What Everyone Should Know About Teacher Tenure

Before you read this blog post, please stop and reflect on your reaction to the topic of teacher tenure. I bet you have an opinion. In fact, I’m guessing you not only have a strong belief about the topic, but that it’s fueled with at least a little emotion. When it comes to teacher tenure, very few people are undecided on their stance. People either believe it should remain a pillar of education, or be abolished. No doubt, the recent Vergara ruling in California has fueled the ongoing teacher Click here to read more!

What You Should Know About the Chicago Teacher Strike

Everyone has an opinion about the state of education. It’s hard to watch television, read a newspaper, or have a casual conversation at a party without some reference to our “failing” educational system. There is much at stake when it comes to educating our nation’s children. Education is a complicated, personal, and public issue that begs to be understood. It’s never been more imperative for the public to become informed on educational reform. Teaching is unlike other professions Click here to read more!

The Plight of Making a Difference

In a world of accountability, criticism, and media scrutiny, teachers seesaw between perseverance and quitting. Every day, dedicated teachers decide to leave teaching for less scrutinized careers. And there are more tragic stories. Rigoberto Ruelas was passionate about reaching and teaching the toughest children in an impoverished, gang-ridden area in South Los Angeles.  Many students spoke of his influence and inspiration in their lives. Then, in 2010 the world of this once zealous, committed Click here to read more!

Why We Must All Listen to Teachers

The teaching profession is under attack.  It’s not a subtle, under-the-radar kind of attack. The media-driven political stories about public education tell us that public education is failing.  The public, while often sympathetic, sits on the sidelines and shake their heads, or don’t care because they think it doesn’t affect them. The story is that our schools are failing, so there must be someone to blame for its demise. Unfortunately, teachers shoulder most of the blame. But what’s Click here to read more!

In Honor of Teachers

One hundred years from now It will not matter what kind of car I drove, What kind of house I lived in, how much money was in my bank account nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child. ~Forest Witcraft At the heart of every great teacher is the belief that they make a difference in children’s lives.   This admirable goal, however, is becoming more difficult for teachers to achieve.  Sadly—due to Click here to read more!

A Sad Consequence of High-stakes Testing

About a year ago I visited an elementary school and was deeply saddened by the realities of struggling schools in the era of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).   During my short two-hour visit there, the following occurred.   A ten-year old asked me three times for food from the plate I was carrying while I walked through the playground. A pushing match and war of words between eleven year olds almost exploded into an all out fist fight (and would have if the principal hadn’t Click here to read more!

How Standardized Testing Hurts Kids: Part 5

Johnny was an active eight-year-old boy who loved drawing, Pokémon, and soccer.  He also struggled with a learning disability and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Sadly, Johnny suffered through ten hours of testing as a third grader in my class in the early 2000s.  He tried desperately to stay focused hour after hour.  His learning disability was similar to dyslexia, which made following and bubbling in answers on his multiple-choice answer sheet torturous. In addition, as part of Click here to read more!

How Standardized Testing Hurts Kids: Part 4

I remember Monica well.  It was day two of testing for my fourth graders. She simply put her head down and started crying.  She said, “I can’t do this”.  We had four more days, about 11 hours left of testing. My heart ached for her.  I put my hand on her shoulder and said all you can do is your best. Monica had moved to the United States just four months prior. She was a smart girl and could read and write well in her own language.  Understandably, taking tests in a new language Click here to read more!

How Standardized Testing Hurts Kids: Part 2

Testing season is here. You will soon start receiving the yearly notices, if you haven’t already. You know those letters, notes, e-mails, and phone messages you receive from schools on the importance of sending your children to school prepared for the upcoming high-stakes tests.  I received the first of the test season letters last night from the superintendent of my daughter’s school district.   The notices and reminders always include some version of the following: Send Click here to read more!

How Standardized Testing Hurts Kids: Part 1

I am not a good test taker.  I especially struggle with timed tests in areas I’m less confident.  I struggled off and on with this challenge throughout my educational coursework.  However, my greatest challenge was passing a math competency exam as one of the final requirements for my Bachelor’s degree.  I failed that test three times.  You would think that I was an underperforming math student, but that’s not true.  I received A’s and B’s in my coursework.  I suffered from test Click here to read more!