Monthly Archives: May 2014

What is wrong with our schools?

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The simple answer to ‘what is wrong with our schools’ is to be found not in studies about brain research, analyses of how to configure schools, or debates about curriculum – the simple answer is to be found in the serious dysfunction with which many schools and school districts are run. A few examples? Teachers who are given […]

Maine tolerates a wide achievement gap amongst students – is this what we want?

We all love the myth of the ‘American Dream’ – it’s comforting in a world that surrounds us continually with risk and inequity. The mythology holds that everyone has an equal shot at wealth and a satisfying professional life – all it takes is hard work, a winning disposition, and determination. Schools are said to give each child […]

Imagine the uproar if we were to explain that the educational bar should be lower for girls than boys?!

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I came of age as a teacher in the 1980′s, and in that era we read studies in teacher education courses about students whose school careers had been defined by race. Research had shown that teachers who expected children of color to perform worse than their white peers in fact brought those results to pass, with few achieving on a level […]

Should our taxes pay for arts education in school?

Students negotiate creation of a lighthouse.

This spring I have had the pleasure of leading a group of children as they worked together twice weekly over a period of a month on a class mural about intertidal zones in seacoast Maine.  As I guided the children last session I was reminded that arts education teaches the 21st century skills that all students need. […]

Is it really that important for students in Maine to learn a second language?

Taxpayers, teachers, board members, parents, and administrators in Maine sometimes wonder why we should fund an elementary and middle school World Language program in the public schools when taxes are so high and students seem to be having such trouble with subjects like math and reading. First, everyone should realize that according to LD 1422, […]

Dear Teacher: Where are the block buildings and the dress-up clothes? I’m only five years old!

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Tony Wagner, noted pundit on school transformation, writes: “Research shows that human beings are born with an innate desire to explore, experiment, and imagine new possibilities – in a word, to innovate.  How do children learn such skills? In a word – play.” Why then when I enter kindergarten classrooms these days are there no building […]