A slow and much needed goodbye to the education reform opposition.


In what may come as a surprise to some, or simply seep into the ether with nary a glance, I have decided to fold up, close up, and shut down At the Chalk Face altogether in the next few days. It’s been an interesting, what, almost five years. To be honest, I think I’m done. […]

A Thanksgiving post two days late

After returning to the classroom almost two years ago, as a teacher, I’m struggling with the poverty narrative that privileged commentators like myself blame for public education’s true faults. I don’t disagree with any of it. We should keep hammering away at it. Here’s my problem. I’m not poor. I never was truly poor. I’m […]

Explain to me how the opt out movement ended up being so, I don’t know, “white.”

For better or for worse, I see these kinds of posts all the time, profiling courageous teachers and parents from largely suburban districts who are exercising the “opt out option,” akin to going totally nuclear in terms of war. This is not to say persons and communities of color, or low-income areas, are NOT involved. […]

Nice report on proportion of educators in news coverage, but @MMFA did shill for #CommonCore

Media Matters tells us what many have mentioned ad nauseam in our community for the last several years: Major media outlets do not rely on actual educators for commentary. Thanks. However, did Media Matters consult educators when they covered Common Core, drastically over simplifying the debate as one between supportive educators and right-wing conspiracy theorists? […]

@plthomasedd stops me in my tracks. But now I’m rudderless.

PostEverything picked up the following from friend and colleague, Dr. Paul Thomas: Stop blaming poor parents for their children’s limited vocabulary. Essentially, acknowledging that the parents of low income students of color are somehow hindering their children’s performance in reading perpetuates deficit thinking: Deficit perspectives are those that identify a person or a condition by […]

The Equity Project’s results are meh @NEERAVKINGSLAND

That charter school in NYC paying their teachers $125K per annum: they do all right, but no better than similar no excuses chains. So much for the grand experiment. In the interest of full disclosure, I applied to teach at that school, twice. The first time, right before I finished my PhD and the second […]

Why do we label difficult text “frustrational?” Is that even a word?


Many districts mandate the use of DIBELS and similar assessments to track progress in reading. Anyone familiar with these methods know that the complicated task of reading cannot be defined so myopically. Take Amplify’s mCLASS, for example. If you use this tool, you’ll notice that reading tasks that are too difficult for students are by default […]

Testing and monitoring in Kindergarten

The picture in this article about new testing protocols for Kindergartners in MD reminds me of this memorable exchange from Shawshank Redemption: Red: Rehabilitated? Well, now let me see. You know, I don’t have any idea what that means. 1967 Parole Hearings Man: Well, it means that you’re ready to rejoin society… Red: I know […]

Arne Duncan on pre-school and, umm, “cultural hesitation.”

Here: Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday that “cultural hesitation” makes it more difficult for some Hispanic parents to want to enroll their children in public pre-school programs because of their preference for family and friends. And: “Two different challenges that I think we have to face,” Duncan said. “One that [HHS Secretary] Kathy [Sebelius] […]

Much ado about the TIME’s latest anti-teacher cover #TIMEfail. This is what I’m thinking.

There’s a lot of hullaballoo about TIME magazine’s just-released anti-teacher cover. And it’s JUST the cover, mind you. Nothing surprises me anymore about the education debates, especially content from the carpet baggers. But what I find most interesting is this unyielding faith in the problem solving abilities of Silicon Valley. It seems as if this is […]

My old stomping grounds: United Opt Out doubles and triples down.

United Opt Out (UOO), a true grassroots organization if there ever was one, is lately expressing a much more forceful message against high stakes testing. This small group of roughly seven individuals is largely doing so on the shoulders of co-founder and chief activist, Peggy Robertson. She seems to be assuming all of the risk […]

Author trying to “refute” Anthony Cody has typo in blog tagline. Better get that fixed.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 2.39.49 PM

See. BTW, TL;DR.

The iPads were literally sitting untouched on the play table, next to the play cutlery, plates, and a giant wedge of plastic cheese. #edtech

It’s easy to fascinate and receive kudos from the broader education community when you can do something interesting with technology. Before this school year started, I was asked to lead a technology club after school for fourth and fifth grade students. After brainstorming what was possible, what I wanted to do, what students might want […]

The delicate art of stacking interventions

Economically impoverished or Title I schools are forcefully engaged in the delicate art of “intervention stacking.” And by delicate, I really mean clumsy and thoughtless. Leadership in many “struggling” schools, both within the school and without, are under the mistaken impression that more is more. Or, that we should flail our arms about and accept […]

Notes on a co-location

Overheard from a fifth grade charter school student: You know we’re taking over this building, right? Indeed.


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