Archive for the ‘Educational Reform’ Category

  • Reconsidering Columbus: A day worthy of an alternative

    on Oct 13, 14 • in Educational Reform, Instruction&Curriculum, Policy, Social Studies • with Comments


    For decades, students in elementary school classes have admired portraits and sang songs telling the tale of America’s hero, Christopher Columbus. In his well-documented 1492 journey, Columbus — enroute to India — stumbled upon what would become the Americas; Hispaniola to be exact. The rest of his journey is…history. Somewhere in the depths of our history books, we overlooked a slew of key facts surrounding Columbus’ journey, actions, and subsequent celebration. We failed to note the abundance of native people already inhabiting the island — Tainos, Arawaks, and Lucayans whose modern kin barely exist. We

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  • Propaganda Used in Campbell Brown’s Attack on Teacher Tenure

    on Aug 18, 14 • in Current Events in Education, Educational Reform, Educator Professionalism, Policy • with Comments


    When I teach Animal Farm by George Orwell I have the opportunity to teach propaganda techniques. I provide the students with the definitions and examples of several different types of propaganda techniques. Then, as we read, I have them find these techniques in the novel.  Students also find and share propaganda in advertisements they see in other media, on TV or on the web. The New World Encyclopedia states, “The aim of propaganda is to actively influence people’s opinions, rather than to merely communicate the facts about something.” Former news anchor Campbell Brown has been very vocal in actively trying to influence

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  • Just the Facts: Charter High School Performance in Memphis, TN

    on Jul 30, 14 • in Educational Reform, Policy • with Comments

    My school has a strong data driven culture. We use data not just to identify grade level or class wide trends, but trends with individual students. Because it’s not enough for me to know that the entire class scored, say, an 80 percent on a specific assessment. I need to be able to identify high, middle and low performers on each assessment and reflect on what has made them successful. This is a wonderful practice because it helps me identify what the strong performers are doing well and consider how I can use this information

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  • Tennessee Education’s Perception Problem

    on Jul 9, 14 • in Educational Reform, Policy • with Comments


    My 10th grade girls are all into HUGE purses, the size of backpacks. They can be very distracting as the girls rustle through the bag’s cavernous depths on a quest to find any and all manner of items. This spring I decided to institute what I thought was a fair and simple policy where purses would be placed in designated areas around the room before class began to eliminate this distraction. The outcry was immediate and strong. The girls didn’t see the need for the new system and thought I didn’t understand them. (I’m a non-purse-toting

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  • Let’s Talk School Start-Up–Again

    on Jun 26, 14 • in Current Events in Education, Educational Reform, Featured, From the Front Lines, Instruction&Curriculum, Opinion, Parents • with Comments

    Image courtesy of

    Ever since I wrote my first piece about starting my own school I receive at least four emails a week asking for more information as to how other individuals can start schools. I never really thought this type of idea would take off, it seems that more and more teachers are reaching the fork in the road and having to decide whether to keep doing something they love by staying in the classroom and just ‘sucking it up’, or taking a huge risk and diving into the adventure of school start-up which may or may

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