All posts by Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison

About Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of schools in New York and Maine in a number of capacities – French teacher, gifted and talented teacher, elementary school teacher, and curriculum coordinator for island schools. She has lived in Maine for 20 years and has a particular interest in school reform.

Legislature under LePage administration delivers educational mandates but won’t foot the bill!

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The legislature in Augusta passed LD 1422: Proficiency-Based Diplomas in May of 2012. This law requires students to demonstrate proficiency in all eight content areas of the Maine Learning Results in order to receive a high school diploma. The eight content areas in which a student will be obliged to show proficiency are: Career and Education Development; […]

Should schools teach empathy?

The education reform agenda promoted by the federal government, the testing industry, and many state governors is off the mark. Our greatest need in education is not measurement and accountability and standards. While these can be useful tools for improvement, they should hardly occupy center stage. Our focus should instead be on making sure we are giving our youth an education […]

Will we have quality teachers in the future?

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  The degrading treatment teachers have suffered over the past decade at the hands of politicians and bureaucrats is turning talented, ambitious young people off from pursuing careers in the classroom. “Teaching in general has been losing favor. From 2010 to 2013, the number of student candidates enrolled in teacher training programs fell 12.5 percent, according to federal […]

My child – and yours – deserves an education equal to that of any other child in the state!

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Education in the state of Maine is currently consumed by the transition to standards-based curriculum. In Maine, local districts are focused on creating graduation standards and aligning curriculum to those standards. Lots of time on the part of teachers, administrators, and school board members is being spent on this transition. We all know that time […]

Technology : are we discriminating enough in how we use it in schools?

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For better and worse, our species has a new toy – technology – that consumes a great deal of attention both in and out of schools. In schools, technology is used to gather and report data about students and their learning outcomes, and as a learning tool. Compared to earlier decades, technology now gives us relatively easy access […]

Data gathering and testing in schools: how much is enough?

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Humans have a new toy – technology – which can produce remarkable streams of data about students and learning – and like children given a new entertainment console, the powers-that-be who set educational policy are enraptured. The question is, how much data is enough? Yesterday, for example, a whole district of children had the afternoon off while teachers spent […]

Are devices robbing children of the riches that come from boredom?

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I am sure many of us who have reached a certain age would say we regret our  neglect of the creative and productive activities that we used to pursue so enthusiastically both indoors and out of doors in the days before social media and laptops entered our lives. I do not believe this yearning is just the age-old wail of […]

Think Teaching is a Cakewalk? Think Again!

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Of the constellation of characteristics needed by teachers, the capacity to endure stress is important, because teaching is a very stressful job. We rush through our days rarely feeling totally prepared for all the classes and students we will teach. In fact, we can’t be prepared all the time, as our loads are too heavy. We have […]

Common Core shines light on Santa

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 The Common Core should be treated by school districts as the draft of a guide for curriculum development rather than as a blueprint. During the next few years, as we try and implement the standards outlined in the draft, the need for revisions will become clear. Common Core standards for the early years of schooling, for […]

Will virtual charter school students have to meet Maine’s new proficiency-based graduation requirements?

The Maine Charter School Commission today approved Maine’s second virtual charter school. The virtual school will be managed by K12 Inc., only 27.7 percent of whose students  achieve adequate yearly progress by federal standards, and whose graduation rate is a mere 49.1 percent. Simultaneously,  Maine has been spending huge amounts of taxpayer money converting our traditional public schools to a […]