I Used to be a Reporter. Now I’m a Teacher. I’ve Become What I Used to Observe – Education Article

A long time ago, in a newsroom far, far away; your humble narrator was a respected journalist. Today I am a beloved school teacher in a suburban middle school. Okay. That may be laying it on a bit thick. Like any human being whose job it is to get children to do their best and learn something, I’m beloved by some and beloathed by others. And if I’m honest, when I was a reporter, I was never all that respected.…

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I Assign my Students Homework Despite Scant Research It Does Any Good – Education Article

In academic circles the debate over homework rages on. Does it actually help students learn or does it just cause undue stress and frustration for children and parents? As a teacher and a parent, I see both sides of the issue. In class, I assign my students homework every week – Monday through Thursday. Never on the weekends. My daughter’s teacher does the same. So at home, I’m on the receiving end, spending hours with my little munchkin helping her…

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‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ Has Never Been More Important Than It is Today – Education Article

It’s not.     Anne Frank is not dead.     Not in 1945. Not in 2019.     Anne was a Dutch Jew hiding from the Nazis with her family and four others in a loft above her father’s former factory in Amsterdam.     The teenager is the most famous victim of the Holocaust, but her story doesn’t end when she succumbed to typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the closing days of WWII.     Because…

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Pam Harbin Wants to Go From Pittsburgh School Board Watchdog to School Board Member – Education Article

  My friend Pam Harbin is trying to undergo a startling metamorphosis.     She wants to transform from an education activist into a Pittsburgh School Director.    Now that Board President Lynda Wrenn is stepping down after 4 years, city voters in District 4 will have to decide whether Harbin can make the change. The election is on May 21.     Residents in parts of Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, Shadyside and North Oakland already know Harbin as a…

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School Accountability Begins With the People Who Make the Rules: A Code of Conduct for Politicians and Test Makers – Education Article

  Standardized testing is all about accountability.  We’ve got to keep schools accountable for teaching.  We’ve got to keep students accountable for learning.  It’s kind of a crazy idea when you stop to think about it – as if teachers wouldn’t teach and students wouldn’t learn unless someone was standing over them with a big stick. As if adults got into teaching because they didn’t want to educate kids or children went to school because they had no natural curiosity…

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The Holiday Season Brings Fear and Resentment for Many Students – Education Article

“I hate Christmas.”   Teachers hear that with surprising regularity around this time of year.   I hate Christmas. I hate Thanksgiving. I hate every holiday.   America’s public school students are living under tremendous pressure.   The social safety net is full of holes. And our children are left to fall through the ripped and torn fabric.   The sad fact is that one in four students in America’s classrooms have experienced a traumatic event.   So if your…

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Charter School Lobby Silent as Charter Teachers Continue Strike – Education Article

  Charter school teachers in Chicago are in their fourth day of a strike.   Yet I wonder why the leaders of the charter movement are quiet.   Where is Peter Cunningham of the Education Post?   Where is Shaver Jeffries of Democrats for Education Reform?   Not a word from Campbell Brown or Michelle Rhee?   Nothing from Bill Gates, Cory Booker, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton?   Not a peep from Betsy DeVos or Donald Trump?   This…

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Compassion Is Our Standard – The Teacher And The Admin – Education Article

Compassion is not weakness.  Compassion is not lowering standards.  Compassion is not about giving kids passes without giving consequences.  Compassion is not some desperate attempt by teachers to become popular with the students.  There are still relics in our profession who see their rules, their numbers, their order; they cling to what they perceived to be good teaching two decades ago. But, they are even wrong about that: it wasn’t good teaching 20 years ago. Compassion was always the number…

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