Common Core Will Not Cure All

My chief criticism of the Common Core at this point is that it is being touted as a cure-all for our nation’s educational problems, but in fact it will not cure all. Mediocre teachers implementing the Common Core within the context of our current mediocre schools will only produce mediocre learning outcomes in students. What we […]

Principals Should Focus on Instructional Leadership

  Gordon Donaldson and George Marnik’s The Maine Principal Study reports that school leaders in our state devote relatively little time to initiating educational programs, evaluating curriculum, collecting student data, and other activities directly aimed at improving learning outcomes in students. The principal’s job is so demanding in other areas that it is challenging for […]

How can your tax dollars be applied more effectively in our schools? Here are some answers!

Answers to the question of what the United States could do to improve the educational performance of our students are to be found in the current issue of OECD Observer, the magazine of  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Several articles in the current issue focus on education from an international perspective. The first […]

My school system is abuzz with the Common Core: is this a good thing?

I decided to see what the elite are saying about the Common Core. After all, when it comes to education, the wealthy usually manage to get the best for their children. Do they like the Common Core? Are they choosing schools that reflect an embrace of the standards-based movement? I looked at the mission statements […]

Inclusive Leadership

School district leaders and school boards who invite stakeholders in their district to engage in open discussions about important decisions contribute to a culture that brings out the best in everyone. Some school district leaders and boards recognize the importance of openness. A recent example is Elaine Nutter, the superintendent of a local Maine school […]

Unfunded Mandate? Let’s Do Pre-K Right in Maine!

An opinion piece in today’s Bangor Daily News expresses concern that despite good intentions LD1530 – the bill to require preschool access to four year-olds living in Maine by  school year 2018 – 2019 – is seriously flawed. A key problem in the bill is that funding is not clear for the program. This bill […]

When the principal’s load is too heavy …

Dysfunction on a school board or in a superintendent’s office or at the state level impacts what goes on in the classroom, but the quality of teachers is what matters most, and the principal of a school is charged with ensuring that quality. Sometimes it seems that a principal’s load is simply too great to […]

As School Budgeting Season Heats Up Remember the Crucial Middle School Years

As budget season heats up, school board members should make sure they are basing decisions at least partially on current research about what makes schools successful. A recent report out of the Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation at the University of Southern Maine conclusively – and not surprisingly – establishes that “…levels […]