Concerns About the Focus on “Grit” in School Improvement

My approach was to focus on my students’ strengths. To do so, it could be said that I needed to “get inside the mind(s)” of my students. To help my students master a legitimate college prep curriculum, I would prefer to say that I needed to listen to my students. In my experience, if teachers […]

Drawing Upon Paul Tough to Nurture Soft Skills Not “Grit”

It is always reassuring to read about pedagogies developed in the classroom being later determined to be based on scientific principles documented by academic researchers. That is one reason why I was so impressed with Paul Tough’s New York Times Magazine article, “Who Gets to Graduate?” Tough’s article was published this spring and I immediately […]

How Can 2004 Data Prove that Reports in 2007 to 2012 on the Damage Done by NCLB Would Be Wrong?

“Estimating the Effects of No Child Left Behind on Teachers and Their Work Environments and Job Attitudes,” by Jason Grissom et. al., uses NCES polling data from 1993-94 to 1999-2000 to 2003-04 to 2007-08. It begins by reviewing and challenging “anecdotal” evidence from great journalists and education writers. As I explained previously, I believe the […]

Ignoring the Job Market (and How We Do Our Jobs) When Studying Teachers’ Job Satisfaction

“Estimating the Effects of No Child Left Behind on Teachers and Their Work Environments and Job Attitudes,” by Jason Grissom et. al., uses NCES polling data from 1993-94 to 1999-2000 to 2003-04 to 2007-08. It begins by reviewing and challenging “anecdotal” evidence from great journalists and education writers. As I explained previously, I believe the […]

Mis-Estimating the Effects of NCLB on Teachers’ Job Satisfaction

I expected to have mixed feelings when reading “Estimating the Effects of No Child Left Behind on Teachers and Their Work Environments and Job Attitudes,” by Jason Grissom et. al. On one hand, their finding as summarized in the press was so surprising that I knew a careful and skeptical reading would be required. On […]

Oklahoma Makes History, and Not Just in Edu-Politics

It looks like Paula Sophia will be elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Unlike Paula, I never served in Iraq, but we were comrades in a “broad church” of open arms. Paula is a 22-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department. Back when our neighborhood was still the turf of the Hoova’ set […]

Oklahoma City Families and Teachers Find Their VOICE

Until recently, I thought of VOICE as a handful of liberal Christians, spitting into the hot Oklahoma City wind. Similarly, I never expected a grassroots coalition of parents from across the state to stand up to the bubble-in testing mania. I realized last Sunday that VOICE has also become a force to be reckoned with. […]

Why Tenure is Essential

I usually find it easier to communicate with conservative reformers like Mike Petrilli or Rick Hess. Unlike their liberal counterparts, they don’t have to contort themselves into crusaders for equity and justice. They don’t have to pretend that attacks on teachers and other workers is some sort of civil rights crusade. These defenders of Scott […]

Fighting Vergara in California and Elsewhere

As a former legal historian and inner city teacher, I’m offended by Judge Rolf Treu’s one sentence legal justification of the key issue in Vergara v California. The judge ruled for Students Matter and struck down the hard-won rights of teachers based on a citation of California legal precedents that seems facile to me. Some […]

Reflections on Oklahoma’s Repeal of Common Core

The first key reaction to Oklahoma’s defeat of Common Core is best described by a football metaphor. We’re celebrating like we’ve been in the End Zone before – no gloating or trash talk about the touchdown. This is true even though many of us, especially liberal Common Core opponents, haven’t had many political victories in […]

The Damage Done by the “Texas Meteor”

The 2013 NBER paper, “School Accountability, Postsecondary and Attainment,” by Jennifer Jennings, David Deming, Sarah Cohodes, and Christopher Jencks, was initially welcomed as evidence in support of test-driven accountability. Jennings et. al concluded that the Texas test-driven accountability of the 1990s increased student performance of math students, especially those who were at risk of failure […]

Newark’s Failed Experiment Illustrates Reformers’ Overreach

Dale Russakoff’s New Yorker profile, “Schooled,” starts with a description of the dysfunctionality of the Newark Public School System: The ratio of administrators to students—one to six—was almost twice the state average. Clerks made up thirty per cent of the central bureaucracy—about four times the ratio in comparable cities. Even some clerks had clerks, yet […]

Why Did Cory Booker and Mark Zuckerberg Ignore Newark’s Families?

Dale Russakoff’s New Yorker profile “Schooled” is a wonderful account of Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million investment in Newark school reform, and how and why it failed. It implicitly asks what did the founder of Facebook, and other elites, not know about school improvement and if they will develop an interest in why they did not […]

Congratulations Mayor Baraka and Newark!

Congratulations Mayor Ras Baraka! Thank you Newark! Congratulations to all of you who help assume mayoral responsibilities! Ras Baraka and the students, teachers, and families of Newark have risen up and handed a pivotal defeat to corporate reformers. Your grassroots efforts repelled the last minute infusion of cash from the Billionaires’ Boys Club. You took […]

John Kuhn’s Eloquent Embrace of Public Education

  Texas superintendent, John Kuhn, spoke to the Network for Public Education (NPE) about how “The public school system reveals the American heart.” He reminded us that “There isn’t a square inch of America that doesn’t fall inside some school district or another. There isn’t a pupil who can’t walk into their local school and demand […]

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