The good news in the bad news

Sorry to have blogged so little lately. I’ve been too busy teaching to talk about teaching: I’m putting an AP Art History class online, and, fun though this class is turning out to be,┬áit’s absorbing a ridiculous number of my waking hours. Still, this experience has me thinking again about online education, which is why I was intrigued by a recent Education Week report on Florida’s much-touted Virtual … Continue reading»

The new teaching career – short and sweet?

I believe that charter schools have introduced needed innovation and competition into public education. I believe that programs such as Teach for America have brought new life and talent into the classroom. But . . . An article in this morning’s New York Times still worried me. Entitled “At Charter Schools, Short Careers by Choice”, the article recounts that: As tens of millions of pupils across the country … Continue reading»

Another bite at moving algebra to 9th grade

I’ve posted before about one of the conflicts that has emerged over the common core standards: Is the core right to move algebra from the 8th grade to the 9th? I’d be curious to know how many schools are actually shifting their curriculum in response to the common core. In my experience, students are placed in 8th grade algebra if they seem ready to handle the challenge, and … Continue reading»

When should teachers lose their licenses?

I’ve been following – and blogging about – Tennessee’s efforts to measure teacher performance and link that performance to compensation and promotion. While I recognize that “the devil is in the details”, I’m inclined to favor such efforts, or at any rate to think that we should all we watching wat transpires in Tennessee closely. Here’s what today’s Wall Street Journal reports. Sorry about the long quote, but … Continue reading»

The limits of school choice

  Blog readers know that I’m a big fan of school choice – a bigger fan than many of my readers, or at least so it appears from your comments. Yes, I think that charter and voucher/private school options can and in many cases have dramatically improved educational opportunity for many of our most vulnerable kids. Still, while choice advocates can point to some big successes – the … Continue reading»

Is profit the same as profiteering?

Teaching was a second, or maybe third, career for me: I worked in government and then in industry before I began teaching in my late forties. I tend to think these experiences have improved my teaching, especially for my government and economics students. But they also sometimes create a disconnect, when language from one profession doesn’t really transfer into another. “For profit” produces one of these disconnects. We … Continue reading»

Another bite at pricier tests

Turns out that my inbox was full of articles about the latest testing controversy: the common core assessments, touted as more comprehensive and less focused on rote learning, will also be much, much more expensive to administer. Again, this is hardly surprising, especially if the tests contain more essay questions. And again, my fear is that when the dust settles, we’ll have no way of measuring or comparing … Continue reading»

Training teachers the way we train doctors

I’ve fulminated before about teacher education. Ed schools don’t attract the best students and don’t teach the skills that teachers really need in the classroom. Education courses crowd out other, more meaningful and demanding college classes. Education departments are often relentlessly ideological, and if the ideology doesn’t match real world (classroom) experience, too often it’s the ideology that wins out. Worst of all, new teachers often, maybe almost … Continue reading»

Better tests, higher price tags

I warned blog readers that I was taking some time off to visit Sicily and greet my first grandchild. Make that “a long time”, rendered even longer by some technological issues reconnecting with Deseret News. Call it summer break, okay? I’ve spent the past few weeks working on a new AP Art History course, which I’m co-teaching with a classroom partner. We hope to combine the flexibility, accessibility … Continue reading»

Arrividerci – for three weeks

My husband and I are off to Naples, Sicily and Malta for three weeks, and I’m not taking my laptop. We’ll see how I manage the withdrawal symptoms . . . but it won’t hurt me to take a break from my web-surfing habit. I’ll be back to blogging in mid-May. Meanwhile, to my friends and colleagues in the teaching profession, good luck with these last few weeks … Continue reading»