At a recent book club meeting, we were wrapping up a spirited discussion of James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time” when our talk veered to the racially charged education politics of New Orleans, where one of my neighbors was raised and educated. She mentioned the rapid expansion of charter schools, which she described as “private schools that drain money from… Read more →
Monthly Archives: July 2016
Stop failing the kids helping you most with their rosy test scores
It’s no secret that principals are pretty stoked when students who transfer into their schools have a history of high scores on required annual tests. School leaders feel great pressure to perform in the public eye and having a few more kids to bump those numbers up is certainly a welcome surprise. It’s usually light hearted and all in good… Read more →
Rhode Island runs from the truth and eliminates high school testing
When ESSA, The Every Student Succeeds Act, passed and the president signed it, we knew it would happen: States would take the flexibility now afforded to them under federal statute to backslide on accountability. But—maybe naively—I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly, before the rule-making around ESSA’s accountability provisions have even been finalized. We’re seeing it across the country,… 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 →
With the meat missing from NY’s accountability plan, this leaves just pure Fluffernutter
The New York Post Editorial Board is irate at the newly released draft of accountability rules for New York State public schools. Now that the feds have reauthorized No Child Left Behind as the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are left to their own devices in creating their own definition of school quality and accountability. New York’s plan,… Read more →
Uneven school standards and quality is not a sacrifice military families should have to make
A military spouse whose family has moved 16 times and whose children attended 11 different schools makes a compelling case on an issue that continues to be politicized —the embrace of Common Core State Standards. Patty Hunzeker, an educator now living in Virginia and a member of Military Families for High Standards, has seen first hand the learning loss experienced by students who… Read more →
Parents want high standards, so let’s highlight classrooms that make it work
A report by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) provides examples of how the new college- and career-ready standards are being implemented across the country. It is a resource for chiefs and deputies who want to know how their peers at the state and local levels have implemented college- and career-ready standards. This report shines a light on strategies states have utilized when implementing standards and shares with others strategies to adapt or borrow to meet the needs in their own states. The strategies were collected from interviews with educators from over 29 states. The study offers resources highlighting the importance of early engagement with stakeholders, continuous professional development, and high-quality resources.
“The intent is to foster dialogue and spur collaboration. This report is also an opportunity to showcase the outstanding work that goes on in our nation’s classrooms.”
It also provides a glimpse into how state policy impacts educators and students in the classroom, and how district leaders are working to prepare students to succeed after they graduate from high school. Polling shows parents and educators strongly support college- and career-ready education standards, but many educators lack professional support to effectively teach to Common Core State Standards.
How I resolved NOT to make my high school classes a waste of students’ time
We, as educators, hold this truth to be self-evident: The subject that each of us teaches is the single most important one to the futures of our students. However, when I was a measly little kid plowing my way through K-12, it always struck me that no one ever bothered to explain why I was spending countless hours learning what… Read more →
States that stuck with shared tests are ahead of the game
Those who were quick to dismiss the Common Core assessments as fatally flawed are having to eat their words.The evidence is in, and it looks like those states that stayed the course with Smarter Balanced and PARCC are in a far more stable position than those states that bowed to political pressure and retreated. As this U.S. News and World Report commentary… Read more →
How do we stop cheating students and start fixing our public school ‘diploma mills’?
Just as any other teacher, I send my students out the door at the end of the school year with my hope that they are able to take what they have learned and make good lives for themselves—but I know I don’t succeed with every student. Students may struggle in school—and later life—for a variety of reasons that are unrelated… Read more →