Stop giving out easy As, Fordham, and start holding states accountable for ESSA

I found Illinois’ accountability plan woefully inadequate and full of holes–especially when it comes to protecting vulnerable groups of students–so imagine my surprise when my state was awarded a “perfect score” by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Fordham analyzed the plans submitted by all fifty states and the District of Columbia under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). and scored them… Read more →

A 7th grade ‘discipline problem’ becomes a winner when 3 black men become his teacher

Chris is a young man who struggles mightily with his academic work and has a reputation among teachers and students as a “discipline problem.” Needless to say, his suburban middle school is not his happy place. But Chris was relaxed and confident standing in front of his 7th grade English class, performing a spoken word piece he had written about… Read more →

Life as a first-gen college student: ‘The challenges never stopped coming’

I was reared and schooled in Detroit, where poverty and oppression eloquently danced while violence and crime serenaded the communities. The crime and oppression in my neighborhood drove me to submit a college application that would change my life’s trajectory. I wasn’t going to college to become an adult; I already faced mature challenges and struggles long before I filled… Read more →

Four Things Parents Should Expect From Their Kids’ School

Our most recent publication, Walking Together, explores what’s possible when schools, families, and communities become true partners. Here we’re featuring A Parent’s Bill of Rights, outlining what parents are entitled to expect from schools and districts, as well as a downloadable list of questions to ask of your child’s educators.  As parents, we want what’s best for our children, both inside and outside of school. We… Read more →

Student-led conferences: Is this a fad that will fade, or the next great ed trend?

I have a friend who was looking forward to her first and only parent-teacher conference of the school year. She had some concerns about her son’s academic focus and wanted to talk honestly with her son’s teacher about strategies. But it was not to be. Instead it was a parent PLUS student teacher conference. And while she appreciated watching her… Read more →

How this mom learned how to embrace the next big thing: Personalized learning

A couple of days ago I had conversation with three students that went something like this: Me: How do you like your new class? Student 1: I don’t think the teacher likes me. Student 2: Yeah, he’s figured out how to skip the teaching part. All he does is direct us to a website where we work individually until class… Read more →

A tribute to my HS principal, who saw my potential before I could see it in myself

There is a truism about choosing one of two roads in life, but I don’t think this is true. I believe there are many roads we can take, and there are often people on the path who point us in one direction or another. My path to education was one that was not planned, but the experience has been life… Read more →

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