The Politics and Pedagogy of Immigration Policy

The national debate over the Trump Administration policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border has reached a fever pitch. Images and audio of crying children, traumatized by the removal of their parents to detention facilities while the children are detained in what amounts to cages, have preoccupied the national media and gripped [...]

2018: Reflections on a School Year

It’s the Saturday after the last day of school for teachers. I am turning 58 today. I just completed my 34th year as a social studies teacher. Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Looking back over the past year and over the arch of my career, I want to write about the struggles and successes of my [...]

In Defense of Standardized Testing: A Reflection

Standardized testing: just the thought of these assessments strikes terror in the hearts of teachers. If only our students cared as much about how they score on state-mandated tests. Most of the educational literature reflects a negative view of standardized testing, but they serve an important purpose in American education: to indicate teacher effectiveness through [...]

The Second Quarter Blues

The weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are often cited as the most wonderful time of the year... except when they are the worst. In schools that begin around Labor Day, the Second Quarter - or second grading period - typically stretches from November to January. Due to holidays, concerts, sporting events, interruptions, and the [...]

Dear Administrators: Don’t Move Ineffective Teachers to a Lower Grade; Help Them Improve

Guest Writer: Shawnta S. Barnes The great school mix up is one strategy elementary principals use to remove ineffective teachers from upper elementary grades, the grades where state standardized tests are taken.  Apparently, moving these teachers to an ‘easier’ grade will magically fix the problems they faced in their upper-grade classroom.  There are a few [...]