An education consultant urges newly re-elected President Obama to overhaul Race to the Top federal guidelines so they emphasize great teaching and individuals over metrics and test scores.
A high school teacher writes: “Before we discuss extending school days and years, I would rather examine how to better use the time we have. I have seen far too many teachers and schools make the mistake of saying, ‘we need to do more,’ when in reality they need to do less better.”
A former administrator writes: The response among opponents of this administration to credit recovery is about politics, not about students. To be sure, there were some principals and teachers who corrupted credit recovery efforts in their schools by lowering standards. But the Department of Education’s restrictive new rules permitting students to receive incompletes for no more than a few courses will invariably take its toll on the most vulnerable and marginal youngsters.
A social studies and English teacher in Brooklyn had an early look at a $5 billion federal grant program called Project Respect, whose goal will be, as Education Secretary Arne Duncan put it, “to make teaching not only America’s most important profession, but also America’s most respected profession.” But, the teacher writes, while the goal is good, some of the assumptions are wrong — especially those having to do with assessing good teaching and effective leaders.
A staff developer writes: ‘The tests have gained an outsized influence on what happens in classrooms. They are not measuring student learning, as any good test should, but rather determining it. And in so doing they have shut down the most important quality of a good teacher — the ability to learn.’
A former deputy schools chancellor writes: ‘For the first time in nearly two decades, the next mayor will likely be a Democrat. As a life-long registered Democrat, I look forward to that prospect. However, there are vultures circling this contest who would once again reduce our schools to the patronage mills of yesteryear, when no one was accountable for what happened to our kids.’
As Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and the teachers union debate how best to evaluate teachers, a former deputy chancellor for the city’s Department of Education proposes a peer review system for teachers, where they could learn from each others’ observations.
When school leaders share their authority with teachers, parents and even the students themselves, they widen the circle of those who are responsible, and ultimately accountable, for student success.
Two advocates for bringing the latest digital devices into the classroom say educators who are taking simple steps and putting the proper building blocks in place are experiencing great success in encouraging students to use their mobile devices as powerful learning tools.
Effective leaders awaken the leader within each member of the organization, and other lessons from a former deputy chancellor at the city’s Department of Education.
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