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2001 MS TOY; Teacher Leader Network; Milken Educator
Interests: Grandchildren, bowling, and really good jazz
Recent Activity
Aw, snap! I knew Google was getting rid of iGoogle--which I really like and use daily, but I hadn't realized they were killing the Reader too! So, what does that mean for those who are really trying to use tech consistently? If anything, this makes me want to go back to using pad and paper files. (BTW, let me know about ideas to replace the RSS).
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2013 on Technology Will Kill at The Tempered Radical
I find it fascinating that these young students use organization as a criteria for evaluating their teachers/classes. Suggests that a teacher who is organized: a) cares more about the class and the students(?) b)will actually notice if I didn't do my work.... Wonderful. Maybe you should put them in touch with the folks in NYC trying to figure out how to do teacher evaluations.
Love it, love it, love it! This IS why we teach.
Thanks, Bill. It's sad that we have gotten to the point where we have to remind ourselves to look for these moments, but if we don't, the frustration will overtake us.
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2013 on Teachable Moment at TeachMoore
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Feb 17, 2013
Thanks, Gary. The comment is especially meaningful coming from a great teacher like you.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2013 on Teachable Moment at TeachMoore
Just one more example of hypocrisy in modern politics. Demand that educators use data to drive our work, but ignore it when you are making the decisions that affect the entire nation. I wish the media would spend half as much time pointing out these types of facts and contradictions as they waste on features about Michelle Rhee.
CTQ founder and my co-author, Barnett Berry, offers his take on the MET study and quotes from some of our joint work in response to it.
Thanks for the additional insights (and for reminding me of that paper)! Seriously, I would like to see us move past this fixation and reliance on test data to more important discussion of real learning and the teaching that supports it.
I cannot figure out the media (and others) fascination with Rhee and her short tenure in DC. Wish we would focus this kind of attention on some superintendents who have actually been effective leaders in their districts, demonstrated how to really make change for students, work with teachers and administrators, listen to parents--- Such models exist, but I guess her story makes better television.
Anthony, I think you are exactly right about the continued emphasis on VAM and overuse of standardized testing. In the study, the researchers stressed how they attempted to correct for weaknesses in previous VAM studies by randomizing student assignment. But even they had to admit that they could only accomplish a very limited form of randomization (principals made the rosters, and MET used a computer program to assign them to teachers.) Knowing schools as I do, there was probably much less randomization than the researchers think or acknowledge. I'm not opposed to standardized testing in general; in fact, I think it's good for students to take them--every once in while (like maybe once or twice in their entire time in school). But we have done incredible and irreparable harm to children and teachers with the abuse of this type of assessment.
Ariel, You are so right on with this one. We need more professional, critical conversations among us educators about the work of teaching and learning. Some of that is emerging in the social media and PLNs. Such discussions are not for the touchy or insecure, but respectful disagreements over the hows and whys of teaching will make us all better at what we love to do. Hopefully, we could set a better example for our students of civic and professional discourse than what our politicians are exhibiting.
Much has been written on this issue lately. after Here's another great piece by Paul Fain from Inside Higher Ed on the heavy reliance on placement tests and how wide a range of cut scores exist among colleges. Also, some great information in the comments section.
So much good truth in this post, Bill. You're spot on about the lack of professional recognition (and the low salaries are part of that). Like WiscPrincipal I strongly believe educators should be the ones promoting our own expertise and stories, rather than having them ripped off or mis-told by others. However, your post did help me remind myself how important it is in social media to be a true co-learner. I am sometimes too negligent about asking questions of my favorite bloggers, or returning to a site where I have entered a conversation to continue it. Thanks for that nudge.
Thank you, Bill for this info, and for the links. These are things many teachers and students need to know. Does this mean I should unblock your email address now?
I'm so with you here, Ariel. Our school uses Blackboard as its LMS, so I've attacked this problem using some of the tools in there. I use the Journal tool (which is actually a blog)to give each student a place to keep both drafts, notes, my comments, and links to other resources. Each time they post a draft, it is automatically dated (in case they don't), so we have a running record of their work stored in one place. Great to see there's a way to do it with Google Docs also.
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Sep 25, 2012
Thank you for this, Ariel. There are many things about CCSS with which I disagree, but by far my biggest problem is how they are being so horribly misapplied and misread by educators and educational administrators. Clearly, the intent of the standards is not for students to do less fiction or writing in English classes, but to do more of it everywhere else. That has long been a desire of ELA teachers and anyone who understands literacy as well.
Bill, You gave me so much to think about with this one, my answer was too long for a comment, so I turned it into a blog. It'll go up 8/27 here: Thanks as always for important conversations.
I love that this conversation is developing among some of my favorite teacher bloggers, and I hope to weigh in soon as well. Nancy's piece does contain many challenging ideas. But then, that's what teacher leaders do.
Thanks for clearing up my confusion about the tweenagers. I thoroughly agree with you about the foolishness of using grade level separations, especially beyond grade 6 [I blogged about this before, too]. Teaching children based on their own curiosity is the premise of problem-based learning; a topic I'm learning more about everyday. Are you familiar with the work of Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and the Powerful Learning Practice Network?
I thank you for your thoughtful response to this topic. You are partially correct; all rights come with inherent responsibilities. No, true learning cannot be forced. However, your response oversimplifies a problem that is made complex by many features unique to American education. For one, we have in this country a long history of providing unequal educational opportunities (I've written about this elsewhere). Furthermore, the way we do education in many parts of our school systems actually work to crush children's natural curiosity and desire to learn. As you suggest, the way we go about education needs to change--and that change is taking place now. However, allowing 12-13 year olds to decide whether they need or want an education strikes me (as a parent who has raised 11 children) as irresponsible. Allowing future citizens to grow up poorly educated or functionally illiterate is dangerous. Education in a democratic republic should cannot be treated as a privilege, unless it is our intention to disenfranchise whole sections of our citizenry.
Cross-posting this response to my blog (which also appears at TransformED) ================================== Submitted by David B. Cohen on Fri, 2012-07-27 14:58 Great post, Renee. There are state constitutions that codify the right to an education. It would be interesting to see where education advocacy groups line up on that idea if it were proposed as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I'm just speculating here, but I think we'd hear an eerie silence from the likes of Students First and Stand for Children. They are eager to focus on weakening unions and not particularly worried about universal health care and pre-school and other common sense reforms that would truly help children. Putting the right to education into a constitution opens the state to litigation because of rights denied. Washington and Colorado have had recent cases where rulings favored the student plaintiffs, though the practical effects of those rulings are still uncertain. California has a case that I hope will go forward, though it will require a successful appeal after the last ruling. For more on Colorado and California, see
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2012 on Make Education a Right at TeachMoore
Justin, You're right we need grit (or in the case of us Southerners--grits). I've seen that same scenario many times as well. Opponents of public education using international test results to rail against public schools and teachers, while conveniently ignoring what those other countries do to support their schools and teachers that we refuse to do. While homeschooling is a great option for those who can do it or want to, there is no excuse for American children not having the best public schools anywhere. It's an insult to tax-paying parents for state legislators to tell us you'd rather give us a chump-change voucher and send to us to find education for our children as best we can; rather than do what's right by public schools.
Bill, I think this is a marvelous concept and well worth exploring. I'm suggesting it to my community college division chair and to the high school principals with whom I work. Janet's suggestion is great; the info doesn't have to be in a video from the principal (could be audio, links, text). Wmchamberlain is right, of course, there will be teachers who won't watch the video or listen to the audio (which they could easily do while doing something else--you know, like many of us do in faculty meeting anyway); just as we have students who could do their homework, but refuse. [Making a distinction here between those who won't and those who can't]. It may only take 15-20 minutes to present the information, but I would appreciate having time to consider and respond to the information. Of course, that may be one more reason why some administrators will want to avoid it. What I'm picking up is that more of our faculty meetings could and should be instructional and promote collaborative leadership.