We should not rob our schools of our most creative teachers

We are driving excellent teachers out of the profession with our insistence on measurement and standardized systems of accountability. People who became teachers because they were fascinated by the developing human mind, attracted by the chance to help children reach their potential, engaged by the challenge of fashioning learning experiences that would help children grow […]

We should not squander teacher energy

I have worked in schools where teachers will stand up and leave an important meeting the minute the clock reaches the end-time specified in the contract, and I have worked in schools where teachers voluntarily invest their own time to make their schools better. What determines the attitude of teachers toward their schools? What conditions […]

Losing the best teachers impoverishes schools

The effectiveness of schools rests on the shoulders of teachers, and when we lose the best teachers before retirement age, we diminish the experience of children. I have been disheartened recently to run into two outstanding teachers who resigned their positions quite a few years before they reached retirement age. One of these teachers left her position […]

How to evaluate a school district leader

In the heat of budget travails, as well as in more tranquil times, school board members and school administrators should remember that it is on the backs of teachers that the quality of an education system truly rests. Creating conditions that encourage teachers to do their finest work, and retaining the best teachers, should therefore […]

Should teacher and administrator salaries vary widely according to district?

The Maine Department of Education maintains a website that publishes average teacher and administrator salaries for each school district in the state. I spent a little time looking at the average salaries for my area of the state. I would be disingenuous  in saying I was surprised to find a wage gap between neighboring districts. I […]

Mesh of dysfunction in schools

Jason was tall, thin, with doe-soft eyes and a long jaw, and from the start of the year he seemed unusually interested in the subject I teach, which is French. He was attentive in my classes, and cooperative. He often arrived a minute or two before the other students for a quick chat. Other teachers, […]

School budget dilemmas

Please note that this post refers to one particular consolidated coastal school district in Maine. I believe the situation it describes pertains to other districts. If your school district faces the same kinds of problems as RSU 13 please let me know in the comment box. School districts could possibly help each other out with shared problems. The […]

School funding formula favors affluent communities

Please paste the link below into your browser and sign the petition if you believe the school funding formula in Maine needs to be adjusted to be more equitable. https://www.change.org/p/state-of-maine-review-and-adjust-the-state-of-maine-s-funding-formula-of-k-12-schools The way the formula works now,  some wealthy towns such as Yarmouth (whose average family income is over $69,000 per year) – receive more money from the […]

Teacher Professional Development Done Right

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Today I have had the great pleasure of attending STEM: Innovation Forum 2015 in Portland, Maine. The forum was  sponsored by the Perloff Family Foundation, the University of Southern Maine, the Maine Community Foundation, and the Maine Space Grant Consortium. The forum was offered free of charge to educators in the state. The day-long program […]