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Is the ‘master teacher’ credential headed for extinction?

Teaching is a profession that gets a lot of lip-service respect, but is generally dismissed as a career for academic lightweights–mediocre students who get easy As in lackluster education colleges and then struggle to pass basic skills tests. That’s why a credential that rewards excellence and intellectual rigor is an important recognition for accomplished teachers who deserve to be respected… Read more →

School prepares kids to shut up, comply

School doesn’t prepare students for life, writes Rich Stowell on Medium. It prepares them to comply. His creative, bright extroverted son is considered a mediocre student “because 1) he gets bored quickly in class; 2) he speaks his mind when he should politely lie; and 3) he needs more attention than his more introverted classmates,” writes Stowell. His introverted son, too… Read more →

Add new college grads to the list of groups getting screwed by the GOP tax plan

We’ve been telling students for years that a college education is the best path to the American Dream, but that path may soon get even rockier if Republicans controlling the U.S. House, Senate and Oval Office secure passage of a devastating tax bill that will not only saddle them with extraordinary national debt for the coming generation but also make… Read more →

Is Illinois setting a high bar for high school proficiency?

To be considered “proficient,” Illinois juniors will have to “earn a higher score on the SAT than the one that’s correlated with college readiness,” writes Catherine Gewertz in Ed Week. The state board of education’s policy doesn’t affect students’ grades or graduation, she explains. But their high schools will lose points in the new accountability system if 11th graders score below 540 in English or… Read more →

How do we find middle ground on the school discipline debate? Ask the students

“Are you fighting, or are you playing?” “Are you fighting, or are you playing?” “Are you fighting, or are you playing?” I had to ask the 7th grader this question three times before he stopped pushing his classmate, looked at me, and answered me with a smirk: “I’m playing.” Whatever was happening, or about to happen, was over, and the… Read more →

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 →

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