Half-baked Common Core

Common Core

Some believe the Common Core will help improve education in this country; others do not.  Elizabeth Green, in Why Do Americans Stink at Math? falls into the latter category, and so do I. Even if we could agree that the standards of the Common Core were developmentally appropriate, worthy of implementation, and sensible in every way, it […]

Standardized testing can impoverish children’s education

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The testing culture that drives current educational decision-making in our schools impoverishes children in many ways. One of the external forces interfering with student learning is time stolen from teaching.  A middle school colleague in Maine recently told me she literally lost five weeks of instructional time each year to standardized testing. In a system where […]

Spend education money more wisely for better results

money-education

Amidst all the fuss about (and money spent on) the Common Core, Mass-Customized Learning, proficiency-based education, and the collection and use of data  we must not forget that the quality of human experiences in a school is what ultimately determines the learning outcomes of the students. If the adults in a school don’t feel satisfied professionally, then the students won’t thrive. We can […]

We start our students learning languages too late

Japanese writing

Proficiency in a second language is important and is most easily achieved by those who start young and who have the good luck to be educated in a school system that has a coherent and sequential language program. In this age of globalization, schools should be prioritizing all aspects of global education. While just one element […]

Will a lack of funding doom proficiency-based education?

Sleeping_students

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!

student taking test

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. […]