September 2014

I'm Not Sure 'Local Control' Is A Good Idea

Fox DynastyI hate to be difficult.

Actually, that’s not true – I enjoy being difficult sometimes. It’s how I learn, and how I try to force others to acknowledge problems they might not otherwise address, or clarify my own thinking regarding issues I find important.  In this case, I’m very much hoping those more insightful than me will explain why I’m completely and totally mistaken.

I'd Rather Be Aquaman

Every curriculum, every textbook, every teacher in every class makes judgments (consciously or not) about what’s important and what it means. We can try to reduce that bias, but if I assign Shakespeare instead of Marlowe, I’m making a judgment. If I choose eight Supreme Court cases through which to explore the judicial process, I’m suggesting some big issues are more important than others. It’s just how it is. We can’t teach everything. Heck, many days we’re not sure we can teach the basics. Decisions have to be made, and some conflict is appropriate. But this goes beyond that.

Assessments & Grades - Why?

Like the standardized testing of students on which many of these numbers and letters are based, the conviction seems to be that if you just keep pretending to measure things in ridiculously oversimplified ways designed to guarantee widespread failure, you’re “reforming” the system and calling forth a brighter future for all. This is analogous to – actually, never mind the analogy. It’s just stupid.

In Defense of Due Dates & Deadlines

I hear repeatedly from otherwise respected voices that it really shouldn't matter WHEN students do the assigned reading, master the required skill, absorb the expected content, as long as they GET it some day in their own special time and way - my shoulders tighten and my stomach hurts. I appreciate the theory, but education reformers and ideologists aren't known for being bound by the same reality as the rest of us.

If reforms were horses, then students would ride... and teachers would walk behind them in the parade.