Monthly Archives: October 2016

How I helped my kids turn down the ugly rhetoric during this nasty election season

“No! Not the Donald Trump show again!” That’s what my 5-year-old screeched when my husband clicked on the television recently. Political engagement become obsession in our house months ago. Our kid was clearly telling us so. Furthermore, it is no secret who mommy is voting for, since I’ve owned a framed poster of Hillary Clinton since well before the candidate… Read more →

Here we go again: The privileged suburbs deciding what’s best for Black and Brown children

There’s something depressingly familiar about the privileged pushback we’re seeing in Massachusetts around the ballot measure to lift the cap on charter schools. An active group of affluent white parents in well-resourced suburban districts are organizing to deny low-income black and brown families access to better schools, all under the progressive guise of “saving our public schools.” If this sounds… Read more →

Mandating perfection: Why penalizing mistakes is a terrible way to help high schoolers learn

Errare humanum est. Seneca, a Roman Philosopher, spoke these words (“to err is human”) because he too knew the importance of mistakes. Even 2,000 years ago, people forgave humans for the inevitable mistakes they made. We all know humans live and breathe mistakes. Some students will forget to study for their math exam; while others, in the midst of repaying… Read more →

We need school accountability that doesn’t leave our babies behind

Ask any public school parent—including me—about what happens when your child is in the earliest elementary grades, and you may get an earful about what is missing from their classroom experiences. Our current school accountability policies encourage school leaders to invest in grades that are tested, leaving the leftovers for the early, untested grades. In some schools, it’s an open… Read more →

Our schools need social justice warriors, not status-quo embracers

As we dive head first into this school year, I urge teachers, parents and leaders to think deeply about the mission of schooling and the mission of teaching. In today’s racial and political climate, we can no longer afford to be conforming, passive, unimaginative and silent. We need innovative social justice warriors. If teachers and leaders don’t decide to engage… Read more →

Why it’s tough to recruit American Indian teachers for the schools where they’re needed the most

Throughout my 11 years of teaching, and three semesters of teaching future and current teachers at the college level, I can count on one hand the number of American Indian teachers either already in the field or training to be a teacher. As a Chippewa-Cree woman teaching on a reservation in Montana, I find this disparity frustrating and disheartening. Growing… Read more →

Five reasons why we need to embrace new teacher preparation reforms

If we value great schools, we need strong teachers. But far too many teacher preparation programs are not producing them. The bar for entry is way too low. The courses are disconnected from the reality of classrooms. The on-the-job clinical training is too short. Rookies are not ready to teach when they land in the most challenging schools, and they… Read more →

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