Archive for the ‘Teachers’ Category

Real Change or the Next Illusion: Coding, Robotics and Makerspaces

It’s here and coming to a school near you. Coding, Robotics and Makerspaces (CRAM) comprise the latest trend in educational reform. Is CRAM the marketing hype of an information technology industry? Is it the next new thing for grantmakers, the hope—and perhaps fear—of K-12 educators, or the reasonable expert estimate of a sea change in … Read more »

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 »

Arming Students Against Bad Information

Photo by thekirbster (https://flic.kr/p/UFZbwJ) [CC-BY-2.0]

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 »

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 »

What to Do Next With Teacher Evaluations

Teacher evaluation is a contentious issue. It tends to be more so when evaluation systems must show evidence of a teacher’s contribution to student learning, as federal initiatives have recently required. The stakes are high, since how a teacher is rated affects his or her continued employment, advancement, and even compensation. In the wake of … Read more »

“Why can’t the Feds just leave us alone and let us do our jobs?!”

All indications are that when ESEA is finally reauthorized states and local district leaders will get what they say they want: significantly more flexibility. But to these happy folks I say, be careful what you wish for! As a former state education official I longed for flexibility with federal mandates. But I would be less … Read more »

So Old and So New: Argumentation in the Common Core

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

Lost in the political fog surrounding the Common Core State Standards is just how much there is to admire in these new standards for K-12 students. They markedly advance the quality of learning standards, going beyond an emphasis on discrete skills by calling for the teaching of significant and fundamental concepts, together with essential skills, … Read more »