The Walmart Checker
I was in line at the local Walmart and the checker was an elderly White man. When it was my turn he said to me, “can you believe Obama wants to mint a platinum coin?” I said I didn’t think the President was the one to come up with the idea. He then asked, “do you think Obama will try to run for a third term?” I told him the Constitution forbids it and he responded, “well, that didn’t stop...
rtk9221 asked: Would you support a voucherized education system? If not, then why? The world's top public education systems utilize a voucher system.
Is There Really a STEM Problem?
I recently read a letter to the editor in my local paper from someone who claimed to be an ex-college counselor. The letter said that anyone who chose a college major which was not tied to the STEM areas had been steered in the wrong direction by their high school teachers and counselors and their college counselors. The lettor went on to disparage the humanities with comments such as, “a...
ijuststungmyselfdidnti asked: What do you think about faith schools? Do you think they clash with multiculturalism in a modern secular society? Have a nice day.
coleesmith asked: Hi i am looking for some advice on what are some good tools go with for an inspiring teacher. I mean what kind of books/lessons or anything that would help me understand more a student or if this is really what I'm looking to do with me life. Thank you for your time.
elcuervoblanco-deactivated20130 asked: What state do you teach in?
Candidates and Education
I just read a Twitter post that made me reflect a bit about the upcoming election, the candidates, and education. It is a bit scary. The third presidential debate was supposed to be about foreign policy, but Romney had little to say other than he agreed with Obama’s policies, and Obama simply went on to explain his policies and patronize Romney for his ignorance. Thereafter, both...
Are AP Courses Worthwhile?
I recently read John Tierney’s article, “AP Classes Are A Scam,” in The Atlantic and, while agreeing with all that Mr. Tierney said, I’m just not sure… In 1955, The College Board instituted the Advanced Placement (AP) program to allow capable high school students to take an accelerated course that was to be comparable to an introductory college class in a subject,...
Advice to the President-Stop Lauding Race To The...
President Obama needs to quit mentioning Race to the top as if it is something of which to be to be proud. Teachers, myself included, have been critical of the President and his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan over their support for Race To The Top. Every time Race To The Top was mentioned by the President at the debate, Twitter exploded with educator criticism of Obama and this program. It...
Education: For What Purpose?
Watching (actually having no choice) the political ads on TV, along with reading all the articles in the newspaper covering the campaign, got me thinking about a question which voters will answer at the polls - how will education look in a few years? It seems public education has several purposes which serve to strengthen our nation: to create informed citizens, to produce workers for business...
Teachers Need To Find their Voice
Participating in the excellent Twitter #edchat discussion at noon today I was reminded, no matter what the pundits say, how many intelligent, caring teachers there are. The discussion was lively and, as always, made me think. Today’s discussion centered on the question, “What is your opinion on the number one reason education reform is being blocked? As always, participants looked at...
How To Break The Mold & Reinvent Your Resumé ::... →
Credentials And Teaching - A Conversation
After yesterday’s post, I received several good pieces of feedback. One point stated that judging teachers by degree was not much different than judging students by standardized test. On the surface this sounds like a valid comparison. However, a degree is conferred after several years of study of a prescribed curriculum, involving many different classes, and would be more like a high school...
Credentials and Teaching
Many jobs require certain skills in order to perform them in a competent manner and teaching is no exception. Teachers are required to have at least a BS in education, and many states require secondary teachers to have, if not a major, then a given number of courses in the subject in which they will be licensed. In addition, many states require teachers to obtain a Masters degree in order to...
Living On iDevices
This summer has been filled with the chaos of moving. Well, not just moving but the sale of our home of nineteen years in Ohio, and a move to temporary housing for a few months while our new home in Florida is being built. We sold off our furniture and put the rest of our belongings in storage. We have rented a furnished condo and our only means of communications are our iPhones and iPads. We view...
Mandates, Socialism, and Education
After the recent Supreme Court decision upholding Affordable Care Act, a retired teaching colleague of mine posted a rant on Facebook in which he referred to “The United Socialist States of America,” mandates, violations of the constitution, the failure of the President to lead, and a fear that debts incurred now will become a burden on his grandchildren. I, and another colleague,...
Put Your Pencils Down: gjmueller: “At some point... →
gjmueller: “At some point in recent American history, we started assuming that if people are rich enough, they must be experts in all things. That’s why we trust Mark Zuckerberg to save Newark schools and Bill Gates to rid the world of malaria. Expertise is so 20th century.” —Strategic…
sassafras-jones asked: What do you think about No Child Left Behind and its affect on the education system since it was issued to the present day? Do you think it will ever be repealed?
A Whirlwind Couple of Months
The past several months have been full of Don’t Get Me Started moments, they just aren’t related to education. This Tumblr has not been at the forefront of my thoughts. I retired after 35 years as a high school social studies teacher, a career which I thoroughly enjoyed. My children are grown, two are married, and none live near me. My wife and I had long planned to move to Florida...
somethingscomeoutwrong asked: what is your opinion on standardized testing in public school?
joealati asked: Hello, I enjoyed your recent article & perspective. What experts do you think will be needed in education within the next 5 to 10 years. I am studying toward my next career in education and am doing research on future needs. What type of experts will be needed to offer professional development for teachers? Your thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks.
No Wonder Teachers Are Demoralized
I retired in June of 2011 and yesterday I returned to the high school where I had taught social studies for 35 years. The district is one of the wealthiest in Ohio. Many of the residents are well-paid professionals. Our alumni include numerous lawyers (one of whom argued in front of the US Supreme Court a year or so ago), doctors, executives, a current member of the Saturday Night Live cast, and a...
From Then To Now To..?
For the past several years I’ve been reading about the “crisis” in education. Teachers have been blamed and labeled incompetent. There has been a concerted push by conservatives to privatize education, an attack on our democracy with severe consequences which liberals, including the Obama administration, seem unaware. The entire underpinnings of education in the twenty-first century are being...
My Move To eBooks
I’ve been reading more and more using my iPad and I’m becoming convinced paper books will slowly cease to be relevant. This is not a decision that I’ve made lightly, I’ve been a consumer of books for years and my personal library consisted of several hundred volumes (more on this later on). However, after I purchased an iPad, I’ve been won over by the convenience of ebooks. I’ve always liked...
The Horizon Report 2012
The Horizon Report is issued yearly by the New Media Consortium, an organization whose purpose is to spur discussion and innovation of edtech in schools, universities, and museums. Each year, the group releases a report for each of the three constituencies, titled the Horizon Report. The 2012 Horizon Report for Higher Education has just been released. The reports for secondary education and...
Lend Students iPads Preloaded With Textbooks
Students show their schedule and receive an iPad (or e-reader of some sort) preloaded with the books they need. At the end of the semester, students turn in their iPad, or take it in to be reloaded, with the new semester’s books. The school would own the devices, eliminating the question of whether students can afford them. I know there are a lot of questions about such a plan and I...
An Educational Rubicon?
The last few years in education have seen teachers and their unions under attack, the rise of an alternative teaching force with Teach For America, charter schools being touted over public schools, and legislation which indicates there is a perceived crisis in education. Has a tipping point been achieved? Will education in the rest of the 21st century be radically different than what we know...
Should States Fund College Education?
Should states provide funding for a college education for their citizens? The question was raised as I read through my news articles this morning. It seems more and more the answer is simply, “no,” students (and their parents) can pay. This rationale troubles me in several ways. There is the argument that, while states and local municipalities do provide K-12 education for all citizens, not...
darrack-acasta asked: I'm new to your blog so I'm not sure if you've touched on this subject in the past. In my local high school district, one of the high schools offers students the opportunity to join what they call the "tech" program. Basically, it's a 4-year plan focusing on courses that involve technology (such as robotics or computer science) and business. I think this program is a...
Christmas Miracle 2011: Poverty Matters! →
Those who read my blog realize that I feel there can be no true educational reform without adequately addressing the issue of poverty, especially as it impacts our urban and rural schools.
bug523719 asked: It won't let me submit links to your ask box, but I was reading an article on public retirement which hit specifically on teachers at some points. I just thought I'd recommend it to you if you hadn't seen it. It's titled "Public retirement ages come under greater scrutiny"; I read it on Yahoo! News. Also, I like the post about Honors/ AP classes. They should be open...
Technology Integration - One Teacher's Story
Back in the late 1980s, we had a principal who kept saying, “show me the measurable benefits of purchasing technology.” I finally asked him how he proposed to measure the impact of technology adoption. After much discussion, we finally put in a computer lab and it was used primarily by our English teachers as a glorified typing lab. When I retired last June, we still had English...
Honors/AP - Who Gets To Take Them
Separating students by ability has been around for a long time. When I first started teaching in the 1970s, my high school grouped students into three or four tracks: Basic, College Prep, Honors, and AP (Advanced Placement). Not every course had an Honors or AP track, but several did, and the number of courses with multiple tracks grew over the years. In my department (Social Studies) we had...
21st Century Skill-Critical Thinking-Is Not So New
After being in education for 35 years, I have to chuckle when I read about skills necessary for life in the 21st century, including the skill of critical thinking. Back in the 1970s when I began my teaching career, critical thinking was all the rage. I had a colleague who was such an advocate he considered creating a critical thinking course. Learning to think critically is a fundamental life...
Merit Pay For Teachers Won't Work
One of the educational issues touted by conservatives has been implementation of a system of merit pay for teachers. On the surface it sounds logical, pay teachers for producing, just like in business. The reality, however, is much more complicated. The concept of merit pay for teachers has been around for at least thirty years. I can remember a colleague, who was in graduate school, calling me...
Issue 2 Defeated In Ohio
Last Spring, the newly elected Republican-controlled legislature and governor surprised the citizens of Ohio by passing Senate Bill 5, which eliminated collective bargaining (among other things) for Ohio’s public employees. I’ll focus on the education ramifications of this bill since I’m a retired teacher. Teacher pay would no longer be based on a “step” system, but...
sh3iluh asked: do you think that it is worth it for upcoming teachers to stay longer at college to get a degree in their subject as well as in education?
Ohio's SB 5 Up For Repeal
Having lived in Ohio for forty-two years and having taught social studies in an Ohio public high school for thirty-five years, I’ve been following the story of Senate Bill 5 since it was passed earlier this year. For the record, I am a registered Democrat and I am against the bill. Ohio’s SB 5 was passed shortly after Wisconsin enacted similar legislation. Coincidence - of course...
bug523719 asked: I'm in the process of applying to the teacher education program at my university( I'd like to teach high school math). We discuss a lot of the topics I've seen mentioned just on the first page of your blog. It'll be interesting to read the articles we have and then to continue reading your blog. Thanks for giving insight we don't always get while in school. :)
ragstorags asked: Let me begin by saying that I really get behind a lot of what you say. Too often, politicians use the education system in this country as a soap box to rant about change (aka, promoting their careers), when they often seem to be doing more harm than good. My question is, are you against all forms of privatized education? I haven't read much that leads me to believe you are, however I noticed...
Where Are Our Professional Organizations?
There has been so much written about the state of education and how to “fix” it I sometimes feel as if my head is going to explode. Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin want to end collective bargaining and tenure. Politicians in both Washington D.C, and many states want to expand vouchers and charter schools, perhaps ending public education as we know it. Federal mandates (NCLB...
The Value Of College
For the past several years I’ve been reading articles about the value of a college education and whether or not the heavy burden of student loan debt was worth the “value” of going to college. This argument has always bothered me. Today I read two articles (article 1, article 2) from my hometown newspaper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, discussing the cost of college and whether or...
Riots and Disaffected Youth
I read about the riots in Great Britain and wondered when disaffected youth might do the same here. As I thought about this, and read some of the analyses, I decided youth in America won’t riot because they are not united by any single issue that would cause them to rise up against authority and establishment. It would be tough to be young today. Economic stagnation has dimmed job prospects...
Politicians - At It Again
By now many of you will have heard of the Missouri law that forbids teachers and students from becoming Facebook friends. I’m sure it was a reaction to the few bad apples who have abused their positions as educators to take advantage of students. However, this is just the type of overreaction we have come to expect from our lawmakers. When there is a hint of a problem, apply a steam roller...
cmrubinworld asked: I love your blog. I am now following you. Would you take a look at my blog about global education and consider following me?
Why I will never pursue cheating again - Panos... →
gjmueller: An Associate Professor at Stern School of Business of New York University documents his experience with punishing students for cheating and the resulting consequences to his career. Dumbfounding. via chartier This is sad begs for further discussion by educators.
The Storm Is Upon Us
Some years ago I read Tom Friedman’s “The World Is Flat.” I found the ideas fit my hazy view of what was occurring in the world and helped me flesh out some of the questions I had about why things were happening as they were (outsourcing in particular). Now I’m reading Richard Florida’s “Flight of the Creative Class” and I’m starting to see how some...
Eduwonk has an article on tenure, and while the article is about tenure in higher education, there are two comments worth reading after the article. One comment discusses the tenure argument as “unconstrained inquiry vs efficiency.” The other expands the tenure discussion to public school teachers and explains it from a legal point of view - namely, tenure gives teachers due process,...
I just read Cheating On Standardized Tests and Roaches in the Washington Post. The article discusses the prevalence of cheating, by schools and by teachers, on the high stakes tests required by NCLB. It is a good article and educators should read it. As I read, it struck me that cheating situations are created by the pressure to perform, and often that pressure is external. Let me explain - a...