@homedepot foundation rejected my small grant application. We don’t have enough needs, apparently.

I put in for a $750 grant for the Home Depot Foundation to get some start up funding for a school garden, meeting space that would eventually generate revenue at a local farmer’s market in Ward 8, DC. I get the automatic reply: Dear Applicant, The Home Depot Foundation appreciated the opportunity to consider your […]


I am about six weeks into the new school year. You may have noticed, maybe not, that my personal contributions here, and to the “radio” show, dropped off precipitously. Teaching is a busy job, as you know. I have hobbies, a personal life, and other interests that supersede the old education reform commentary. Beyond the […]

Obsessions with the f-word. I mean, FRUSTRATION

I saw this posted today from the Answer Sheet on reading in our current standards-obsessed era. The article poses an interesting question: is cultivating frustration in children something we should embrace? My instincts tell me no, and I’ll let you debate that answer for yourself. But what I will say is that I’ve seen this word, […]

In an era of the “Clipboard Culture.”

I can’t say for sure if I invented this term on the fly or not. I lamented to my colleagues that the “clipboard culture” needs to end. Those of us subjected to daily and weekly observations from insiders and outsiders, each with their own rubrics and requirements, we teachers tire immensely of the “visitor.” They […]

A grave mythology is propagated by our own colleagues.

I am certain that any educator and reader of this website has been confronted with the following: You are against standardized testing. Therefore, you are against all assessment. You are against test-based accountability. Therefore, you are against all accountability. High-stakes are removed. Therefore, you have no incentive to work hard. For many years now, I […]

Sorry to say, many teachers are instruments of oppression

There are teachers who, despite how they’ve been mistreated by accountability, embrace some measures of accountability because they’ve worked with fellow teachers who are indeed trifling and deserve a swift kick out the door. It takes willful ignorance, nay, stupidity of the supreme order, to think you are, as an educator, serving your profession by […]

Received via email: “Subject: Major injustice committed by TFA”

I am posting the full-text here. I can’t substantiate these unsolicited claims. But I think many of them ring true with other accounts we’ve read online. I’m pretty sure that Ms. Rojas wanted to be heard, so I’d like to honor that. To whom it may concern, I would like to express how unfair it […]

Data paranoia hits home. Conclusion: meh.


For the record, I use Class Dojo. In fact, one of the developers was @ the Chalk Face for an interview in August. I wouldn’t mandate its use, but I do recommend it because I actually like it. One of the primary reasons is its simplicity. The interface is crazily easy and I can create any […]

The practice of lesson plan review

Beginning my second year back in the classroom, I am once again becoming aware of the obligatory lesson plan review by administration. I have no problem with this in theory, but I am curious as to the overall value of this practice. In many cases, schools are staffed by a lot of people who teach […]

To all the cynics out there about the “ice bucket challenge”

Yes, I’ve read the critiques. I get it. I actually never thought I’d actually do one, especially since I wasn’t nominated. But then school started, and I thought that this would set an interesting example for students. So, I did it, with a nomination of another staff member and a promise of a $100 donation […]

1 down, 179 to go!

Inasmuch as we have so much to resist, there’s still much to feel good about. And much to feel terrified of as well. I’m still nervous. Happy First Day!

Maybe it’s not “fidelity,” it’s just your crappy program.


I have eight different bosses now. Well, not bosses, per se, but several persons of various titles that will potentially give me feedback and suggestions this school year.  You might think this is a tremendous boon to us teachers to have a team of talented people working with myself and others for the benefit of […]

You didn’t expect me, did you? #highered

No one expects the Inquisition. That’s how I feel a lot of the time because I ask a lot of questions. Is that not an educator’s job? College professors looking to do research in our schools: I’m onto you. As a former graduate student and faculty member in higher education, I’ve written numerous human subjects […]

David Berliner @ the Chalk Face offers some words of wisdom.


I paraphrase, check the audio: If you’re going to be a profession of sheep, then you’ll be run by wolves. Great conversation.

The NEA should have listened. It’s too late.


The Washington Post has a feisty profile of the new NEA president, Lily Eskelsen García: What would she do if she were still teaching and an administrator told her to do something in class to improve student’s standardized test scores so that her test-based evaluation would be better?  “I would totally ignore them,” she said. ” ‘Go […]


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