Andrew Wilk

Andrew Wilk

Andrew teaches both English and English as a Second Language (ESL) at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, and during the 2014-15 academic year he was nominated for the Teaching Excellence Award at the college in recognition of his work in the classroom. In addition to teaching at both the secondary and college level, he worked for many years in the private sector, holding professional and administrative positions in advertising, journalism and healthcare. Andrew has published over 100 commentaries on topics ranging from politics to education, and he has also published a novel, “A Day at the Fair with Chili Boy.” He writes on his blog, Common Sense. He is the dad of two grown children, who attended public schools in Urbana.

Try these 4 ideas to transform teaching profession and modernize our public schools

If you Google the terms “teacher shortage” and “teacher turnover,” your hits will light up rather forebodingly. Obviously local conditions affect individual districts in a variety of ways, so not all schools or regions are suffering to the same degree. However, there does seem to be a fairly broad-based national problem of recruitment and retention of K-12 teachers that is… Read more →

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 →

College remediation rates shine a light on deep problems with Illinois’ education system

Two years ago, I published a commentary in my local newspaper entitled “Data Must Drive Education Decisions” that read in part as follows: “I have a suggestion for those who believe standardized testing in our public schools is untenable, unreasonable, and unfair: look at the national and local data on the numbers of college freshmen who require remedial coursework when they… Read more →

How a ‘national contagion of low-level racism’ plays out in our classrooms

Low-level racism is a national contagion, no matter how politely expressed these attitudes and behaviors may be. However, even the mildly afflicted are capable of causing catastrophes when they are police, school teachers, and public officials. Although it is likely true that only a very small faction of Americans are virulent racists, when those in power act on bland impulses… Read more →

We need the sound of silence in our classrooms

I recently watched—for perhaps the hundredth time—the mother of all classic horror movies, the original 1931 Dracula starring the incomparable Bela Lugosi. The movie is always a pleasure, but something in particular about it struck me this time around. It was the silence. A generation of movie viewers raised on thumping movie scores, frequent explosions, and never-ending car chases would perhaps… Read more →

We can teach empathy through classroom critical thinking

The barely suppressed rage and dysfunction that seems to pulse like a distended vein right beneath the surfaces of our cities and communities seems more and more to express itself through the barrel of a gun or horrid verbal and physical attacks.  Given what is going on around us daily, I have no idea how I would seek to reassure… Read more →

We need to de-emphasize high school sports

America is a sports-mad nation.  Our love for professional and college athletics often begins right on the tee-ball field and races up through high school.  Anyone who has ever taught or worked in an American high school is familiar with the immutable rhythm of the fall semester—first football game, big game against rival school, Homecoming game, and fingernail-biting last game… Read more →

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