned her and her husband were… Read more →

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To all those ‘My-kid-is-more-than-a-test-score’ parents, time to step up and improve schools

There’s no place like home, right? When Dorothy clicked her heels three times, she was immediately transported to familiar ground—her home in Kansas. For many of us, the same sentiment applies to how we make decisions about our schools. Decision-making at the state and local level—home—is important, and many parents and educators have advocated tirelessly for this. With the passage… Read more →

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