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Vigilance Required as Civil Rights Protections Rescinded

Photo by Ryan Johnson, City of North Charleston, https://flic.kr/p/eDPrkW, CC BY-SA 2.0

  Just as most schools were closing for the holiday season, the Department of Education published a 180-page final report from the Federal Commission on School Safety. As expected, the report identifies best practices and makes recommendations on school safety issues, such as building security, active shooter response, student mental health, and professional training. With … Read more »

Has the Use-by Date for Brown v. Board of Education Expired?

Photo by Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report Magazine, Restored by Adam Cuerden [Public domain], https://goo.gl/ozzKrn

I was fourteen years old in the spring of 1954 when the Supreme Court held 9-0 that the racial segregation of students in public schools violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth amendment. But it was in September of 1957 as soldiers from the 101st Airborne escorted nine African American students through a jeering … Read more »

The Crisis in Civility

Photo by Jay L. Baker, Office of the Maryland Governor; https://flic.kr/p/jHQUNd; CC by 2.0

  The country faces a severe civility deficit. A survey administered annually since 2010 finds that Americans believe civility to be at crisis levels and that the nation has lost stature because of it. Survey respondents say that the responsibility for the civility crisis lies largely with politicians (75%), the internet/social media (69%), and the … 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 »

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 »

No Tenure for Teachers: The New Education Reform?

  Eliminating tenure for teachers is the new education reform. Last spring, Vergara v. California found that the state’s tenure statutes protected teacher incompetence, disproportionately impacting students in less affluent school districts and denying them access to an equal education. Subsequently, other states are looking at what they can do to neuter tenure laws through … Read more »

Can Educators Make Choices that Bridge the Opportunity Gap?

Photo by Paul VanDerWerf, https://flic.kr/p/otRPDt

There is less equality of opportunity in the United States than in most other advanced industrial countries. It is so, observes the economist Joseph Stiglitz, even though Americans hold an almost “universal consensus that inequality of opportunity is indefensible.” Stiglitz further contends that inequality of opportunity in the quantity and quality of education is the … Read more »