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The Importance of Affect in the Classroom By Walt Gardner

The New York Times published a front-page story about the delayed impact the best kindergarten teachers have on their students (“The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers”) on the same day I wrote about the benefit in delaying evaluation of teachers until years after their students graduate (“Who’s a Good Teacher”). Raj Chetty, who conducted the… Read more »

What Would Real School Reform Look Like? By James Farwell

Public school reform seems to boil down to closing schools; sending students to higher-achieving schools; converting a “failing” school to a charter school; replacing the principal, reforming instruction, and increasing learning time; and giving teachers monetary incentives to do better. Such “reform” seems as off the mark and ineffective as placing a Band-Aid on a… Read more »

Who’s a Good Teacher? Walt Gardner

Who’s a Good Teacher?By Walt Gardner on July 28, 2010 8:10 AM When Chancellor Michelle Rhee fired 241 teachers in Washington D.C. on July 23, the news was heralded as evidence that true accountability was finally a reality because the evaluation system used is considered one of the most rigorous in the nation. But like… Read more »

The Audacity of Arne Duncan

By Jim Horn Posted: 2010-07-25 On 7/24/10, this was posted on EPATA, a discussion list of people who care about education. Arne Duncan stood before the NAACP convention last week to repeat his claim that “education is the civil rights issue of our generation.” He also declared “the only way to equality in society is… Read more »

Killing Kindergarten

“It’s critical that children arrive in kindergarten with the cognitive, emotional, and social skills.” Elanna S. Yalow Please Ms. Yalow, tell me more. I thought kindergarten was supposed to help children develop cognitive, emotional, and social skills. When did we shift the responsibilities? It’s this shift that is responsible for the over institutionalizing of… Read more »

Hard Data Won’t Change Educational Beliefs by Walt Gardner

The debate over how to improve educational quality for all students in this country is predicated on the assumption that empiricism rather than ideology will eventually prevail. But a recent op-ed in the Boston Globe by Joe Keohane calls that belief into question (“How facts backfire,” July 11). “Facts don’t necessarily have the power to… Read more »

New “Common State Standards”

From Comments section of Frazer112358 wrote:Standards, standards, standards. Hogwash. We are focusing on the WRONG thing. Build rigorous standards and students will come. What deception is being foisted on the educational world!! The research is clear: a competent teacher makes the difference. Building a new baseball park is not going to make your players… Read more »

The Tantalizing Vagueness of Teaching by Susan Ohanian

Posted: 2010-07-11 This essay, which speaks to today’s issues of teacher excellence, was published in the July/August issue of Learning Magazine in 1986. So oldtimers say, “Yes we’ve been through this before,” using the “been there” putdown as an excuse for their current silence. Read on: you’ll see I complained about them then, just as… Read more »