CTAC Insights

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 »

An Educational “Bucket List” for Parents

For many parents the political tug of war over “transformational changes” to fix our schools is bewildering. Suppose you have a child starting school. Concerned that she gets the best education possible, you do your research on schools. You may even go so far as to move to a new neighborhood to enroll your daughter … Read more »

Long Overdue: A New Discourse on School Reform

Photo by Martin Fernandez (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dodeacommunications/9457988689/) CC-BY-2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

Remember the last time you were part of a conversation about school reform that was balanced, respectful of different perspectives and focused on finding common ground? Didn’t think so. Such exchanges are becoming an endangered species–largely due to the interwoven influences of ideology, money and power. And the result is that we’ve handicapped our ability … 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 the … Read more »

Helping Principals Beat the Clock

Let’s talk about time. Under new state and federal policies, most high-need schools we work with at the Community Training and Assistance Center are implementing more rigorous approaches to teacher support and evaluation. School districts are equipping principals with specialized training to conduct classroom observations based on evidence, not gut feelings, using standards-based rubrics, not … 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 »

The Elephant in the School Failure Debate

With income inequality now headlining the stump speeches of presidential hopefuls, it’s time for those concerned with education reform to connect the dots. By that I don’t mean we need to recognize that education is key to kids’ future economic opportunity. That’s widely acknowledged, with much hand wringing over the seemingly intractable problem of too … Read more »

An Open Letter to the New Congressional Leadership, Part 2

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner, In December I wrote to you about the opportunities and challenges you now face in crafting an educational agenda to meet the needs of all our citizens. I posed the following points for your consideration: Emphasize consistency of educational opportunity; Focus on evidence-based reform; Promote the teaching profession; … Read more »