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

standardized test image

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?

8156340258_c1e6a7d0db_z

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!

kharrison_125x150

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

Common Core

 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 […]

The Biggest Elephant in the Schoolhouse: Poverty

childPoverty image

Among wealthy reformers and others who have little experience with the reality of a classroom it has become sexy to blame teachers for the low test scores some students achieve in school. Teachers are apparently lazy, working for payday, uninspired, just needing a kick in the pants in order to produce better student testing outcomes. […]

University of Southern Maine Needs French

France_Flag_Wavy

On Friday at 1:00  p.m. the Board of Trustees of University of Southern Maine will meet in Sullivan Gymnasium to discuss eliminating programs in Applied Medical Science and French.  Meanwhile, Arne Duncan says, “It’s absolutely essential for the citizens of the United States to become fluent in other languages—and schools, colleges and universities must include producing bilingual […]

Back to Basics in Schools

Sleeping_students

Improving student learning is the goal of schools, and Victoria Kornfield does a great job in today’s Bangor Daily News of sharing one clear way we can achieve our goal: make sure students have enough to eat. Other basic needs for children include adequate time playing outside, sleep, and positive relationships with adults. When children’s needs are […]

How can our education tax dollars best be spent ?

  The teacher is at the heart of a student’s learning experience at school. Research shows that excellent teachers impact the lives of students in many ways, from academic learning outcomes, to lifetime earning potential. It makes sense then to pay a lot of attention to what helps teachers do their best work. Speaking from […]

Governor LePage Should Go Back to School

Governor LePage should go back to school. If he did, he would learn that slinging provocative statements about without bothering to cite any evidence at all would earn him failing grades in our schools in Maine. We have higher standards than that. Seth Koenig, of the Bangor Daily News, reports LePage as having stated that […]