Book Review: The Smartest Kids in the World

The inside cover of Amanda Ripley's book asks the question, "What's it like to be a child in the world's new education superpowers?" - namely South Korea, Poland, and - yes, of course - Finland. To accomplish this, she follows the lives of three separate American teens who serve as foreign exchange students there. In [...]

A How To List For Flexible Classroom Seating

I don't know why it took me so long to jump into flexible classroom seating. After 27 years of dodging clunky desks, tripping over backpacks and watching kids fidget uncomfortably in their hard plastic seats, I had had enough. I've had classes as large as 38, and it just was too hard to fit that [...]

It’s Time to Build The Case for More Vo-Tech Classes

A recent PDK poll shows that 82% of Americans support job-skills classes, even if it's at the expense of academic classes. Additionally, 86% believe schools should offer certificate / licensing programs that lead to jobs. But they're forgetting one very big thing: this type of education already exists. It's just that everybody forgets vocational-technical training. And [...]

Teaching in a Post-Union World

The week before school begins, our education association is fortunate enough to sit down with the new educators hired in our district and encourage them to sign-up for our association. While this seemed pretty cut-and-dry when I was first hired 10 years ago, the discussion has rapidly changed and the difficulty increased. As more educators [...]

We Must Teach the Worst of our History; Not Glorify It

As I write this, it's not yet 24 hours since Charlottesville, Virginia erupted in violence at the hands of white supremacists. What happened there, how we respond to it, and what must happen next is an essential conversation for all Americans, but especially educators. Those white Americans whose reaction was to claim "this isn't America!" [...]