Monthly Archives: April 2016

How do we get past the fatigue, frustration, and fear of our national ed reforms?

We need a new paradigm if we are to transform our public schools. The 19th century factory model of education has certainly run its course, and continuing to scaffold new programs and promises onto a “seat time centered” public school structure is a losing proposition because it fundamentally fails to meet student educational needs. The key to real improvement is,… Read more →

Opt Outs driven by more than just union propaganda—blame suburban status quo too

In a recent piece in The 74 Bill Bennett suggests that the opt-out movement in New York is driven solely by  teacher union leaders and allies who have spent millions of dollars on robocalls, emails, forums, and other tactics. Their motivation to increase test refusals this year is engineered to undermine “tough, high-quality standardized exams” that “will hold their members accountable… Read more →

Suburban NJ schools underperform, report says

Commentary, Courier News, 4/15/16

Are the public schools serving New Jersey’s middle-class students performing well? Lots of parents think so. They believe that student performance problems are limited to low-income areas in the inner city — in places like Newark or Camden. But many suburban public schools serving middle-class New Jersey students are not performing as well as parents think, according to a new study from the Pacific Research Institute.

Despite these troubling proficiency rates on a respected national exam, many middle-class New Jersey parents believe that their local public schools are doing fine. Part of the reason is that New Jersey’s own state exams have, until recently, been easy to pass. The PRI study found that there were very few predominantly middle-class public schools where half or more of the students in at least one grade level failed to achieve math or English proficiency on the less-than-rigorous 2014 state exams.

Make this the new mantra for Rhode Island edu leaders: Be Like Mass

Be Like Mike. Those three words were part of a very catchy, even iconic, Gatorade commercial back in the early 1990s featuring Michael Jordan shining on the basketball court, and smiling big while surrounded by crowds of kids and fans who wanted to be just like him. Well, with a slight tweak of one word, Rhode Island may have found… Read more →

Is this assignment busywork or critical thinking? A peek behind the Common Core curtain

As a parent, it’s sometimes hard to know whether the assignments teachers are giving your kids are thought-provoking and engaging, or busy work that does little to advance their learning. A report released today by The Education Trust helps crack open the black box of school assignments by giving policy educators and parents a look at what “college-and-career ready” standards… Read more →

A mom paves a path to math understanding through Common Core

I never enjoyed math class. In fact, it was the least enjoyable part of my school day, elementary school through college. And when I was forced to think about math, memorization didn’t get me far because I am a big-picture thinker. I need to understand the overarching concepts in order to make sense of the details. I passed basic math… Read more →

When a misunderstood photo launches debate about what it means to be a ‘student of color’

An interesting thing happened the other day after my recent blog post on boys of color and the gender gap was shared on an African-American news site. The post sparked a debate – not around the article itself – but about the photo that accompanied it. The photo featured an Indian woman, standing in what looks to be a lecture… Read more →

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