Effort parties, data walls, reading logs, and “warm/strict” — a look inside Success Academy
A review of “The Knowledge Gap” by Natalie Wexler
Launching a coherent curriculum in a local-control state
A review of “Language at the Speed of Sight” by Mark Seidenberg
Critical books offer more folly than wisdom
Forum: Education Reform’s Race Debate
Will high-flying charters see their low-income students graduate?
Review of Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion
George Lucas reimagines the American classroom
The first and most important relationship most children have with a civic institution is with a school.
What used to be called character education is unlikely to be effective if it is divorced from its moral and religious foundations.
What the work of Mauricio “Lim” Miller, an Oakland, California-based social services pioneer and MacArthur “Genius” fellowship recipient, means for education.
Differences in the early language environments of children do have a significant impact.
Imagine the disclaimers and warnings about potentially harmful side effects of today’s promising practices and reform initiatives.
Teachers are angry about inadequate training and poor curricula.
Infusing children with a love of reading is laudable, but a love of country is indispensible.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein revealed the hollow core of fashionable ideas about civic education and “action civics” when she refused to play along with student “activists” who confronted her.
An arts education experiment finds measurable academic, social, and emotional outcomes, but do we really need a randomized control trial study to justify the arts as an essential part of a well-rounded education?
Tool allows education leaders to see the degree to which their curriculum builds critical background knowledge and aligns with their vision and priorities.
But some lawmakers prefer to push the choice agenda incrementally
Shifting ed reform’s focus to improving practice is an acknowledgment that underperformance is not a failure of will, but a lack of capacity.
School choice is not a distraction from the critical work of convincing educators that all children benefit from access to rich, curricular content.
Choice and relevancy are two arrows in the teacher’s quiver to engage and push children to academic heights. But there are lots of others.
ResearchED conferences aim at raising the research literacy of teachers and creating a community of educators dedicated to evidence-based practice.
Teachers, like every American citizen, are free to express their political views in a variety of public forums like Twitter and Facebook. But a series of court decisions have made it clear that a very different standard applies inside publicly funded K–12 classrooms, where teachers have far less freedom to speak their minds.
There is a science of reading and we owe it to all future elementary school teachers that it be taught and embraced so that it might improve outcomes for children.
Increasing the number of low-income students of color who are on track to attend selective colleges and universities is already being done by the city’s charter schools.
Democracy Prep increases the voter registration rates of its students by about 16 percentage points and increases the voting rates of its students by about 12 percentage points.
Louisiana plans to to develop and pilot a streamlined English and social studies assessment that aligns with what is taught in classrooms.
Shouldn’t half a century and hundreds of studies be enough to earn Direct Instruction a little respect if education is so evidence-based?
It was a mistake to assume that education policy, not classroom practice, is the most important lever to pull to drive enduring improvement.
Teachers who view the world as awe-inspiring and who are eager to share their optimism and excitement with students might be more beneficial.
Are you more likely to see a cause-and-effect relationship between effort and outcome in sports or in school?
Success Academy Schools have begun sending home “Parent Investment Cards” evaluating how well parents are meeting their responsibilities.
If civic virtue and a shared commitment to the common good are primary objects of schooling, a strong case can be made that school choice helps, not hinders, that mission
A school’s approach to student discipline and classroom management is a profound reflection of somebody’s value system.
It is within our power as educators and policymakers to help all children acquire the language of privilege so they will not be excluded.
The centerpiece of Success Academy’s online offering is its K–4 English language arts curriculum.
Why is it so rare that thoughtfully vetted instructional materials form the foundation of professional learning for teachers?
Is there any place in the nation where education reform has left the rails as quickly and completely as New York?
Choice exists to allow parents to educate their children in accordance with their own needs, desires and values.
School accountability regimes may be intended to weed out only the “truly dismal,” but they cause all schools to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn’t—including adopting instructional practices and school culture habits we might not want.
Our expensive and aggressive ed reform efforts still focus far too little on what kids do in school all day.
A review of Pluralism and American Public Education: No One Way to School by Ashley Rogers Berner
If a new seriousness about civic education takes root, schools may turn to the new off-the-shelf curriculum developed by the College Board.
The most powerful statement made from the stage was “Hamilton” itself. The post-performance lecture could only distract from it.
Students who learn to work with complex texts during their K–12 years can handle the demands of college reading. Those who haven’t cannot.
Education reform circa 2016 is politically orphaned, loath to ask much of fair-weather friends, and too morally exhausted and intimidated by “social justice” crusaders to defend its successes.
Books like J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” force us to confront simpleminded views of the ills we seek to address and to be humble about over-optimistic schemes to set things right.
The key to creating conditions that sincerely celebrate diversity may lie in focusing the attention of our children on what makes us one country.
Last month, on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, the hashtag #BeckyWithTheBadGrades began trending on Twitter.
Expecting teachers to be expert pedagogues and instructional designers is one of the ways in which we push the job far beyond the abilities of mere mortals.
Children’s ability to understand what they read is intimately intertwined with their background knowledge and vocabulary. If a child is not broadly educated, he won’t be fully literate.
It’s difficult to pinpoint why we seem so averse to making classroom management the centerpiece of new teacher training.
Some advice on how to bring disaffected Trump voters back into the fold—or the economically disconnected in for a landing,
Accountability plans must ensure that every student gets the broad knowledge and vocabulary that remain the unacknowledged drivers of language proficiency
Does the political will exist to maintain higher standards? And does the capacity exist in K–12 education to raise significant numbers of American children to meet these standards?
Substantial gains in decoding have shown we can get kids to the starting line. But we’re leaving them stuck there.
New York State education officials raised a ruckus two weeks ago when they announced that annual statewide reading and math tests, administered in grades 3–8, would no longer be timed.
An intriguing effort to crowd-source a 2016 version of E.D. Hirsch’s famous list of things you need to know to be culturally literate.
As a new sobriety over the issues animating Trump supporters settles in, I’m hoping for a parallel rethinking among education reformers.
The best compliment I can pay a fellow education blogger is to confess professional jealousy. So I’d like to close out 2015 by saluting the education blogs and columns that made me green with envy.
New York has all the pieces in place to become a national leader in education, but Governor Andrew Cuomo would rather switch than fight.
The promise of the Common Core included not just multi-state standards but also multi-state assessments, but just 21 states are currently still participating in the two assessment “consortia.”
The sooner schools see building knowledge across the curriculum as Job One in strengthening reading comprehension, the better.
Why is it “unfair” to give poor families the studious, disruption-free schools the rich take for granted?
Two dozen deans of education schools have come together to embrace empirical validation of teacher preparation methods and accountability for student learning.
Those who work in education research, policy, and practice frequently fail to communicate with one another, and when they do, each faction speaks a different language.
Mayor de Blasio has shown a good instinct for identifying the right targets—early childhood education and reading. But it’s hard to be encouraged that either he or his chancellor knows how to hit them.
An examination of assignments given by middle school teachers appears to show that most of the work asked of students does not reflect the higher, more rigorous standards set by Common Core.
Today is Constitution Day, when all schools receiving federal funds are expected to provide lessons or other programming on our most important founding document.
Parents will soon receive for the first time their children’s scores on new tests aligned to the standards. The news is expected to be sobering.
Which strategy should the charter sector pursue in the short- to medium-term: selective chartering or a district-wide replacement strategy?
If American childhood has become a hothouse of overscheduling and stress, it’s not showing up in the data.
Getting low-income “first-generation” kids into college is hard. Getting them to graduate from college is harder.
Why is so little information available about which textbooks and curricula are being used?
Schools and teachers anywhere can download free materials from EngageNY, a comprehensive, Common Core-aligned curriculum developed by New York State.
To be a good reader you need an understanding of literature, art, music, history, and the sciences — that is, you need a liberal arts education.
It’s still too soon to gauge whether the opt-out movement is a true groundswell of opposition, a union-driven blip on the radar, or something in between.
The draft School Quality Snapshot says clearly and unambiguously that the days of measuring a school by academic performance in New York City are over.
The backfilling debate is something of a proxy fight between two very different visions for charters. Are they a replacement strategy for disappointing schools and districts? Or are they closer to a poor man’s private school?
I found myself caught up short by the Atlanta verdict this week and eleven educators found guilty of racketeering in a widespread cheating scandal.
Some fret that states that make the U.S. citizenship test a graduation requirement may be tacitly encouraging schools to abandon semester-long classes in civics. I’m skeptical.
Milestones seeks to demystify the Common Core standards with a free and engaging collection of short videos showing what grade-level work looks like
I share critics concerns that early childhood learning is leading schools to take all the joy out of kindergarten, but I see no reason to blame Common Core for that.
More time in school is not producing Americans with more or better skills.
We can have kindergarten that is both play-based and language-rich. It’s what the best kindergarten teachers have always done.
Arizona became the first state to make passing the U.S. Citizenship Test a high school graduation requirement.
Elementary school English language arts classrooms have long been in the thrall of nonsensical jargon.
Curriculum and content matter—and for no one more than poor kids who get too little of that knowledge and vocabulary at home.
While running the nation’s largest school system, Carmen Farina has made a growing list of decisions based not on empirical evidence, but on the chancellor’s personal preference.
Here are some of the pieces—about Common Core and education at large—I wish I’d written in 2014.
To grow up as the child of well-educated parents in an affluent American home is to hit the verbal lottery.
Common Core has the potential to shift and drastically improve math instruction in American schools,
It’s long past time to recognize that reading tests don’t measure what we think they do.
The overheated rhetoric around Common Core elides the fact that it incorporates several fundamentally sound and long-overdue ideas that have gone missing from our schools for decades.
Complaints about close reading bother me less than its potential overuse, or the creeping notion that close reading is what all reading instruction should look like under Common Core. That would be bad for the standards, and even worse for reading achievement in the U.S.
Opponents of the Common Core question the idea of improving literacy by introducing higher levels of textual complexity into the instructional mix.
Those who see Common Core as a curricular monoculture, a boondoggle for publishers, or a violation of local control would do well to come to Reno.
On Politico’s list of fifty “thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter,” sharing the number eight spot are E.D. Hirsch and David Coleman, the principal author of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts.
When the court decides, as it almost certainly has to that, in fact, no one forced Louisiana or any other state to adopt Common Core, the most effective anti-Common Core argument goes, “Poof!”
Secretary Duncan’s reflective take on testing can delay, but cannot resolve, the reckoning that seems to be at hand.
New York’s latest round of state test results were released last week and the biggest news is the scores posted by Success Academy.
The real challenge for conservatives has less to do with the nature of school reform than ensuring that the public and private functions served by education are brought into proper balance.
The bottom line: the tests are hard, as expected, but the choice of texts needs work.
Any pedagogy, curriculum, approach, or technology has to be within the skills of ordinary teachers to implement well and effectively. If it takes a superstar teacher it’s a nonstarter.
We know for a fact that “balanced literacy” has had little effect on closing stubborn achievement gaps. So why is New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina bringing it back?
Common Core supporters should be showcasing lessons that represent a sharp break with the skills-driven, all-texts-are-created-equal approach that has come to dominate too many classrooms.
Ask a teacher about his or her first year in the classroom and you’ll hear, either with a smile or a shudder, how “nothing prepared me for my first year as a teacher.”
Our elite universities, should they wish, could end epic oversharing, help student writing, and improve college readiness in one fell swoop.
Steve Farr’s Teaching as Leadership lives in the shadow of Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion