CTAC Insights

Professional Development: On the Chopping Block

Photo by U.S. Department of Education, https://flic.kr/p/r5uQ5y

I love the definition of insanity often attributed to Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I think of that often when I am trying to put together one of my grandson’s new toys without success. So does this definition of insanity resonate with educators? In education, we often struggle with … Read more »

Teaching Citizenship in a Divided America

Photo by DoDEA, https://flic.kr/p/Y6FqFZ, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The past several decades have marked an era of “college and career” in America’s schools. The two C’s echo in school hallways, driven by a political priority on economic competitiveness. But since the tectonic presidential election, as we’ve seen the ascendancy of attacks on our institutions and been stunned by the march of hate groups … Read more »

Is “For-Profit Education” an Oxymoron?

We applaud entrepreneurs that have an idea, take a risk and strike it big. It’s the American way. So some may ask, why does government and the larger educational community look skeptically at a for-profit entity that is operating a school or college? Why can’t for-profits operate effectively in public sector arenas such as education? … Read more »

Arming Students Against Bad Information

All consumers of information need to be able to distinguish fact from opinion and recognize any bias, including one’s own, that may influence the quality or depth of understanding what we are reading or hearing. For this reason, these skills are staples of the language arts and social studies curricula. Yet, with new forms of … Read more »

The Case for New Metrics

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) introduces a major policy shift. Responsibility is going back to the states for setting academic standards and holding schools accountable for ensuring that students are learning. With each state now determining its own metrics for gauging student success, the question arises: how can states ensure that a student graduating … Read more »

Is it worth investing in education?

A 2017 Institute of Education Sciences report labeled some of the school improvement models mandated under ESEA as ineffective. So, does this mean we need to stop trying to grow our knowledge on how to improve chronically underperforming schools? Do we need to stop investing in education and let market forces dictate how our educational … Read more »

How K–12 Public School Funding Works — And How New Changes May Help Close the Achievement Gap

Photo by Jacob Edward (https://flic.kr/p/oqcTnf) CC-BY-2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

Most Americans — including political and business leaders, and even people who work in schools — have a very limited understanding of how schools are funded. In fact, in the majority of state capitals, there are only a handful of individuals who truly understand the funding formulas. This is not because people are apathetic, but … Read more »

Argumentation Redux

Photo by Intel Free Press (https://flic.kr/p/cqxmys) CC-BY-2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Argumentative discourse is the hallmark of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The reading and writing of arguments greatly benefits students by asking them to think deeply, use evidence credibly, and write with discipline. The emphasis on argument bespeaks the character of the new standards, which represent the best opportunity in recent … Read more »