I pledge allegiance…

(Click on the title to read the entire post) I have been going through those files and have come across two pages that awakened a memory about a time over forty years ago when some "True Americans" were bemoaning the fact that students might be allowed to opt out of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning of every school day. As a 7th grade homeroom teacher in 1975, I witnessed this regular exercise every day and was of the opinion that for most students, it was a mindless mumble of meaningless words, and I had the temerity to say so in the teacher's lounge during a discussion among my colleagues over lunch. Attacked as the second coming of King George III, a Russian instigator, and someone who was advocating the end of American Democracy as it was then known, I decided to gather some evidence.

The Harm That School Choice Brings

(Click on the title to read the entire post) A challenge that continues to face public schools is not how to provide opportunities for parents to reallocate their children to schools the parents choose; rather, the preeminent and ongoing challenge is how to appropriately and effectively allocate a sufficient number of highly effective teachers to those students most in need of three essential qualities possessed by such teachers, their unyielding belief in... ... the ability of all children, including those who are disadvantaged, to learn  ... their belief that their calling to be a teacher is a noble one of significant social importance ...their conviction that a professional teacher has a moral responsibility to acquire and finely hone the research-proven skills and strategies needed to lead all students to mastery of the knowledge and skills that will empower them to succeed as adults

We shall be as a city upon a hill…

(Click on the title to read the entire post) I’m sick near to death with the predictable responses of the group of politicians who 1) claim mass killings are not who “we” are, 2) point to emotional instability of killers with the implication that killers would not kill if only we could get them therapeutic help, and 3) ask us to pray for victims and their families; none of these politicians acknowledge the underlying recipe for the toxic stew in which we Americans are immersed…

Standardized Testing and the Emperor’s New Clothes

I suppose I was in the second grade when the fable was read to me, but even at that age, the fable made me aware that children can have great power if they are honest, and equally important, I was provided with the insight that adults, especially important and powerful adults, are willing to go along with something preposterous because they are afraid to be the “only one” to stand up for a truth—especially if they had been outspoken in supporting something very questionable.

It’s a Wonder We Can Think at All

(Click on the title to read the complete post) My first weeks as a teacher were desperate times, despite the fact that I had been trained to teach the very students sitting in front of me. This is not atypical due to Education’s failure to follow the models provided by other professions where newbies learn their way around the block as clerks and interns before being set free to practice their professions. Fortunately, I was saved by a demanding principal and a compassionate and knowledgeable Science Department Chair. Survival, as so often happens with emerging teachers, is more often a matter of good fortune than systemic support. I had been lucky, and thanks to these two great educators, I was surviving, but I was not thriving, and in my view, neither were my students!

The Rule of Law and Tinkerbell (Updated)

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(Click on the title to read the post) The power of which I spoke then and write about now is not the power of Law, which is a mythical power that depends upon the Tinkerbell Effect; rather, it is the power that comes from an ability to instill fear in the minds of a majority of citizens—their individual fear of significant material loss, of physical pain, and/or fear of death—in order to force them into compliance.