K-12

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  • Solving the Problem of Parental Engagement

    …As my kids went through school, I saw a few of the many issues that surround what is called “parental engagement.” Many parents would have loved to go to school meetings, concerts, and performances, but they were rarely scheduled for the convenience of parents. My favorites were the school…
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  • Principal Pipeline

    …An interesting initiative to dramatically improve schools isn’t disruptive or innovative or even particularly exciting — at least to non-educators. It is merely an attempt to ensure that school leaders understand the scope of their job and are fully prepared to lead instruction in schools. As I write…
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  • ‘You Can Change Their Whole Life’

    …I first became aware of efforts to close achievement gaps in Lexington, Massachusetts, in 2008, when I met the relatively new superintendent, Paul Ash, at an achievement gap conference organized at Harvard by Ronald Ferguson. Ash struck me as a serious educator who was concerned that African American students were…
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  • Schools That Leave Some Students Behind “Virtually Nonexistent”? Not So Fast

    …Over the past six months, we have worked with a large coalition of national civil rights, disabilities, and business organizations to convince Congress to strengthen the accountability provisions in the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This diverse coalition shares the conviction that if the new law is…
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  • Between the Echoes: ‘We Are Still Here’ — Native Students and Postsecondary Dreams

    …An offshoot of Ed Trust’s Echoes From the Gap series, drawing stories of students from behind the statistics, this blog series shares shorter narratives — brief glimpses into classrooms and hallways — that give readers an opportunity to examine educator practices and policies through the intimate lens of student experience. All…
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  • Developing Great Teaching

    …I have recently been exposed to discussions teachers are having in the United Kingdom, and it turns out — drum roll, please — they talk about the same things as teachers in the United States. One thing I have been interested to learn is that teachers in the U.K. are…
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  • Lies, Lies, Damn Lies: Enough With NEA’s Lies About “Test and Punish”

    …UPDATED If there has been unanimous agreement on anything during the process for renewing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act it is this: School ratings systems should no longer be just about performance on standardized tests. Indeed, every version of the new law in both the House and Senate has…
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  • Class of 2015: Here We Come, America

    …Not long ago, I wrote about the disbelief African American students at Elmont Memorial High School confront about their high achievement. Ashley Simon, the valedictorian of the class, told me she is often greeted with surprise when people hear she earned 5’s on five Advanced Placement exams. Other…
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  • Finding Success in Whatever Way Possible

    …In two new papers, scholar John Hattie identifies the most important — and the least important — things we can do to improve education, based on syntheses of a great deal of research. In the Huffington Post, I write about what he found. In one of the papers, Hattie addresses what…
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  • Sugarcoating American History

    …On a visit to Berlin last year, my husband and I found ourselves sitting on a streetcar next to another American, identified by his University of Memphis T-shirt. As fellow tourists do, we struck up a conversation. How long had he been there? A few days. What…
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  • Doing What Some Said Was Impossible

    …I came to Ed Trust in 2004 to help find high-performing schools with significant numbers of students of color and students from low-income families and then figure out what it is they do. These were the (relatively) early days of No Child Left Behind, and many people around…
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  • The Real Courageous Conversations

    …At some point we have to be honest about some of these kids.” The veteran educator spoke in italics, words slanting off her tongue eager to reveal their hidden meaning. “We have to separate the wheat from the chaff and tell some of these kids they’re out.…
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  • Improvement — At Scale

    …In Huffington Post this week, I write about a book that I found really exciting — Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better. It describes a process of improvement developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that borrows from business’s quality…
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  • Teachers: Accountability Buttresses Education for All Students

    …Last week, several Teach Plus teachers spoke on Capitol Hill about how federal accountability policy has impacted their teaching. Speaking passionately about their students, classrooms, and schools, these teachers emphasized that federal law must ensure high expectation for all groups of students and prompt meaningful action and support when any…
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  • Calling the Nation’s Civil Rights Leaders Ignorant on Testing: Really?

    …Last week, Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, took to the pages of Education Week to call leaders of the Urban League, the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the League of Latin American Citizens, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights…
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  • More Teachers Are Sticking Around, But in Which Schools?

    …A new study shows that new teachers are more likely to stay in the profession (83 percent) than most previous studies have suggested (as low as 50 percent). That’s encouraging news, but it’s important to remember that staying in the profession doesn’t mean staying in the…
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  • When Tests Get Real

    … To the young leaders, the organizers, the rage against the machiners: I was you. Spelled America with three Ks. Wrote angry poetry on notepaper in the back of the class – when I managed to attend. Drew raised fists along the margins of the low-level dittos handed out…
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  • ‘The Only Route for Poor Children Out of Poverty Is Us’

    …Craig Gfeller, principal of a small, high-poverty elementary school in exurban Washington, is adamant that his school provides opportunities for his students because, he says, schools are the only hope many poor children have. “The only route for poor children out of poverty is us,” he says. He…
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  • Evaluating an Evaluation System: Lessons From a New York Times Graphic

    …Teacher evaluation systems are complex. There are a number of measures available — such as classroom observations, student achievement growth, and survey results — to rate a teacher’s performance, and each one has its own insight to add. Districts should keep that in mind, particularly as they (and policymakers and…
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  • What Does Good Education Research Say?

    …In Huffington Post this week, I talk about a new movement of teachers who are taking control of their own professional development by seeking out rigorous cognitive and education research that can really help improve their practice. One of the cornerstone works they cite is John Hattie’s Visible Learning…
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