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April 9, 2013
On The Decision To ‘Out’ A Public School Parent Activist
After some of our readers criticized our decision to publish a story about parent activist Leonie Haimson's decision to send her younger child to private school, we asked Kelly McBride, a media ethicist, to evaluate our reporting and promised to publish her assessment, no matter what she concluded. This is what she said.
April 4, 2013
What I’m Thinking As Common Core Math Tests Near
Teachers and students feel very worried that they do not know what the tests will look like this year. My students read in the news that scores will drop this year and that the test will be harder, but when they ask for reassurance, we don't have answers to give them.RSVP now for "Adding It Up," a discussion of the new Common Core standards in math, coming April 9.
April 1, 2013
An Academic Probation Officer’s Peril And Promise
I remember so vividly the anticipation of getting my grades each term in the mail, tearing off the perforations to reveal whether or not my all-nighters were worth it. Now, even though grades are available in an instant and perforated paper is a thing of the past, I have that same anxiety for my students each time they send me their grades online.
March 14, 2013
Broadway In El Barrio (And The Bronx) For A New Era
When I first saw "In The Heights" on Broadway five years ago and found a stage packed full of performers who looked exactly like the students I teach, telling stories that Lin-Manuel Miranda could have overheard in our school's hallways, I knew our students' response to the show was going to be epic.
March 5, 2013
New Social Studies Framework Needs Improvement
While the state's proposed high school social studies curriculum "framework" in some ways represents a step forward, it also falls into longstanding habits that have not been conducive to strong social studies teaching and learning.
February 28, 2013
Learning My Students’ Stories, And Sharing My Own
A storytelling program illuminated strengths and aspirations I knew my students had but did not previously have a way to express. The StoryCorpsU lesson plans allowed me to learn that Jose wants to be a pilot, Christian’s family owns a farm in the Dominican Republic, and Jennifer has studied Jiu-Jitsu and has a green belt in karate.
February 25, 2013
19 Months Of Stalling By The NYC Education Department
Might Joel Klein, in the waning days of his tenure as chancellor in 2010, have put in place a NAEP test prep initiative for the Spring 2011 NAEP administration in New York City? I don’t know. But I figured I could ask. So in July 2011, I filed a request for public records with the New York City Department of Education.
February 19, 2013
Celebrating 10 Years Of Creative Learning On The Stage
Ten years ago I was in a trailer behind the church on Webster Avenue in the South Bronx where my school used to rent classroom space, staring at the bored, glazed-over faces of the kids in the first theater class I had ever taught.
February 15, 2013
Just How Many Ineffective Teachers Are There In NYC?
How many New York City public schoolteachers are so incompetent that they should be fired? That’s the $250 million question that must be addressed by both sides wrangling over what kind of teacher-evaluation system the city is going to build.
February 13, 2013
After One Space Shift, Our School Contemplates Another
Even if the negative consequences of sharing space are unintended, they are deep and wide — and can truly change a school. I’ve seen it happen, and so have my students.
February 6, 2013
Using The Boy Scouts To Advance Inclusion In My Class
Recently, when I picked my second graders up from lunch, several of the girls rushed toward me in a tizzy. “Ahmed and Mohammed told us we couldn’t sit at their table at lunch because we’re not Boy Scouts,” they reported indignantly. I dropped my jaw in front of the offending boys, put my hands on my hips and said the words that I hope inspire some sort of dread amongst my little ones, “We will have to talk about this when we get back to the classroom.” Now, as a fourth-year elementary school teacher in a public school in Brooklyn, I am no stranger to lunchtime drama. No matter how much work I do toward creating a positive classroom community and a supportive learning environment, all bets are off when my students enter the lunchroom. Typically, my co-teacher and I brush off these cafeteria skirmishes by encouraging our students to deal with their issues during lunch and not bring them back into the classroom. But every now and again a problem pops up that needs to be addressed with the entire class back upstairs in our room. The Boy Scouts issue certainly merited further discussion.
January 25, 2013
Delving Into John Stuart Mill With My Students
Teachers need time to read and think, even if they have a strong background in their subject. Certain works and concepts reveal their meanings over the years; on the other hand, teaching is one of the best ways to delve into them. Not only that, but such delving will inform the very practice of teaching.
January 24, 2013
On Picking Up Speed After Coasting To College
While it is important for students to be told that they will be successful in college, it is equally important to remind them of the changing academic expectations that will be placed upon them.
January 18, 2013
City Could Ease Strike’s Financial Burden On Families
The Department of Education will begin helping families who cannot afford to wait to have their transportation costs reimbursed during the school bus strike, the department's top special education official told the Citywide Council on Special Education Thursday night. ... This sounds like a great partial solution. But it does not solve the fact that this strike has put unnecessary stress on over 150,000 students, including 52,000 with disabilities, and their families.
January 16, 2013
Toward An Equity Framework For Teacher Evaluations
In the debate over teacher evaluations, the city and teachers union are both missing a major issue: whether and how a new evaluation system would advance educational equity and opportunity for the city’s 1.1 million students.
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