When Theory Breaks Your Heart

I recently spent time in the classroom of a newish Language Arts teacher. He works in a high school school in one of the poorest parts of the city. Every life story of every student is hard to hear. The day I visited, fewer than half his students were present; he says that’s typical. This teacher finished school to earn his teaching credential less than […]

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“Writing Across the Disciplines” in the Common Core Standards: No Catchy Title Can Capture My Dismay

  Our tenuous post-storm electric and internet connectivity kept me from being able to express some of my concerns and questions in our P2PUsession Tuesday night, so I am bringing them here. To so many people, the idea of every school striving toward the same objectives sounds like such a good one. To many, the idea that every student, every teacher, is working toward the […]

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Some of My Best Friends Are Black

Hanover,  New Hampshire is a quintessential New England town. Ivy-covered brick buildings ring a huge green that is criss-crossed with paved paths. A white steeple pokes up in the distance. But it’s not a real town. The buildings around the green are one small part of the Dartmouth College campus. Shops and restaurants blend into the edge of campus; you can’t really tell where the […]

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Take Care of Our Kids

Today I learned that three young people died in our town over the weekend. One, a 19 year old young man, was a suicide. The other young man and woman who died were in their early twenties. The cause of their deaths isn’t officially known yet; the young woman’s mother found them at home with heroin paraphernalia scattered around the room. “We have some serious […]

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Test Prep: Thoughts for a Former Student, Now Teaching

To My Esteemed Student, I’m sure you remember how I insisted there was no secret manual to becoming a teacher. And how I said any talk of what to do had to be grounded in a review of truth, reality, and your own developing pedagogy. (That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But you know how I like that big picture.) So, this is no different, except […]

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Conflicts of Interest? [Sigh]

In the dream world of Arne Duncan et. al., it’s possible to measure learning because learning =  Important Stuff You Know and the  number of Important Things can be counted. All you have to do is look on sheets of paper to see how many black dots are in the correct rows. And don’t worry superintendents and principals– there are plenty of materials to help […]

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The week ahead

Arne Duncan is delivering a “major policy address” in a couple of days. I went back and forth about going. On the one hand, it’s interesting to hear policy leaders up close and personal. On the other, it’s a sure bet I’ll be unhappy with what he says. I know listening to many points of view is a sign of being a mature and responsible […]

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Hitting the wall

I’ve lost it. I’m so angry I could… oh hell, I don’t even know what to do I’m so angry. Nothing happened, not anything any different than any other day. I read a couple of teachers’ blogs. I checked in on Twitter. And all of a sudden it was as if I couldn’t breathe. Here’s what I read. Brian Crosby’s blog, Learning is Messy. Last […]

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There has to be a better way

I have a fabulous bunch of students this semester. They’re really smart, nice, and seem to like listening and talking to each other. And not one of them has been to school in a time when courses didn’t culminate in a high-stakes, standardized test. Let me say that again. My students have never been to school in a time where courses didn’t culminate in high-stakes, […]

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