Category Archives: Home

Will a lack of funding doom proficiency-based education?

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It makes me angry that programming in the arts, languages, social studies, physical education, technical education, and even recess has been reduced for a decade in American schools in the name of increasing academic achievement and we have little to nothing to show for it. Our students are basically doing no better academically than they were doing […]

Throwing darts and wringing hands will not improve test scores of Maine children!

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I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with all the hand-wringing about test scores of children in our public schools. We are by and large a state that will not  do what is needed to increase academic achievement among all our students, so our test scores should be no surprise. You can’t fly in the face of […]

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 […]

“School is boring!” Does it have to be?

I absolutely love thinking and learning about schools and students and I assume a lot of other teachers do too. Yet in my experience as a teacher I rarely have an opportunity to sit down in the context of my job with other equally charged teachers and talk and plan new programs and new curriculum and new approaches to […]

School board candidates should show serious engagement with current topics in education

School boards make decisions that greatly influence the education students receive, yet some school board members know very little about curriculum, brain research, child development, or what is going on state-wide, nationally, or internationally in schools. In Maine we value local control of our schools and we are reluctant to cede decision-making authority to bureaucrats. […]