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1148 in the collection  

Education Truthiness at the New York Times
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: January 01, 2016
Quick Summary: Taking a look at what article placement says about the education message the New York Times delivers.

Gaslighting & Turnaround Schools
By Peg with Pen
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Quick Summary: This perceptive examination of what Turnaround is actual about is a must-read. It comes from Peg with a Pen, a blog by a savvy teacher and leader in United Opt Out. She explains that Turnaround policy is not about helping schools; it is about degrading teachers and students and increasing the power of the privileged.

December 28, 2015

Every Teacher Who Declares She's Not Political Should Read This
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: December 21, 2015
Quick Summary: The End of Public Schools: The Corporate Reform Agenda to Privatize Education
by David Hursh
138 pages

How to Raise a Scientist in the Xbox Age
By Robert Scherrer
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 15, 2015.

The author's observation that in the good old days without organized activities kids were left to their own devices, brings back my strong memories. The only rule at our house was "be home for dinner at 5." I roamed the town on my bicycle, figuring out on my own what to do. My husband, who grew up to be a physicist, tells of hair-raising stories of exploits similar to those recounted below.

Better Management Through Belles Lettres: Literature at the B-school
By Merve Emre
Publication Date: December 11, 2015
Quick Summary: Reading this article, we see that at the same time fiction is being withheld from primary graders in the name of increasing skills for the Global Economy, it is on the upsurge in business courses at elite universities in the name of producing if not moral leaders, at least more emphathetic.

This article is from The Baffler No. 29. I recommend that you subscribe--and Read Robert Coles' books.

Advisory (the Feds claim they can't require it--unless you want to get the money) Teacher Rating System: Form P
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: December 02, 2015
Quick Summary: Fill out this form and file it with anybody you think will care.

P. L. 94-142: Mainstream or Quicksand?
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: October 25, 2015
Quick Summary: Originally published in Phi Delta Kappan in 1990, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top made this article more depressingly current than ever. Through anecdotes of individual students I describe the real-life impact of P.L. 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. I argue that mainstreaming is not necessarily in the best interest of children with special needs. Even the primary purposes of mainstreaming--better socialization and enhanced self-esteem--are rarely achieved. We need to provide meaningful alternatives for those who do not flourish in the mainstream.

As a weapon in the hands of the restless poor
Learning to Save Your Life
By Earl Shorris
Publication Date: October 23, 2015
Quick Summary: This article from Harper's, September 1997, tells how Earl Shorris started the remarkable Clemente Course, a 10-month course in the humanities at the college level, to people living in economic distress. An inmate at Bedford Hills explained why Plato's Allegory of the Cave is critical reading for poor people:, 'The ghetto is the cave. Education is the light. Poor people can understand that.'

Read what happens when the first group encounters the Socratic method: It was the beginning of a love affair, the first moment of their infatuation with Socrates. Later, Abel Lomas would characterize that moment in his no-nonsense fashion, saying that it was the first time anyone had ever paid attention to their opinions.

Read what happens when students visit the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum, encounter poetry, argue about logic, and more and more and more.

You can read an update on The Clemente Course here.

Read this and then fight for the right of students in public schools to have 'a moral alternative to the street'-- access to a curriculum that can change their lives--instead of being locked in a curriculum that will keep them imprisoned. Shorris posits the study of humanities as a foundation for getting along in the world, for thinking, for learning to reflect on the world instead of just reacting to whatever force is turned against you. He posits the humanities as one of the ways to become political--not political in the sense of voting in an election but in the broad sense.

Common Core downgrades fiction as a way of stopping kids from becoming political in this broad sense.

Rich people learn the humanities in private schools and expensive universities. And that's one of the ways in which they learn the political life. I think that is the real difference between the haves and have-nots in this country. If you want real power, legitimate power, the kind that comes from the people and belongs to the people, you must understand politics. The humanities will help.

Earl Shorris was a regular contributor to Harperâs Magazine from 1972 until his death in 2012. In 1995, he founded the Clemente Course for the Humanities, a ten-month-long academic program designed to provide college-level literature and philosophy classes to low-income students in New York City. In this essay, published in the September 1997 issue of the magazine, Shorris tells the story of the programâs first two years. There are now twenty-four Clemente Courses operating in the United States. NPRâs report on the Harlem location, which aired in May 2015, can be found here. NPR gave it a good title: 'Learning fpr the Sake of Learning.' They might have called it 'Learning to Save Your Life.'

I feel very proud that the only publisher to support this effort was the independent, employee-owned W. W. Norton. They publish my husband's books.

Shorris's blockbuster book is Riches for the Poor: The Clemente Course in the Humanities

The Hypocrisy of 'Helping' the Poor
By Paul Theroux
Publication Date: October 03, 2015
Quick Summary: Paul Theroux's book got a bad review in the New York Times just a few days before this on-the-mark commentary,appeared in the Sunday paper, Oct. 4, 2015.

An angry Theroux says that executives of American companies such as Nike, Apple, Microsoft should invest in the Deep South as they did in China. This would mean hiring workers at a living wage.

Lessons People Learn from Books
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: October 02, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from "A Not-So-Tearful Farewell to William Bennett," Phi Delta Kappan, September 1988.
It still speaks to what we can learn from kids.

Dyett story picked up in the context of Chicago's program of segregating Black people, , destroying public schools and public housing...
Left out of the narratve is the role of Black 'leaders' in the creation of segregation and the destruction of children and families within the ghetto.
By Eve L. Ewing & George Schmidt comment
Publication Date: September 25, 2015
Quick Summary: by George N. Schmidt, Substance News, Sept. 21

In addition to drawing national attention to the struggle over Dyett High School and the public schools of Chicago's Bronzeville community, the hunger strike for Dyett, which suspended the hunger strike itself on Sunday, has drawn national attention to some of Chicago's ruling class's nastiest secrets -- among them the systematic segregation of Black people for more than 100 years. Although the policy of ruthless segregation was created and enforced in Chicago by wealthy White people, the Dyett struggle makes it clear, again, that the destruction of Black lives personified by the closing of schools in Black Chicago would have been impossible without the active (and lucrative) collaboration of Black "leaders" -- the preachers, professors, pundits, and politicians who stood with Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool when he announced that Dyett would remain open as a public school serving the Bronzeville community -- but that Dyett would not have the programs and governance demanded by the hunger strikes.

Like a previous article in the Atlantic outlining how Chicago segregates (to this day!), the current New Yorker article places the Dyett struggle in the context of Chicago's history of successful segregation of Black people -- and only Black people among Chicago's many minorities -- that began almost at the beginning of the 20th Century, took its basic forms during the years after World War I (and the first "Great Migration") and was perfected during and after World War II (in the context of the second "Great Migration"). The only major piece left out of the New Yorker update is the listing of Black leaders going back a hundred years whose careers, churches, and businesses profited from the massive program of racial segregation and the isolation of Black children in the public schools of Chicago.

The mutli-racial coalition opposing the massive school closings on the agenda for the May 22, 2015, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education persisted in opposing the agenda that would result in the closing of 50 schools. Shannon Bennett of KOCO (the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization) spoke forcefully against the proposed closings during the "public participation" portion of the meeting. The Board's president, David Vitale, finally ordered the massive CPS security squad to drag Bennett from the podium, and security staff pushed and pulled aside those who had surrounded Bennett during his remarks. All of the members of the Board of Education sat silently during the protests, later voting in favor of the largest school closings in Chicago history. One of them, Black Board member Mahlia Hines, criticized the protesters for being rude, reminding them that she was from the "Black Community." As of the time of the Dyett hunger strike in 2015, Hines was still a member of the Board of Education, having served more than four years since her May 2011 appointment to the appointed Board by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Standards, Plain English, & the Ugly Duckling
Lessons About What Teachers Really Do
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: September 12, 2015
Quick Summary: I've been fighting this battle a long time. In 1998, the Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation and the John Dewey Project on Progressive Education teamed up to ask me to write a little book about standards. They didn't pay me and there were no royalties, but I was eager to get the word out. I found that when I finished the book,Standards, Plain English, & the Ugly Duckling: Lessons About What Teachers Really Do (70 pages), I had a lot more to say, and One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards was the result. The Ugly Duckling book is long out of print but One Size struggles on, more relevant than ever. I give the link to Amazon because they let you look inside, where you can see that back in 1999, I warned that the Standardistos offer a curriculum of death. If you put 'male baboons' into a search, you can read about how baboons greet each other and what that has to do with CEOs.

As evidence that the fight against standards is not new, I offer the follow excerpt from Ugly Duckling. I think you will see how current it is.

By David Greene with Ohanian comment
Publication Date: September 07, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from Schools Matter, Sept. 5, 2015.

Anyone who had contact with Thomas Sobol knew what a force he was, a positive force. I give one example of his ethical stance.

Last winter, I read depositions in the Williams case and was stunned to read the testimony and interrogation of Dr. Thomas Sobol, former commissioner of education for New York. Sobol was one of four experts testifying for the students who donated their time and their expertise, without fee. Other experts, and they were numerous, received from $100 to $500 an hour--to testify in endless depositions. And to write expert reports. We're talking very big bucks adding up for the good guys and the bad guys. But of import here is the fact that the state's lawyers gave Sobol a very hard time because his expert report did not cite other expert reports.

Sobol acknowledged this, saying, "The report does not cite formal studies of those matters. I based my opinion on a lifetime of work in the schools in a variety of roles." The state's attorney dismissed this. Day-to-day work in the schools has no value--even if that work included being a teacher, a superintendent, and a state commissioner of education.

For $300 an hour you get expert testimony. For $19.95 you get a book by experts. In the famous Eliezer Williams, et al vs California class action lawsuit over whether agencies failed to provide public school students with equal access to instructional materials, safe and decent school facilities, and qualified teachers, Sobol was a witness for Williams.

--from Susan Ohanian, Holding Accountability Accountable: What Ought to Matter in Public Education, TC Record, Feb. 2005

Got that? I figured out that one liberal pocketed around $30,000 for testimony.

Sobol declined payment.

Watch That Language!
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: August 28, 2015
Quick Summary: It's interesting that the Feds are vigilant about the claims made by food, drug, and cigarette producers. But producers of education products can claim anything them damn well please.

This could change everything about school — for kids, teachers and everybody else
By Valerie Strauss; Marion and Howard Brady
Publication Date: August 27, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from the Washington Post Answer Sheet, Aug. 27, 2015.

I could offer many anecdotes from my own teaching to pound home the point made here by the Bradys, but I'll refrain. I'll just say that the current blather about teaching critical thinking just drives me berserk. As for the lesson plan rigor, I just want to add, "And what about the bird in the window?" RIP David Hawkins.

Much of what's being touted today as rigorous is merely onerous. The first step in changing the system is for individuals to change.

Class Notes What’s really at stake when a school closes?
By Jelani Cobb
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from The New Yorker, Aug. 31, 2015, written by a graduate of Jamaica High School.

Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb has been contributing to The New Yorker and newyorker.com since 2013, and became a staff writer in 2015. He writes frequently about race, politics, history, and culture. His most recent book is "The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress." He's an associate professor of history, and the director of the Africana Studies Institute, at the University of Connecticut. He won the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, for his columns on race, the police, and injustice.

Peek Inside a Classroom
By Daun Kauffman
Publication Date: August 23, 2015
Quick Summary: This searing piece appeared on LA Progressive, reposted from Lucid Witness, Aug. 21, 2015. It is a true story,using pseudonyms.

Daun Kauffman has taught . . . (actually, mostly learned) in Philadelphia public schools for 15 years. Prior to public education worked as a business executive for about 17 years and earlier as a biomedical photographer.

Ohanian Note: I agree with the author that teachers must become informed about childhood trauma. But improving NCLB is not the answer to the problem. The first step must be a living wage for everybody in the country. Everybody.

Some people will still need extra help but until they have a living wage, they just don't have a chance.

Why I Am No Longer a Measurement Specialist
By Gene V Glass
Publication Date: August 24, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from the blog Education in Two Worlds: Gene V Glass tries to make sense of an institution trapped in a political struggle.

Gene's credits in psychometrics are long. His most recent books, written for a popular audience, take strong stands on the forces degrading public education:
Fertilizers, Pills & Magnetic Strips: The Fate of Public Education in America
50 Myths & Lies that Threaten America's Public Schools (with David C. Berliner).

Unity, Cadre, Democratic Centralism/Loyalty Oaths, UFT, Mass Organizations and Democracy
By Norm Scott
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from Norm's blog Ed Notes Online Norm is a longtime New York City teacher, now retired, a longtime union activist, and longtime nice guy. I met Norm when a group of educators traveled to the World of Opportunity (The WOO) in Birmingham, Alabama, to honor Steve Orel's work with pushed-out high schoolers. And I marched with him at Save Our Schools demonstration in Washington, D. C.

I read Norm's blog not only because I'm a former member of UFT and NYSUT but because I always learn something about how groups (the union in particular) operate.

What Norm writes about here gives us a peek into why activism against the Common Core never had a chance at the AFT convention. What Unity Caucus wants, Unity Caucus gets.

To Endorse or Not Endorse — That is the Question
By Deborah Duncan Owens
Publication Date: July 12, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from Public School Central blog. I agree with Owens in endorsing the United Opt Out position rather than the weak-kneed NPE. This is the time for revolution, not accommodation.

Deborah Duncan Owens takes a deep look at issues. As I said in a blurb for her new book, The Origins of the Common Core: How the Free Market Became Public Education Policy, "Deborah Owens offers a detailed probe of the corporate-political alliances that cross party lines to push radical ventures traveling as education reform. She provides a needed history of what is really behind the Common Core, the curriculum and testing it requires, and why anyone who supports the survival of local public schools should care."

K & Preschool Teachers: Last Stand in War on Childhood?
By Peter Gray
Publication Date: July 08, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from Peter Gray's Freedom to Learn blog at Psychology Today, July 8, 2015.

I was shelving books in the children's room at the library and a preschooler dressed up in a library-provided tutu asked me what I was doing.

Me: Putting books away.

Boy: How do you know where to put them?

Me: (only momentarily dumbstruck by the profundity of the question coming from a three-year-old): I look at the author's last name. The first letter shows me where the book goes.

Three other kids--dressed up in other library-provided costumes-- crowded around. I showed them the C on Carle and the big C on the book bin.

End of lesson that lasted maybe 30 seconds. Children went back to their very important play.

My joy in the moment is still strong--joy in the mini-lesson but even greater joy in our library as a place that honors children's play in the midst of great books.

A Marxist Reading of Reading Education
By Patrick Shannon
Publication Date: June 28, 2015
Quick Summary: Published in Cultural Logic, Volume 4, Number 1, Fall, 2000, Patrick Shannon's observations put the assault on today's teachers in historical context.

Hat tip: Rouge Forum for sending it out. The Rouge Forum tagline is Why Are Things As They Are? A lot of people, myself included, blather away about this assault and that. Few ask WHY? Why is public ed being attacked? Read on to find out.

By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: June 17, 2015
Quick Summary:

Teaching in a Challenging Environment; the Ethical Challenges You Will Face
By Richard Rothstein
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Quick Summary: This commencement speech was given May 14, 2015, at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education, where Rothstein was awarded an honorary doctorate. Valerie Strauss reprinted the speech at Washington Post Answer Sheet. I also found it at Alternet. Rothstein's stunning observations go unnoticed by other media. I double-checked the New York Times where they print all the news they see fit to print--where their editorial columnists are churning out boilerplate about the need for better teachers.

Rothstein makes the point that the tragedy of Freddie Gray began before he was even born and by 22 months, his lead level was four times as great as the dangerous level associated with serious loss of cognitive ability.

How great will the teacher have to be to help a classroom of children with such lead levels score a year's growth in academic subjects each year?

I disagree with Rothstein when he says that ethical choices do not require civil disobedience that refuses to participate in an unjust system. The hard fact is that teacher cannot be ethical while committing unethical acts. That said, Rothstein offers a fine, tough message for teachers, young and old.

Academy Fight Song
By Thomas Frank
Publication Date: May 25, 2015
Quick Summary: This examination of collegiate capitalism explains that the charmingly naive American student is in fact a cash cow, and everyone has got a scheme for slicing off a porterhouse or two. . . . Ours is the generation that stood by gawking while a handful of parasites and billionaires smashed higher ed for their own benefit.

This is from The Baffler, No. 23, 2013.

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Picturing Education on a Bell Curve
By Kristin Y. Christman
Publication Date: May 14, 2015
Quick Summary: Kristin Y. Christman is author of The Taxonomy of Peace. She has degrees in Russian and public administration from Dartmouth, Brown, and the University at Albany. This commentary first appeared in the Albany Times Union and was reposted at CounterPunch, May 14, 2015

I find it troubling that not a single person commented at the Times Union. Four people shared it on Facebook and three on Twitter.

Subhead: When School Misses the Point of Life.

Some kids love school the way it is, but for others, school ruins life by making them feel like automatons or hamsters on wheels.

Shel Silverstein: The Light in His Attic
By Myra Cohn Livingston
Publication Date: May 10, 2015
Quick Summary: This review of Shel Silverstein's work is from The Light in His Attic, The New York Times, March 9, 1996

Note that as of this writing Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic had been on The New York Times' best seller list (of books for adults) for three years.

Advice to Graduates
By George Saunders
Publication Date: May 09, 2015
Quick Summary: George Saunders gave this convocation speech at Syracuse University in 2013. The New York Times 6th floor blog by Joel Lovell published it July 31, 2013. After it was shared over one million times, Random House published a book intended for college graduates. We should send it to every member of Congress, along with the question: Where's the Common Core standard for kindness?

Jiving with Jargon: A 'Close Reading' of School Reform Euphemisms
By Allen Koshewa
Publication Date: May 02, 2015
Quick Summary: Allen Koshewa, a longtime teacher, is the author of Discipline and Democracy: Teachers on Trial. For a joyful look at his classroom, see From Murder to Disco: An Opera Inquiry.

Below is a must-read examination of ed reform jargon. Besides being amusing, it's insightful-- right on target.

What has happened to our profession?
By Don Perl
Publication Date: April 13, 2015
Quick Summary: Greeley, Colorado public school teacher Don Perl wrote this poem in 2001--after refusing to give the oppressive state test. After moving to a university position, Perl has continued his activism with the Coalition for Better Education. Among other activities, every year this group puts up billboards urging parents to opt out of the tests.

On the Creative Process
Publication Date: April 11, 2015
Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: This insight about the creative process comes from Back to the Drawing Board: An interview with Bruce Eric Kaplan, whose BEK cartoons are omnipresent in The New Yorker. Read this in the context of all the blather about schools teaching thinking, critical or creative.

A teacher's confession: Why I quit
By Deanna Lyles
Publication Date: April 12, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from Citizen Times, April 3, 2015. It provoked 130 comments.

Please note: The very specific list of reasons this teacher gives for quitting do not include the need for more money. She talks of the planned, deliberate assault on students, not school budgets or the need for more money in her own pocket.

Why the conventional wisdom on schooling is all wrong
By Marion Brady
Publication Date: April 09, 2015
Quick Summary: This article appeared in Washington Post Answer Sheet, April 7, 2015.

Valerie Strauss introduced it: Kids go to school to learn stuff. Right? Not exactly, according to veteran education Marion Brady, who has long argued that public education needs a paradigm shift -- though not the same one pushed by school reformers who champion the Common Core State Standards, school choice and vouchers.

Brady says schools need a complete transformation in what and how students learn. He has also been highly critical of standardized testing. Here's his latest piece.

An Editor in Search of Activism and Justice
Publication Date: April 05, 2015
Quick Summary: I just came across this 14-year-old e-mail and was struck by these words of an editor trying to go against the status quo.

I responded to the compliments and to this editor's "sense of activism and justice"--and after he explained that the trade division is totally separate from McGraw-Hill testing and that my book could indeed criticize McGraw-Hill, I
did write a book: What Happened to Recess and Why Are Our Children Struggling in Kindergarten?

Alas, it was ahead of its time: Parents weren't worried about outrageous testing in 2002. That said, the book is even more timely today. I'll say this for McGraw-Hill: They were great to work with and they've kept the book in print all these years.

Alas, the fellow who wrote the note below is no longer at McGraw-Hill and the current crop of publishers who don't absolutely embrace the standards seem to confuse whining about standards and testing with activism and justice, not to mention their tin ears for humor). My determination to employ a unique format for exposing the 'good guys' who are complicit in school deform does not sit well with business as usual.

Three rejections and counting.

Teacher Professional Development and Products that Ship
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: April 03, 2015
Quick Summary: Google offers its think team two years to produce something shippable. Current teacher professional development seems to be operating on the same premise.

Chickens eventually do come home to roost
By Jim Broadway
Publication Date: March 23, 2015
Quick Summary: This is from Illinois School News Service, March 23, 2015.

Three decades of accusing educators of being the cause of everything that's wrong with the national economy cannot be salved with higher pay or smaller classes.

What will undo the damage? An apology would be a good start.

When a Public Intellectual Speaks Out But No One Hears Her, Does She Exist?
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Quick Summary: This is Chapter 5 in
Reimagining the Public Intellectual in Education: Making Scholarship Matter
, edited by
by Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin and Cynthia Reyes

By Andrew Lih
Publication Date: February 26, 2015
Quick Summary: Andrew Lih is Associate professor, School of Communication, American University.

This commentary is from This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress, edited by John Brockman (2015)

Ohanian note: My physicist husband, astounded that he was married to someone who hadn't taken calculus, gave me an ugly big calculus book the first Christmas we were married. The second Christmas I gave him a notebook with most of the problems worked out. I found that notebook 30 years later. It might as well have been hieroglyphics, but I still feel that doing calculus for love is a better reason than colleges offer for making it a requirement.

Classic case of the pot calling the kettle black
By Lois Meyer
Publication Date: February 25, 2015
Quick Summary: This commentary appeared in the Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 22, 2015.

Four Seattle Teachers Declare 'We Refuse to Give the Tests'
By Four Teachers
Publication Date: January 31, 2015
Quick Summary: Four Seattle area teachers who got to know one another in 2011, when they all attended the Save Our Schools march in Washington, DC, stood before the Renton Board of Education and read "statements of professional conscience" in which they pledged their refusal to administer standardized tests to their students. Their names are Julianna Krueger Dauble, Judy Dotson, Susan DuFresne and Becca Ritchie.

These statements were delivered to the Renton School District Board of Education and appeared on
Living in Dialogue
, Jan. 28, 2015

Change Comes from Children
By Mike Martin
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Quick Summary: Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., and the young people who kept marching.

Be Afraid: The Five Scariest Trends in Philanthropy
By David Callahan
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Inside Philanthropy, Oct. 31, 2014

This will be my last year teaching in the hospital -- here are 3 things I learned
By Joe Bower
Publication Date: December 05, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Joe Bower's blog, For the Love of Learning, June 17, 2014, who noted earlier that 'teaching in a children's psychiatric assessment unit has forever changed my perspective on what matters most.'

Think of how different ed reform(sic) would be if, instead of bowing to Bill Gates money, policy makers could spend five minutes with Joe Bower.

Dear Teacher, You Are Not the Most Important Thing in the Universe
By Gene V Glas Dear Teacher, You Are Not the Most Important Thing in the Universes
Publication Date: December 03, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from the blog Education in Two Worlds. Read this--and refuse blame.

Also recommended: 50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America's Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education by David C. Berliner and Gene V Glass.

An Insider's View of 'A Nation at Risk' and Why It Still Matters
By Gerald Holton
Publication Date: November 18, 2014
Quick Summary: This commentary is from Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2003, the 20th anniversary of the publication of A Nation at Risk. It is by a member of the panel that wrote the report and a professor emeritus of physics and of the history of science at Harvard University.

He mentions that the group working on "Nation at Risk" read papers by Alexander Astin, Paul Hurd, and Thorsten Husen. Not recognizing them, I looked them up.

Alexander Astin: Director of research for both the American Council on Education (1965-1973) and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. (1960-1965).

Paul Hurd: Noted science educator. His papers are archived in the Hoover Institution.

Thorsten Husen: Swedish pioneer in the field of military psychology.

I leave it to the reader to draw conclusions about the choices made to advise the panel on the needs of K-12 education.

Also of interest: The head of the Commission had a career that included the presidency of two universities as well as the presidency of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For an important update on "A Nation at Risk," see Education Accountability as Disaster Bureaucracy by P. L. Thomas.

The Billl and Melinda Gates Foundation Guide to Getting Aligned
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: November 06, 2014
Quick Summary: An article titled Teaching to the Common Core by Design Not Accident was published in Phi Delta Kappan and made available April 6, 2012 in Education Week, listed as a content partner.

Education Week offers this subhead: "The Gates Foundation's substantial investment in developing the Common Core State Standards now depends on translating big ideas into practices that teachers can and will use."

Education Week Editor's Note: A grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helps support Education Week's coverage of K-12 business and innovation.

Democracy and the Donor Class
By Gara Lamarche
Publication Date: October 31, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, #34 Fall 2014, In this thoughtful critique of philanthropy,the author observes that, at $3 billion-a-year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spending rate is at least four times as big as that of the next largest philanthropy. Its influence is even greater because of its focused approaches on very particular issues in US education reform and health issues abroad. Some analysts are beginning to worry about the influence of such concentrated top-down money effortsânot just in its own favorite projects but in philanthropy in general.
When The Atlantic posted this online, they retitled it 'Is Philanthropy Bad for Democracy?'

Children, Schools, Football and What We Value
By Sydney Lea
Publication Date: October 25, 2014
Quick Summary: This essay appeared in Valley News, Oct. 24, 2014. Vermont's poet laureate, who admits that one year teaching in a private high school showed him he was not psychologically equipped to endure that sort of stress, notes that Garret Keizer's new book shows how demanding it is to be a public school teacher in our time.

Schools As Places that Forbid Live Things
By Jerry Heverly
Publication Date: October 07, 2014
Quick Summary: Jerry, a teacher in northern California, sent this in a note, and I asked him if I could post it. A wonderful quality comes through--a teacher trying to help kids make connections--as well as the dreadful constraints teachers face.

The funny thing about school rules: kids could watch the film about the chimp but can't pet a dog.

Maybe the world would be a better place if all school reformers watched the film about Lucy the chimp.

Go figure.

Ruffles and Flourishes
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: October 07, 2014
Quick Summary: A comment on Twitter about Flat Stanley provoked me to locate this article, published in The Atlantic, September 1987. I received some 150 letters about it--not from teachers but from ordinary citizens who cared about literature--one wrote he jumped off the train in Denver to mail a letter to me. Imagine! in 1987, travelers carried stamps with them. Flat Stanley author Jeff Brown wrote, saying he had received lots of mail. He also said he had no idea about what had been done to Stanley. I sent him a copy of one of the offensive basals.

The Charitable-Industrial Complex
By Peter Buffett
Publication Date: October 03, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from New York Times, July 26, 2013. Buffett's discussion of Philanthropic Colonialism is provocative.

Amrein Beardsley Takes on Thomas Kane Pronouncements on Teacher Reform
By Amrein Beardsley
Publication Date: September 27, 2014
Quick Summary:
Ohanian Comment: Thomas Kane on Education Reform was sent to subscribers of Amrein Beardsley's blog on Sept. 25, 2014.

It's worth remembering that Thomas Kane, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution as well as Brookings,was the senior staff economist for labor, education, and welfare policy issues within President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. Just remember: Clinton badly wanted a national test, and only Republican opposition kept him from getting it.

Here's some more about Kane from a 'search' on this website.

It should also be noted that Thomas Kane, along with Douglas Staiger predicted what would happen with NCLB, that it would hit integrated school districts more than districts that are homogeneous with regard to ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Policy makers didn't care.

I don't feel nearly so positive about much of the rest of his research, for example:

In 2009, Joel Klein used his bully pulpit to write a US News & World Report piece highlighting Kane's work on charter schools, saying, "Harvard Prof. Thomas Kane and a team of researchers for the Boston Foundation show that popular charter schools in Boston do in fact rapidly narrow the achievement gap, even after taking account of the characteristics of the students attending the charters."

Likewise, op ed columnist Nicholas Kristof likes to quote Kane in his facile solutions to public school problems.

Kane, working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, came up with 180-degree cameras to aid Memphis teachers in their professional development.

A Kane Observation: "Paying teachers on the basis of master's degrees is equivalent to paying them based on hair color."

State-sanctioned child abuse
By Wendy Lecker
Publication Date: September 10, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from the Stamford Advocate, Nov. 15, 2013. Wendy Lecker is a columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media Group and is senior attorney for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity project at the Education Law Center.

She pinpoints Common Core as child abuse.

George Plimpton Provides a Night on the Town for The Writer from Philadelphia
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: August 31, 2014
Quick Summary: Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature, by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta, Candlewick 2014

I Hated English Class, Until We Read Nabokov The novelist taught me how to leave room for magic
By Yelena Akhtiorskaya
Publication Date: August 27, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from The New Republic, Aug. 26, 2014. I liked it so much I immediately bought her novel Panic in a Suitcase.Panic in a Suitcase.

I always avoided college classes which might deconstruct The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding for the same reason Yelena Akhtiorskaya protected her secret books. Some books are just too special for defiling by deconstructing (or thinking about too hard).

Message to Compton: Try Some Student Engagement, Not AR-15s
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Quick Summary: I wonder if the decision-makers in Compton and other cities in California that are buying up AR-15s have considered the message this brings to schoolchildren. It is definitely not a message of safety.

An Important Message to Vermont Parents and Caregivers
By Rebecca Holcombe, Secretary of Education
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Quick Summary: With every school in Vermont rated 'low performing' by NCLB definition, the Secretary of Education reaches out to parents. I interpret it as a manifesto to the Feds: We know how to educate our kids. Leave us alone. I've copied her letter below. Here it is on the State Education Agency website. And don't miss Vermont's heroic response shows the way on No Child Left Behind letters, which puts this letter in its critical context--and gives reasons why every state education leader should go forth and do likewise. Revolution!

The Diane Ravitch Contradiction: Educators Should Rebel, but Be Nice When Addressing Oppressive Union Leaderships
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: July 28, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Ed Notes online, a blog by Norm Scott, long time New York City teacher and key player in production of The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman. Norm has long been active in grass roots efforts to hold the AFT accountable to teachers and students.

Helping Kids Learn to Be Kind
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: July 25, 2014
Quick Summary: This advice to parents from The Washington Post, July 18, 2014, makes me think of my legacy from my parents. We lived one block from the train tracks, and I have very strong memories of hobos sitting on our back stoop eating soup and crackers.

I also have strong memories of my dad telling me about entering adulthood during the Depression. He had a job that gave him a 25 cent voucher for lunch, so he'd find someone out on the street, invite him to lunch, and give him the voucher. "I wanted to hear their stories," Dad explained.

All these decades later, that sticks with me: We need to listen to peoples' stories.

I know the principles and advice below apply as much to school as to home and I will intersperse a few of my proudest moments as a teacher.

Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League: The nation's top colleges are turning our kids into zombies
By William Deresiewicz
Publication Date: July 23, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from The New Republic, July 21, 2014. You can read William Deresiewicz's 2010 speech at West Point, Silence and Solitude.

Microsoft Just Laid Off Thousands of Employees With a Hilariously Bad Memo
By Kevin Roose
Publication Date: July 18, 2014
Quick Summary: This deconstruction of the Microsoft "You're fired!" memo is a good comment on the Microsoft ethos. It is from New York magazine's Daily Intelligencer, July 17, 2014.

It's easy to register and comment at the Daily Intelligencer. Figuring it's always good to get even a snipped of teacher antagonism toward Bill Gates onto public forum--instead of always preaching to the choir, I posted this comment: This provides good explanation of why teachers fear & despise Bill Gates. They don't even get a crazy letter when their careers are ruined by policies promoted--and paid for--by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

You should do likewise.

In Left Behind in the Race to the Top: Realities of School Reform, my essay, "Gates of Hell: Abandon all Hope, Ye Who Enter," contains examples of the Gates ethos that sets the tone for this memo. Confluence of the best of Microsoft's applications, indeed.

Microsoft Just Laid Off Thousands of Employees With a Hilariously Bad Memo
By Kevin Roose
Publication Date: July 18, 2014
Quick Summary: This deconstruction of the Microsoft "You're fired!" memo is a good comment on the Microsoft ethos. It is from New York magazine's Daily Intelligencer, July 17, 2014.

It's easy to register and comment at the Daily Intelligencer. Figuring it's always good to get even a snipped of teacher antagonism toward Bill Gates onto public forum--instead of always preaching to the choir, I posted this comment: This provides good explanation of what teachers fear & despise Bill Gates. They don't even get a crazy letter when their careers are ruined by policies promoted--and paid for--by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

You should do likewise.

In Left Behind in the Race to the Top: Realities of School Reform, my essay, "Gates of Hell: Abandon all Hope, Ye Who Enter," contains examples of the Gates ethos that sets the tone for this memo. Confluence of the best of Microsoft's applications, indeed.

The One-Sided Culture War Against Children Left and right unite against ‘kids who want it all’
By Alfie Kohn
Publication Date: July 06, 2014
Quick Summary: This is an excerpt from Alfie Kohn's book THE MYTH OF THE SPOILED CHILD: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting,(Da Capo Books, 2014).

This excerpt was posted at FAIR Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

Refuse All the Tests 2014-15
By Peg Robertson
Publication Date: June 25, 2014
Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: Schools Matter posted this clip from Peg Robinson's Peg with Pen, June 24, 2014.

This is a manifesto I embrace: Refuse all tests. All. I'd like to see teachers refuse them too. Teachers have to comes to grips with a critical question: Who's more guilty: He who creates an evil or he who uses it?

I think the Powerful are aware of Peg's admonition to the Standardistos: You are in the nosebleed section.

Ask yourself why the Feds are distributing all sorts of military equipment to cities. I mean, do you really think that Vermont needs a 45,000 pound armored vehicle? Or that a SWAT team in Haberseham County Georgia needs flashbang grenades ( to toss in a baby's crib)?

Some city officials are puzzled and alarmed by the militarization of local police forces--SWAT teams with riot gear and full body armor and helmets and assault rifles passed out by Homeland Security (New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management officials reported receiving $28.6 million in federal Homeland Security grants in 2014 alone.)

I wonder if the Feds are preparing for the Revolution. . . have to stop those nosebleeds.

Peg rightly calls for opting "them" out of their money and their power. But I think this goes far beyond Pearson, et al profits. This is all about controlling the public. If parents and teachers managed to bring down an abusive testing system, the general populace might think that they, too, could resist corporate abuse. For example, the people in Detroit might think they have a right to water.

People Power: First the tests, then the nation!

Opt Out!

What real learning actually looks like in class
By Marion Brady
Publication Date: June 19, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from the Washington Post Answer Sheet, June 18, 2014.

'Sit and Stare' to Prepare for Democracy?
By John Merrow
Publication Date: June 19, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Taking Note blog, June 18, 2014.

It may be late and little, but I take it as a hopeful sign that a mainstream reporter comes close to supporting those who opt out of testing. I do, however, much prefer David Berliner's observation about anecdotes and data.

Seniority, Tenure and the Vergara Decision
By Jack Gerson and Andy Libson
Publication Date: June 19, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from CounterPunch, June 18, 2014.

Ohanian Comment: I agree with the authors that the time for "calm" is long past. I think teachers would be smart--as well as moral--to emphasize the need for a living wage for the families whose children they educate. Poverty is what sucks the life out of so many of our schools, and a living wage would be the first step in addressing that problem.

I applaud the authors for calling out the Democratic Party. I hope unions have the guts to refuse to support Democrats in November. No union has a greater need to do this than the one in Chicago.

Third Party. Third Party. Third Party.

Every which way, teachers should be raising hell.

Also read Vergara v. California: Concerns Beyond Teachers by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, which discusses Harvard Economics Professor Raj Chetty's "cheerful and gleeful" testimony in the case. Amrein-Beardsley tells us, "Be sure to listen to Chetty explain President Obama's and the White House's involvement."

The School
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: June 15, 2014
Quick Summary: This story was written in 1974 and appears in Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme, which is described as 'audacious and murderously witty' volume. Put 'The School' into an Internet search and you will come up with lots of student interpretations that illustrate what's wrong with school assignments. My favorite line from these is 'Wow. Holy crap, I never want this class of children.'

If you want a good discussion of the story, read George Saunders' The Perfect Gerbil.

You can find links to lots more Barthelme stories here. They are good but none, I think, as perfect as 'The School.'

Capitalism vs. education: Why our free-market obsession is wrecking the future
By Eric Levitz
Publication Date: June 08, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Salon, June 8, 2014, and highlights the book The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame, which I have read--and marked with 42 sticky tabs--paragraphs I need to go back and read. The first one is in the second paragraph of the preface: "Education reform" is powerless against eliminationism and is at best a mirage that diverts oppositional energies. The very idea of education activism becomes a comforting fiction." Here's another: "the 'shit rolls downhill' nature of austerity requires teachers and schoolchildren to pay for the solvency of sinecured bankers and their political enablers."

And lots lots more.

Buy the book.

Salon.com publishes so much crap that I am always on the verge of giving up. And then. . . .

The False Promise of 'Practical' Education
By Michael S. Roth
Publication Date: May 22, 2014
Quick Summary: Educational institutions should aim to stimulate that hunger for knowledge--not just constrain it within some narrow path destined for yesterday's job market.

This argument against what education deformers want--educating people for work--appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 19, 2014.

By Lewis H. Lapham
Publication Date: May 15, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Harper's, March 2009, the beginning of President Obama's reign. Lapham notes points out where choosing "the best and the brightest," the products of first-class schools (Ivy League), has put us.

It's interesting that Lapham doesn't consider the newly-appointed Secretary of Education (also an Ivy leaguer) is worth mention. Education just doesn't have the status of Treasury, Defense, State. Not as much money involved.

By Lewis H. Lapham
Publication Date: May 15, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Harper's, March 2009, the beginning of President Obama's reign. Lapham notes points out where choosing "the best and the brightest," the products of first-class schools (Ivy League), has put us.

It's interesting that Lapham doesn't consider the newly-appointed Secretary of Education (also an Ivy leaguer) is worth mention. Education just doesn't have the status of Treasury, Defense, State. Not as much money involved.

Turnaround and About and Inside Out: Then Die
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: May 14, 2014
Quick Summary: The not-so-strange alliance of big media, charter schools, private foundations, and the US Department of Education. And from time-to-time the AFT.

I was going to call this Bombs Up Your Asses, Teachers, but this is (mostly) a family website.

Left-Right Alliances
By Ralph Nader
Publication Date: May 01, 2014
Quick Summary: by Politics & Prose Bookstore
Ralph Nader has fought for over fifty years on behalf of American citizens against the reckless influence of corporations on our society. At this pivotal political moment, Americans are more disillusioned with their political leaders than ever. Large majorities tell pollsters that big corporations have too much political power. The ever tightening influence of big business on the mainstream media, elections and our local, state and federal governments, have caused many Americans to believe they have no political voice.

In "Unstoppable," Nader ramps up the fight and makes a hugely persuasive case that American citizens are not powerless. "Unstoppable" is about the emerging political re-alignment that is combining the Left and the Right against converging corporate-government tyranny. Large segments from the progressive, conservative, and libertarian political camps find themselves aligned in opposition to the destruction of civil liberties, the bloated and economically draining corporate welfare state, the relentless perpetuation of America's wars, sovereignty-shredding free trade agreements, and the unpunished crimes of Wall Street against Main Street. These are all issues that can be traced back to the growing influence of corporate goliaths and their ability to combine forces with indentured government against the interests of the broader public.

Nader draws on half a century of his own experience working with the grassroots and Congress and tells of many surprising victories that have united progressive and conservative forces. As a participator in and keen observer of these budding alliances, he breaks new ground in showing how these coalitions can overcome specific obstacles that divide and rule them and expand their power on Capitol Hill, in the courts, and in the arena of public opinion. Nader provides a blueprint for how Americans on both sides of the aisle can fight against the corporate state and crony capitalism. Nader shows how they can reclaim their right to consume safe foods and drugs, breathe clean air, receive fair rewards for their work, regain control of taxpayer assets, and achieve a more self-reliant economy.

Far from espousing 'let's meet half-way' type compromises, Nader argues that it is in the interest of citizens of different political labels to join in the struggle against the corporate state that will, if left unchecked, ruin the Republic, shred our constitution, and stampede over the rights of the American people.

Fidgety Boys, the US Economy, and Recess
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: April 30, 2014
Quick Summary:
Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones

Our economy replaces good jobs with bad ones

A Link Between Fidgety Boys and a Sputtering Economy

Oh well, just blame those fidgety boys & their teachers

Revising the SAT To Make It Even Worse
By James W Loewen
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from History News Network, April 9, 2014.

James W. "Jim" Loewen is an American sociologist, historian, and author, best known for his 1995 book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, which was republished in 2007.

Teachers' working conditions are students' learning conditions
By Betty Olson-Jones
Publication Date: April 11, 2014
Quick Summary: This Op Ed appeared in the Contra Costa Times, April 4, 2014. The point here is important: The myths surrounding tenure are legion--and Tony Smith was pushing them in his op-ed. David B. Cohen commented on this piece, providing a link to his January piece Eight Problems with the Vergara Lawsuit. The trouble is most of the public doesn't read reasoned argument. They just engage in their favorite sport: teacher bashing.

The paper just identified Tony Smith as 'former Oakland school superintendent. Longtime Oakland teacher Jack Gerson, now retired, offer this close up view in Tony Smith leaves Oakland. . . in shambles. Watch out, Chicago!

Here's another Vergara link

The Downside of 'Grit'
By Alfie Kohn
Publication Date: April 05, 2014
Quick Summary: In this Washington Post article, Alfie examines the myths and realities surrounding 'grit.'

Dateline: Greeley, Colorado. Teacher Refuses to Give Abusive Test
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: April 02, 2014
Quick Summary: Reminder: In 2001, Greeley, Colorado teacher Don Perl refused to administer the abusive state test.

The Hope Diet: Would the Tea Party fall for this? Barack Obama and Bill Clinton both peddled a diet of hope.
By Thomas Frank
Publication Date: March 24, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Salon.com, March 23, 2014.

It's time for Democrats to demand more of a sure thing than the 'hope' Democrats peddle so easily.

Creativity vs. Quants
By Timothy Egan
Publication Date: March 22, 2014
Quick Summary:
This is from The New York Times, March 22, 2014

Reader Comment: We now have staggeringly low tolerances for uncertainty and an almost fanatical drive for measurability in everything we do.

Reader Comment: My son is a Trekkie. He has been one all his life. He wanted to be an engineer on the Enterprise. He wanted to be an engineer. I got him into the Math and Science Academy hoping he would get the education needed to be an engineer. When I saw his math grades I despaired. I am a financial analyst but saw my son had inherited his father's math skills.

This spring my son will graduate from the American Academy of Art. That's right an art school. At the Math and Science Academy there was a wonderful art teacher that sparked his creativity. He found out he could draw and he found his passion. If the principal of the Math and Science Academy had not felt that art was important my son, with a lot of tutoring, may have ended up a very poor engineer. Time will only tell if he will end up a great artist but he deserved the chance to find his passion and pursue it. I'm a nerd but I understood that not everyone is. I believe like Einstein: "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on how it climbs a tree, it will live it's life thinking it is stupid." The nerds try to make life easier to live, but the creatives make life worth living.

The 'People's Plan' to Save Detroit
By Glen Ford
Publication Date: March 21, 2014
Quick Summary: This Black Agenda Radio commentary, March 18, 2014, points to Detroit's voteless citizens registering their written objections to the state-imposed financial dictator's plans to restructure the city, in bankruptcy court. Activists say Detroit's "deep debt is rooted in 'misguided and racist decisions by Wall Street bankers and regional corporate elitesâ -- but the poor, mostly Black city is being made to pay."

Take a look at the tax incentives Detroit hands out to corporate raiders.

Seen anything about it in your local news source?

50 myths and lies about public schools
By Valerie Strauss, David C. Berliner & Gene V Glass
Publication Date: March 22, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Washington Post Answer Sheet, March 18, 2014.

National Reading Month: Kate DiCamillo on the Power of Stories
By Kate DiCamillo
Publication Date: March 06, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Amazon Omnivoracious blog, March 6, 2014 and needs no comment except to say that at the start of 2014 DiCamillo was named the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a post voted on by a panel of booksellers, the Children's Book Council, and the Library of Congress. At the end of January DiCamillo took home the Newbery Medal for Flora & Ulysses marking her third time as a Newbery recipient (she won the medal for Tales of Despereaux in 2004 and an honor for Because of Winn-Dixie in 2001). I would add that if you haven't read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, do it! While driving, I listened to it wonderfully read on audio. I was so overcome I had to pull over by the side of the road and take a long long pause. Later, looking to comfort a family victimized by Katrina New Orleans, this is the book I sent.

I won’t seek a 5th term on the Orange County School Board
By Judge 'Rick' Roach
Publication Date: March 07, 2014
Quick Summary: People in Orange County have known that they could count on Rick Roach to stand up for kids and teachers. I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Slicing and Dicing Curriculum Has Never Worked and Never Will
By Marion Brady
Publication Date: February 28, 2014
Quick Summary: Current controversial issues--standards, accountability, benchmarks, teacher quality, evaluation, length of school day, the nature of rigor, school grading, test design and uses, value-added measurement, Race to the Top, international comparisons, etc.--are sideshows--and distractions from what matters in learning.

Your Kid Is Being Bullied ---But Not in the Way You Think
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: February 28, 2014
Quick Summary: Jim Arnold, former Georgia superintendent of schools, says he's now working on retirement. He makes a very good point about who is bullying kids. New word: Accountabullies. And he tells parents what they should do about it.

No Teacher Left Unblamed is also a good term.

Big Score When Mom takes the SATs
By Elizabeth Kolbert
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from The New Yorker, March 3, 2014, in which Elizabeth Kolbert ponders, "The SATs may determine a studentâs future, but what do they really measure?"

This is an informative, highly entertaining essay.

Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers
By Simon Head
Publication Date: February 23, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Salon. It is excerpted from Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans".

Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazonâs sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers. You might find your Prime membership morally indefensible after reading these stories about worker mistreatment

Here's a book blurb from Richard Sennett:
"The regimented society has arrived, and Simon Head is its most probing critic. He not only shows the grip of computerized bureaucracy on people's lives, he also analyzes the economic interests and political processes which drive regimentation. This wide-ranging book is clearly and at times eloquently written. A must-read."

Simon Head, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University and Senior Member of St. Antony's College at Oxford University, serves as the Director of Programs at the New York Review of Books Foundation. He divides his time between Oxford, England and New York.

Public school teachers will see that Amazon's "cult of the customer" is what Bill Gates/Obama/Arne Duncan school reform is striving for.

Come read with me and be my Drone
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: February 06, 2014
Quick Summary:
With apologies to Christopher Marlowe.

The Trouble With Tiger Culture
By Stephen T. Asma
Publication Date: February 03, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 3, 2014. In considering what makes one culture superior to another, the author discusses the different views of childhood shown by Americans and Chinese--and pays tribute to the Three Stooges and the Marx brothers.

NAACP letter to the State Board of Education, House and Senate Education Committees, and the Citizens of Pennsylvania
By PA NAACP, Connie Parker, & George Schmidt
Publication Date: February 02, 2014
Quick Summary: Reminder: Take another look at the Sept. 3, 2013 Pennsylvania NAACP letter to the State Board of Education, House and Senate Education Committees, and the Citizens of Pennsylvania. Ask yourself why this letter received notice in only two papers: New Pittsburgh Courier and Substance.

The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies
By Chris Hedges
Publication Date: January 27, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from TruthDig, Jan. 26, 2014. The following is the transcript of a speech that Chris Hedges gave in Santa Monica, Calif., on Oct. 13, 2013. To purchase a TruthDig DVD of Hedgesâ address and the Q-and-A that followed, click here. As Robert Scheer says afterwards, "Have you ever been to a better lecture?" Buy the lecture as a way of supporting TruthDig (and exploring important ideas).

Chris Hedges spoke in Vermont last year. It was a remarkable performance.

Teachers, you are told you are preparing children for the Global Economy. Read Hedges' analysis of what a Jerry-rigged economy this is--and ask yourselves why you are ruining children's life for this systematic looting by the rich and powerful.

I think teachers don't fight the Common Core because they don't think they can win. Hedges makes a critical point:

I do not know if we can build a better society. I do not even know if we will survive as a species. But I know these corporate forces have us by the throat. And they have my children by the throat. I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.
Repeat this ten times: I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists. Then get up tomorrow and repeat it ten more times. And the day after.

#AskArne & Spleen Theater
By Curmudgucation
Publication Date: January 26, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Curmudgucation, a blog by Pennsylvania teacher Peter A. Green, Jan. 24 2014.

Here's an excerpt from the dog-and pony show conversation between a teacher on leave to work for a year at the USDOE and Arne. Proceed at your own risk.

Lisa Clarke: When individual philanthropists like Bill Gates or Eli Broad give donations do they earn a seat at the table making decisions with you?

Arne Duncan: I have tremendous respect for them and am thrilled that they have given -- lots of other places they could choose to put their dollars. The fact that they are trying to help education is a very positive thing. But no, it doesn't give them a seat at the table. You guys are at the table. But again, having people who have been successful come back and give back and be part of the solution is really important.

Think about the question Curmdgucation wanted to ask: What could Arne do to get the USDOE a seat at Gates and Broad's table?

Why I Want To Give Up Teaching
By Elizabeth A. Natale
Publication Date: January 19, 2014
Quick Summary: This op ed by a longtime teacher appeared in the Hartford Courant, Jan 18, 2014

Let's hope that speaking out is the first step toward the Revolution.

Moral Monday A Branding Exercise Blaming Republicans for Stuff Democrats Helped Them Do
By Bruce A. Dixon
Publication Date: January 16, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Black Agenda Report, Jan. 15, 2014.

Bruce Dixon nicely refutes the commonly held notion that if Republicans are bad, Democrats must be good. My bumpersticker reads: Republicans/Democrats: Same Shit, Different Piles.

Bruce Dixon shows Moral Monday for what it is, a cynical branding exercise.

Standardized: A new film
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Quick Summary: Standardized Lies, Money & Civil Rights, a documentary.

‘The Procedure’ and how it is harming education
By Marion Brady
Publication Date: January 13, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Washington Post Answer Sheet, Jan. 12, 2014. Marion Brady's 2011 book, What's Worth Learning asks and answers this question: What knowledge is absolutely essential for every learner? His course of study for secondary-level students, called "Connections: Investigating Reality," is free for downloading here. Brady's website is http://www.marionbrady.com.

No happy endings
By Daniel Richardson
Publication Date: January 02, 2014
Quick Summary: This analysis of a Vermont Supreme Court decision is from Vermont Digger, Dec. 27, 2013,provides a profoundly disturbing, up-close look at one child's troubled life. And as you read it, think of this child in school, being required to slog through test prep materials. And his teacher will be blamed if he is not successful.

Children Giving Clues
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: December 07, 2013
Quick Summary: This article appeared in English Journal, November 2013.

Give Teachers Some Time
By Susan McWethy
Publication Date: December 04, 2013
Quick Summary: The writer makes an important point--for teachers everywhere, not just Georgia.

And here's another Georgia educator's evaluation.

Dear State BOE,

I heartily agree with everything that Susan McWethy has so eloquently written. I speak as a public school parent and as a college professor of English.

I add my emphasis to the fact that there is no research to substantiate the usefulness of the TKES system. None.

I also would like to ask questions about the financial ends of TKESâwho is receiving money for Georgia implementing this unproven âevaluationâ system? How much? What connections do those making profit have to legislators and members of the BOE? If you cannot answer these questions with full candor, disclosure, and integrity, then you must not implement TKES.

There are better ways, much better ways, to evaluate teachers IF we truly care about kids. You can start with Peter Smagorinsky's work at UGA.

The question is whether or not you care about kids. TKES is not the way to do that.


Cindy Lutenbacher

Government-imposed education is obsolete
By Lynn Stoddard
Publication Date: November 30, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from the Ogden Standard-Examiner, Nov. 30, 2013. He is the author of Educating for Human Greatness.

Joe Hill Lives On
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: November 19, 2013
Quick Summary: I often start the day by posting a significant event of the day on Twitter--from Benjamin opening the first subscription library on Nov. 8, 1731 to six-year-old Ruby Bridges integrating William Frantz Public School in New Orleans in November 1960. Ruby told Robert Coles "I knew I was just Ruby, just Ruby trying to go to school...the Ruby who had to do it"

Today is November 19, 2013, and let's think about Joe Hill who died by firing squad on Nov. 19, 1915

Bully Tactics
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: November 13, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from the Goddess' blog, Nov. 11, 2013.

The writer takes on Randi Weingarten and worksheets--the worksheets that come home, taking the place of real reading. They also take the place of real family conversation.

Should Literature Be Useful?
By Lee Siegel
Publication Date: November 08, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from a New Yorker blog, Nov. 6, 2013.

Warning us not to put too much stock in fiction's ability to deliver empathy, Lee Siegel notes that 'Fiction's lack of practical usefulness is what gives it its special freedom.'

Lee Siegel is the author of two collections of criticism, Falling Upwards: Essays in Defense of the Imagination, and Not Remotely Controlled: Notes on Television.

The College Admissions Passion Play
By M. N. Stabler
Publication Date: October 19, 2013
Quick Summary: A mom reflects on the college essay requiring evidence of a childhood career of obsessive resume building--in The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 19, 2013.

Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming
By Neil Gaiman
Publication Date: October 16, 2013
Quick Summary: This outstanding essay from The Guardian,Oct. 15, 2013, originated as The Reading Agency annual lecture on the future of reading and libraries. Among other wisdom, Gaiman says: We have an obligation to tell our politicians what we want, to vote against politicians of whatever party who do not understand the value of reading in creating worthwhile citizens, who do not want to act to preserve and protect knowledge and encourage literacy. This is not a matter of party politics. This is a matter of common humanity.

The PTA forum's the thing wherein we’ll catch the conscience of John King
By Teacherbiz blog
Publication Date: October 14, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Teacherbiz blog, by a public school teacher, Oct. 14, 2013. It seems wild that Commissioner King was outraged that "special interests deprived parents of the opportunity to listen." that's what he demanded parents do--Listen quietly to the corporate line. When he insisted on interrupting parent comment time with his justifications for sending his own children to Montessori school, parents shouted, "Sit down!" King had already had his turn to speak (for over an hour). Parents wanted their turn (two minutes each). From his reaction, one would guess Commissioner King had never been told to shut up before. He did not react well.

The crisis of representation and the liberation of the self
By Nozomi Hayase
Publication Date: October 11, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Roar Magazine, Oct. 11, 2013. pointing out that To overcome the crisis of democracy and reaffirm our autonomy, we first of all need to liberate our empty self from mindless consumerism and conformity.

Think about how the observations of Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky and Ted Rall about Obama's 'larger' policies closely align with his education policy--Race to the Top and the Common Core. Chris Hedges called the election of Obama a "triumph of illusion over substance", and "a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by a corporate power elite."

When you have read this essay, go reread Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Read it, and ask yourself if you are one of the "good" silent people.

This Is Only a Test
By Jonathan Kozol
Publication Date: September 27, 2013
Quick Summary:
This is from The New York Times, Sept. 27, 2013. Jonathan Kozol says who have grown increasingly alarmed at seeing public education bartered off piece by piece, and seeing schools and teachers thrown into a state of siege, will be grateful for this cri de coeur -- a fearless book, a manifesto and a call to battle.

The Two Faces of American Education
By Andew Delbanco
Publication Date: September 25, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from The New York Review of Books, Oct. 10, 2013.

No matter how often I read it, I admit to being shocked and deeply offended by the oft-quoted lines from A Nation at Risk. And it burns in my soul that Diane Ravitch called it the most important education reform document of the 20th century--and she pretty much low-balls it in her new book. I'm almost as uncomfortable with her current permutation that "The public schools are working very well for most students." Schools need radical transformation--for everybody, but since the Obama/Duncan/Business Roundtable DEform is so wretched, we find ourselves defending schools as they are.

Regrettable in the extreme.

That said, it is a colossal disservice to Ravitch to pair these two books for review.

This attempt at Fair and balanced just doesn't cut it. Delbanco has done his homework on Rhee, but, ohmygosh, Rhee is hardly in Ravitch's league. Nowhere near. For starters, Ravitch has a much much longer history in education, a history I respect even when I disagree: she's smarter; she knows more. Period. Her dramatic reversal in opinion deserves serious consideration--absent all the Rhee-ness.

There is no excuse for letting a review of Ravitch's book be dominated by her opinion of Rhee--when that is far from a major topic in the book. Something like 20 mentions in a nearly 400-page book.

Delbanco exceeds all limits in trying to be "fair." Why bother?

We needed a review of the serious issues Diane Ravitch addresses, and we didn't get it. What we got was a soft approach toward Rhee's self-congratulation and. . . sparse treatment of the essential issues Ravitch raises.

I've subscribed to The New York Review of Books since their inception. I don't know when I've been more disappointed in a review.

REVIEW: 'Reign of Error,' Ravitch 3.0
By P. L. Thomas
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Quick Summary: This review of Diane Ravitch's new book is from the becoming radical:Public and scholarly writing by P. L. Thomas, Furman University, Sept. 16, 2013.

Encouraging Educator Courage
By Peter Farruggio and Alfie Kohn
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Quick Summary: Alfie Kohn's latest commentary in Education Week calls on teachers to be courageous--to dig deeper, take responsibility, to share power.

Guggenheim's 'Teach,' another Bill and Melinda Gates Project
By Robert L. Arnold
Publication Date: September 16, 2013
Quick Summary: Robert L. Arnold, longtime educator and author of "Remaking Our Schools for the Twenty-First Century" reviews Davis Guggenheim's latest film offering 'Teach,' which the New York Times called 'bouquet-lobbing' at teachers.

Baby Branding Nurseries
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: September 01, 2013
Quick Summary: I just got really ticked off by the Wall Street Journal's highlighting of conspicuous consumption--in babies' nurseries.

Teachers Who Stay
By Exasperated Teacher
Publication Date: August 29, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Exasperated Teacher blog, Aug. 29, 2013. It is about teacher value in the deepest sense. As a contrast, watch this video.

Five bad education assumptions the media keeps recycling
By Alfie Kohn
Publication Date: August 29, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet at The Washington Post, Aug. 29, 2013.

Here author Alfie Kohn uses a review of Amanda Ripley's new education book, The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, to write about how the media keeps recycling bad education assumptions. Kohn is the author of 12 books about education and human behavior, including The Schools Our Children Deserve, The Homework Myth, and Feel-Bad Education... And Other Contrarian Essays on Children & Schooling. He lives (actually) in the Boston area and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org.

Mexico's School Workers Fight Back
By Rich Gibson
Publication Date: August 25, 2013
Quick Summary: In Mexico, when education reformers tried to declare teachers unfit, politicos got run out of their offices. You can 'read' this the way the New York Times does. Rich Gibson offers an alternative reading.

Fresh Air Remembers Crime Novelist Ellmore Leonard
By Terry Gross & Elmore Leonard
Publication Date: August 23, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Fresh Air, August 23, 2013. . . mostly a repeat of a wonderful 1999 interview.

Bloom's Taxonomy
By Nicholas Meier
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Nicholas Meier's blog, Aug. 5, 2013. He nails it on the hierarchical fallacy of Bloom. . . and on why you should read Frank Smith, who, among other things, deflates all the hot air about teaching critical thinking, pointing out that 'one cannot think critically about trivial or purposeless matters,' which is why schools can't teach critical thinking. Better to read Smith than to worry about how to use Bloom 'positively.'

Let's Change the Narrative Surrounding Education Reform
By Hillary Linardopoulos
Publication Date: August 11, 2013
Quick Summary: This piece by a 3rd grade teacher at Julia de Burgos Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA and is based upon comments she delivered at a rally on Aug. 2, 2013. Part of changing the narrative is 'asking every reformer who has asked my students' families to sacrifice more to spend a day working two jobs and rely on the bureaucracies of public assistance in order to make dinner that night.' Amen.

From Huffington Post, Aug. 2, 2013, where people making comments can't see--or refuse to see--the point this teacher is making.

Follow Hillary Linardopoulos on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MrsL132

Charles Dickens rolls in grave each time Scroogey ed reformers dismiss the effects of poverty
By Teacherbiz blog
Publication Date: August 01, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Teacherbiz, July 31, 2013. Teacherbiz is a blog written by a public school teacher and fan of public education. Not a fan of privatization, high-stakes testing, or bad 'reform.' The blogger shows how A Christmas Carol offers a lesson about Scroogey reform.

The Liberal Education Reform Revolt
By Lois Weiner
Publication Date: August 01, 2013
Quick Summary: In this article from Jacobin, July 31, 2013, the author asks, 'Are liberals finally ready to neoliberal education reform?'

The Ideal English Major
By Mark Edmundson
Publication Date: July 29, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Chronicle of Higher Education, July 29, 2013. Of course I have a vested interest here. My parents never question my becoming an English teacher but when I went on for an MA, with a concentration in middle English, my mother began to ask, "Will you be able to get a job?"

I assured her that people with an MA in English were in great demand.

And I did get a job--on Madison Avenue in New York City--because I was a VERY fast, accurate typist. I've never regretted the choice of college major, but I'm also glad I taught that in 7th grade I taught myself to type. I covered the typewriter keys with adhesive tape & got hold of a typing manual where they have you do nonsense combinations over and over and over. It worked.

Blaming the Victim
It's your fault if you're poor. You didn't go to college
By by Peter Corning, Ph.D.
Publication Date: July 12, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Psychology Today, Nov. 5, 2011. A cartoon accompanies this article. Note that in 'College vs. Oligarchs' Paul Krugman neatly crushed the David Brooks claim mentioned below. Krugman points out that the issues is oligarchs versus everyone else.

Literature Has No Uses
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: July 05, 2013
Quick Summary: This is an excerpt from "Literature Has No Uses," in Who's In Charge? A Teacher Speaks her Mind (Heinemann 1994). It issues a challenge to anybody who teaches Literature.

Computer Solutions: Panacea or Quicksand?
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: July 03, 2013
Quick Summary: In 1983, the editor of Classroom Computer Learning asked me to review reading software. The mailed me a huge box of offal, and Beware the Rosy View! is the result. I had been a middle- and high-school reading teacher for more than a decade but I was teaching third grade when I dug deeply into computer-based instruction had to offer.

Some months later, that same editor asked me to take a look at an IBM-sponsored project that required a hefty amount of advanced technological hardware to teach students to read and write. At the time, 15,000 kindergartners and first graders in 220 schools in 13 states were participating in the program. I studied all the materials and spent a couple of days in one classroom. I think my observations then still inform the technological elements currently marketed as game changers. With the IBM program, although some computer work was involved, the kids used Selectric typewriters for their writing.

Once I turned in the article, the editor was bombarded by complaints from the advertising crew, so someone provided a lengthy introduction, ending with the statement that this is one educator's view.

Showing his grit and stamina, the editor gave me a box of software devoted to teaching reading, and How Today's Software Can Zap Kids' Desire to Read was the result in late 1984. And the editors introduced it with this brief warning: Beware when you're choosing reading software!It's all too easy to become beguiled by the razzmatazz and forget to take a hard look at the pedagogical underpinnings.

I present all three articles here. It is striking how these pieces, written 30 years ago, speak directly to our current crisis. Please don't interpret this statement as being a reiteration of the pendulum theory. The pedagogical issues are similar but now, faced with the iron-fisted US Department of Education control of federal dollars, the crisis is much worse. And the metaphor is an anchor for deep-sixing teachers and public education itself, not a pendulum providing temporary disruption.

Editorial Cartooning, R.I.P.
A Powerful Form of Journalistic Commentary Falls Victim to the Digital Dark Ages
By Ted Rall
Publication Date: June 29, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Ted Rall website, June 24, 2013, and you can't read it without a sense of loss and anger. Editorial cartoons are a top literary genre in my book. I sit and marvel about how these cartoonists' minds must work. Who else cuts through the crap to the heart of the matter so incisively? Rall points out that many states don't have a political cartoonist in the whole state. As Rall observes, the disappearance of political cartoonists is proof of the domination of groupthink.

Obama has suspicious number of letter-writing fans named 'Ellie Light'
By Sabrina Eaton
Publication Date: June 28, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from The Plain Dealer, January 26, 2010. You may well ask why we should care about virtually identical "Letters to the Editor" in support of President Barack Obama in more than a dozen newspapers more than three years ago. I think it says something important about what gets into the media--and how it gets there.

NOTE: This story was the most-viewed story on the Plain Dealer's website in 2010--587,737 views.

It all may be a tempest in a teapot.

Or not.

The True Deservers of a Food Prize
By Mark Bittman
Publication Date: June 26, 2013
Quick Summary: Read this New York Times blog and notice all the similarities between corporate food and corporate schooling.

Why is this a blog and not a front page story? Because it has footnotes?

I wonder who at The Times put in the windsurfing link.

Want to Learn How to Think? Read Fiction
By Tom Jacobs
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Quick Summary: Ohanian: This is from Pacific Standard, June 12, 2013. Salon picked up this essay just two days later. As I noted in March 2013, Rotarian Magazine reported on Keith Oatley's work with the importance of fiction. Rotarian magazine. In 2012, I posted an article from the New York Times and in 2008 a provocative article in Scientific American Mind,, which led me to his 1999 article Why Fiction May Be Twice as True as Fact. All this provoked me to buy Oatley's The Stuff of Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction. I planned a grand defense of fiction against the babble issued by Common Core entrepreneur David Coleman. But then I gave up. Who's kidding whom? We shouldn't be arguing about the worth of fiction; we should be organizing for the revolution we need.

What the US Department of Education, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Edythe and Eli Broad Foundation, and Business Roundtable Have Wrought
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: June 24, 2013
Quick Summary: I'm sure kids,teachers, and parents can add to this list.

Please widen achievement gaps
By Lynn Stoddard
Publication Date: June 22, 2013
Quick Summary: This appeared in Standard-Examiner, June 17, 2013. It is a concept that any parent with more than one child can understand and appreciate, a concept teachers should embrace: Widen the achievement gap.

Teaching Toward Utopia
By Julie Gorlewski
Publication Date: June 22, 2013
Quick Summary: This is an Education Week commentary from June 12, 2013. We must thank Julie Gorlewski for challenging people to think about the complexities of teaching--and for emphasizing that 'a democratic society needs participants who think critically and act ethically.' Critical thinking has become such an easy buzz word among corporatized ed reformers that it has lost all meaning. NOBODY mentions 'act ethically.'

As a longtime teacher, I know the deep and profound truth of Julie Gorlewski's insistence that the answer to many pressing questions that teachers face is 'It depends.'

Note: I have an essay in the forthcoming Left Behind in the Race to the Top: Realities of School Reform, co-edited by Julie Gorlewski, cheerfully titled 'Gates of Hell: Abandon all Hope, Ye Who Enter Here.'

Teaching Toward Utopia
By Julie Gorlewski
Publication Date: June 22, 2013
Quick Summary: This is an Education Week commentary from June 12, 2013. We must thank Julie Gorlewski for challenging people to think about the complexities of teaching--and for emphasizing that "a democratic society needs participants who think critically and act ethically. " Critical thinking has become such an easy buzz word among corporatized ed reformers that it has lost all meaning. NOBODY mentions "act ethically."

As a longtime teacher, I know the deep and profound truth of Julie Gorlewski's insistence that the answer to many pressing questions that teachers face is "It depends."

Note: I have an essay in the forthcoming Left Behind in the Race to the Top: Realities of School Reform, co-edited by Julie Gorlewski, cheerfully titled "Gates of Hell: Abandon all Hope, Ye Who Enter Here."

What the war on education is all about
By Stephen Krashen
Publication Date: June 19, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Undernews, June 16, 2013. Here it is in a nutshell. You've been warned. Get your head out of the sand.

Reader Comment: In the US, bullshit from the mouth of any uneducated rich man always trumps whatever any poor, brainy PhD might have to say.

Richard Allington Comment: I would add that eliminating teachers as full-time employees would save states lots of money that now goes to support teacher pensions and health insurance. Make teaching worse than a blue collar job in terms, salaries, benefits, and autonomy and you won't have to worry about any surplus of folks who want to become teachers.

We're All to Blame for MOOCs
By Patrick J. Deneen
Publication Date: June 03, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 3, 2013.

A few winners will provide a cheap, mass-produced product to consumers--the Wal-Marts and the Monsantos of higher education. But think of the losers--and people who don't want a monoculture.

Throwing the book at educators while ignoring financiers and CEOs
By Kim K. Metcalf
Publication Date: May 25, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Get Schooled, Maureen Downey's Atlanta Journal Constitution blog, May 25, 2013. At the same time the law aggressively prosecutes educators accused of cheating such as Beverly Hall, it ignores the wrongdoing of CEOS whose misdeeds brought the world economy to its knees, says a guest columnist today.

by Maureen Downey

This is a long piece on the treatment of educators charged with wrongdoing compared to the treatment of titans of industry charged with wrongdoing. Please read the full piece before commenting and please consider the author's argument.

Kim K. Metcalf is director of Institutional Research and Planning at the University of West Georgia and served as dean of the College of Education from 2008 until 2012.

Child poverty is the real scandal
By Rev. Jesse Jackson
Publication Date: May 25, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Keep Hope Alive, May 20, 2013. Jesse Jackson points out that the real scandal is ignored; the real scandal is children living in poverty. The real scandal is that our public policy to deal with these children is as impoverished as their neighborhoods. Kids Count provides 'hundreds of measures of child well-being.'

Getting Slammed
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Quick Summary: Robert Rendo, a nationally certified teacher who won't shut up, offers unique art to bring home the education reform message.

Celebrating Inequality
By George Packer
Publication Date: May 20, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from The New York Times, May 20, 2013. I just bought a copy of his new book, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

'Why I Resist'
By Peter Monaghan
Publication Date: May 20, 2013
Quick Summary: This is a book review in Chronicle of Higher Education, May 3, 2013. I found this story particularly gripping. Although I grew up in an area populated by Japanese fruit farmers and went to school with their children, I didn't hear a word about the internment until I took a history course in college. I went home in a rage, and my father told me about the ugliness.

Gordon Hirabayashi presented himself at the Seattle FBI office May 1, 1942 and submitted his written statement, "Why I Refuse to Register for Evacuation."

Gordon K. Hirabayashi principled stand is an inspiration to teachers who are in danger of having their professionalism obliterated.

Change the purpose of education
By Lynn Stoddard
Publication Date: May 16, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Standard-Examiner, May 15, 2013. Lynn Stoddard asks readers to "open the door to a new system of public education" by developing the powers of human greatness. Lynn Stoddard actually uses the word 'joy' in his plan education transformation. Try to find this word in any government plan. Ask yourself why it is missing.

In U.S., cheating runs rampant
By Richard Block
Publication Date: May 12, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from the Sante Fe New Mexican, May 12, 2013. Richard block makes the observation, 'I have never heard anyone ever mention that education has intrinsic value, that it enhances the quality of our lives, makes life more interesting and fulfilling.' When you relentlessly posit education as a product--not a value-- cheating results. And of course we live in a society that goes after the little cheats will continuing to reward the big cheats.

Psychiatry is to the Pharmaceutical Industry as Education Reform Is To . . . .
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: May 07, 2013
Quick Summary: Publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013 promises to change the practice of modern psychiatry and psychology. Teachers will find something in common with physicians who question the direction and influence of this manual.

My letter to the Education Committees and Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction
By Fourth Generation Teacher
Publication Date: May 01, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Fourth Generation Teacher blog, April 30, 2013. She makes an important point: Let's stop blaming Pearson & McGraw-Hill. . . it's the high-stakes testing culture.

Due to a glitch at McGraw-Hill, Oklahoma students were kicked out of the test two days in a row.

I agree that it's easy to focus blame on McGraw-Hill when what state ed should do is look in the mirror. But teachers need to look in that mirror, too. Why are teachers so obedient?

The Selfish Case for the Common Good
By Bob Boyle
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Educarenow, a blog written by Bill Boyle, the principal of Model High School in Bloomfield Hills. April 1, 2013.

We Are Entering the Age of Infinite Examination
By P. L. Thomas
Publication Date: April 27, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from the becoming radical, April 27, 2013.

The real problem in education: the 'opportunity gap'
By Kevin Wellner
Publication Date: April 27, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet blog, April 26, 2013.Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was in Washington D.C. on Thursday at the National Press Club to launch a campaign grounded in a new book, 'Closing the Opportunity Gap,' that he co-edited with Stanford University Professor Prudence Carter. The Washington Post coverage is in todayâs paper. Here are the comments that Welner, a professor of education policy and program evaluation in the School of Education, made at the press club about the issue, the campaign, and the book, 'Closing the Opportunity Gap:â'

Crash Test
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: April 24, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Texas Monthly, May 2013. It comes with this introduction: Two decades ago Texas became ground zero for the accountability movement in public education. Now, after a revolt by teachers and parents who claim that High-stakes testing is ruining classroom instruction, the Legislature is poised to undo many of its own reforms. Does anyone have the right answer?

They could have shortened it: Experiment failed. Experiment failed. Experiment Failed.

Sandy Kress insisted that his two-hour interview be off-the-record. That didn't prevent the reporter from nailing him.

Why STEM Should Care About the Humanities
By Kira Hamman<
Publication Date: April 15, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 12, 2013.

Kira Hamman teaches mathematics at Pennsylvania State University at Mont Alto.

We Are the 'Liberty Plaza'
By Daiyu Suzuki
Publication Date: April 13, 2013
Quick Summary: Daiyu Suzuki gave this talk in Washington, D. C., April 5, 2013, at Occupy DOE 2.0, in tribute to Maxine Greene and the Occupy movement. Recommended: Also watch the video of the speech.

The value of a speech or an article soars exponentially when it leads to more reading, more connections, more soul-searching. Daiyu Suzuki's remarks lead us back to Maxine Greene's The Dialectic of Freedom, which is more provocative than ever, and to Don Mitchell's The Right to the City, not to mention Camus' The Plague which is more contemporary than a newspaper headline. The connections offered by Seattle teachers, Chris Hedges, and Wynton Marsalis come as a bonus.

Two Obamas, Two Classes of Children
By Ralph Nader
Publication Date: April 12, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from In the Public Interest April 11, 2013. The photograph of the dead babies in Afghanistan will haunt you. As it should. The silence of the media, our president, and our Congress about the babies we kill in Afghanistan make the tears they shed over the Newtown tragedy seem like crocodile weeping.

Barbarism Rising: Detroit and the International War of the Rich on the Poor
By Rich Gibson
Publication Date: April 04, 2013
Quick Summary: This appeared in Counterpunch, March 28, 2013.

Other than the courageous fall 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike, which has profound problems with its cries to 'Save Public Schooling,' and 'Save Our (sic) Schools' an ideological cul-de-sac which fails to address the whole of the problem, silent about the wars as well, there has been virtually no resistance from the US school worker force, the most unionized people in the US. . . . Even so, school workers are situated at the centripetal organizing point of North America's de-industrialized life. They do not have to operate the school-to-war pipeline.

A Mom, a Cook, A Scientist or A Scientist, A Mom, and Forget the Cooking
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: April 02, 2013
Quick Summary: Who could guess an obituary writer could get in such hot water.

Why I won't let my son take the PSSA
The opt-out movement is growing because high-stakes tests are wrecking our schools
By Kathy M. Newman
Publication Date: April 01, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, March 31, 2013. Jacob added a note to this commentary: This is Jacob, Kathy's son. My mom made one mistake. We only get library once a month. Otherwise I thought the article was pretty good.

Library once a month!

This article provoked a lot of comments overwhelmingly against standardized testing.

To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me If only I had a tiger mom or started a fake charity.
By Suzy Lee Weiss
Publication Date: April 06, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2013. It's a tongue-in-cheek view of what it takes to get into those Ivy League schools--written by a high school senior who didn't make the cut. Most readers love it. As one said, "WOW, what a writer. . . . This girl at 17 or 18 just penned an editorial that was the equal of any WSJ writer in the paper today. She does not need college, they need her." I'd say her essay was far better than the editorials in today's WSJ.

Teach4Real blog has a different take, one more worth reading that Suzy Weiss's essay.

This is just another example of the misplaced lens of the corporate media. This isn't surprising coming from the Wall Street Journal, which doesn't even pretend to have a clue about the problems of regular people. But the fact that everyone is talking about this highlights a disconnect with the reality of most middle-class and poor students in this country. Ms. Wiess' problems aren't really problems to most people, they are White People Problems.
Read more here.

College Not A Good Deal For Many High Schoolers
So why not retool instruction for trades and other skills that would leave graduates with good and debt-free job options?
By Jerry Heverly
Publication Date: March 15, 2013
Quick Summary: This March 8, 2013 column is written by San Leandro High School English teacher Jerry Heverly. Its tag line--Entirely Secondary-- is inspired by education blogger Joe Bower who says that when his students do an experiment, learning is the priority. Getting the correct answer is entirely secondary.

Jerry raises a critical point, one which too few teachers are willing to take on, for fear of being accused of not having "high expectations." I agree with Jerry 150% because high school is only going to get worse. I just watched David Steiner, dean of Hunter College School of Education and Common Core advocate, criticize the Common Core because it only requires a survey of American literature--and leaves out a survey of 17th, 18th, and 19th British literature. He's working hard to change this. I have a master's degree in medieval literature and have always felt that college English majors have only themselves to blame. But it seems insane to inflict Pope, Milton, Wordsworth, and Dickens on every high schooler. And Emerson, Faulkner, Hemingway, et al too. I want kids to have the opportunity for close contact with books that will knock their socks off--so they'll be tempted to pick up another book once they're out of school--whether they're plumbers or physicians. I also want them to have close contact with courses that will put them in touch with things they are curious about and with skills they want to learn.

Where school reform fails to meet classroom reality
Publication Date: March 03, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Washington Post Answer Sheet, March 2, 2013, by Valerie Strauss, who introduces the commentary.

Here is a STEM Worker on the Job
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: December 04, 2013
Quick Summary: Here is the proof that STEM careers are indeed vital to our nation's survival.

Math Poems
By Sarah Puglisi
Publication Date: February 24, 2013
Quick Summary: Elementary teacher par excellence Sarah Puglisi went to a Math training in Accelerated Math, which included a math term dictionary. Sarah says she got lost inside and was inspired to write some poems. They are wonderful.

Her daughter Sylvia, a math and science teacher, responded with some math poems of her own, inviting her students to try their hand at math poems, too.

Go to Sarah's Facebook page for the rest, Asymptotes through Zero.

Strike for America: The CTU and the Democrats
How Chicago teachers took on neoliberal education reform.
By Micah Uetricht
Publication Date: February 17, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Jacobin, Issue 9, 2012. NOTE, just in case you've forgotten. The Obama White House gave approval for the teacher-slandering propaganda film "Won't Back Down" to be screened at the Democratic National Convention last year

It is an important piece--important not just for Chicago but for every teacher who belongs to a union unwilling to fight Neoliberal Democrats who are destroying public education.

The Chicago Teachers Union can teach the rest of the country an important lesson. . . if they have the guts to learn from it.

Here is what others say about the Jacobin I just subscribed.

The New Ideal Teacher
By David Lee Finkle
Publication Date: February 15, 2013
Quick Summary: This painful reality of what teaching has become is from The Real Mr. Fitz, April 1, 2012. David Finkle is a Florida teacher as well as a cartoonist whose strip appears in the Daytona Beach News-Journal , and the author of two young adult novels.

Here's a comment on this poem: I wish this was an April Fool's joke, but alas, it is becoming my life. : (
~Teacher in Detroit

The Hard Sell and the Educator
By Barbara Madeloni
Publication Date: February 15, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Academe Blog, Sept. 14, 2012. Michael Winerip featured Barbara Madeloni here. Winerip also covered Madeloni's resistance to letting Pearson take over teacher certification in the spring of 2012. Pearson's plan is being developed with the help of a group at Stanford University led by Linda Darling-Hammond and Ray Pecheone. It is hard to imagine professionals letting Pearson, traveling under the aegis of Stanford, take over their field of expertise, but that's the sad truth of the matter. Education is now populated by people who are governed by their fears, and those fears will destroy any semblance of a profession. All kudos to Barbara Madeloni, a voice of experience, expertise, and conscience.

This brings the Common Core (Bill Gates) Standards full circle. Teachers will never know there's a different way to do things.

Rosa Parks at 100: a great American rebel for racial justice
By Amy Goodman
Publication Date: February 04, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from The Guardian.

Rosa Parks actively fought for civil rights throughout her life, though one bus ride in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, made her famous. Martin Luther King is justly celebrated for civil rights leadership, but it was Rosa Parks' protest that pricked America's conscience.

Six-year-olds need to play more than they need to spell
By Susie Steiner
Publication Date: February 17, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from The Guardian. Jan. 28, 2013. Sad to think this wrongheaded mania for six-year-old skills is international.

Education in Obama's Second Term: What Lies Ahead?
By Gerald Coles
Publication Date: February 02, 2013
Quick Summary: This from Education Week Living in Dialogue blog, Jan. 30, 3012 and is reposted with permission of the author. P. L. comments that he shares Coles' skepticism. Those thinking we're going to get four NEW years in education policy should look to what President Obama said. . . . and what it means. Start with this piece by Gerald Coles. My only disagreement is noting the similarity of Obama's program with such right wing ideology as the Heritage Foundation. True as this is, it also lines up with the so-called liberal Center for American Progress. We must not forget that such pseudo-liberals have at least as much damage as the conservatives--probably more.

Teaching By the Numbers
By Brian Jones
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Socialist Worker, Jan. 17, 2013. New York City teacher Brian Jones explains that standardized testing has more to do with controlling teachers than it does with improving learning.

Objects Of Desire
By Sherry Turkle
Publication Date: January 14, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Edge 2013 question of the year: WHAT *SHOULD* WE BE WORRIED ABOUT? Many leading thinkers of our time are asked to respond. This is one of two I chose as being particularly pertinent to things public school teachers and the parents of the children in their care should worry about.

The Patience Deficit
By Nicholas G. Carr
Publication Date: January 14, 2013
Quick Summary: This is from Edge 2013 question of the year: WHAT *SHOULD* WE BE WORRIED ABOUT? Go to the site. There are lots more things to think about, but this one about impatience seems particularly apt for people thinking about public schools.

A Standardized Testing Revolt
By Abby Rapoport
Publication Date: January 11, 2013
Quick Summary: This from American Prospect, Jan. 10, 2013. Abby Rapoport is a staff writer at The American Prospect. She was previously a political reporter for the Texas Observer.

I've always ignored the money, going for the dreadful content, but as Abby Rapoport points out, the money is staggering: By 2015, Texas will have paid Pearson $1.1 billion for a variety of testing services.

The resilient heart? It's also the open heart
By Chris Bohjalian
Publication Date: December 30, 2012
Quick Summary: This commentary is from the Burlington Free Press. These days, we don't label kids in gym class based on athletic ability; we label whole schools based on the results of poverty.But the motto remains the same: "We will shame you into greatness."

Write to Chris Bohjalian care of the Free Press, P. O. Box 10, Burlington, Vt. 05402, or visit him at www.facebook.com or www.chrisbohjalian.com/ .

Hide and Grovel: Educators Should Lead the Charge to Repeal the Second Amendment
By Mike Martin
Publication Date: December 17, 2012
Quick Summary: December 17, 2012.

No more hide and grovel. Repeal the second amendment.

FairTest Testimony to U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights
By Monty Neill
Publication Date: December 14, 2012
Quick Summary: At a hearing on the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Monty Neill of FairTest points out to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights that to end the Pipeline, it will be necessary to also end the overuse and misuse of standardized tests.

Write the Senators and urge them to read the excellent resource list as well as the letter.

Dick Durbin, Illinois (Chairman)
Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont
Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island
Al Franken, Minnesota
Christopher A. Coons, Delaware
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut

Republican Members
Lindsey Graham, S.C. (Ranking Member)
Jon Kyl, Arizona
John Cornyn, Texas
Michael S. Lee, Utah
Tom Coburn, Oklahoma

BOOK REVIEW: Paul Tough, KIPP, and the Character Con: A Review of 'How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character'
By Jim Horn
Publication Date: December 13, 2012
Quick Summary: This review is from Substance, Dec. 12, 2012 and Schools Matter. This review is important; it hits hard on the creepy form of scientific reductionism practiced on children deemed defective by their poverty. Horn identifies the harm wrought by creepiness in detail, and he concludes something about Paul Tough that's probably true of many "reformers": I think that Paul Tough is probably ignorant of all these things that teachers know, but I am not at all sure he has any curiosity to find out what teachers, children, and parents know. Very very few reformers care about what teachers, children, and parents know.

Today's Assignment
By Louis Menand
Publication Date: December 10, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from the Dec. 17, 2012 New Yorker, Talk of the Town.

It's a good thing the US President can't mandate homework: They already do plenty to ruin the lives of children. This point made by Menand comes late in the essay, so I'm moving it up front: The dirty little secret of education reform is that one of the greatest predictors of academic success is household income. I disagree with a lot of the old claptrap research about homework, but keep reading. Menand's conclusion is excellent.

Obama Won, But Did Educators Lose In the Process?
By Paul L. Thomas
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from AlterNet, Nov. 12, 2012.

Obama Won, But Did Educators Lose In the Process?
As long as accountability remains the educational law of the land, students are bound to lose out, says a professor of education.

A call for President Obama to change course on education
By Arthur H. Camins
Publication Date: November 08, 2012
Quick Summary: This appeared on Valerie Strauss's Washington Post Answer Sheet, Nov. 7, 2012.

Arthur H. Camins is director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

It is more than pertinent that this criticism of Obama education policy is written by someone with innovation and science credentials. Read his previous Answer Sheet commentary here.

Tennessee Public School Children: Talking About Poverty
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: November 20, 2012
Quick Summary: Although there has been a shocking rise in the number of homeless public school students in Tennessee, school folk aren't supposed to talk about it.

I posted this on 11/2/12. I received this note on 11/4/12 (Jeremy is at work on a Sunday). We should never forget that folks at places like the Achievement District are thorough about their agenda. . . even on Sundays.

Hey Susan --

My name is Jeremy Jones, Communications Director and Deputy Chief of Staff for the Achievement School District.

Just noticed some things you wrote about the ASD on your blog. I wanted to reach out and make a connection here in case you ever had any questions about the ASD. I am happy to help should you want any info from us to help inform some of your commentaries.



At Linked In, Jeremy is known as "Ninja at Achievement School District." His specialties are: "Human capital Acquisition and talent strategy"

He has a prototypical resume for human capital acquisition:

Achievement School District
January 2012 â Present (11 months)
Helping serve students attending schools in the bottom 5%. Building a system of schools in Tennessee that perform in the top 25% of schools in the state.

Achievement School District
2012 â 2012 (less than a year)
Assistant Principal

Rocketship Education
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Education Management industry August 2011 â November 2011 (4 months) San Jose, California
Ensure effective individualized education through Response to Intervention support

Senior Director of Recruitment & Selection
YES Prep Public Schools
Educational Institution; 501-1000 employees; Primary/Secondary Education industry
August 2008 â August 2011 (3 years 1 month)
I manage teacher recruitment and selection for the best school in Houston.

Institute School Director
Teach For America Houston
Nonprofit; 1001-5000 employees; Education Management industry
January 2010 â August 2010 (8 months)

Dean of Faculty
The Breakthrough Collaborative
Nonprofit; 11-50 employees; Nonprofit
Organization Management industry
2007 â 2008 (1 year)

Teacher coaching, program management, strategy 6th Grade Level Chair/6th grade Math teacher
YES Prep Public Schools
Educational Institution; 501-1000 employees; Primary/Secondary Education industry
January 2005 â June 2008 (3 years 6 months)

Corps Member
Teach for America
Nonprofit; 1001-5000 employees; Education Management industry
June 2005 â June 2007 (2 years 1 month)

Breakthrough Austin
2002 â 2003 (1 year)

Texas A&M University
BA, Political Science
2000 â 2004

Against Obedience
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: October 22, 2012
Quick Summary: Citation: Ohanian, S (2012). Against obedience Critical Education, 3(9). Retrieved from

'Won’t Back Down': Why do teachers’ unions hate America?
By Andrew O'Hehir
Publication Date: September 26, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Salon.com, Sept. 26, 2012.

Okay, I admit it. I love nasty movie reviews, and this one just nails it--every-which-way. Kudos to O'Hehir for taking the extra step to find out who financed this mess. For a thorough investigation of the backers of this film, see 'Won't Back Down' Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal, work done by Center for Media and Democracy PR Watch.

NOTE: Forbes ranks Phil Anschutz as the 34th richest person in the country. Read 'Won't Back Down' Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal, to see how the filthy rich use their money to harm the rest of us.

Reader Comment: I, like most educators, took this film seriously as an affront to our profession and the right wing union busting free market takeover promotion that it is, but you put it in the right context -- CRAP. Really, if "reformers" continue using Hollywoodisms to sell their product of non-profit (yuk yuk) charters they will do more to turn the public against them than all our attempts to appeal to intellect. Great review!

Chicago school teachers give us all a lesson
By Dean Baker
Publication Date: September 20, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Aljazeera, Sept 17, 2012. You have to wonder why they see things more clearly than, say, the New York Times or National Public Radio.

The subhead reads: Two-thirds of parents supported the Chicago school teachers' protest in spite of the inconvenience caused by the strike.

The writer, a US macroeconomist, says that we call all learn a lot from the Chicago teachers and their well-planned collective action.

Chicago you are not alone... World-wide support grows for Chicago Teachers Union strike
By Rich Gibson
Publication Date: September 20, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Substance, the only education newspaper of the resistance, Sept. 18, 2012.

Chicago has offered the best pedagogy in the country. They've shown us that it is possible, and right, to rebel.

Can the Chicago Teachers' Strike Fix Democratic Education Reform?
By Richard D.Kahlenberg
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from The New Republic, Sept. 14, 2012

Whatever the particulars of the final resolution to the strike, the dustup will be successful if it shakes up the wrongheaded, yet increasingly bipartisan, sense that teachers and their unions are what ail American education.

Reader Comment: Why do those who believe deeply in markets suggest that attracting and retaining excellent teachers can be done on the cheap?" I know that's a rhetorical question, but here's the answer: big-time investors are mostly men, while teachers, historically, have mostly been women.

Are We Asking Too Much From Our Teachers?
By Alex Kotlowitz
Publication Date: September 17, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from the New York Times, Sept. 17, 2012. Don't you wish that the editorial writer at the New York Times would read this?

Teachers strike in Chicago for larger vision of public education
By Amy Goodman
Publication Date: September 15, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from The Guardian, Sept.13, 2012. Amy Goodman observes that the attack on the teachers union comes from "the very core of President Obama's inner circle." And at the heart of the issue is the question Who gets to run the schools?

Reader Comment: It shows again that The US is a one-party democracy. . . . What is the difference between the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to unions or education. It is a very thin line.

Chicago School Strike is Against Obama 'Race To The Top' Agenda of School Privatization and Corporate Education Reform
By Bruce A. Dixon
Publication Date: September 13, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Black Agenda Report, and, as usual, Bruce Dixon nails it. Whether they know it or not, and many more do than declare it openly, Chicago's teachers and parents are defending their children and their communities against the coordinated assault on public education, coming from both parties, but mainly from the one in power locally and nationally right now ---- the Democrats --- with Barack Obama large, in charge and carrying the spear for his charter school sugar daddies.

How Much Do Teacher Strikes Hurt Kids?
By Doug Henwood
Publication Date: September 13, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from How much do teacher strikes hurt kids? by Doug Henwood, Sept. 11, 2012. Henwood edits LBO (Left Business Observer), a newsletter he founded in 1986. We could wish so-called journalists who cover education saw things so clearly: The CTU's strike, led by a vigorous reform leadership, is quite explicitly about lots more than the wages and working conditions of teachers. It's about fighting the privatization and union-busting agenda of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel--which he shares with other big-city mayors like Michael Bloomberg, as well as his comrade Barack Obama.

Brother/Sister, Can You Spare a Couple of Bucks?
By Don Perl
Publication Date: September 10, 2012
Quick Summary: Make a contribution to this annual campaign: Putting up billboards to inform parents of their test opt out rights. Colorado has been a dramatic increase in the number of opt outs over the past few years. The time seems ripe for a huge number. I am convinced that once one state has enough opt outs to blow any kind of "data mining" out of the water, other states will follow. Colorado is the place to do this.

Join the resistance. As Don says, no donation is too small.

Here is a billboard from years past.

Don has contributed a chapter to the new book Educational Courage: Resisting the Ambush on Public Education, edited by Mara Sapon-Shavin and Nancy Schniedewin. His chapter is "From Seeds to Fruition: The Making of a Resistance Movement."

Chicago: The Strike is On
Up the Rebels!
By Rich Gibson
Publication Date: September 10, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from CounterPunch, Sept. 10, 2012

Send your support th the Chicago Teachers Union Solidarity Fund.

Adam Wheeler Went to Harvard
By Jim Newell
Publication Date: August 31, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from The Baffler, No. 20. The Baffler is a journal of art and criticism appearing every March, June, and October. You can subscribe here or at Amazon.com.

This article reveals a lot about Harvard. In the author's words: It's hard to ignore the chilling way in which Wheelerâs shtick--all of it--reflects on Harvard's administration, admissions office, faculty, students, and others who'd interacted with him for years, sucking up one fakery after another.

The author lists a few things that Harvard should be ashamed of. He should have put their graduate school of education on the list.

Opening Closed Minds
By Lynn Stoddard
Publication Date: August 29, 2012
Quick Summary: A version of this commentary was published in The Deseret News, Aug. 28, 2012.

Read his book Education for Human Greatness, which presents a compelling alternative to business as usual in education.

In defense of public education
By Editorial
Publication Date: August 29, 2012
Quick Summary: City schools are being dismantled and privatized--with Barack Obama's approval.

This editorial appearing in Socialist Worker, Aug. 29, 2012, offers a good summary of the Obama education policy--and a good and necessary reason for supporting the strike of the Chicago Teachers Union.

Educators Have No Political Party
By P. L. Thomas
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Daily Kos, Aug. 23, 2012. Anyone who thinks either political party supports public education hasn't been paying attention.

Chicago school day: A teacher responds
By Xian Barrett
Publication Date: August 08, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from CNN

August 6, 2012

Editorâs note: Xian Barrett teaches law and Chicago history at Gage Park High School in Chicago, Illinois. In 2009, he was selected one of ten Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellows by the U.S. Department of Education. This article is in response to comments on a previous story about Chicago teacher work days.

Spelling Random Lexical Flotsam
By Geoffrey Pullum
Publication Date: August 03, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Lingua Franca in the Chronicle of Higher Education, August 3, 2012.

As a 6th grader, I participated in a school spelling bee, doing very well against the 8th graders. And the prep experience turned me off spelling forever. For the rest of my elementary school career, I exhibited a studied disdain for spelling, refusing to study for spelling tests and no longer acing them. And when I'm tired I'm likely to misapply those 'gotcha' words, not because I don't the difference but because something odd seems to happen to a tired brain.

Is Algebra Necessary?
By Andrew Hacker
Publication Date: July 29, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from the New York Times, July 29, 2012. Not surprisingly, it provoked a lot of comments. I did not read all 70 of them, but of the 30 I read almost all were very negative. Most seemed to be responding to something other than what Andrew Hacker wrote. Hacker points out that "Mathematics is used as a hoop, a badge, a totem to impress outsiders and elevate a profession's status." Many people want to keep the totem.

Chicago Teachers' Fight Could Revitalize the Labor Movement Globally
By Richard Seymour
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from AlterNet, July 21, 2012

The subhead reads: If the fight to halt school budget cuts in Obama's Democratic heartland succeeds it would be a huge boost for unions.

The Greatest Crimes Against Humanity Are Perpetrated by People Just Doing Their Jobs
By Chris Hedges
Publication Date: July 23, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Truthout, July 23, 2012.

Chris Hedges talks about people who serve the system. The day is coming when teachers must ask what their role is in this system. Teachers must look in the mirror and ask themselves, "Can I process these papers? Follow these orders? Hurt these children?"

Behind the Lines The Big Test
By Paul Burka
Publication Date: July 21, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Texas Monthly, August 2012.

Robert Scott spent his final months as the commissioner of education trying to end the state's reliance on high-stakes standardized exams. Did he pass or fail?

Ohanian Comment: School administrators gave education commissioner Scott a standing ovation, but the president of The Texas Association of Business complained, "I do not understand Commissioner Scott's making excuses for the educators." Before being appointed as chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush. where he served three three years, Hammond was owner and president of Dallas Tent and Awning Company.

Reader Comment: Let's hope that Scott is right about the backlash. State mandated testing has become the tail that wags the dog in Texas. I would like to see some research done on the political contributions of Pearson, the company that received $100 million from paypayers to produce the tests this year. Unfortunately, in Texas and acroos the country, the gain an understanding about policy decisions, you must follow the money trail.

NEA's Representative Assembly Part Four Mopping Up... The Budget; The Left at and After the RA. Coming: Why are Things as They Are?
By Rich Gibson
Publication Date: July 11, 2012
Quick Summary: This article is from Substance, the only education newspaper of the resistance, July 11, 2012. Substance exists only through reader subscriptions.

This is Part 4 of Rich Gibson's coverage of the NEA Representative Assembly.
Go here to see Substance reporter Gibson with the Rouge Forum's award winning Arne Duncan poster during the NEA RA.

School as Wonder, or Way Out
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Publication Date: July 11, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from The New York Times, July 11, 2012. The author's son attends the Manhattan Country School which has tuition on a sliding scale. Maximum fees are $33,500 for children ages 4-10; $36,500 for 5th through 8th graders. A senior editor at The Atlantic, the author has written a widely-praised memoir The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, which chronicles his own tumultuous school years.

NEA Convention Report, Day Three... The NEA Representative Assembly Part Three 'We Mis-Educate Our Members and the Nation! No Bullying! Obama! Money=V
By Rich Gibson
Publication Date: July 09, 2012
Quick Summary: This was posted at Substance, July 9, 2012.

This is the kind of reporting we need: On-the-spot, knowledgeable,and very very skeptical. I emphasized the comments on NCATE because until I went to the Rouge Forum conference at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and heard first-hand reports from professors, I had no notion just how bad NCATE is. No wonder teachers obey the scripts of NCLB and RTTT and CCSS. They were educated by professors who obey NCATE scripts. The script parallels are stunning.

NEA Convention Report. Part Two, more of the same, and worse... If 'Wisconsin' was a victory, how does the NEA spell D E F E A T?... The NEA Represent
By Rich Gibson
Publication Date: July 08, 2012
Quick Summary: This report from the NEA Representative Assembly first appeared in Substance , July 8, 2012.

NEA Convention Report. Part One... The National Education Association Representative Assembly 2012... 'Patriotism! Democracy! It’s About Us! We Teac
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: July 11, 2012
Quick Summary: This report from the NEA Representative Assembly first appeared in Substance, July 7, 2012

Ghosts of PATCO and the Coming Battle for Teachers
By Alan Morse
Publication Date: June 30, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Common Dreams, June 18, 2012.

Reader Comment: I was a teacher, once upon a time, and I have always supported my relatives and friends who were/are also teachers. What kind of a society would we have today if not for teachers and the opportunities a solid, public education offers for all citizens?

My fear is that when push comes to shove, and it will later this year, we'll have union people fighting union people -- the police will be 'policing' the teachers, etc. Essentially we'll be making war on each other -- pleb vs. pleb, and the elites will just sit back and grin, they're plan for intra-class decimation come to fruition.

What we really need is not just a big teachers' union strike -- but a General Strike by all hard-working Americans, all across this great land. Maybe a rolling work stoppage, from region to region, starting in Chicago and fanning out east and west. I've got my walking shoes shined.

Reader Comment: Solidarity should exist across ALL working people regardless of the work they performed. This is the gaping huge error in the US labor movement, i.e., separate trade unions and associations, etc., that divide and conquer the working class. Solidarity is much more than a self-serving proposition. It is a mass of WORKERS united for the benefit of all WORKERS.

Better Childhoods Needed
By Rob Bligh
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Quick Summary: June 21, 2012

This was written by a concerned citizen in Omaha, Nebraska, who sends this message to his local media. Go forth and do likewise. Write letters to editor, to your Congressional representatives, and other interested parties with this message: Poor children don't need better schools. Poor children need better childhoods.

High Button Shoes and Education Reform
By Gene Glass
Publication Date: June 11, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Education in Two Worlds, March 20, 2012.

In 2006, Gene Glass was honored with the Distinguished Contributions to Educational Research Award of the American Educational Research Association. Read his Fertilizers, Pills, And Magnetic Strips: The Fate Of Public Education In America.

Obama's neoliberal agenda for education
By Gillian Russom
Publication Date: June 07, 2012
Quick Summary: Although I'm two years late in finding this fine piece from ISR, May-June 2010, its message is even more important today. The unions should have sent this article to every teacher in the country--to help them understand why and how public education is being destroyed.

Gillian Russom offers us the terminology that should be appended to Arne Duncan whenever we talk or write about him--political operative. We can stop whining about his lack of credentials and just call him what he is--a political operative.

Ohanian NOTE: Although I did not want the neoliberal Race to the Top to get a penny of my taxpayer money, this "school improvement plan" got $4.35 billion dollars. What about the bank improvement plan? Goldman Sachs alone got $70 billion.

That's our money, folks. Money and power.

Also NOTE: After the footnotes, there's another example of Gillian Russom's fine writing.

How extremism is normalized
By Glenn Greenwald & Andrew Rosenthal with Ohanian add-ons
Publication Date: June 05, 2012
Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: I contribute to Salon.com because they publish Glenn Greenwald. Yes, I could read it for free but I believe we should contribute to those who work at informing us. There are so few of them.

This commentary includes Greenwald's May 30, 2012 post at Salon. And also Andrew Rosenthal's New York Times column, May 29, 2012.

Surely an Eggplant is coming: I see the scene where Obama, Duncan, and Bill Gates choose which non-Common Core-compliant teachers to take out with a drone.

As Attorney General Eric Holder put it, "'Due process' and 'judicial process' are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security." Bill Gates/Arne Duncan say that student needs and student mandates are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to corporate needs. If Stephen Colbert chose to brutally mock Gates/Duncan he'd probably say, 'there's just what you need to do.'

But it doesn't occur to satirists to mock federal education policy because the unions and the professional organizations embrace it--and they're dead serious. And only a handful of people recognize this ed policy as extremism normalized.

Here's Colbert:

Trial by jury, trial by fire, rock, paper scissors, who cares? Due process just means that there is a process that you do. The current process is apparently, first the president meets with his advisers and decides who he can kill. Then he kills them.

The Obama administration has converted once unthinkable government claims into permanent political fixtures. I actually got tears in my eyes when I read the New York Times article Greenwald refers to. Imagine the outrage if George Bush had made the claim Obama makes. Notice the silence from the so-called progressive community.

Thank you, Glenn Greenwald, for speaking out.

Question: Will NCTE give its Doublespeak Award to President Obama for his legerdemain: avoid counting civilian deaths by re-defining "militant" to mean "all military-age males in a strike zone"? Probably not. After all, they've issued no outrage over Obama/Duncan calling on teachers to educate workers for a global economy.

Once something is repeated enough by government officials, we become numb to its extremism.

Note this reader comment to the Rosenthal column in the New York Times:

Mr. Rosenthal,
Read the comments your post has incited. You are sending people to Romney. Time to lay off Obama unless you want pure Tea Party government---and Romney would be doing all of this & more on our dime employing private contractors run by fat-cat Repubs behind the scenes, Get a grip on your liberal angst until next December.

The 1 Percent's Problem
By Joseph E. Stiglitz
Publication Date: June 02, 2012
Quick Summary: Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize economist and the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, explains to the 1 percenters why it is in their self-interest to make our society more equal. He makes very cogent arguments relating to trust being necessary for humans to produce wealth and inequality undermining trust.

Stiglitz cites ruling class leaders in the past who understood exactly what he is talking about, such as FDR and Nixon, who knew that to save capitalism it was necessary to have wealth-equalizing policies like Social Security (FDR) and Medicare (Nixon invested heavily in Medicare and Head Start and even considered a guaranteed minimum income.

Stiglitz points out that after business practices that may well be illegal such corporate types as MF Global executives still get their bonuses. We impeach a president and hound a presidential wannabe for shoddy sexual escapades but seem incapable of prosecuting money criminals who rob us blind.

If he ever rises from the grave, I'll vote for Nixon: Richard Nixon, known to this day as a manipulative cynic, concluded that social peace and economic stability could best be secured by investment--and invest he did, heavily, in Medicare, Head Start, Social Security, and efforts to clean up the environment. Nixon even floated the idea of a guaranteed annual income.

This article is from Vanity Fair, June 2012.

ANALYSIS: Upheaval in San Diego teachers union over massive cuts adopted by a school board the union helped elect
By Rich Gibson
Publication Date: May 27, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Substance News, May 26, 1012. Subscribe!

Pivotally positioned in the central organizing point of North American society, educators have power too: ideas and direct action.

A Michigan Educator Has a Few Questions About Those NAEP Science Scores
By Mindy Nathan
Publication Date: May 13, 2012
Quick Summary: Mindy Nathan is Dean of Adult and Alternative Education for the Berkley School District,a suburb of Detroit. Her school, Tri-County Educational Center, is an alternative high school program that draws from Detroit and several "edge" suburbs. She describes the corporate decimation of the Detroit Public Schools as "New Orleans all over again, without the flood."

The students at Tri-County Educational Center are "mostly 16-19, with a small adult program kind of blended in. We do run a small GED prep class and Adult Basic Ed at night. We have a growing arts program and a brand new basketball league that teaches the kids much more than basketball. We run a Restorative Justice class that is awesome . If I was going to characterize our school in any way, I'd say that we are all about loving the kids that others have not."

Save Our Schools Does Not Need a Platform
By Jim Horn
Publication Date: May 11, 2012
Quick Summary: There is an ongoing and important discussion going on at Schools Matter about Save Our Schools. This discussion was provoked by this article by Jim Horn, Is SOS Being Hijacked by Corporate Education Insiders? Right now there are 80 comments, some people supporting Jim, others very irate. You can participate. But you can't be anonymous.

A number of Save Our Schools leaders say that SOS must have a platform before they can do things such as denounce the Common Core. So here we join an 80-comment discussion--at around point 70--with Jim Horn explaining why SOS does not need a platform, making the point that it does us no good to engage in rhetorical pissing matches.

Go over to Schools Matter and join the discussion. It matters.

Will Current School Reforms Improve Education?
By Diane Ravitch
Publication Date: May 06, 2012
Quick Summary: This speech was given at the opening session of the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in Philaelphia, April 25, 2012.

Since NCTM has wholeheartedly embraced the Common Core, even raising a question, as Diane Ravitch does, is a good thing. Yes, some of us want much more, but this is something. And she asks a good question: Would the FDA release a new drug without field trials?

Arne Duncan’s Misguided Push for Competitiveness
By Rebecca Kemble
Publication Date: April 21, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Common Dreams,April 20, 2012. The author observes that After a while, Duncan sounded more like the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce than the Secretary of Education.

The facts are that 1 in 4 employed people in this country work in jobs paying less than $10 an hours. The facts are Duncan and his Chamber of Commerce cronies are lying about the high-paying jobs that lack qualified applicants.

Rebecca Kemble makes important observations about the Obama privatization plans for public service jobs that have historically been provided by local, state or federal government agencies.

Todd Price asked a good question: "How can you make the kids swim faster when thereâs no water in the pool?"

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System
By Chris Hedges
Publication Date: April 07, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from TruthDig, April 11, 2012. It appeared on Common Dreams in April 2011.

It's disturbing that the teacher feels unable to speak out, even to put his name to his own words.

NOTE: Remember that "Neutron Jack" Welch, retired GE chief, was the first head of New York City's Leadership Academy. He got the nickname "Neutron Jack" because he headed the policy of getting rid of thousands of people but leaving the buildings intact. His name became synonymous with corporate greed, arrogance, and contempt for workers. So of course Michael Bloomberg would choose him to lead an institute training people to become principals. And the media would hail it as proof of Bloomberg's creative thinking.

Here is a must-see Hedges lecture which is very sobering, bringing together research and insight on our nation, its history as well as its present condition. And the separate film on the Q & A after the lecture is also fascinating. Hedges says, "Our job is to remain fast around moral imperatives that we do not compromise on." Chris Hedges was a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter for the New York Times before he was fired for daring to speak the truth during a graduation ceremony at Rockford College.

The Times has a policy against reporters speaking the truth out in public. All this said, something Hedges doesn't point out in the piece below is that this assault on public schools is happening because we were doing too good a job. Certainly, there were abysmal and unconscionable failures but by and large public schools were doing too good a job with too many students--educating a population to think and act independently. Corporate America wants a scared, obedient populace who blame themselves for their failure to get a job, who make no demands and expect nothing. They want a populace trained from pre-K that it's a dog-eat-dog world out there--every man for himself. This will be where corporate America reaps its real profits. $$ accrued from selling lots of tests and from dumping experienced teachers are small potatoes compared with having a scared, obedient, desperate workforce under your thumb. The "college for all" slogan is part of the same. Ask yourself, who profits from a glut of college graduates? Employers, of course. Desperate out-of-work college graduates grovel like everybody else, not expecting decent working conditions, benefits, and so on. And if you think NCLB was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. Race to the Top, the Blueprint, the Common Core Standards and Assessments. . . they will bury us. Read Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?

Wrong Solution for Struggling High School
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: April 06, 2012
Quick Summary: My comment is on a New York Times article School District Lives On, but So Do Its Struggles by Morgan Smith, April 6, 2012. The article is included below.

Now Watch Republicans Hang Education 'Reform' Around Democrats' Necks
By Jeff Bryant
Publication Date: March 31, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Campaign for America's Future, March 29, 2012. They bill themselves as "strategy center for the progressive movement." You can find their board of directors here.

Initially, I worried that this piece relied entirely too much on Education Week staff bloggers but eventually Bryant gets to grassroots efforts such as Parents Across America, School Finance, and Michael Winerip (though not mentioned by name). And Texas. Finally, at the very end there's this conclusion: Democrats continue to hew their views to right-wing proposals based on the worship of "bipartisanship," forcing me to move this remark from it's earlier position in these comments: Warning: Just because you disagree with Republicans doesn't mean you should support Democrats. I have a bumper sticker: Republicans/Democrats: Same Shit, Different Piles.

There's no mention of Bill Gates--or other corporate money bags-- or the way the U. S. Department of Education serves as an echo chamber for corporate ideology in general and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in specifics. After all, Gates funded the Common Core State [sic] Standards, as well as pumping big money into value-added teacher evaluation, just to name two of the Foundation's education enterprises that Arne Duncan--and Democratic governors--embrace.

On Stir-and-Serve Recipes for Teaching
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: November 20, 2014
Quick Summary: This was first published in Phi Delta Kappan in June 1985. It may be self-indulgent to post an article I wrote 27 years ago, but I'm struck how very current the essay is. I mused then: People who sit in judgment on us don't ask about our students, "Are they happy? Are they creative? Are they helpful, sensitive, loving? Will they want to read a book next year?" Instead, these people demand, "What are their test scores?"--as if those numbers, though they passeth understanding, will somehow prove that we're doing a good job.

That sounds depressingly up-to-date.

Imagine, if you will, what it felt like to be a third grade teacher asked to write an article on teacher education for a special theme issue of Phi Delta Kappan--and to end up with your name on the cover. Over the years the essay has popped up in a number of textbooks. The irony is I entered teaching with an MA in medieval literature. But I took a lot of ed courses after my initiation by fire.

A Lesson in Teaching to the Test, From E.B. White
By Anne Stone & Jeff Nichols
Publication Date: March 08, 2012
Quick Summary: from New York Times Schoolbook blog, March 7, 2012

My only quarrel with this wonderful essay is that the title should be "Dear President Obama, Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, and the Governors of all 50 States and Puerto Rico, as well as ASCD, NCTE, and all other professional organizations offering webinars on the Common Core." I would love this essay even if Trumpet of the Swan hadn't been especially close to me and my third grade misfits. Gathered together as the worst readers in third grade, a number repeating third grade, some with severe difficulties, we embraced this book. Sam entered the children's life and they talked about him all during the day. I read the book aloud. At children's request, some of their parents read it aloud at home at the same time. They wanted to hear the story again. This happened frequently: children wanted to hear a good story more than once.

I'd call this the Anti-David Coleman Common Core attempt to force New Criticism on the classrooms of America. Notice the way Miss Annie Snug encourages students to respond to the text with opinion, family experiences, and so on. All specifically forbidden by David Coleman. And if you think I'm exaggerating, go view his "don't-give-a-shit" performance at the New York State Department of Ed. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have paid the Hunt Institute received $5,068,671 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for "Common Core communications support." Hunt has made 32 videos to spread Coleman's poison to teachers across America. State departments of ed are issuing Coleman's message as an imperative.

I repeat: This commentary is a beautiful rebuttal of Coleman and an affirmation of what is important in teaching. Thank you. Thank you-- to the authors and to the New York Times.

Against Collaboration: Reading and Writing Are Not Social Acts
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: March 16, 2014
Quick Summary: This is from Education Week, February 13, 1991. Some references--Lee Iacocca, et al--are dated but a recent comment on Twitter tells me the message still resonates.

I think the title, which I did not choose, is unfortunate, but I stand by my 1991 words.

This Commentary provoked the ugliest denunciation I have ever received. I was going to post the incredibly nasty response of Janet Emig, then of the NCTE Executive Committee, but I don't have her permission, so if you want to see her ugly reply to my piece, put her name in a 'search' at Education Week. Ha. My name will bring up many more articles. Could it be because I don't have to wait around for a writing group?

Just asking.

Postscript: I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to put up a Facebook page, which I confess I use about once every other year. But Leslie 'found me' there and that's why it remains.

In the Courtroom: Call for Directed Verdict of Public Insanity
By Michael T. Martin
Publication Date: March 03, 2012
Quick Summary: Michael T. Martin, Research Analyst, Arizona School Boards Association, adapted this courtroom scene from his online report Misconceptions of Achievement Testing, which is well worth a careful read.

Ralph Nader: Occupy the Minimum Wage and Impact the Election
By Chris Hedges with Ralph Nader
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Truthout, Feb. 28, 3012. Support them.

The minimum wage is a critical component of public schools' ability to educate all our children. A high percentage of both urban and rural children live in poverty, and they are in poverty because their working parents do not receive a living wage.

He’s looked at life from both sides now – or has he? Arne Duncan claims the high ground, but school clinics still face needless obstacles
By Richard Rothstein
Publication Date: February 27, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Economic Policy Institute, Feb. 26, 2012. Go to this url for more important work by Richard Rothstein.

Et tu, Zappa?
By Michael Doyle
Publication Date: February 25, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Science Teacher blog, Feb. 21, 2012. It is lovely in a tough-minded way, which is exactly the tone I appreciate.

How real school reform should look (or explaining water to a fish)
By Marion Brady
Publication Date: February 06, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from Valerie Strauss's Washington Post Answer Sheet, Feb. 4, 2012. It originally appeared at Truthout. Marion Brady explains why, when the Common Core is locked into place, catastrophe will be inevitable.

Common core standards, liability or asset?
By Lynn Stoddard
Publication Date: February 04, 2012
Quick Summary: This fine commentary from the Salt Lake Tribune is written by a longtime educator. That's why it makes so much sense.

A Talk to Teachers
By James Baldwin
Publication Date: January 23, 2012
Quick Summary: This talk was delivered October 16, 1963, as "The Negro Child â His Self-Image"; originally published in The Saturday Review, December 21, 1963, reprinted in The Price of the Ticket, Collected Non-Fiction 1948-1985, Saint Martins 1985.

Rich Gibson Comment: Forty-nine years ago in his famous talk to teachers, James Baldwin said, "the crucial paradox which confronts us here is that the whole process
of education occurs within a social framework and is designed to
perpetuate the aims of society."

The social context of school today is this: a society writhing in
inequality and segregation, promising its youth perpetual war. Such a
society will make odd demands on schools like the regimentation of
curricula, anti-working class high stakes exams, and an encompassing
atmosphere of militarism. Governor Brown, in calling for less testing,
plays Tweedle Dum to Tweedle Dee Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Both
agree on the endgame, differ on tactics.

Baldwin went on with this, "What societies really, ideally, want is a
citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society. If a society
succeeds in this, that society is about to perish. The obligation of
anyone who thinks of himself as responsible is to examine society and
try to change it and to fight it â at no matter what risk. This is the
only hope society has. This is the only way societies change."

Baldwin, not Brown nor Duncan, was right.

Education Week and No Child Left Behind
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: January 14, 2012
Quick Summary: My acceptance of an invitation from Education Week to participate in a commentary on the 10th anniversary of No child Left Behind meant breaking my 15-year boycott of their pages. Here, I put that acceptance in context.

By Sam Smith
Publication Date: January 11, 2012
Quick Summary: If you don't subscribe to Sam Smith's Undernews, which comes by e-mail but is also available on the Web, you are missing great insight, humor, and thought provoking independence. Below is just a small snippet, which I post because Progressives in education don't seem to be able to do it--that is, come together on a single issue while laying down their arms on everything else. Too many Progressives prefer to maintain their elite, exclusive cliques, patting each other on the back rather than welcoming everybody with common purpose.

The excerpt below is from Post Empire Travel Guide. You should read the whole thing.

You can follow Progressive Review on Twitter.

Favorite Night of the Week
By Amanda Nygren
Publication Date: January 07, 2012
Quick Summary: The school was shut down,but teachers come back every Wednesday night, refusing to shut down the volunteer outreach program.

On her blog, teacher Amanda Nygren describes My Favorite Night of the Week, where she and others continue their volunteer school outreach program, despite the fact that their school was shut down and a charter moved in. Asked for more details, she provided this commentary.

Also included are a story from the community newspaper, describing the impending closing and one from California Teachers Association The Educator, describing this remarkable outreach program.

Reading Articles about Real Estate Sales in the Wall Street Journal
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: January 04, 2012
Quick Summary: This was published in Daily Censored,Dec. 30, 2011 and in Substance News on Dec. 31st, where George gave it great pictures and captions.

A Decent Education
By Doug Noon
Publication Date: January 04, 2012
Quick Summary: This is from the Borderland blog, Dec. 27, 2011. Doug Noon has taught elementary school in Alaska for 26 years. He introduces his blog thusly: Educating people for a democratic society is cultural work. Teachers must become border crossers. We need to be creatively flexible because even if curriculum is standardized, our students are not. Teaching is more than methodology. It begins with understanding, and it depends on personal connections that honor the identities of learners. Conceptual borders are places to make new meanings -- to explore different ways of thinking and being, to muck about with difficult questions and to be unafraid of wrong answers.


Stop Letting High-School Courses Count for College Credit
By Michael Mendillo
Publication Date: January 03, 2012
Quick Summary: This essay appeared at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 1, 2012. Anyone who believes in allowing children to have a childhood--and in college as a place of intellectual inquiry (rather than a race to certification for a job)--should embrace it. One's reasons for dumping high school certification of college credit may differ somewhat. But abolishing premature college credit would have a tremendous trickle effect: for starters, it would be an important first step toward getting rid of kindergarten entrance exams.

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success
By Anu Partanen
Publication Date: December 30, 2011
Quick Summary: Just when I'd vowed not to mention Finland again, this provocative article gets posted at The Atlantic, Dec. 28, 2011. Of all places. Maybe their New Year's resolution is to atone for all the miserable education pieces they've run in the last few years.

This piece states what everybody else seemed to miss: Finland is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence. There are no private schools in Finland.

One cruel fact is missing in this picture: Finnish society itself is much more equal to start with. A huge percentage of Finnish children don't go home to abject poverty when they leave school. Providing equal school facilities and staffing will never be good enough when so many schoolchildren live in poverty. The most serious problem facing urban schoolchildren is not that they don't all have teachers with Masters Degrees and small class size, etc. etc. The problem is that 99% of them live in poverty when they leave the relative safety and security of the school building. Yes, 99%. Check out the 'free and reduced lunch' statistics for urban schools.

Meanwhile, appreciate this thoughtful article. If you can't access the whole thing, let me know and I'll send it to you.

Once Upon a Time, Not Too Long Ago, Teaching Was Considered a Profession, But Then Came Standardization, Tests, and Value-Added Merit Pay Schemes That
The Rest Is No Fairy Tale
By Joel Westheimer
Publication Date: December 20, 2011
Quick Summary: This is from National Association of Independent Schools, Summer 2011.

Westheimer finds it necessary to throw a sop to the importance of standards but then gets to the meat of the matter: Since we can't measure what we care about, we start to care about what we can measure. Great example of how perverted policy has become: feed hungry kids because it increases test scores.

The Failure of Corporate School Reform: Toward a New Common School Movement
By Kenneth Saltman
Publication Date: December 07, 2011
Quick Summary: This essay appeared in Truthout, December 5, 2011 and is a speech given by Saltman at Occupy Chicago, Nov. 18. It is adapted from his forthcoming book, The Failure of Corporate School Reform (Paradigm Publishers 2012).

But controlled, rigid, anti-critical teaching results not in subjects with a greater capacity for economic productivity, but the opposite. If the goal is to produce docile, disciplined low-skill workers or marginalized people who are excluded from the economy altogether, then these corporate school reforms are right on target.

Okay To Be Different
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: November 21, 2011
Quick Summary: An article about a Florida school for children with emotional problems caused me to think about Charles, a boy mainstreamed into my third grade classroom--and into my heart.

This classroom was in the days before standards, Common Core curriculum, and NCTE capitulation to convenience and money, the days when a teacher looked to kid-watching for guidance, not to curriculum imperatives issued by corporate-politicos.

This essay originally appeared in Learning Magazine, where I was staff writer and then was reprinted in Who's In Charge? A Teacher Speaks Her Mind, Boynton/Cook publishers. I would note that I met Bob Boynton, who never published anything he didn't believe in, at a NCTE convention. And then I kept going back to those conventions because such interesting people always congregated at the Boynton/Cook booth. Bob was a friend, a mentor, and an all-around wonderful man.

Don’t believe the education reformers
Public schools are better than we think and efforts to quantify teacher performance are typically destructive
By Gene Lyons
Publication Date: November 18, 2011
Quick Summary: This is from Salon.com. Can we hope that more mainstream press are catching on?

Reader Comment: Everything you say is right on target, very astute, yet still manages to miss the major point. The powers that be are aware of everything you say. It's all intentional. They are trying to destroy public education because they can't profit off it. They don't care whether or not charter/private schools out perform public schools (with the exception of the ridiculously elite $30,000/year schools they send their own kids to). They only care whether they can make a profit.

Reader Comment:
In my more naive days, I used to think people like you were paranoid as well as ignorant. Nowadays, I think you are spot on. It is the only explanation that satisfies all the facts. It's the greed of the 1% that is behind it.

NOTE: Throughout article Michael Winerip's name was misspelled as Winerup. Correction made here.

NOTE: the take down of New York Times editorial. Yahoo.

How Bill Gates can be an education hero
By Marion Brady
Publication Date: November 17, 2011
Quick Summary: This is from Washington Point Answer Sheet We should all follow Marion Brady's good example. Whenever we comment on schools and school policy, we should indicate how many hours of expertise we bring to the topic. I'm having a hard time figuring mine, since thinking about public schools is practically all that I do.

Stalinizing American Education
By Lawrence Baines
Publication Date: November 11, 2011
Quick Summary: This provocative article is from Teachers College Record, September 16, 2011, ID Number: 16545

Chicken Sexers and Plane Spotters
By David Eagleman
Publication Date: November 08, 2011
Quick Summary: Excerpted from our Brain Knows a Lot More Than You Realize, Discover Magazine, September 2011.

In this essay neuroscientist David Eagleman explores the processes and skills of the subconscious mind, which our conscious selves rarely consider.

He supplies these two anecdotes in the middle of the essay. Think about what relevance they might have for teaching. What kind of rubric for professional chicken sexers would the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation teacher effectiveness money buy? How many pages long would the effectiveness rubric be?

Baby Lit for the Global Economy
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: November 06, 2011
Quick Summary: These days, you can't be too thin, too rich, or too young for Shakespeare.

Bill Gates: Popping Up with Compulsory Proactive Help
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Quick Summary: Clippy as the model for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation involvement in schools.

The Crocodile in the Common Core Standards
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Quick Summary: This appeared on Daily Censored on October 18, 2011, provoking enthusiastic response on Twitter and Facebook. And there are good comments at the Daily Censored site.

The Kick-off of Parents as Partners Week: Who is David Coleman and why should we care?
By Leonie Haimson
Publication Date: October 21, 2011
Quick Summary: The notice went out to NYC Parents, Oct. 21, 2011.

Where's the Beef?
By Susan Ohanian
Publication Date: October 19, 2011
Quick Summary: A lawsuit against Taco Bell brings up questions about standardized testing. NOTE: The lawsuit against Taco Bell was dropped--after the company spent several millions defending their product.

Occupy Wall Street: What You Can Demand versus What You Must DO
By Glen Ford
Publication Date: October 19, 2011
Quick Summary: This is from Black Agenda Report, Oct. 18, 2011. Subscribe! Heed executive editor Glen Ford's advice: There is no reforming Wall Street, only its dismantling and simultaneous replacement by public institutions for allocating capital for human needs and development.

Junot Diaz
By In Mrs. Crowell's Library
Publication Date: October 19, 2011
Quick Summary: This is from New York Times Magazine feature on educational experiences that changed a life. Most people wrote about significant teachers. Michelle Rhee wrote about herself. Go to the url and read George Saunders' extraordinary offering.

Occupy Everything
By Norm Scott
Publication Date: October 15, 2011
Quick Summary: This commentary appeared in The Wave, Oct. 14, 2011.

Norm's call to action is a good one: Occupy Everything! Let's be sure to include the occupation of NCTE, a professional organization that's lost its way. Their 1% leadership cadre would rather scramble for a seat at the corporate-political table than stand up for the needs of the 99% of their members and the needs of children.

Corporate Free Public Schools
By United Opt Out National
Publication Date: October 13, 2011
Quick Summary: We, administrators of United Opt Out National ( http://www.unitedoptout.com), wish to collaborate with the Occupy Wall Street Movement and offer our vision for CORPORATE-FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

Dear Teacher Education Colleagues
By Prof. Timothy Slekar
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Quick Summary: Even though I try to boycott Huffington Post, where this call to arms appeared on Oct. 11, 2011, I shout loud Hosannahs for this one.

NOTE: The Coalition for Better Education in Colorado is raising money for their annual (and wonderful) billboard campaign to inform parents of their right to opt out of state testing. Become a part of this action: Send them a donation. No donation is too small.

Checks can be made out to:
The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.
and then sent to our address at:
2424 22nd Avenue
Greeley, Colorado 80631

The Best Among Us; Join the Revolt On Wall Street or Stand On The Wrong Side of History
By Chris Hedges
Publication Date: October 02, 2011
Quick Summary: This is from OpEd News, Sept. 30, 2011.

See bio below.

The dangers of building a plane in the air
By Carol Corbett Burris
Publication Date: October 01, 2011
Quick Summary: This is from the Washington Post Answer Sheet, Sept. 30, 2011. Thank God for Valerie Strauss.

Carol Corbett Burris is principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She has other fine articles on this site.

NOTE: The promo for the book Driven by Data promises that the book will show the reader "how to create a data culture" and "how to deal with resistance from your teachers." It is recommended by Jon Schnur, co-founder and chief executive officer, New Leaders for New Schools, and senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He is to Race to the Top what Sandy Kress was to No Child Left Behind. And on 8/4/10, his outfit was rewarded by a payment of $616,474 from the US Department of Education, our tax dollars at work.

The book starts out with a chart documenting Data-Driven Success Story: Data in the War Room.

School offices as war rooms devoted to analyzing test results. Here are a few of the author's Core Ideas:

  • Standards are meaningless until you define how you will assess them. . . . The assessments used define the standard that will be reached.

  • Assessments are not the end of the teaching and learning process; they're the starting point.

  • We should create a rigorous and demanding test and then teach to meet its standards.

  • The point can't be made too emphatically--rigorous interim assessments define the standards and provide a road map to rigorous teaching and learning.

  • Are you nauseous yet? I'm only on page 8 of a 336-page book

    So is this why teachers are so silent about the Common Core? They're waiting for the assessments that will tell them what they have to do? By then it will be too late. Teachers' graves are already dug.

    Books that deserve to be banned Not that we take Banned Books Week lightly. But some classics are painful enough to ruin reading forever
    By Laura Miller
    Publication Date: September 29, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Salon.com. We should all write Laura Miller and tell her to look at the Common Core Standards for literacy, with special attention to Appendix B. Or just tell her to read my introduction to the "Publishers Criteria for the Common Core." Laura Miller also writes for the New York Times Book Review, so it's worthwhile to contact her.


    Corporate Media and Larry Summers Team Up to Gut Public Education: Beyond Education for Illiteracy, Vulgarity and a Culture of Cruelty
    By Henry A. Giroux
    Publication Date: September 29, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Truthout, Sept. 27, 2011.

    NOTE: This article is based on the preface of Henry A. Giroux's latest book, Education and the Crisis of Public Values: Challenging the Assault on Teachers, Students and Public Education (Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education), published by Peter Lang Publishing; First printing edition (July 30, 2011).

    Also NOTE: When Brownsville won the Broad prize for best urban district, jurors included Lou Gerstner of IBM, Lawrence Summers, who's done such a good job with advice on the economy, and Rod Paige. On the same day the District won the Broad award, Texas authorities announced that the district had failed to meet achievement targets for two years under the federal No Child Left Behind law. More recently, NBC chose Summers to give the keynote address at its Education Nation event.

    Maybe Giroux uses the word "conservative" a tad bit too often. Neo-liberals are our curse.

    Public and School Libraries in Decline: When We Need Them
    By Yvonne Siu-Runyan
    Publication Date: September 21, 2011
    Quick Summary: This important commentary by NCTE President Yvonne Siu-Runyan is from the NCTE Chronicle, Sept. 2011

    The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Recalls Obama's Fall From Grace
    By Chris Hedges
    Publication Date: September 19, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Common Dreams, Sept. 19, 2011. It also appeared on Truth Dig. Put Chris Hedges in a search on this site and you will find more commentary that offers important truth to power. Here, Hedges interviews the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who points out that Barack Obama was selected [by Wall Street] before he was elected. Wright also points out that Martin Luther King would be saying to us the same thing today he was saying in 1967 and 1968. He would be condemning our nation's utter disregard for the poor.

    What If? The State of Education on September 10, 2001
    By Norm Scott
    Publication Date: September 17, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Education Notes Online, Sept. 16, 2011

    Is Poverty a Death Sentence?
    By Senator Bernie Sanders
    Publication Date: September 14, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Common Dreams, Sept. 14, 2011.

    Reader Comment: Has Obama ever mentioned poverty in any of his speeches?

    Reader Comment (responding to piece by John A MacArthur, "Some Liberals on to Obama's Betrayal of Liberalism": Obama was put in office by those who want to destroy the progressive movement and leave this country totally defenseless to the corporations that are sucking it dry. In that sense, he has performed splendidly for his handlers.

    Common Dreams readers were absolutely light years ahead of others in identifying who Obama really is and who he really works for--and it is sure as hell not progressives.

    I would rather see one of the right-wing nut cases be our next president than give Obama another 4 years to completely destroy our social safety net. I prefer the enemy I know to the enemy who pretends to be my friend, while standing alongside of me and stabbing me in the back.

    Ohanian Comment: And the fact of the matter is even worse. "Poverty" is defined as an income of $22,113 for a family of four.

    What Bernie Sanders needs to do is exhibit his Independent identity, truly divorce himself from the Democratic Party, and support a campaign for a progressive presidential candidate.

    Walked Into a Lamppost? Hurt While Crocheting? Help Is on the Way New Medical-Billing System Provides Precision; Nine Codes for Macaw Mishaps
    By Anna Wilde Mathews
    Publication Date: September 13, 2011
    Quick Summary: Okay, this piece from the Wall Street Journal, Sept. 13, 2011, is the most bizarre thing I've read in a long time. I tried to read it out loud to my husband but was overcome by laughter. Finally, I told him he'd have to read it himself. On a serious note, think about these federal regulations the next time you read about soaring medical costs. And what are the Feds going to do when they find out you were injured by a macaw--or when your water skis caught on fire? People who compiled these codes insist that describing the circumstances of injuries are important for public-health researchers to track how people get hurt and try to prevent injuries. For starters, clearly we should stay away from macaws.

    When you stop laughing, think of the practical application to teaching. Since Standardistos often lecture teachers about being more scientific--like medicos--teachers should take a page from this medical services coding system. Teachers should immediately launch a campaign for 140,000 value-added codes for describing the services they render. We can call it the International Classification of Classroom Events.

    Although most teachers might find 72 codes for encounters with birds excessive, certainly we have plenty of colorful and even exotic encounters with parents we can include. I'm thinking about the time when the father of one of my 7th grade students, happening to be in the neighborhood, climbed in the window to check on how his son was doing. Code V63.07YZ.

    The Wall Street Journal has a separate article: showing some of the codes:

    W5541XA Bitten by pig, initial encounter

    W5541XD Bitten by pig, subsequent encounter

    W5541XS Bitten by pig, sequela
    If you're injured while crocheting, the code is Y93D1; injured at the opera house, Y92253.

    Prediction: Ten years from now there will be dissertations on whether it's more dangerous to sit at home and crochet, visit a chicken coop, or go to the opera.

    Improving schools with 'The Project'
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: September 10, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from the Washington Post Answer Sheet, September 9, 2011, and like everything Marion Brady writes, makes too much good sense to get any notice from people in charge at the U. S. Department of Education.

    School ‘Reform’: A Failing Grade
    By Diane Ravitch
    Publication Date: September 07, 2011
    Quick Summary:
    This is from The New York Review of Books, Sept. 29, 2011. Ravitch DEMOLISHES Brill in NY Review of Books: Thank you, Diane, for pointing to link between George Miller & DFER.

    Opt Out or Give Up? Resistance in shades of grey
    By Morna mcDermott
    Publication Date: September 02, 2011
    Quick Summary: This statement of resistance is from
    Baltimore Education Reform Examiner
    , Sept. 1, 2011.

    Warring learning theories: Choose yours
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: August 29, 2011
    Quick Summary: This fine piece is from the Washington Post Answer Sheet, Aug. 29, 2011

    Down with Research Papers!
    By Thomas Bertonneau
    Publication Date: August 29, 2011
    Quick Summary: This essay is from The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, Aug. 10, 2011. It provoked discussion at the New York Times, where people defend research papers. Only Mark Bauerlein, Mr. Bertonneau's former office mate at UCLA, pretty much agrees with him. You can read about the Pope Center here. It originated as a project of the John Locke Foundation, a free market outfit. Nonetheless, their criticism of research papers is worth thinking about: In short research papers rely on easily accessible sources and deference to conventional opinion; students should be assigned essays instead.

    The author says the research paper is an almost unavoidable aspect of contemporary college education. If that were the only problem. Now, the research paper is assigned in third grade. . . and bibliographical method haunts students for the next nine years.

    I applaud the demise of research papers in college--so teachers will stop assigning them in 3rd grade.

    Make Room at the Table for Teachers
    By Susan Ohanian and Philip Kovacs
    Publication Date: August 16, 2011
    Quick Summary: I decided the time is right to post this Phi Delta Kappan piece from December 2007. I'm inspired to post this because I've been thinking about the fact that NCTE, my professional organization for more than three decades, didn't fight NCLB, didn't fight Race to the Top, and now is not fighting the Common Core Standards and Assessments but instead, is publishing books and pricey online courses to get teachers "aligned."

    For three decades, I felt I could rely on NCTE to take a strong stand on pedagogy. For the past nine years, since the passage of NCLB, they have let me down, and I feel much more angry about their behavior than any misdeeds of the NEA and the AFT.

    I still think the Educator Roundtable was a noble effort. Philip Kovacs came up with the idea, and a group of us discussed and argued all the points of the petition in e-mail. It was a long, frustrating process, but we stuck with it and managed to come up with a credible document.

    But for all the complaints about NCLB, we only managed to get something over 35,000 signatures on that document. (I don't remember the exact number.) How could this be? How could it be that a couple of million teachers didn't sign it immediately? And knowing this, why did I go to the SOS march in Washington D. C. believing 100,000 teachers would be there with me?

    What would it take to get teachers to speak out for their profession? For the children? What would have happened if NEA had encouraged its 3.2 million members to support the Educator Roundtable Petition?

    NEA opposed the Educator Roundtable petition, telling their members not to sign it. I suggested to the Phi Delta Kappan editor that it might be interesting to have a debate between NEA and Educator Roundtable. You can find Joel Packer's article representing the NEA position here.
    Point of information: Joel Packer, then-director of education policy and practice for NEA, no longer works for the union but is executive director of Committee for Education Funding.

    Slowpoke How to be a faster write
    By Michael Agger
    Publication Date: August 14, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Slate, Aug. 1011. The Common Core storm troopers would do well to heed the advice of Gerald Weinberg, responding to this article:

    Gerald M Weinberg
    All your commenters are correct about what makes for fast writing. All of your commenters who think there is one correct way to write effectively are wrong.

    I've published 60+ books and hundreds of articles. I've taught hundreds of writers how to succeed. Each book, each writer, is different, and the field of writing is replete with myths about what works. Study everyone, but find your own method.

    Maybe start with Weinberg on Writing.

    Here's another wise reader comment:
    Unplug the internet and you will be more productive. Or even move to a house which doesn't have internet and cable TV. I'm not sure about others, but my enemy is the internet.

    I'm a slow writer and the Internet has made me much much slower.

    Reverence in Classroom Teaching
    By Jim Garrison & A. G. Rud
    Publication Date: August 09, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Teachers College Record, Volume 111 Number 11, 2009, p. 2626-2646

    The authors state, "Our goal in this article and those to follow is to restore reverence to its rightful place in the ordinary daily activities of teachers in relation to administrators, students, and parents in school and in the community."

    They also point out that teaching is a spiritual activity. They turn to the idea of reverence as a way to understand some of the spiritual dimensions of teaching.

    I'm proud of the context in which they put some quotes from my book, One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards.

    Sex, Lies, and SOS
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 14, 2011
    Quick Summary: For all the music and praise of teachers, the SOS march had a more troubling side.

    Warning to Teachers and Students Whom IBM Wants to 'Friend'
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 01, 2011
    Quick Summary: This commentary is provoked by a puff piece from the Wall Street Journal, Aug. 1, 2011, which reads like a Press Release. I provide a bit of historical context, much of which is included in Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?

    I posted a shorter version of this on the Wall Street Journal website, making a bunch of readers angry.

    Deselection of the Bottom 8%: Lessons from Eugenics for Modern School Reform
    By Cedar Riener
    Publication Date: July 26, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Scientific American blog, July 19, 2011.

    Both eugenics and modern school reform share an overabundant faith in standardization, and in testing in particular.

    Follow the hot links. Read Bruce Baker's comments on this essay here.

    Reader Comment: I see much of the "education reform" movement, especially the teacher focus, as a means of shifting attention away from the broader societal factors that have the much bigger impacts on individual development and student achievement. Yes, we should all want good teachers, but the fact is that teachers ARE NOT the primary driver of student achievement, economic and family factors are. It's much easier to blame teachers than it is to fix the growing economic inequality that is largely at the root of student achievement issues, especially when so many of those promoting the "reforms" are themselves the super-rich.

    By anonymous
    Publication Date: July 20, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from For Public Schools blog on Wikispaces. I have posted just the beginning. The writer offers provocative speculation about what those who claim to be working on the achievement gap are really up to.

    A leadership roundtable with advice to teachers from the Washington Post
    By Dan Ariely, Howard Gardner, Steven Perlstein & Arne Duncan
    Publication Date: July 20, 2011
    Quick Summary: According to the Washington Post, July 18, 2011, this series of essays a leadership roundtable on the right way to approach teacher incentives -- with opinion pieces by Duke University behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Harvard Graduate School of Education professor Howard Gardner, and Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein.

    Reader Comment on Dan Ariely essay: The real history lesson from corporate America:

    1. Obviously regulation is the root of the problem. End regulation of teachers. Let them teach whatever they want.

    2. As with the bailouts of wall street, the second step is to shovel billions of dollars to the teachers; perhaps via ultra-low interest rate loans that they can invest in the stock market.

    3. DO NOT PUNISH ANYONE. The last rule of corporate America is that no-one is ever responsible.

    Reader Comment on Steven Pearlstein essay: Steven Pearlstein has never, ever, taught a public school class in his entire life. Pearlstein is not even a real reporter, but instead a cheerleader for the so-called reformers. Who in their right mind would want to be a teacher where 50% of your performance appraisal was based on test scores and where you get heaped abuse by administration and students? It is no surprise that teachers in D.C. poor schools had a great deal more marginal performance ratings than other teachers. Why would anybody want to risk their career teaching at an under-performing school? Pearlstein is another cog in wheel of idiocy.

    For a right-on comment on this topic, read The greatest teacher incentive: The freedom to teach by Vicki Davis, Georgia teacher and education blogger. Predictably, Arne Duncan intones, "Competing in a global economy is the ultimate high-stakes test for American students."

    Anthony Cody Comment on Arne Duncan's statement:
    Mr. Duncan,
    If you think a culture of intimidation is unproductive, why did you applaud the firing of the entire staff of teachers at Central Falls High in Rhode Island last year?

    If you believe current tests are inadequate, how can you justify closing schools, and evaluating teachers based on the scores from them?

    If you believe teachers need more autonomy, why do you support the expansion of the use of test scores for purposes of teacher pay and evaluation?

    And by the way, contrary to your assertion, most of us do not oppose all testing, or even "accountability." We oppose high stakes attached to tests, because of the inevitable corruption of our mission as educators. See Campbell's Law to understand how this works.

    We are still waiting for policies that actually move us away from teaching to the test, as well as cheating on the tests.

    Many of us will be in DC a week from Saturday, at the Save Our Schools March. Come by and hear what we have to say!

    Ohanian Comment: Duncan says it all when he insists, "Competing in a global economy is the ultimate high-stakes test for American students." How many parents want this as the educational goal for their children--starting in kindergarten?

    The SchoolTechConnect.com blogger speaks for thousands of teachers and parents when he writes, "No, I don't want a ten minute phone call from Arne Duncan, unless it's the one where he leaks the news of his resignation."

    By Dan Ariely, Howard Gardner, & Steven Perlstein
    Publication Date: July 20, 2011
    Quick Summary: According to the Washington Post, July 18, 2011, this series of essays a leadership roundtable on the right way to approach teacher incentives -- with opinion pieces by Duke University behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Harvard Graduate School of Education professor Howard Gardner, and Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein. No link was given to anything Arne Duncan Said.

    Reader Comment on Dan Ariely essay: The real history lesson from corporate America:

    1. Obviously regulation is the root of the problem. End regulation of teachers. Let them teach whatever they want.

    2. As with the bailouts of wall street, the second step is to shovel billions of dollars to the teachers; perhaps via ultra-low interest rate loans that they can invest in the stock market.

    3. DO NOT PUNISH ANYONE. The last rule of corporate America is that no-one is ever responsible.

    Reader Comment on Steven Pearlstein essay: Steven Pearlstein has never, ever, taught a public school class in his entire life. Pearlstein is not even a real reporter, but instead a cheerleader for the so-called reformers. Who in their right mind would want to be a teacher where 50% of your performance appraisal was based on test scores and where you get heaped abuse by administration and students? It is no surprise that teachers in D.C. poor schools had a great deal more marginal performance ratings than other teachers. Why would anybody want to risk their career teaching at an under-performing school? Pearlstein is another cog in wheel of idiocy.

    The Atlanta Scandal: Teaching in A Culture of Fear, Intimidation and Retaliation
    By Erich Martel
    Publication Date: July 20, 2011
    Quick Summary: This essay is from Nonpartisan Education Review, July 2011.
    NOTE: The massive Special Investigation Into Test Tampering in Atlanta's School System report Atlanta Investigative Report comes in four volumes (pdf):

  • Vol 1

  • Vol 2

  • Vol 3

  • Exhibits to the Report

    Ohanian Comment: Erich Martel, a Washington, D. C. teacher, draws an important conclusion from what happen in Atlanta: Those who think our public schools can be improved by weakening teacher tenure and gutting union contracts, so principals can get rid of the bad teachers, need only read about the toxic environments created by unprincipled principals in Atlanta -- and which teachers they terminated.

    Think about it. Think about the Atlanta teacher who was ordered to crawl on the floor and under a desk because her class had low test scores.

    How to Be a Person
    By Robert Jensen
    Publication Date: July 19, 2011
    Quick Summary: [This is from St Andrew's blog, an edited version of a sermon delivered July 17, 2011, at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX]. We can start by applying Wendell Berry's poem to school conditions. Heed his warning to "Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in." Stay away from the words that obscure the truth of the matter.

    Being a longtime admirer of Wendell Berry, I very much like the notion of the Book of Berry. Years ago, I wrote him a question. And he answered it.

    How important is class size after all?
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: July 13, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Washington Post Answer Sheet, July 12, 2011. A reader proposed Marion Brady, veteran teacher, administrator, curriculum designer and author,
    should be Secretary of Education. Wishful thinking. The politicos have never appointed a Secretary with deep and intimate knowledge of school matters. But read on to see why many who do have that deep and intimate knowledge would like to see Marion in the post.

    Kelly Gallagher Says Stop Readicide Now
    By ZombieX
    Publication Date: July 12, 2011
    Quick Summary: This excerpt, July 11, 2011, is by a 12-year old 7th grader in public school who has more insight than most politicos. He is a contributing writer to K12NN. You can read this complete commentary as well as more work by Zombie X here.

    Teach for America and Me: A Failed Courtship
    By Mark Naison
    Publication Date: July 09, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Black Agenda Report, July 5, 2011. For the real story behind media hot air, go to their site and subscribe.

    This article previously appeared on Dr. Naisonâs web site, With A Brooklyn Accent.

    This is a devastating look at the real goals of Teach for America--told by an eyewitness to their recruiting practices. Naison makes the real point that needs to be made--about TFA contempt for lifetime educators, including the demonization of those lifetime educators. Many people who carp at TFA miss this essential point. Naison nails it.

    Hearts and Minds
    By Doug Noon at Borderland
    Publication Date: July 04, 2011
    Quick Summary: Reading Doug at Borderland is always an 'up'--even when he's discussing definitely downward things. This end-of-year reflection is from June 4, 2011. When teachers at at Doug's school-- on the edge of being targeted for turnaround status--were asked asked to say what they planned to do to improve studentsâ scores, this teacher's answer made me cheer.

    Yes, I posted this last month. I think maybe I'll post it every month. When corporate politicos say "roll over," teachers must stop doing it.

    Firing Line: The Grand Coalition Against Teachers
    By Joanne Barkan
    Publication Date: July 09, 2011
    Quick Summary: This fine essay comes from Dissent Magazine Online, June 29, 2011. This hard-hitting, well-documented article investigates the fix-the-teachers campaign of today's so-called education reformers.

    Reminder: Jon Schnur is to Race to the Top what Sandy Kress was to No Child Left Behind.

    Testing What Matters Least
    By Maika Yeigh, Andie Cunningham, & Ruth Shagoury
    Publication Date: June 26, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Rethinking Schools, Summer 2011. Kudos to these three for taking the Praxis. NCTE & IRA officers should go forth and do likewise--take the Praxis in their field. It could be transformational--turn them into the militant advocates we need. Of course anyone who advocates high-stakes testing should do likewise. Years ago, I bought a Praxis practice booklet for para-professional test--and quickly realized how at sea I would be with these tests. I have corresponded with highly-rated teachers who have failed the teacher test over and over and over. I'm sure I would also fail it.

    The description below reminds me of Peter Hessler's account ( Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip) of the driver's exam in China. Here's one question:

        352. If another motorist stops you to ask directions, you should
           a) not tell him.
          b) reply patiently and accurately.
          c) tell him the wrong way.

    And here's the one I really like:

         223. If you come to a road that has been flooded, you should
        a) accelerate, so the motor doesn't flood.
        b) stop, examine the water to make sure it's shallow, and drive across slowly.
        c) find a pedestrian, and make him across ahead of you.

    Our corporate leaders of our professional organizations and unions have found teachers as handy patsys. . . quite similar to that pedestrian.

    Okay, I laughed out loud over the authors' assertion that certainly literacy experts should know the schwa. I've written extensively on my ignorance of this beast. I was happy to see their later admission that there's no need to teach it.

    I wish the authors hadn't touted the IRA standards, since IRA has been so weak-kneed about the intrusion of corporatism into education matters.

    This fine essay should be promoted far and wide by both NCTE and IRA. I'm not holding my breath.

    Solitude and Leadership
    By William Deresiewicz
    Publication Date: June 26, 2011
    Quick Summary: This speech, delivered at West Point, can be found at American Scholar,
    Sept.-October 2010.

    This speech answers the question: Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things--the leaders--are the mediocrities?

    Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things--the leaders--are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn't usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you. Pleasing your teachers, pleasing your superiors, picking a powerful mentor and riding his coattails until itâs time to stab him in the back. Jumping through hoops. Getting along by going along. Being whatever other people want you to be. . . .

    Brainwashing the Corporate Way
    By John Pilger
    Publication Date: June 26, 2011
    Quick Summary: This thought-provoking look at what organizations need from professional workers is from Truthout, June 24, 2011. Jeff Schmidt, the author of the book Pilger discusses, was editor at Physics Today magazine for 19 years, until he was fired for writing this provocative book. One reviewer of the book called it a 'must read' for anyone who hoped to survive a professional training school education with his integrity intact.

    Related Recommended Reading: Solitude and Leadership, a speech delivered at West Point by William Deresiewicz, a Jane Austen scholar(!) who encourages a group of West Point plebes to practice introspection, concentration, and nonconformity.

    Diane Ravitch, the Anti-Rhee
    By Dana Goldstein
    Publication Date: June 24, 2011
    Quick Summary: This article, with the unfortunate title, is in the Washington City Paper, June 24, 2011, actually provoked good comments, a rarity. Here are a couple:

    Dear WCP,

    Neither the family of Whittaker Chambers nor Diane Ravitch herself understand why Jonathan Alter called her "the Whittaker Chambers of school reform" in his Newsweek article [" A Case of Senioritis" 11/28/2010].

    How does her "intellectual heft to the National Education Associationâs campaign" resemble anything about anyone from the Hiss Case?

    Whittaker Chambers (my grandfather) wrote only one article relevant to Mr. Alter's piece. In "Foot in the Door" (National Review - 06/20/1959), he expresses concern with the "slackness about learning" in America. He champions the idea of raising the general level of education. He cites a breakthrough of that time: TV classes at George Washington University. "We shall have little choice but to raise the level [of education]â¦" Future scale of education requires "solutions in something approaching googol terms."

    Clearly, Whittaker Chambers would have supported Bill Gates and President Obama as described in Mr. Alter's article (which Dr. Ravitch does not discuss in her reply).

    Regardless, why should anyone care what any figure from the Hiss Case (all of them by now dead) says about education currently?

    Will Washington ever grow up enough to stop name-calling a la Hiss Case?

    Or, if compelled (out of habit or custom) to continue to do so, could this please in -- how shall we say? -- a more "educated" and accurate manner?

    David Chambers | http://www.whittakerchambers.org

    from Alter:
    In answer to David Chambers' question, I compared Diane Ravitch to Whitakker Chambers in Newsweek and more recently on Bloomberg View Bloomberg View for an obvious reason: both made journeys across the ideological spectrum. In Chambers' case it was from the communist left to the anti-communist right; in Ravitch's case it was from the education reformer right to the teachers union left. I have an inherent distrust of these transformations (the most recent being the playwright David Mamet's move from left to right) because they reflect Manichean thinking that squeezes out nuance and intelligent reflection in the name of some "line." Even worse is Ravitch's "fierce urgency of no," which has become in her hands a kind of implacable cynicism. Skepticism is wonderful, but she directs it only at reformers (and their charter schools, even the highly effective ones)--never at the unions and their tired agenda. Her personal animus toward Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee and Bill Gates colors everything she writes and discredits her once-fine scholarship, which now consists mostly of cherry-picking evidence to bolster her arguments for doing nothing about failing schools. I took her on after she wrongly said a Denver school was not worthy of praise from President Obama. In truth, that school had shown doubling and tripling of proficiency in just three years. The fact that those improvements came from a very low base hardly discredits their progress.

    I agree with Ravitch on plenty. She's right, for instance, that the testing mania can incentivize cheating. But she can no longer be trusted as an analyst of American public education.

    from Stephen Krashen:
    June 24, 2011 In her NY Times op-ed, Diane Ravitch argued that when schools seem to have overcome poverty and have achieved "stunning results," it is usually "the result of statistical legerdemain," and that "the only miracle at these schools was a triumph of public relations."

    Jonathan Alter responded to only small details of Ravitch's investigation, but ignored other cases, past and present. Gerald Bracey regularly reported cases like this years ago, and I contributed an analysis as well. We both concluded that there were very very few cases in which schools in high-poverty areas achieved high scores on tests.

    Individual cases of overcoming poverty are rare as well. When individuals do succeed despite poverty, they often give credit to the fact that they became voracious readers: Access to books is rare in high-poverty communities, but they found a way to get access to books, and gave reading the credit for their school success (I describe some cases, including Geoffrey Canada), in a recent paper). Oddly, providing access to books through support for school libraries and librarians does not seem to be a feature of school "reform" these days.

    For references, please write me at

    Both the writer and the subject deserved a better title. The subtitle and blurb for the article reads Diane Ravitch, the Anti-Rhee Michelle Rhee went from DCPS to national crusader. Along the way, a 72-year old historian became her top critic

    What You Can Learn from Looking at the Twitter Supporters of Jonathan Alter
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 05, 2011
    Quick Summary: Jonathan Alter created quite a dust-up with his attack on Diane Ravitch's New York Times column. But the truth of the matter is this is just a distraction, taking teacher energy away from the real issues. Alter is of some interest--not for what he says--but for who's listening to what he says.

    Stephen Krashen commented on "Ravitch's "first-class investigative reporting" over at Schools Matter.

    WARNING: This post actually contains new information. More and more, I'm learning that many people aren't interested in new information but want the comfort of recycling their old convictions.

    DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #74: Ten Angry Boys
    By Sugar
    Publication Date: June 01, 2011
    Quick Summary: This extraordinary narrative is written in response to a mother who feels helpless, May 26, 2011. "Sugar" invites others with problems to write: sugar@therumpus.net

    Reader Comment: I have an actual, physical ache in my chest from trying not to cry at work reading this. You. Are. Awesome.

    Teacherly Aphorisms to Live By--and Fight For
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: May 30, 2011
    Quick Summary: On NPR's Weekend Edition, Sunday (May29, 2011) David Loxtercamp, a Maine community practice doctor, offered what he's learned over the years in the style of Hippocratic aphorisms (created in the School of Hippocrates on the island of Kos, 400 BC.)

    Dr. Loxtercamp said, "I tried to distill what I've learned. And what I've come up with is it could be 20, it could be five; these 14 are important to me and so I'll present them to you for your reflection."

    I borrowed from Dr. Loxtercamp, converting his aphorisms to a teacher context.

    Beware of economists bearing education reforms
    By William Mathis
    Publication Date: May 30, 2011
    Quick Summary: This commentary is from Vermont Digger, May 29, 2011.

    Editorâs note: This op-ed is by William Mathis, the managing director of the National Education Policy Center, University of Colorado at Boulder. He previously served as a school superintendent in Vermont and is a member of the state board of education. The views expressed are his own.

    Reader Comment: Amen, Mr. Mathis.

    The Pedagogy of Poverty Versus Good Teaching
    By Martin Haberman
    Publication Date: May 31, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Phi Delta Kappan, Dec. 1991, and is even more distressingly accurate in 2011.

    Recognizing the formidable difficulty of institutionalizing new forms of pedagogy for the children of poverty, Mr. Haberman nonetheless believes that it is worthwhile to define and describe such alternatives.

    Try reading his Whenever students are involved... aloud in the faculty room. Our corporate politico reformers don't even want to allow teachers to be involved in thoughtful ways. They want short-term script readers.

    Martin Haberman offers an update on this article in Phi Deltan Kappan, Oct 2010, noting "It's painful to report that the teacher acts I described in this article 20 years ago are still the typical acts of teaching performed by all teachers. The only teacher act I would add to the 14 described in the article is the following: 'Assigns questions to be answered by using Google or some other search engine.'"

    Haberman adds, "It is a source of consternation that I am able to state without equivocation that the overly directive, mind-numbing, mundane, useless, anti-intellectual acts that constitute teaching not only remain the coin of the realm but have become the gold standard."

    Poor Teaching for Poor Children --in the Name of Reform
    By Alfie Kohn
    Publication Date: May 29, 2011
    Quick Summary: this is a slightly expanded version of an article appearing in Education Week April 27, 2011.

    Reminder on who supports the "reform" discussed below: NJ Teacher Associaton president Edithe A. Fulton offered this sidenote on Bret Schundler: Walton's family foundation supports the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation of Indianapolis, which sponsors regular "fact-finding" trips to Milwaukee, where New Jersey parents and politicians receive carefully scripted tours of the city's voucher schools.
    Walton gave $500,000 to former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler for his "private scholarship" program. When Schundler was caught using the money for ads supporting his run for governor in 2001, Walton rescued him, telling reporters that was the intended use of the money.

    The Service of Democratic Education
    By Linda Darling-Hammond
    Publication Date: May 28, 2011
    Quick Summary: This commencement address was reprinted in The Nation , May 21, 2011. At the commencement ceremony for Columbia University's Teachers College on May 18, Stanford education professor Linda Darling-Hammondâa nationally renowned leader in education reform and former education adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaignâwas awarded the Teachers College medal for distinguished service. Professor Darling-Hammond marked the occasion by delivering this address. So-called progressives are ecstatic. Nobody is asking if Darling-Hammond could answer her own question--Is it right?--in terms of her participation in the Common Core Assessment scheme.

    Arizona doesn't show it, but we need teachers like you
    By David Fitzsimmons
    Publication Date: May 28, 2011
    Quick Summary: From the Arizona Daily Star, May 28, 2011. Enjoy some warm and sometmes biting humor from the grateful dad of a third grader.

    Reader Comment: What a great tribute. Well done, Fitz. But even more to the point, well done, Mrs. Gomez.

    By Gord Bambrick
    Publication Date: June 07, 2011
    Quick Summary: This very informative commentary is published by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation's magazine Education Forum, May 31, 2011. If you have a strong stomach, follow the hot links! While many people are worrying about the out-in-the-open charter schools' drain on public schools, Gord Bambrick observes that "the new privatization" caused by the corporate-politico demand for continuous improvement "is entirely
    hidden from those outside its networks."

    For a look at how long this privatization plan has been in the works, take a look at this article on APEC, from Corporate Watch, 1997. Written by Larry Kuehn, Director of Research and Technology at the British Columbia Teachers' Federation, it informed my work on Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?

    Draw your own conclusions as to how our US teacher unions do--or do not--inform their constituents.

    Wrong question, wrong answer
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: May 25, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Washington Post Answer Sheet, ably run by Valerie Strauss, May 23, 2011.

    Reader Comment: I thank Marion Brady with all my heart for championing with the positive human qualities of 'curiosity, open-mindedness, empathy, imagination' and others that we often take for granted; I would also ask that we acknowledge human endeavors that do not normally get recognition in the academic mainstream.

    Mr. Duncan, you are a shining example
    By David Reber
    Publication Date: May 23, 2011
    Quick Summary: David Reber teaches High School biology in Lawrence, Kansas. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Kansas, and a Master of Science Degree in Education from Emporia State University. In addition to teaching, David is active in state and local politics with interests in school finance, curriculum, and content standards. David has represented Kansas teachers as an elected delegate to both state and national level assemblies. David welcomes your feedback at ksmanimal@gmail.com This appeared in the Topeka K-12 Examiner, May 21, 2011.

    Ten things teachers need to reclaim their profession
    By Horace B. Lucido
    Publication Date: May 21, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Washington Post Answer Sheet, May 21, 2011, thanks to Valerie Strauss.

    Horace B. Lucido, a retired physics instructor, author and educational consultant, is a founding member of Educators and Parents Against Testing Abuse. He is the author of Educational Genocide: A Plague on Our Children .

    Cuts For School Kids, But More Tax Dollars For Tests?
    By Jeff Bryant
    Publication Date: May 20, 2011
    Quick Summary: Using evidence from just 0.3 percent of our school population, our politicos are fine with justifying the billions spent on testing math and reading. And now they want to roll that system out to every subject in every grade. And mostly for the purpose of following a pig-in-a-poke plan for evaluating teachers.

    This commentary is from Daily Kos, May 19, 2011. Follow the hot links. They provide an overview of current assaults on public schools.

    BBC Radio Hard Talk Interviews Bill Gates
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: May 24, 2011
    Quick Summary: BBC Radio's Hard Talk travels to Geneva, currently hosting the World Health Assembly, to meet the world's most influential philanthropist, Bill Gates. The founder of Microsoft is currently reckoned to be the world's second richest man. His Gates Foundation spends roughly three billion dollars a year on global health and development projects. His drive and vision transformed the world of computing, but what kind of a difference can he really make in the global fight against disease and child mortality?

    Stephen Sackur is the Hard Talk interviewer.


    People of Interest to the U. S. Press Secretary
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: May 15, 2011
    Quick Summary: I admit that Twitter annoys me because it seems so ego-driven, not "social" at all. People "talk," but few seem to "listen." But something interesting is beginning to happen. People are "answering" U. S. Press Secretary Justin Hamilton. So far, he doesn't pay one bit of attention, but who knows what might happen if we develop a groundswell of people "answering" Hamilton's outrageous assertions.

    Meanwhile, one person EDPressSec Justin Hamilton follows on Twitter is Justin Hamilton. One has to receive permission to follow this Justin Hamilton, but a website is provided. There, we learn that Justin Hamilton has been politically well-connected since graduating from University of St. Thomas in 2001.

    o Deputy Press Secretary at U.S. Department of Education
    o Deputy Chief of Staff at U.S. Rep George Miller
    o Communications Consultant at Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team
    o Missouri Press Secretary at Obama for America
    o Legislative Director at U.S. Rep George Miller
    o Milwaukee Regional Press Secretary at Kerry-Edwards 2004
    o Legislative Director at Congressman Chris Bell
    o Field Organizer at Chris Bell for Congress
    o Legislative Correspondent for National Security Affairs at U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan
    o Mail Room Clerk at U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan

    Measuring teachers as a means of education reform! You have got to be kidding!
    By Roger Schank
    Publication Date: May 11, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Education Outrage, May 7, 2011.

    You can follow Prof. Schank, one of the world's visionaries in artificial intelligence, learning theory, cognitive science, and virtual learning environments. on Twitter.

    The Testing Machine
    By Bárbara Renaud González
    Publication Date: May 10, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from The Texas Observer, May 6, 2011. It is devastating comment on how everybody is destroyed by the Empire of Testing:--administrators, teachers, students. I have to admit the teacher's lounge sounded like my faculty room from eons ago: In the teachers' lounge, there is never any discussion of books, films or politics. The administrators never eat with the teachers. I rarely went--no time--and too depressing.

    I admit to laughing at the rule instituted on the spot: A student cannot wear lip rings while taking the TAKS. It is not funny that the student is convinced the rings will prevent her from getting into 8th grade.

    A Good Man or an International Competitor?
    By William J. Mathis
    Publication Date: May 07, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from National Education Policy Center blog, May 6, 2011. It provides a good look at parent activism and a great summary statement about the "ideological world" that is well worth quoting.

    Educating everyone
    By Lynn Stoddard
    Publication Date: May 06, 2011
    Quick Summary: In the midst of our anger and despair--and the betrayal by our elected representatives--Lynn Stoddard, an experienced and able educator, offers words of wisdom and hope. He calls for teachers to stand up as professionals and for parents to offer their help. This is from Standard Examiner, April 29, 2011

    This is class war!
    By Jim Hightower
    Publication Date: May 06, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Jim Hightower's Lowdown. You should subscribe. An online subscription is just $10 a year, and it entitles you to join the conversation.

    Compare and Contrast: American Public Schools and Supermarkets
    By Guy Brandenburg
    Publication Date: May 06, 2011
    Quick Summary: Because I used to send Wall Street Journal outrages to Jerry Bracey, I sent the one below to EDDRA2 in his memory. The piece left me sputtering, but Guy Brandenburg did more than that on his blog, May 6, 2011.

    NOTE: Boudreau's article was second-most popular of the week at the Wall Street Journal. Most popular? Nudists Seek Out the Young and Naked. It comes with "interactive slide show."

    Compare and Contrast: American Public Schools and Supermarkets
    By Guy Brandenburg
    Publication Date: May 06, 2011
    Quick Summary: Because I used to send Wall Street Journal outrages to Jerry Bracey, I sent the one below to EDDRA2 in his memory. The piece left me sputtering, but Guy Brandenburg did more than that on his blog, May 6, 2011.

    NOTE: Boudreau's article was second-most popular of the week at the Wall Street Journal. Most popular? Nudists Seek Out the Young and Naked. It comes with "interactive slide show."

    Common Core Reading: An Exchange
    By Susan Ohanian and John Knapp
    Publication Date: May 04, 2011
    Quick Summary: If you aren't participating in the NCTE Open Forum at their Connected Community, you should be. This is from May 3-4, 2011.

    I'd rather that Oliver Goldsmith be taught in every high school in the land--because teachers across America chose it as a favorite book--than to have teachers accept somebody else's list because they've given up any notion of self-determination and because they feel they aren't worthy of choosing their own lists.

    John Knapp's view and mine represent two legitimate positions, both of which can be admired or shunned. Both positions are vulnerable to abuse. But whoever said that teaching was a safe place to be?

    The tragedy here is that the current systematic and vicious assault on teachers has drained them of their collective self-confidence in teaching as a decision-making profession. I don't get the sense right now that teachers think they have any right to choose those "must read" lists for their own students, and I find this devastating.

    As I've observed elsewhere, with its online courses, NCTE is helping teachers feel better about lining up for a Realpolitik that bases action on power-- proceeding with practical considerations rather than offering a position based on ethical [and professional] premises.

    I call for NCTE to lead the way in helping teachers find a new collective self-confidence, one that will help them find the way to say "Hell, No!"

    Delivering Educational Products: The Job Formerly Known as Teaching
    By Robert Jensen
    Publication Date: May 03, 2011
    Quick Summary: This article appeared in Texas Observer, May 2, 2011. Having seen what market ideology has done to K-12 education, one would think university folk would heed Jensen's warning, though it's likely too late.

    Clever rhetoric won’t save your undemocratic reform from failure: An open letter to Arne Duncan on the occasion of teacher appreciation week
    By Mark Garrison
    Publication Date: May 03, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Countering Disinformation in Thinking about Education and Society, May 3, 2011. Do you wonder if maybe Arne Duncan has figured out yet that he should have kept his mouth shut about "appreciating" teachers?

    'Degrees for What Jobs?' Wrong Question, Wrong Answers
    By Carol Geary Schneider
    Publication Date: May 03, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Chronicle of Higher Education and shows that once again, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices gets it wrong on education. They are looking backward rather than forward.

    According to College Board the hottest jobs 2008-2018 for people with bachelor's degree are:

    1. Elementary teacher except special ed

    2. Auditors and accountants

    3. High school teachers except special ed and vocational ed

    This Teacher Is 'Mad as Hell'
    By Angela Beeley
    Publication Date: May 02, 2011
    Quick Summary: This great commentary from Education Week, April 27, 2011, is posted with the writer's permission.

    Do you think Bill Gates or Arne Duncan or any of their bully cronies would have any notion of what to do with a class of 37 students? And that's just one class. This English teacher has 5 or 6 more classes. Do you suppose the bullies who get all the ink in the media to say class size doesn't matter know what it means to assign a paper to upwards of 180 students? I confess I fought like hell when my reading job was eliminated and my district tried to force me back into the job of high school English teacher. I fought the transfer because of the impossible mound of papers I knew I'd face. And class sizes were a lot smaller then than what Angela Beeley faces. I remembered crying over the papers, which absolutely consumed my life, and I just didn't think I could do it again. I think we should stop pretending the job of high school English teacher is a possible task. And it's way past time for all of us to be Mad as Hell. . . and to fight for the survival of teaching as a profession as well as for the very existence of public education.

    Ed Doerr Comment: Angela Beeley is right. If this movement to curtail teacher union collective bargaining is not stopped in its tracks, it will wreck the teaching profession, discourage indealistic young people from entering the profession, and in the long run do serious damage to all American kids and families. Every teacher, every school admininistrator, every school board member, every parent must get active NOW.

    Bombard the papers with letters to the editor. Let lawmakers in state legislatures hear your voices. And let them know also that it is wrong to divert public funds directly or indirectly to private schools not answerable to the public. The time to act is NOW.

    The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries
    By Dave Eggers and Nínive Clements Calegari
    Publication Date: May 01, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from the New York Times, May 1, 2011. The authors exhibit a lot of faith in our neo-liberal leaders and at the core misunderstand the solution. Highly paid teachers who scored at the top of their college classes won't solve the problem. The real problem is poverty. And the real insult to teachers is saying with these retiring, we'll have the chance to get the right ones in there. For shame.

    Poor Jane's Almanac
    By Jill Lapore
    Publication Date: April 24, 2011
    Quick Summary: This breathtaking, tragic, and illuminating op ed is from The New York Times, April 24, 2011.

    In a Data-Heavy Society, Being Defined by the Numbers
    By Alina Tugend
    Publication Date: April 23, 2011
    Quick Summary: This excellent column is from New York Times, April 23, 2011, the Business Section. Taking the numbers game to heart and operating on Kant's Categorial Imperative, I suggest you go to the NYT url above and then e-mail Ms. Tugend's column to someone.

    What Public School Parents Want in a New Federal Education Law
    By Parents Across America
    Publication Date: April 21, 2011
    Quick Summary: Parents Across America (PAA) is a grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together on improving our nationâs public schools. It was founded by a group of activist parents who recognized the need to collaborate for positive change, rather than remain solely entrenched in separate battles in our local communities. This position paper was issued 4/20/11. Hoorah for parents? Where are the professional organizations such as NCTE?

    Welcome to Boot Camp
    By Miss C
    Publication Date: April 17, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Mary Ann Reilly's Between the By-Road and the Main Road via Education Notes, April 13, 2011. Reilly posts a former student's harrowing account of teaching in a South Bronx Charter School. What scares me is that I've heard from university faculty across the country who have THEIR lesson plans scrutinized--to make sure they include proper instruction on phonics, vocabulary acquisition, rubrics, et al. No dissent allowed. They're told they have to make sure their students, future teachers, are "properly prepared" for what schools expect. So is the object here to make sure new teachers don't know any other way outside the script?

    High Tech Testing on the Way: a 21st Century Boondoggle?
    By Stephen Krashen and Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 12, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Anthony Cody's Living in Dialogue, April 8, 2011. It also appeared at Valerie Strauss's Washington Post Answer Sheet, April 12, 2011.

    Anthony Cody: In my recent exchange with the Department of Education regarding President Obama's remarks critical of our obsession with testing, it became clear that there is a vast expansion of testing on the horizon. Few reports have emerged that describe this, and I fear the public may be unaware of the resources that soon will be diverted from our already decimated classrooms. I asked two of the nation's experts on this trend to share what they have learned about this recently. Here is their report.

    The Montessori Mafia
    By Peter Sims
    Publication Date: April 09, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from, The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2011--well, a blog there. It didn't make it into print. Never mind what the person who put this crazy title on the piece had in mind. The piece raises a provocative question: Think how different public education might be today if Bill Gates had gone to a Montessori school.

    National Call to Disorganize and Disempower School Workers and others too
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: April 01, 2011
    Quick Summary: It is profoundly insulting that Van Roekel would invoke the name of Martin Luther King for this charade of "contact your Congressman." NCTE is sending out the same baloney to their members.

    Thank you to Rich Gibson for giving us King's real words after Selma: "We must see the great distinction between a reform movement and a revolutionary movement. We are called upon to raise certain basic questions about
    the whole society."

    Educators Need to Start Opting Out
    By Bob Valiant, Jr.
    Publication Date: April 01, 2011
    Quick Summary: This came in an e-mail, April 1, 2011. The author later apologized for his "sardonically defeatist" tone. Opting out is defeatist. If hundreds of thousands of teachers would stand up and say, "We aren't going to take this any more!" it would be profoundly liberating.

    Nothing will change until this happens.

    Experience makes teachers better —--we're worth the cost
    By Edward Johnson
    Publication Date: March 30, 2011
    Quick Summary: Edward Johnson teaches at West Elementary School in Sycamore, Illinois. This is from the Chicago Sun-Times, March 27, 2011.

    Who’s Bashing Teachers and Public Schools and What Can We Do About It?
    By Stan Karp
    Publication Date: March 30, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Rethinking Schools, Spring 2011.

    Stan Karp (stan@rethinkingschools.org) is a Rethinking Schools editor. This is the edited transcript of a talk given in Portland, Ore., last December, sponsored by the Portland Association of Teachers and Portland Area Rethinking Schools.

    Samuel Clemens: 'Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.'
    By Jim Broadway
    Publication Date: March 29, 2011
    Quick Summary: Jim Broadway is Publisher, State School News Service, and this is his March 21, 2011 commentary. He offers a good, brief account of how the lies embedded in A Nation at Risk are being repeated today. It's Blame Teachers deja vu.

    Policy, Advocacy, and the Power Potential of Educators
    By Debbie East
    Publication Date: March 28, 2011
    Quick Summary: This was part of a panel presentation at the BEEMS Conference, El Paso, Texas, March 26, 2011.

    There's a Fire on the Mountain
    By Mickey Hart
    Publication Date: March 27, 2011
    Quick Summary: Mickey Hart is best known as drummer with the Grateful Dead. He is also a Board Member, Institute for Music and Neurologic Function and is married to a Ph.D. (from UC Berkeley) whose topic was climate change and public lands. This essay is from Huffington Post, March 22, 2011.

    NOTE: The movie mentioned in this essay, "The Music Never Stopped," is based on Oliver Sacks New York Review of Books essay "The Last Hippie." If you want to read it, e-mail me and I'll send it: susano@gmavt.net

    Darling-Hammond: U.S. vs highest-achieving nations in education
    By Linda Darling-Hammond
    Publication Date: March 23, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Valerie Strauss' Washington Post Answer Sheet.

    Imagine Arne Duncan saying, "We are so proud of our teachers." Let's hope he felt some shame.

    But why does Darling-Hammond praise the skill-focused Striving Readers program? And why not name the harm done by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

    Short Points on Good Teaching
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: March 21, 2011
    Quick Summary: Now, more than ever, we need to ask these questions--not just who? and what? but why? Few of the people yammering about the assaults on teachers talk about why this is happening. When you figure out the why. you'll know which side you're on.

    And yes, teaching is the profession of optimists.

    The real qualities of teacher excellence
    By Joanne Yatvin
    Publication Date: March 17, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from March 17, 2011 Washington Post Answer Sheet, where Valerie Strauss continues to support education precepts that matter.

    This post was written by Joanne Yatvin, a longtime public school educator, author and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English. She is now teaching part-time at Portland State University.

    Providing Background for A 60 Minute Smear Job on Public Schools
    By Jim Horn, Malcolm Gladwell, Anthony Cody
    Publication Date: March 14, 2011
    Quick Summary: Anthony Cody has written a provocative piece in response to a "60 Minutes" TV program. Jim Horn at School Matters draws on the New York Times as well as Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker to provide background.

    Response to questions re: NCTE's 2011 Education Policy Platform
    By Yvonne Siu-Runyan, NCTE President, responses by S. Krashen & S. Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 14, 2011
    Quick Summary: NCTE President Yvonne Siu-Runyan posted this statement on the organization's Connected Community on March 10, 2011. Stephen Krashen and Susan Ohanian responded. All members of NCTE are urged to join this important discussion.

    Betrayal: The Common Core, Liberals, NCTE, BYOB, and the Media
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 10, 2011
    Quick Summary: While Rome burns, Nero fiddles, NCTE makes hay, and and Chicago teachers bring their own booze. Not to worry, teachers, lessons will be provided. You have only your professionalism to lose.

    America Is NOT Broke
    By Michael Moore
    Publication Date: March 08, 2011
    Quick Summary: from Truthout, March 5, 2011. Michael Moore spoke to protesters in Madison, Wisconsin.

    Degrees and Dollars
    By Paul Krugman
    Publication Date: March 07, 2011
    Quick Summary: from New York Times, March 7, 2011. Paul Krugman discusses the hollow promise of good jobs for highly educated workers. Now wouldn't it be great if the loudmouth Thomas Friedman ever read Krugman?

    I Don't Want to Be a Teacher Any More
    By thalli1
    Publication Date: February 27, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Daily Kos, Feb. 26, 2011

    This teacher describes the important ways a good teacher improves: I went from being able to focus on only one or two things at a time, to being able to easily manage twenty or thirty on-going projects or ideas. Over the years I've improved my creativity, flexibility, problem solving skills, and sense of humor.

    On the Importance Of Never Making It to Mars
    By Bobby Ann Starnes
    Publication Date: February 23, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Phi Delta Kappan, April 2002. The author relates what she learned about imagination from a childhood incident with her barefoot cousins who were planning a trip to Mars. Thinking about the story in the context of what's happening to children in schools today, she admits she's "consumed with worry" about how we are scripting and standardizing children.

    Why Teachers Are Enraged
    By Diane Ravitch
    Publication Date: February 21, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from CNN Commentary, Feb.. 21, 2011. Diane Ravitch puts the teacher rage in Madison into national context.

    One caveat: It isn't just conservatives doing the teacher bashing. It is part of the corporate-politico neo-liberal agenda.

    As Krugman observed in the New York Times:

    [I]t's not about the budget; itâs about the power.

    In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we're a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, weâre more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

    The Overselling of Education
    By Lawrence Mishel
    Publication Date: February 17, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from the March 2011 American Prospect

    This is an important statement of fact about education and the economy. Quote it widely. Mishel discusses "very comfortable reasoning for the very comfortable class" which identifies "failing" schools and dumb workers for the economic calamity actually caused by a deregulated financial sector following a massive redistribution of income and wealth.

    The Great Accountability and 'World-Class Workforce' Scam
    By Paul Thomas
    Publication Date: February 16, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Daily Censored, Feb. 16, 2011.

    Control freaks are winning but winning doesn't mean you're right. Paul Thomas asks us to look at the terrible cost.

    Why teacher bashing is dangerous
    By Stan Karp
    Publication Date: February 16, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Valerie Strauss' Washington Post Answer Sheet, Feb. 14, 2011

    Stan Karp was a teacher of English and journalism in Paterson, N.J., for 30 years. He is now the director of the Secondary Reform Project for New Jerseyâs Education Law Center and an editor of Rethinking Schools magazine. The full version of the commentary, which Karp delivered last December before about 250 people at a Portland high school, can be found here and the audio can be heard here.

    Reader Comment:

    Bashing teachers as a reason for students low numbers on achievement tests is silly.
    It is a red herring.

    Would you blame physicians for the decreasing number of healthy people in your community?

    Would you call for more tests to make sure of that and announce, "Yes, they are, indeed, sick and a lot of 'em!" Silly.

    Then you could go on Oprah and say, "I have run another more expensive survey and we have LOTS of sick people every day! We need to get rid of 8% of the worst physicians!" And Oprah would call you a "Health Warrior!" and the audience - waiting for that free washer/dryer combination - would go nuts for you! Silly. It is a red herring, leading us away from the truth.

    Let us look at the real problem. It is not the teachers. It is inequality and poverty.

    The truth is we are about to spend billions of dollars MORE on high-stakes testing while we have 15.5 children living in poverty in this country, the highest percentage in over 50 years.

    So, the high-stakes testing results will come out and we will go on Oprah and say, with appropriate shock on our faces and horror in our voices and say, "We have the figures! Our children are getting stupider! Fire those teachers!" And Oprah will call you an "Educational Warrior!" The audience - waiting eagerly to get their free widescreen - will go wild.

    Here, Oprah: Over 20% of our children live in poverty. I wanna be your "Census Warrior"!

    Free oven anyone?

    Lessons in Education from South Carolina?
    By Paul Thomas
    Publication Date: February 08, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Daily Censored, Feb. 8, 2011.

    Paul Thomas offers important research-based commentary at Living & Learning in Poverty. The site is "dedicated to storing and exploring all available research and resources related to poverty as it impacts the lives of children and the learning of children." No education issue could be more important.

    A Monster Rubric to Define Who's Effective and Who's Not
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 09, 2011
    Quick Summary: The Denver Public Schools 28-page rubric raises some questions. For starters, how many pages does it take before a rubric becomes a checklist?

    Every teacher in America should look at what's happening in Denver. You're next.

    NOTE: They changed the url. Find the document Here. If you want it in color (which they say is better for viewing online), find it here. This is Version 3.1, rather like Gates with its various updates on Windows.

    Common Core State Standards: An Example of Data-less Decision Making
    By Christopher H. Tienken
    Publication Date: February 01, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, Vol. 7, No. 4 Winter 2011

    We may know the disparate facts, but here they are presented in a readable, coherent whole.

    I confess I've been wondering why nobody talks about Japan any more. Remember when we teachers were asked why we couldn't be more like the Japanese? As Christopher Tienken points out: They've had national curriculum standards and testing for over 30 years. Japanese students outrank other nations on math and science tests, but their economy has been in shambles for almost two decades.

    This paper has great lines as well as great research: Size matters because size brings complexity. Finland, the country that usually ranks in the top five on international tests has 5.5 million people. In the U.S. we call that Wisconsin.

    This is the kind of research-based paper my professional organization, NCTE, should have written. Instead, they took the Quisling approach of remaining neutral about the Common Core. Neutral in the face of evil that will destroy children's lives and put the teaching profession into the trash bin.

    It makes no sense: Puzzling over Obama’s State of the Union Speech
    By Yong Zhao
    Publication Date: January 31, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Yong Zhao blog, Jan. 30, 2011. It speaks truth to power but sadly, power speaks only to money.

    State of the Union: Hogwash, Mr. President
    By Robert Sheer
    Publication Date: January 29, 2011
    Quick Summary: from Truthdig, Jan. 26, 2011.

    This is a must read for teachers. If only our professional organizations and unions had the guts to speak so clearly--and point to the fact that the State of the Union speech was a distraction from what seriously ails us: an obscene gap between the super rich and the increasing numbers of people living in poverty.

    And his references to education were especially egregious.

    Obama’s faulty education logic: What he said and failed to say
    By Valerie Strauss
    Publication Date: January 31, 2011
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: This is from Washington Post Answer Sheet, probably the best education resource teachers and parents and students have. It was written immediately following President Obama's State of the Union speech, Jan. 25, 2011.

    I just wish she hadn't feel the need to talk about "a lot of lousy teachers." I traveled to classrooms in 26 states to write a book about teaching mathematics and was truly amazed and even humbled by the quality of the teachers. "A lot of lousy teachers" just rolls off too many tongues too easily.

    “There Are a Lot of Really Bad Teachers Out There”
    By Maja Wilson
    Publication Date: January 24, 2011
    Quick Summary: from Phi Delta Kappan, October 2010.


    A district's plan to standardize units, lessons, core assignments, and assessments for all elementary and middle school English classes would sacrifice good teaching for the sake of equality. Good teaching requires allowing the teacher to make decisions and to adjust lessons to fit the situation. Mandating a practice undermines good teaching and creates an illusion of quality that obscures and thus perpetuates bad teaching.

    The State of the Union’s Schools: What We'd Like to Hear from Obama, But Won't
    By Jim Horn
    Publication Date: January 23, 2011
    Quick Summary: This must read--The State of the Union speech Pres. Obama should give--was published in Substance News and in Common Dreams, Jan. 22, 2011. Although I find much to admire here, I do quarrel with the notion that the "fix" our schools need is 100,000 newly minted teachers with graduate degrees. This seems to imply there's something wrong with the teachers we have now. . . and that better teachers will fix the problem. I applaud the part of the message that acknowledges poverty as the core of the problem. Poverty, not teachers.

    21st Century Segregation: Inverting King's Dream
    By Paul Thomas
    Publication Date: January 12, 2011
    Quick Summary: from The Daily Censored, Jan. 12, 2011

    The sobering civil rights and social justice message we must face in the first weeks of 2011 as we honor the work of Dr. King comes from King himself, most decidedly not from the Obama/Duncan juggernaut.

    Has American education peaked?
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: January 11, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from the Washington Post Answer Sheet, Jan. 10, 2011.

    Marion Brady makes too much sense.

    Dr. Gabor Maté on the Stress-Disease Connection, Addiction, Attention Deficit Disorder and the Destruction of American Childhood
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 02, 2011
    Quick Summary: from Democracy Now! Dec. 24, 2010.

    This interview about addiction, parenting, attention deficit disorder, and the broken communities we offer children has great relevance to teaching. Dr. Maté makes a critical point: We shouldn't be talking about bad parenting; we should be talking about extremely stressed parenting, because of social and economic conditions. And that's why we're seeing such a preponderance of things like ADD.

    Battling the Bad Teacher Bogeyman
    By Anthony Cody, with comment by Don Perl
    Publication Date: January 02, 2011
    Quick Summary: Dear Colleagues:
    Perhaps the most effective way to combat this attack on the profession and
    at the same time to encourage the lifting of the veil of silence is to frame
    a positive message. (Using Anthony Cody's approach to evaluations.)Teaching is a calling. We all go into the profession with a certain desire to bring out the best in our charges, to see them as unique, precious human beings, and to make ours and their mini-worlds a tad bit better because we were here. Such a
    message could inspire powerful rebuttals to the present policies that have been and, without forceful opposition, will continue to decimate the
    In solidarity,
    Don Perl
    The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.

    Anthony Cody's essay is from Living in Diaglogue blog, Jan. 1, 2011. It has provoked strong response which can be read on the website.

    By John Cheever
    Publication Date: December 30, 2010
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment:This is an excerpt from John Cheever's first published short story, "Expelled," published Oct. 1, 1930, in The New Republic. You can read the complete story here .

    May every teacher realize that a future John Cheever may be sitting in her class.

    Cheever sent the story to Malcolm Cowley at The New Republic when he was 18, his own formal education having ended abruptly when at age 17 he was expelled from Thayer Academy in Massachusetts.

    In "John Cheever's 'Expelled': The Genesis of a Beginning," (American Literary History, Winter 1995, pp. 611-632) Giles Y. Gamble provides detailed, fascinating background for this story. Thayer Academy had been founded through money provided by, and according to stipulations set forth in, the will of Sylvanus Thayer, an 1805 graduate of West Point and later its superintendent. As superintendent he reorganized the Academy and to this day West Point operates according to the rigid Napoleonic principles he set down.

    For grades seven through nine, Cheever had attended a progressive school that reflected the educational philosophy of Francis Parker and John Dewey. Educational approaches changed dramatically at Thayer Academy. In the fall of 1929 Cheever was at Thayer Academy on probation, in effect repeating the eleventh grade. In March 1930 he was formally dismissed. In his article, Giles Gamble shows in considerable detail how In a 1977 interview, Robert Baum casually labelled "Expelled" a satire. Cheever responded, "Satire? It was meant to be an attack." Cheever carefully fashioned his story about his dismissal to suit the politics and the causes of The New Republic.

    Among other details you will find in Gamble's essay is the fact that Ezekiel Cheever emigrated from England in 1637 and became headmaster of the Boston Latin School, holding this post until his deat in 1708 at age 94. Cotton Mather was one of his pupils. Gamble notes that Cheever's "actual relationship to the schoolmaster was indirect he either did not know or preferred not to remember," and Ezekiel's colorful character appears in a number of Cheever's works.

    All the News That’s Fit to Print
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 14, 2010
    Quick Summary: Think about how you'd feel if you had an invitation from the New York Times, putting you among "experts" offered to contribute 300 words.

    Teacher Professionalism: Pedagogy and Politics
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 27, 2010
    Quick Summary: This was a featured speech at the NCTE Convention in Orlando, Florida, November 20, 2010.

    Not Quite Trilingual
    By Devin Browne
    Publication Date: November 22, 2010
    Quick Summary: Kids in a first grade English immersion class read all day. They read decodables with sentences like this: Paul hauls prawns at dawn in his yawl.

    This is from Macarthur Park Media and is available in print and audio. It is exceptional reporting.

    Andrea is the perfect product of public schools: She is more interested in tests than books; she can read, but sheâs far from knowing what any of the words mean.

    Closing of Speech at NCTE: Dismiss whatever insults your own soul
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 18, 2010
    Quick Summary: At the November 2010 NCTE Convention in Orlando, I am speaking on Professionalism: Pedagogy and Politics. I will call on Walt Whitman to close my remarks.

    This is from the preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855 and so far omitted from the Common Core Standards list of recommended texts.

    The emphasis is added.

    The Economic Bill of Rights
    By Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    Publication Date: November 18, 2010
    Quick Summary: You can hear this bill of rights pronounced here.

    It is chilling to realize that we're farther from these basic rights than we were more than 50 years ago, with a much greater gap between the super rich and the desperately poor. Ask your Congressional representative about this Economic Bill of Rights.

    The Men Who Rule Us
    By H. L. Mencken
    Publication Date: November 15, 2010
    Quick Summary: H. L. Mencken has risen from the grave to comment on the current state of the Presidency.

    from A Carnival of Buncombe: Writings on Politics "Obama" and "Chicago" are the only words changed.

    What has happened to our profession?
    By Don Perl
    Publication Date: November 16, 2010
    Quick Summary: Don Perl wrote this poem in February 2001, shortly after refusing to administer the Colorado state test to his middle school language arts students. Don called a news conference to announce his decision not to administer the test. For demonstrating the courage of his convictions, Don was suspended for the two weeks of CSAP testing-- without pay. Don resigned from his position at the end of the year and now teaches at the college level. He heads the grassroots Coalition for Better Education, an organization whose motto is "Created to dignify the autonomy of our children and of their teachers."

    Don was one of two teachers--in the nation--refusing to give state tests. Gloria Pipkin and I interviewed them for Substance.

    Can you answer Don Perl's question? Your professional life depends on it.

    Declaration of Professional Conscience. for Teachers
    By Kenneth Goodman
    Publication Date: November 12, 2010
    Quick Summary: You can download and print "A Declaration of Professional Conscience for Teachers" here. It is formatted for 11 X 17, but can be reduced to 8 1/2 X 11. The Declaration is also available for purchase in packages of 25 copies. It is printed on 11 X 17 parchment and sells for $10.00 per package plus standard shipping charges.

    Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc. â PO Box 585 Katonah, NY 10536

    Apps, Schwas, and Bill Gates
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 12, 2010
    Quick Summary: Ohanian confesses APP ignorance.

    Professional In-Service: Short Course
    By Kate Messner, with Ohanian revision
    Publication Date: November 11, 2010
    Quick Summary: This poem "Revolution for the Tested" is from Kate's Book Blog, and of course it is a great sentiment. But ask yourself, who is telling a student this? Can a teacher who drills her students on the 5-paragraph theme then entreat them not to write "formulaic paragraphs?" Maybe it's a little too easy to agree with a break-free-of-restraints message for students. Try rewriting "Write" as "Teach," a message on how you'd want the teacher of children you care about to teach.

    It's Complicated, Mr. Guggenheim; Lesley Off Base
    By Kenneth Libby
    Publication Date: November 08, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Schools Matter, Nov. 6, 2010.

    Ohanian Comment: My first job out of college was at the largest advertising agency in the world. It didn't take me three weeks to realize that I'm the kind of person who needs to work at something worthwhile, and making Listerine commercials doesn't cut it. I figured, for resume purposes, one should stick with one's first job for six months, so I applied for and was accepted into the prestigious ad writing workshop. There, the leader relived the triumph of his career: He'd put cleanser into a blander and come up with the slogan built around "more bubbles." The fact that bubble volume had nothing to do with cleansing power was entirely beside the point. This guy was very very proud of his accomplishment. He inspired me to sign up for education classes at night school.

    Courts of Appeal respond to Roberts Court establishmentarianism
    By Sherman Dorn
    Publication Date: October 31, 2010
    Quick Summary: Sherman Dorn discusses two important (and distressing) recent court decisions restricting ability of students and teacher ability to make decisions on what happens in schools, Oct. 31, 2010.

    Why Should she Work for you?
    By Gary Stager
    Publication Date: October 31, 2010
    Quick Summary: Gary Stager asks: Are good teachers being required to behave in miseducative ways based on directives from school administrators?

    This appeared on Huffington Post, Oct. 29, 2010. You can follow Gary on Twitter: www.twitter.com/garystager

    Wasting for Stuporman
    By Ben Blum-Smith
    Publication Date: October 27, 2010
    Quick Summary: Just when I vow not to waste one more word on Race to Superman, I come across something very worth reading. This is by Ben Blum-Smith at Research in Practice, Oct. 26, 2010.

    Ben is fun to read, and he is accurate about the movie.

    The Myth of Charter Schools
    By Diane Ravitch
    Publication Date: October 25, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from The New York Review of Books, Nov. 11, 2010.

    How to fix our schools
    By Richard Rothstein
    Publication Date: October 16, 2010
    Quick Summary: This humdinger is from Economic Policy Institute, Oct. 14, 2010.

    Are we still capable of educating for 'us-ness?'
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: October 15, 2010
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: This essay appeared in Valerie Strauss' Washington Post Answer Sheet, Oct. 15, 2010. Valerie maintains the last beacon of sanity about education in corporate America.

    I agree with Marion about the importance of the September 27-28, 1989 date. As Kathy Emery and I explain in Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools, this is when Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and IBM CEO Lou Gerstner joined hands to push through the Business Roundtable plan for the schools for President Bush the Elder. It became America 2000, which became Goals 2000, which became NCLB. And remember, Achieve, Inc., the outfit that wrote the Common Core and is now spearheading the alliance that just received $160 million of our tax dollars to write the "aligned" texts, was created by those same U.S. Governors and business leaders, with Lou Gerstner as the CEO. He still sits on the board with the status of "chairman emeritus."

    Marion gives the best argument against the Common Core Standards that I've seen. And remember, our professional organizations have not lifted a finger against the corporate-politico assault of the Common Core. Their silence damns them.

    Teach Creativity, Not Memorization
    By Robert J. Sternberg
    Publication Date: October 15, 2010
    Quick Summary: This adaptation from Robert Sternberg's news book is from the Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 10, 2010.

    With all their hot air about preparing students for college, the Obama/Duncan team violate Sternberg's first principle: Redefine the problem. They misidentify the problem and use tired, old definitions. Continue reading for 11 more principles they flunk.

    The Crisis of the Humanities Officially Arrives
    By Stanley Fish
    Publication Date: October 12, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from The New York Times, Oct. 12, 2010.

    I wonder how many readers will gasp, as I did, when reading the second paragraph.

    Many of the reader comments online are worth reading.

    Shakespeare's many centuries old,
    And Hamlet's a tale overtold,
    Those classic Greek plays?
    They've seen better days,
    We need stuff worth its weight in Gold!
    --Larry Eisenberg

    Ants in Your Pants? You'll Probably Live Longer
    By Jim Sollisch
    Publication Date: September 30, 2010
    Quick Summary: from The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 30, 2010. This fellow hangs his first grade report card on his office door. . . as something that illustrates his personality.

    Turning schools into robot factories
    By Joanne Yatvin
    Publication Date: September 29, 2010
    Quick Summary: This from Washington Post Answer Sheet, Sept. 29, 2010. The public comments on this piece are enough to make one forswear from ever looking at such a space again.

    The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations
    By Barry Ritholtz
    Publication Date: September 28, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from the financial analyst blog The Big Picture, Sept. 27, 2010.

    Of course his analysis is right on target in explaining the corporate assault on public schools. We have moved beyond the conservative agenda vs. the liberal agenda; it is now the corporate agenda vs. us. Witness the fact that the Bill Gates agenda is the policy promoted and enforced by the US Department of Education.

    Time to address child poverty and high dropout rates in Maine
    By Jon Riggleman
    Publication Date: September 24, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from The Times Recordin Maine, Sept. 24, 2010.

    What a good idea: Offering suggestions for further reading.

    A Teacher Quality Manifesto
    By Deborah Kenney
    Publication Date: September 22, 2010
    Quick Summary: from the Wall Street Journal, Sept. 22, 2010. The author was named one of the best and the brightest of 2007 by Esquire Magazine and has been quite the media star in 2010.

    Ohanian Comment: Interesting that Deborah Kenny advocates what many public schools have eliminated: Teacher treated as a professional whose decisions are respected by the administration. Let's celebrate this wherever it appears--public schools or charters. "Affording a teacher the freedom to do her job": what a concept. "Get out of their way." Do you hear that, Arne Duncan? Bill Gates? Eli Broad? Get out of their way!

    The Wall Street Journal stuck on this misleading subhead: What happens to bright teachers stuck in schools that don't have the right to hire by performance and build a culture of excellence? They quit. A more accurate subhead would be: How does a school develop and keep bright, creative teachers? Get out of their way!

    Pledge to See a Movie During This National Emergency
    By Jim Horn
    Publication Date: September 20, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Schools Matter, Sept. 19, 2010.

    Actually, the poverty rates are worse for children than what Jim indicates: The poverty rate increased for children younger than 18 (from 19.0 percent in 2008 to 20.7 percent in 2009).

    If you have 28 children in your class, nearly 6 of them live in poverty. If they are Black children, the rate jumps to 25.8. It is 25.3 for Hispanics.

    Read Jim's summary statement several times. Take it to heart: This new crusade based on segregated containment and a no excuses mantra disguises is a very old ideology based on blaming the poor for their poverty and blaming public schools in order to dismantle them for corporate benefit, with both unacknowledged goals carried out while diverting attention away from the economic canyon that divides the poor from the rich who now plan to get richer by exploiting the poor in ways that leave them even more contained and invisible than before.

    Does Arne Duncan Have A Soul?
    By Michael Paul Goldenberg,
    Publication Date: September 20, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Rational Mathematics Education, Sept. 20, 2010

    For the accompanying picture with telling caption, go here.

    the problem isn't transparency versus secrecy. It's between meaningful data and utter bullshit. And using student scores on questionable tests and a phony formula with no credibility to rank teachers in terms of "effectiveness" is simply the latter: complete, utter, political bullshit.

    Fight for libraries as you do freedom
    By Karin Slaughter
    Publication Date: September 17, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from the July 11, 2010 Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has been circulating in cyberspace ever since. I picked it up from Sam Smith's Undernews, who picked it up from Rural Blog. It is good to see such messages get written by people of some note and then get passed around.

    Pass it on.

    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 17, 2010
    Quick Summary:

    Value-Added Assessment: Tool for Improvement or Educational Nuclear Option?
    By Kenneth J. Saltman
    Publication Date: September 17, 2010
    Quick Summary: This article is from Truthout, September 14, 2010. You can read reader comments there.

    Saltman rightly puts this value-added push in its place--as part of the corporate takeover of public schooling. Saltman describes value-added as anti-intellectual, utterly antithetical to teachers acting as intellectuals; they are a ploy that wraps canonical dogma in a veneer of scientism. And note: this is not some right-wing move. This is corporate, embraced by both political parties.

    Join with your fellow readers in keeping independent journalism strong! Support Truthout with a donation by clicking here.

    A Mathematician's Lament
    By Paul Lockhart
    Publication Date: September 11, 2010
    Quick Summary: NOTE: This essay was transformed into the highly acclaimed book The Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form, with an enthusiastic foreword by Keith Devlin, NPR math columnist.

    Food Sovereignty
    By R. G. Davis , with Ohanian comment
    Publication Date: September 05, 2010
    Quick Summary: This commentary is from The Berkeley Daily Planet, March 31, 2010). A slightly different version appeared in CounterPunch, "Food Sovereignty: The Real and the Phony in Organic Food," August 1-31,2010.

    Okay, I admit it: I was a big fan of Omnivore's Dilemma. That said, I see that R. G. Davis is on the mark. I find the parallels with so-called education activists who advise "Write your Congressman" very telling. The solutions for education sovereignty parallel those with food sovereignty. I would alter his summary statement just slightly: It is fighting for a relationship between people and their communities that was snapped by greedy and manipulative corporate strategies, whether these came in reformist guise or in that of neoliberal capitalism. Education sovereignty must recognize and address the international culture of capitalism, while the liberals continue to advise, "Write your Congressman."

    We must abandon the comfortable idea that teacher activism = Vote! We must consider what education sovereignty means--and what we must do to get it.

    If buying local tomatoes and eggs is a small first step in international farmer food sovereignty, what would be a first step in educator sovereignty?

    That's not a rhetorical question. Send me your ideas.--susano@gmavt.net

    Moving Beyond Your Comfort Zone
    By Michael Cirelli
    Publication Date: September 03, 2010
    Quick Summary: Michael Cirelli has been a National Poetry Slam individual finalist. Cirelli has performed all over the country, while teaching writing workshops to teenagers up and down the West coast. While in L.A., he was the director of PEN Center West's, Poet In The Classroom program. He is currently an MFA candidate at the New School University and the Director of Urban Word NYC.

    Think of how Cirelli acknowledges languages other than his own native tongue as the Standardistos scream for the Common Core, meaning Oliver Goldsmith for all. Here is a passage from Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, chosen at random. Read it and ask yourselves what the Common Core Map Project people were drinking or injecting. This is for 12th graders, along with Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, Emma, and The Sufferings of Young Werther, For informational text, they get The Diary of Samuel Pepys. How many stops beyond their comfort zone would these people be in the presence of real kids? And just what have you got when you've trained and/or bullied a kid to travel 6,853,896 stops beyond his comfort zone and read Sorrows of Young Werther?

    As he was one day walking in the street, he saw a spacious building, which all were, by the open doors, invited to enter; he followed the stream of people, and found it a hall or school of declamation, in which professors read lectures to their auditory. He fixed his eye upon a sage raised above the rest, who discoursed with great energy on*the government of the passions. His look was venerable, his action graceful, his pronunciation clear, and his diction elegant. He showed with great strength of sentiment, and variety of illustration, that human nature is degraded and debased, when the lower faculties predominate over the higher; that when fancy, the parent of passion, usurps the dominion of the mind, nothing ensues but the natural effect of unlawful government, perturbation and confusion; that she betrays the fortresses of the intellect to rebels, and excites her children to sedition against reason, their lawful sovereign. He compared reason to the sun, of which the light is constant, uniform, and lasting; and fancy to a meteor, of bright but transitory lustre, irregular in its motion, and delusive in its direction.

    Vermont State Board of Education Forsakes Independent Heritage and Says, Let Bill Do It
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 02, 2010
    Quick Summary: NOTE: This was published at Huffington Post, Sept. 1, 2010. Please read it there--to show Huffington there IS interest in education, which they don't even offer as a category.

    On reflection, I think the Common Core may tip teachers, heretofore silent, into activism. I mean, when teachers have to read The Sorrows of Young Werther, that just may break the last straw holding in their rage.

    Obligatory Cute Little Kids Reciting Poetry
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 29, 2010
    Quick Summary: I have some regrets that memorizing poems is a lost art, but seeing some of the YouTube performances below rather smothers that regret.

    A Menu for the Rhetoric of the Global Economy Smokescreen
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 17, 2012
    Quick Summary: Note: This chart is from What Happened to Recess and Why Are Our Children Struggling in Kindergarten? (2002). It is clearly the source of Arne Duncan's speeches.

    Now YOU can talk like Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, your governor, and Congressional representative, as well as the fellows who write editorials in the New York Times and Washington Post.

    By NYC Teacher: Name Withheld Due To Concern About Potential For Intimidation, Harrassment, and Caprici
    Publication Date: August 25, 2010
    Quick Summary: How about rubric tit-for-tat? Surely, as leaders of the building, administrators will appreciate feedback.

    What the Bill Gates Crew Wants 8th Graders to Read
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 23, 2010
    Quick Summary: For background on the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project, see The Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project: Bill Gates' Victory Part 1


    The Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project: Bill Gates' Victory Part 2

    Here is a complete list of what the Mappers want 8th graders to do.

    NOTE: Although Bill Gates is financing both the Common Core Standards and this effort, the Commonn Core Curriculum Mapping Project, what you will read below is not from the Common Core Standards group, though this Mapping effort would like you to think otherwise. View this as the first in what will be a deluge of curriculum efforts springing from the Common Core Standards.

    The fact remains: Bill Gates is spreading his money in several directions to establish a national curriculum.
    Date: December 2009
    Purpose: to develop K-10 ELA curriculum aligned to the Common Core standards under development by CCSSO and NGA
    Amount: $550,844
    Term: 1 year and 1 month
    Topic: High Schools
    Region Served: North America, Global
    Program: United States
    Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
    Grantee Web site: http://www.commoncore.org

    As Kenneth Saltman points out in The Gift of Education: Public Education and Venture Philanthropy, these are diverted public funds. So-called philanthropies get huge tax breaks. This means that as taxpayers you and I are subsidizing these absurd reading lists from the curricululm mappers.

    Put "Barbara Byrd-Bennett" into a search on this site. You will find that she is chief academic officer in Detroit and had quite a career before that. She is a trustee of this Curriculum Mapping project. Another trustee, Juan Rangel, wrote this on Huffington Post, 1/21/10: "President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan's Race to the Top grant program is the most promising education initiative in decades, giving the nation an opportunity to take a hard look at raising standards and closing achievement gaps in public education." Rangel is CEO of United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) in Chicago, which received $98 million in stimulus funds for his charter operation. (Huffington Post,6/11/09)

    Lynne Munson, the president of this outfit was a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute 1993-2001. And so on. They even brought Bill Honig out of the woodwork.

    Bill Gates thinks this is the team to deliver the national curriculum.

    One Size Does Not Fit All
    By Time Out From Testing
    Publication Date: August 19, 2010
    Quick Summary: This set of demands comes from Time Out from Testing, a statewide coalition of parent, educator, business, community, and civil rights organizations in New York State committed to a "time-out" from excessive and high stakes exams.

    contact: info@timeoutfromtesting.org

    The important work they do is informative and inspirational for parents and teachers everywhere.

    Testing and Miseducation
    By Dr. Joseph A. Ricciotti i
    Publication Date: August 18, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Fairfield Minuteman News Center, August 18, 2010.
    Dr. Joseph A. Ricciotti is the Teaching Internship Program Director, Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions at Fairfield University.

    Education - even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn
    By Teacher Ken
    Publication Date: August 15, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Dailly Kos, Aug. 15, 2010.

    Hiring a Horse
    By School TechConnect blog
    Publication Date: August 14, 2010
    Quick Summary: This thoughtful commentary is from School TechConnect blog, Aug. 13, 2010.

    Dogs: An unusual guide to school reform
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: August 13, 2010
    Quick Summary: This column was a guest appearance on Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet at the Washington Post, August 12, 2010.

    Marion Brady is a veteran teacher, administrator, curriculum designer and author. Don't miss his website.

    A Larger Issue for Unions
    By Marc Kagan, UFT member
    Publication Date: August 07, 2010
    Quick Summary: Ohanian comment: I posted this letter--in, surprise, surprise, letters. But it is a commentary that people need to think seriously about.

    Some background: Marc Kagan, a transit worker and then a union negotiator in Transport Workers Local 100, had a falling out with union leadership and was fired in 2002--and in his 40ies became a teacher. He is now a public school social studies teacher at Bronx High School of Science.

    For information on Marc's brother, who teaches at Hunter High School in New York City, see Education Notes online.

    Oh, and their sister is Elena Kagan. But the brothers seem infinitely more interesting--and valuable for standing up for the plight of teachers.

    Marc's letter is a wowser. It explains very clearly why the union must hold the line of teacher salaries, so-called merit pay, etc.

    This letter is from The Chief Civil Employees Weekly, May 7,2010.

    Wall Street's Big Win
    By Matt Taibbi
    Publication Date: August 06, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Rolling Stone, Aug. 6, 2010

    Ohanian Comment:
    I'm posting this article because Matt Taibbi is so on-target with this comment about the poseurs in Congress. Their lack of knowledge about education is just as stunning and, in the long run, probably even more devastating. Warning: There is "language" here.

    During an other-wise deathly boring year spent covering this debate, I learned to derive some entertainment from watching politicians scramble to give floor speeches about financial reform without disclosing the fact that they didn't have the first fucking clue what a credit-default swap is, or how a derivative works. This was certainly true of Democrats, but the Republicans were way, way better at it. Their strategy was brilliant in its simplicity: Don't even bother trying to figure out the math-y stuff, and instead just blame the entire crisis on government efforts to make homeowners of lazy black people. "Private enterprise mixed with social engineering" was how Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama put it, with a straight face, not long before the bill passed.

    And this:

    . . . the basic con of congressional politics. Throughout the debate over finance reform, Democrats had sold the public on the idea that it was the Republicans who were killing progressive initiatives. In reality, Republican and Democratic leaders were working together with industry insiders and deep-pocketed lobbyists to prevent rogue members like Merkley and Levin from effecting real change. In public, the parties stage a show of bitter bipartisan stalemate. But when the cameras are off, they fuck like crazed weasels in heat.

    It's also interesting that two laws transforming Wall Street into a giant casino were passed during Bill Clinton's presidency. Public schools now operate under the weight of Clinton's legacy. As Arkansas governor he partnered with Lou Gerstner to bring in America 2000 for Pres. Bush the elder, and then as President his Goals 2000 became a strong precursor to NCLB. Clinton didn't win his fight for national standards and a national test, but we can thank Republican opposition for this delay, which Obama/Duncan are now bringing to fruition.

    Why Has He Fallen Short?
    By Frank Rich
    Publication Date: December 01, 2010
    Quick Summary: from The New York Review of Books, Aug. 19, 2010.

    Ohanian Comment: Alas, Jonathan Alter has a tin ear and a nasty disposition regarding public education, and Frank Rich doesn't seem to have any interest. The Obama education policy is barely mentioned in this review, though Rich notes that using the PolitiFact meter, Obama "overperformed" on his campaign promises of more charter schools, more student testing, and merit pay for teachers. . .

    Here's the pertinent fact that makes the piece worth reading: Obama suffers from a cultural class myopia. He's a patsy for "glittering institutions that signified great achievement for a certain class of ambitious Americans." In his books, he downplayed the more elite parts of his own resumeâthe prep school Punahou in Hawaii, Columbia, and Harvardâbut he is nonetheless a true believer in "the idea that top-drawer professionals had gone through a fair sorting process" as he had. And so, Alter writes, he "surrounded himself with the best credentialed, most brilliant policy mandarins he could find, even if almost none of them knew anything about what it was like to work in small business, manufacturing, real estate, or other parts of the real economy." Especially education.

    Obama is the product of a very elite education from very early on, and he is convinced that the Ivy League has to be right.

    And keep reading: Rich's observations about Obama's miscues on the economy--his isolation from differing points of view--ring true for his insular notion of education policy.

    Ramona the Brave
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 31, 2010
    Quick Summary: The movie/book review is from The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 3010, and is smarter than most such reviews.

    The Audacity of Arne Duncan
    By Jim Horn
    Publication Date: July 25, 2010
    Quick Summary: On 7/24/10, this was posted on EPATA, a discussion list of people who care about education.

    The Tantalizing Vagueness of Teaching
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 11, 2010
    Quick Summary: This essay, which speaks to today's issues of teacher excellence, was published in the July/August issue of Learning Magazine in 1986. So oldtimers say, "Yes we've been through this before," using the "been there" putdown as an excuse for their current silence. Read on: you'll see I complained about them then, just as I complain about them now.

    These silent ones--who have nothing to lose but their consultant money--refuse to acknowledge that teacher professionalism is under greater peril than ever before.

    I condemn their silence.

    I was once enrolled in a whoop-de-doop NYU program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, wherein participants were tested for a tolerance for ambiguity. My score went off the chart, which means that although I can't remember how to multiply fractions, I'm very likely to be able to "out wait" the most recalcitrant of students. For thirty years I've wondered why this "skill" never comes up in discussions of teacher excellence.

    NOTE: The one thing that's way out of whack since this article was written is the pay of sports figures. The minimum wage for a major league baseball player, for example, is $400,000. With one hundred million in the news for a basketball celebrity, there seems to be no maximum.

    Annual Job Review Is 'Total Baloney,' Expert Says
    By Samuel Culbert
    Publication Date: July 11, 2010
    Quick Summary: Samuel Culbert, UCLA business professor, explains why employee performance reviews should be eliminated. Most popular story of the week at NPR.

    National Public Radio, July 8, 2010

    Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2008

    In The Village, no one can hear you scream
    By Caroline Grannan
    Publication Date: July 09, 2010
    Quick Summary: from The Perimeter Primate, July 6, 2010.

    Interesting article: You'll learn something. But are Obama and Duncan really deaf? Seems like they hear the Business Roundtable, Eli Broad, and Bill Gates just fine.

    1 in 10 Wear No MEMBERSHIP Badge: High Stakes Tests Encourages High Stakes Behavioral Modification?
    By Paul Bardis
    Publication Date: July 09, 2010
    Quick Summary: Getting all children to behave the same way may be another misguided way to get higher pass rates on standardized tests.

    Why I Love Susan Ohanian
    By from a Louisiana teacher
    Publication Date: July 07, 2010
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Note: imagine getting this reflection in the mail--along with a donation for the website. I don't know that what I do is brave; I do know that it is lonely. I may work six hours researching comments on a situation that outrages me. And I always think the facts I unearth will stun readers, will drive them to action.

    And then there's silence.

    I understand the silence. People are busy. People get distracted.

    People read something and nod. They rarely send a response. Or put it on Twitter.

    I get it. And I just move forward to try again. One can't allow time for much moping in this business.

    Nonetheless, I've been running this website for eight years, and the silence is lonely.

    So I opened this envelope in the post office, read the paper, and was stunned. I had to sit there for a while before I could drive home. . . and make my husband read it.

    Students in a language and literacy course were asked to write a reflection. I am so happy to know that not all college professors are burying their heads in the sand, happy to know that some are introducing students to the fact that teaching is political. It took me many years to figure that out.

    Running this website is like teaching: You don't have the evidence in front of you that you made a difference. . . . And then, those rare occasions when you hear from somebody are indeed O fabjous day!

    The Meaning Of July Fourth For The Negro
    By Frederick Douglass
    Publication Date: July 04, 2010
    Quick Summary: A Speech Given At Rochester, New York, July 4, 1852.

    Read, ponder the relevance, be inspired.

    For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.

    Education Reform: An ignored problem, and a proposal
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: June 28, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Truthout, June 26, 2010. You can read comments there.

    Marion sent this piece to Sandy Kress, Mike Petrilli, and Chester Finn, prefaced with this:
    "Gentlemen: How about joining EDDRA2 for a few days to engage in a little conversation about the issues? Given the role you've played in shaping
    American education, and the role the institution plays in shaping our collective fate, some dialog seems warranted."
    The piece is being discussed by others at EDDRA2.

    Chartering Disaster: Why Duncan's Corporate-Based Schools Can't Deliver an Education That Matters
    By Henry A. Giroux
    Publication Date: June 21, 2010
    Quick Summary: Giroux argues that at work in the Obama/Duncan education policy is something even more pernicious than their support for educational reforms that represent a deep distrust of public values and disregard for the notion of schooling as a public good. Be sure to read the notes.

    Published at Truthout, June 21, 2010

    Also See:

    Part I: Dumbing Down Teachers: Attacking Colleges of Education in the Name of Reform

    Part II: Teachers Without Jobs and Education Without Hope: Beyond Bailouts and the Fetish of the Measurement Trap

    The Learning Knights of Bell Telephone
    By Wes Davis
    Publication Date: June 16, 2010
    Quick Summary: This article is from The New York Times, June 16, 2010.

    This is what education is about--not a particular canon, not courses with direct relevance to the word of work--but exposure to a universe of ideas. Now, under the influence of Gates/Broad filthy lucre, not even our professional organizations will stand up for such a notion.

    Please Don't Shoot the Teachers
    By Richard A. Gibboney
    Publication Date: June 21, 2010
    Quick Summary: Richard A. Gibboney, former Vermont Commissioner of Education, is Professor Emeritus of Education, University of Pennsylvania

    Richard Gibboney offers what you need to know about school reform plus some trenchant comments on Diane Ravitch's book.

    As he observes, Few speak easily to billionaires. Even the gods hesitate.

    Reign of Terror
    By David Pakter
    Publication Date: June 13, 2010
    Quick Summary: Enter David Pakter's name into a search on this site and see how he has been mistreated for years by the New York City Department of Education, confined to the notorious Rubber Room. It is a bizarre tale, involving charges that he brought a plant to school and gave rewards to students receiving a 90 grade point average. No charge included a word about David Pakter's teaching. Recently the Hearing Officer dismissed the preposterous charges. Now he speaks out.

    Adjectives of Order
    By Alexandra Teague
    Publication Date: June 10, 2010
    Quick Summary: This poem is from Mortal Geography, winner of the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. Drawing on sources as varied as ESL classroom discussions, a colonial travelogue, and the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook, Alexandra Teague explores how language alternately empowers and fails us in this smart, searching, and accessible debut.

    Vermont vs The Feds
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 09, 2010
    Quick Summary: Eminent domain in Vermont.

    Fresh Hell
    By Laura Miller
    Publication Date: June 09, 2010
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: The New Yorker Tweeted this fascinating article. June 14, 2010

    Rhetorical Question: Are any of these novels on the Common Core "exemplary works" list? The themes of the books under discussion certainly reflect the Obama/Duncan education agenda:

  • Last Child Left Alive contest

  • Surgically Altering 16-year-olds to Conform to a Standard

  • Teenagers slotted into governmentally arranged professions and marriages

  • Teenagers genetically engineered for particular skills

  • Information piped directly into teens' brains

  • Being unable to get away from Information

  • The essayist makes an important point here:

    Dystopian fiction may be the only genre written for children that's routinely less didactic than its adult counterpart. Itâs not about persuading the reader to stop something terrible from happeningâit's about what's happening, right this minute, in the stormy psyche of the adolescent reader.

    Common Core Standards
    Grades 6â8 Exemplar Texts

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1869)
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (1876)
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline LâEngle (1962)
    The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)
    Dragonwings by Laurence Yep (1975)
    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (1976)
    The People Could Fly from The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton (1985)
    The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks by Katherine Paterson (1990)
    âElevenâ from Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros (1992)
    Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad by Rosemary Sutcliff (1993)

    Grades 9-10 Exemplar Texts

    The Odyssey by Homer (8th century B.C.E.) translated by Robert Fagles
    âThe Noseâ by Nikolai Gogol (1836) translated by Ronald Wilks
    âThe Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (1906)
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
    âI Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen (1956)
    The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (1975)
    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)
    In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (1994)
    The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (2005)

    Grades 11-12 Exemplar Texts

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1848)
    âAt Homeâ by Anton Chekov (1887) translated by Constance Garnett
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930)
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
    Black Boy by Richard Wright (1945)
    The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (1949)
    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)
    Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García (1992)
    The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)
    âThe Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (1906)
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
    âI Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen (1956)
    The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (1975)
    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)
    In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (1994)
    The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (2005)

    When the Best and Brightest Are Stealing Your Profession and Ruining Your Life
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 18, 2012
    Quick Summary: Two articles cited: When the Best and Brightest Fail, The Atlantic, June 2, 2010.

    In the Thrall of the Billionaire Boys Club, Economic Principals, May 30, 2010.

    And lest you think I dump too heavily on Ivy Leaguers, my husband has a Princeton degree, but since he is the furthest thing from an Ivy Leaguer, I don't hold it against him.

    I actually learned something very valuable about teaching at Princeton, one summer when I won a National Defense Education grant to study there. Another story for another day. All I'll say now is that it was a grant to show urban teachers how to teach poor kids, and since the course was at Princeton, they had to bus the kids in every day from Trenton.

    Pondering Legal Implications of Value-Added Teacher Evaluation
    By Bruce D. Baker
    Publication Date: June 02, 2010
    Quick Summary:
    School Finance 101 blog, June 2, 2010

    Go to the blog and read the provocative reader comments.

    Updating No Child Left Behind: Change, or More of the Same?
    By John Spencer
    Publication Date: May 30, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Origins:ehistory, June 2010

    Historian John Spencer looks at how NCLB-style accountability grew out of, and at the same time ignores key lessons of, a long history of educational inequality.

    Arne Duncan Calls Two Teachers
    By Anthony Cody and Marsha Ratzel
    Publication Date: May 27, 2010
    Quick Summary:
    Hello, This is Arne Duncan Calling

    >My chat with Secretary Duncan second time worked

    May 26, 2010

    Julie Woestehoff Comment:
    Hi Anthony- As someone who dealt with Mr. Duncan for over eight years in Chicago, I support your degree of skepticism about any positive outcome of this phone call.

    Duncan is where he is because he sounds very sincere when he lies, prevaricates, and covers up the truth. His role has been to pour oil on troubled waters, not to improve schools or educate children. He is the "aw shucks" face of the school privatizers, period.

    However, the fact that you did get him to respond is definitely a sign that you're now perceived as a threat. You have brought together and made public so many powerful, compelling statements from teachers. Your strategic approach to the forum was just the kind of careful preparation and follow up work that devastates Duncan and his gang.

    You can tell from his vague, pandering comments that he means to assuage you and your allies, not change direction.

    But you don't have to roll over for such an obvious ploy. Keep doing what you are doing -- crank it up! lots of us will help! -- and pretty soon Arne's act won't be enough. They may have to actually do something different.

    Mass Localism: How Might the Race to the Top Money Be Better Spent?
    By Yong Zhao
    Publication Date: May 24, 2010
    Quick Summary: Yong Zhao's blog.

    May 23, 2010

    Education Reform: A problem, and a Proposal
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: May 18, 2010
    Quick Summary: Longtime educator and author Marion Brady circulates this position paper in the hope it will provoke reaction and criticism.


    Diane Ravitch on Being Wrong
    By Kathryn Schulz & Diane Ravitch
    Publication Date: May 17, 2010
    Quick Summary: Kathryn Schulz is the person behind Slate's new Wrong Stuff blog and the author of the forthcoming book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. blog.

    Coming Soon to a School Near You: Big Ed
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: May 12, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Truthout, May 11, 2010

    Reader Comment: . As Dylan sang, You'll find out when you reach the top, you're on the bottom.

    Extraordinary Interventions
    By Norm Scott
    Publication Date: May 10, 2010
    Quick Summary: I remember bringing a small group of 8th grade girls to my quite modest tract home. Luanne opened the refrigerator and all the cupboards in the kitchen, exclaiming about the amount of food. Her awe over a sack of flour, a gallon of milk, and some bananas still haunts me.--Susan

    Maybe Some Children's Authors Need a Ferocious Kick on Both Shins
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 12, 2010
    Quick Summary: NOTE: This list of outrage is far from complete. I have presented the following data at several conferences, both NCTE and IRA, and I have called for teachers to launch a campaign to inform authors (and those holding title to authors' works) about how their work is being employed for a terrible assault on children. The reaction? Silence.

    Bumping into Nikki Grimes at an NCTE conference, I tried to talk to her. She brushed me off, and I went back to my hotel room and cried. Maybe the next time I'll take a page from the little girl who confronted Laurie Lee and kick her instead.

    As you read which authors' works appear on which tests, remember that in many cases elementary schoolers' advancement to the next grade depends on a passing score, as does a high schooler's diploma. And a high schooler taking a Retest has already failed at least once.

    Imagine the literature mining that will emerge from the tests that will inevitably travel with the Common Core Standards, the standards our professional organizations refuse to denounce. And note: you are only seeing a smidgen of the outrage here I'm not listing the works of Emerson, George Eliot, excerpts from The Iliad. and so on.
    Sample: Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments, Spring 2001 End of Course English
    from "Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Nature never wears a mean appearance" is an example ofâ

    a) metaphor
    b) irony
    c) symbolism
    d) personification

    Think of the test prep you'd have to endure so you could answer as though your diploma depended on it.

    Also Note: Many test makers keep tests secret, even from the teachers giving them, so we have no way of knowing the breadth of literature being plundered.

    The other complication is that some test makers, notably CTB McGraw-Hill us pseudo literature written by writers-for hire, opening up another whole can of worms. (I actually met an item writer at my local post office--and restrained myself from kicking him in the shins.) But that's another issue. This commentary concerns itself with popular authors who let their work be misused to beat up on children.

    I have included a few items, not written by children's authors--because they show the amount of cultural capital that is required to have a clue. For example, should a Massachusetts high school diploma depend on being able to understand a Roger Ebert interview with James Cameron?

    Put Jerry Spinelli's name in a Google search and you get this, a sample of what 7th graders were told was due the first day of school in 2008. It includes this direction: Write an MCAS-style 3-paragraph open response to answer the following Writing Prompt:
    In sixth grade, we spent a lot of time studying characters' traits and how their traits affect their lives. In the novel you just completed [over the summer], what is one trait of the main character?

    Include specific and relevant details from the text to support your answer.

    I wish other researchers would take this up. I wish teachers would help by sending me information.

    Race to the Top: Delaware's Application for Initial Funding
    Taking Apart Appendix A
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 07, 2010
    Quick Summary: Update on riddle from my childhood:

    Question: And what did Delaware?

    21st Century Standardisto Answer: She wore Emperor ObamaDungates New Clothes, which meant she was naked to the world. . . but few were able to see it.

    You think this isn't funny?

    What did you expect from someone suffering under the rule of a President who hasn't stopped clinging to the apron strings of the Center for American Progress since people there wrote his first policy paper on education in 2005? Follow the links here.

    I dare you.

    MORE THAN A BOOK REVIEW NEEDED: A closer look at Diane Ravitch's book 'The Death and Life of the Great American School System'
    By George N. Schmidt
    Publication Date: April 04, 2010
    Quick Summary: From Substance News, April 2, 2010.

    In his review of the Ravitch book, George Schmidt acknowledges that it's an important book but also insists that we not forget history.

    When You Lie Down with Dogs, Keep the Anti-Itch Powder Handy
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 16, 2010
    Quick Summary: In her new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Diane Ravitch gives thanks to the William E. Simon Foundation. This is an interesting group, with an interesting history, and they channeled $50,000 through New York University to support Ravitch's research. Foundations don't give money to private individuals; they find an institution that will pay out the money after keeping a handling fee.

    The question for readers of The Death and Life of the Great American School System, is which bridges did Ravitch burn.

    Truth in Disclosure: The research and operation of this website is funded by $438 in contributions from friends and from my Social Security check.

    Pro-Child Checklist for Teachers in the 21st Century Economy
    By Denis Doyle, with comment by Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 26, 2010
    Quick Summary: I, too, have enjoyed Atul Gawande's books, but I find The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right the least compelling of the three, mainly because although I'm glad to know hospital staff have checklists reminding them to wash their hands, I'm not convinced the principle transfers to teaching. As soon as I read The Checklist Manifesto, I predicted that Standardistos would embrace Atul Gawande's prescription. And it's not surprising that Denis Doyle, co-author of Louis Gerstner's Reinventing Education would be the first to jump on this bandwagon.

    As Philip Howard pointed out, "Dr. Gawande is right to note that checklists are indispensable in situations where a small mistake can lead to tragic consequences, as in surgery. But his call for a broad checklist regime would be counterproductive--fraught with all the dangers of bureaucracy and excessive law.

    Remember those de rigeur Madeline Hunter checklists?

    1. objectives
    2. standards
    3. anticipatory set
    4. teaching
    * input
    * modeling
    * check for understanding
    5. guided practice/monitoring
    6. closure
    7. independent practice

    Case closed.

    Or maybe not.

    Pro-Child Checklist for Teachers in the 21st Century Economy
    Make sure each of these is done at least once a day.

    1. Invite students to tell a joke or read a riddle out loud.

    2. Make sure students engage in extended reading of books of their own choice.

    3. Invite students to visit the library and bring back some amazing fact.

    4. Read aloud from a variety of texts: chapter books, poems, newspaper articles, picture books, joke books.

    5. Send notes home to at least 3 households, recounting something good that happened for and with their child.

    6. Ask children to volunteer information on someone who was helpful--within the classroom or elsewhere in the school.

    7. Ask children to volunteer information on something good that happened for them this day.

    8. Ask children to volunteer information on how the day could be improved tomorrow.

    9. Find a way to send a positive vibe to the most annoying child in the class.

    10. Once a week invite a child to be "Teacher for 15 Minutes," and learn from the way they parody you.

    Data is King
    Happiness is No Longer in Anyone's Lesson Plan
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 23, 2010
    Quick Summary: --from "Spring," When Childhood Collides with NCLB

    Send $8.95
    Susan Ohanian
    P. O. Box 26
    Charlotte, VT 05445

    Evidence-Based Practice, Best Practices, and Other Lies
    Follow the Money
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 18, 2012
    Quick Summary: This is a revision of a commentary first posted in Dec. 2009.

    Addressing the issues raised here becomes increasingly urgent-- for the LEARN (sic) Act and for the Common Core standards. For example, although there is substantial research showing the direct benefit to students provided by libraries and professional librarians, where's the research showing the direct benefit from staff development days? And who's going to get the contracts for this staff development?

    March 23, 2010

    A Debt of Gratitude
    By Carlton Stowers
    Publication Date: March 22, 2010
    Quick Summary: People pushing the Common Core Standards need to read this piece, which appeared in the March 15, 2010 American Way. Three cheers for American Airlines--even if the author does set up librarians as straw men. The librarians I know would never pooh pooh books children like. That said, when the Standardisto mentality hits a school hell bent on the Common Core, bad things will happen. Bad things like Little Women for 8th graders and As I Lay Dying for 11th graders.

    Little Women was the second-favorite book as a primary grade reader, but ohmygoodness, is it a "lack of standards" that would prevent me from offering this to Grades 6-8? As Jo said, often enough, "Fiddlesticks!"

    Here'a passage, chosen at random, from Chapter 7:

    "That boy is a perfect cyclops, isn't he?" said Amy one day,
    as Laurie clattered by on horseback, with a flourish of his whip
    as he passed.

    "How dare you say so, when he's got both his eyes? And
    very handsome ones they are, too," cried Jo, who resented any
    slighting remarks about her friend.

    "I didn't day anything about his eyes, and I don't see why
    you need fire up when I admire his riding."

    "Oh, my goodness! That little goose means a centaur, and she
    called him a Cyclops," exclaimed Jo, with a burst of laughter.
    "You needn't be so rude, it's only a `lapse of lingy', as Mr.
    Davis says," retorted Amy, finishing Jo with her Latin. "I just
    wish I had a little of the money Laurie spends on that horse," she
    added, as if to herself, yet hoping her sisters would hear. . . .
    A distinguished personage happened to visit the school that
    morning, and Amy's beautifully drawn maps received praise, which
    honor to her foe rankled in the soul of Miss Snow, and caused Miss
    March to assume the airs of a studious young peacock. But, alas,
    alas! Pride goes before a fall, and the revengeful Snow turned the
    tables with disastrous success. No sooner had the guest paid the
    usual stale compliments and bowed himself out, than Jenny, under
    pretense of asking an important question, informed Mr. Davis, the
    teacher, that Amy March had pickled limes in her desk.

    Now Mr. Davis had declared limes a contraband article, and
    solemnly vowed to publicly ferrule the first person who was found
    breaking the law. This much-enduring man had succeeded in banishing
    chewing gum after a long and stormy war, had made a bonfire of the
    confiscated novels and newspapers, had suppressed a private post
    office, had forbidden distortions of the face, nicknames, and
    caricatures, and done all that one man could do to keep half a hundred
    rebellious girls in order. Boys are trying enough to human patience,
    goodness knows, but girls are infinitely more so, especially to
    nervous gentlemen with tyrannical tempers and no more talent for
    teaching than Dr. Blimber. Mr. Davis knew any quantity of Greek,
    Latin, algebra, and ologies of all sorts so he was called a fine
    teacher, and manners, morals, feelings, and examples were not
    considered of any particular importance. It was a most unfortunate
    moment for denouncing Amy, and Jenny knew it. Mr. Davis had
    evidently taken his coffee too strong that morning, there was an
    east wind, which always affected his neuralgia, and his pupils had
    not done him the credit which he felt he deserved. Therefore, to
    use the expressive, if not elegant, language of a schoolgirl, "He
    was as nervous as a witch and as cross as a bear". The word `limes'
    was like fire to powder, his yellow face flushed, and he rapped on
    his desk with an energy which made Jenny skip to her seat with
    unusual rapidity.

    Data Warehousing Will Destroy Your Soul
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 17, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Our Schools/Our Selves, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Vol. 19, Number 2 (#98), Winter 2010

    The Newbery Winner
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 12, 2012
    Quick Summary: The latest Newbery winner has an important message for teachers, one that will probably surprise them.

    Big A and Little a
    By Vivian Gussin Paley
    Publication Date: March 02, 2010
    Quick Summary: An excerpt from
    A Child's Work
    The Importance of Fantasy Play

    by Vivian Gussin Paley

    Chapter Nine
    Big "Aâ=" and Little "a"

    Making Toast
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 02, 2010
    Quick Summary: Review: Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt

    Yes, I'm Still Heated About This Whole Rhode Island Thing...
    By Mrs. Mimi
    Publication Date: March 02, 2010
    Quick Summary: from It's not all Flowers & Sausages blog. The subhead reads: This is a blog for TEACHERS WHO ROCK and are frustrated by the day to day drama that gets in the way of our interactions with children. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but sometimes a girl has gotta vent...
    March 1, 2010

    The educational conservative decries the hijacking of testing, accountability and markets.
    By Peter Schrag
    Publication Date: March 02, 2010
    Quick Summary: from The Los Angeles Times, Feb. 28, 2010

    The educational conservative decries the 'hijacking' of testing, accountability and markets.

    The Death and Life of the Great American School System
    By Teacher Ken
    Publication Date: February 28, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Daily Kos, Feb. 28, 2010, Teacher Ken offers a fulsome review of Diane Ravitch's new book.

    President Obama Is Leading Us to the Global Cesspool of Corporate Standards
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 23, 2010
    Quick Summary: Obama's hot air on education is both disingenuous and dangerous.

    Life Among the 'Yakkity Yaks'
    By Temple Grandin
    Publication Date: February 23, 2010
    Quick Summary: This interview is from The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 20, 2010.

    The Core Standards for Writing: Another Failure of Imagination?
    By Edgar H. Schuster
    Publication Date: February 17, 2010
    Quick Summary: This Commentary is from Education Week, Feb. 3, 2010. Reprinted here with permission of the author.
    He offers a reasoned, detailed, and convincing argument of why the Common Core standards in writing deserve the Bunkum Award.

    Firing Silver Bullets or Blanks to Improve Schools?
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: February 16, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Florida Thinks: The Forum for Civil Debate Feb. 11, 2010.

    Longtime educator Marion Brady has a plan: Stop the information overload, which includes making middle schoolers memorize eight new terms a day.

    Is Arne Duncan clinically a paranoid schizophrenic?
    By Danny Weil
    Publication Date: February 09, 2010
    Quick Summary: This analysis appeared in The Daily Censored, Feb. 8, 2010. As we've come to expect from Danny Weil, it offers insight to what's happening to the schools. . . and reason to mobilize on March 4. And documents why Duncan must go.

    Teachers should graduate with a resume, not a transcript
    By TeacherKen
    Publication Date: February 07, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Daily Koz, Feb. 6, 2010.

    It provoked lots of discussion, including this point:
    The Wiggins curriculum is deeply flawed: It just reinforces the error that the ultimate aim of public education is to produce reliable workers and consumers. It discourages text literacy. It promotes cultural solipsism and historical amnesia. . . .

    You can bet that three years of economics/business will turn out in practice to be three years of indoctrination in the perfection of capitalist economics-- no one will dare offer a critical approach to the subject.

    Focusing "Language Arts" on oral proficiency is what the system is doing already-- and it has the effect of neglecting text for glib talk. Students are encouraged to talk about their feelings, but they can't understand texts and they're no longer in the habit of reading.

    Ohanian Comment: Although I applaud Wiggins' insistence that the current high school curriculum should be dumped, I strongly disagree with his move to make the diploma more exclusive. Why shut even more people out of useful employment? This seems to echo the infamous Dear Hillary Marc Tucker wrote after Clinton was elected. Sometimes the Eagle Forum has a point.

    That said, the Common Core Standards emphasis on literature [pdf file] seems positively quaint (as well as wrong-headed). "Midsummer Night's Dream" in 8th grade? If you insist on Shakespeare, "Macbeth" would be a better choice. And then there's Pride and Prejudice and As I Lay Dying for 11th graders. Ohmygod.

    The Super Bowl is back in Miami!
    By Paul A. Moore
    Publication Date: February 06, 2010
    Quick Summary: Paul A. Moore, a Miami Public School Teacher, reporting from Super Bowl XLI to Super Bowl XLIV. This is a heartbreaker and should be a call to action. . . if anybody besides parents and teachers cared.

    What Is Our Mission? And what is March 4 about, anyway?
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: February 04, 2010
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment:This is must reading.

    A lot of us would rather write articles and books than say the word: Capitalism. Rich, as always, provides a framework to help us understand what's going on. There is much to take in here, but I'm engraving these three points on my psyche.

  • One slogan adopted for March 4th is an opportunist mistake: Defend Public Education. That should be: Transform Education, or, Rescue Education from the Ruling Classes. There really is not much left to rescue.

  • Many people already fight back in segmented ways: Teachers battle for teacher jobs, support workers for support jobs, nurses for nurses, students against tuition hikes, etc. That narrow focus will lose, falling right into a divide and conquer trap that elites don't even have to set. It's right there in the nature of things--the economy.

  • In any case, the social context is a dual one: The education agenda is both a class war agenda and an imperialist war agenda. This is an inexorable fact. Those who think they will be able to teach or write their way out of this context are flatly wrong, and when they hold leadership positions, they are misleading others.
    Several people on this list have offered us visions of a transformed public education. I am grateful for this reminder that the rest of us must stop using "defend" in our rhetoric. I like both "Transform Education" and "Rescue Education from the Ruling Classes." Show that we have a vision AND remind people--again and again--that the corporate raiders got serious about their Plan for this takeover in the late 1980ies and have succeeded in making their plan the editorial thrust of all our major newspapers.

  • I've come late to understanding the third point above. For 8 years, I've devoted a large part of my life to running an opposition website, thinking I really could start a revolution--by providing information about the outrage. This website has never gotten the attention of many university types. Or union leaders. Or professional organization leaders. You want to know who subscribes? Leaders from various corporate groups (whom I count as my enemies), teachers, and parents. And a few education reporters.

    I've come to the recent realization that most literacy leaders support the LEARN [sic] Act because of the professional development funds that will come to colleges of education. I'm not saying people support it out of individual greed. I'd call it hubris: Overestimating their own collective understanding and competence to do what needs to be done. Children are homeless and colleges of education will train teachers in a better way to teach reading. And they'll start this in the cradle.

    Can you hear my rage?

    Kvetcher in the Rye
    By Greg Palast
    Publication Date: February 01, 2010
    Quick Summary: Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, is a Nation Institute/Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for investigative reporting. Sign up for Greg Palast's investigative reports at http://www.GregPalast.com.

    Hidden privatisation in public education
    By Dr. Deborah Youdell
    Publication Date: February 01, 2010
    Quick Summary: Education International commissioned Dr. Stephen Ball and Dr. Deborah Youdell from London University Institute of Education to research and prepare a report on privatisation in education. They studied educational privatisation in Australia, New Zealand, England, the United
    States, Canada, France, Germany, India and other countries. Dr Youdell presented a keynote address on their research to the 2008 National TAFE Council AGM and the AEU Federal Conference. This is an edited version of her speech.

    from The Australian TAFE Teacher, Autumn 2008

    My NCTE
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 31, 2010
    Quick Summary: I'd like to explain why NCTE's current policy makes me ache. . . and weep.

    By Jonathan Safran Foer
    Publication Date: January 31, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Eating Animals, Little, Brown 2009, which Publisher's Weekly calls a brilliant memoir-investigation. This story told by the author's grandmother. As he observes, "while this book is the product of an enormous amount of research, and is as objective as any work of jurnalism can be . . ." facts, as important as they are, "don't, on their own, provide meaning--especially when they are so bound to linguistic choices. . . . But place facts in a story, a story of compassion or domination, or maybe both--places them in a story about the world we live in and who we are and who we want to be. . . .

    Surely, this resonates strongly with teachers and the world we live in.

    Maybe the School to Prison Pipeline Starts in the Lavatory
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 25, 2010
    Quick Summary: Students in public schools across the US might say, "Well, at least people in the drunk tank have a place they can relieve themselves."

    Detroit Public Schools: Canary in the Coal Mine of Public Education
    By Danny Weil
    Publication Date: January 23, 2010
    Quick Summary: From Daily Censored,: Unreported News and Commentary, Dec. 27, 2009.

    Weil's Charter School Movement: History, Politics, Policies, Economics and Effectivenes, 2nd edition, which includes state by state appendices and primary documents, is a must read.

    People need to see Detroit and charters and standardized classrooms in the context of capitalism as a failed economic system. Danny Weil provides the context and the connections.

    Health Care: Who Knows 'Best'?
    By Dr. Jerome Groopman
    Publication Date: January 21, 2010
    Quick Summary: from New York Review of Books, Feb.11, 2010. Dr. Groopman holds the Dina and Raphael Recanati Chair of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is Chief of Experimental Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. A staff writer for The New Yorker, his latest book isi How Doctors Think.

    Problems with Protocols: Checklists, although valuable in some settings, are a menace in others.
    By Philip Howard
    Publication Date: January 21, 2010
    Quick Summary: Book Review: The Checklist Manifesto
    By Atul Gawande
    Metropolitan, 209 pages, $24.50

    Ohanian Comment: Review from the Wall Street Journal, Jan. 21, 2010. As I read this book, which has plenty of good stories, I kept worrying about how Standardistos would try to apply it to teaching. I pretty much agree with this review. I would add that Gawande makes the critical point that "some things we want to do are simply beyond our capacity. We are not omniscient or all-powerful. Even enhanced by technology, our physical and mental powers are limited. Much of the world and universe is--and will remain--outside our understanding and control."

    When patient care in ICUs was studied, researchers learned that the average patient required 178 individual actions per day...and every one of them posed risks. We should think about how many individual actions students require per day. How many individual actions do they get under NCLB? RttT? LEARN (sic)? What risks to students do these federally mandated checklists impose? Gawande acknowledges that the medical community has upwards of 150,000 deaths following surgery every year--more than three times the number of road traffic fatalities. And at least half these deaths are avoidable.

    Where are the headlines about this? And the Congressional committees passing legislation to control how surgeons do their jobs? Or how about paying surgeons whose patients die less? Gawande is quick to point out something teachers are not allowed to say: "The results are strongly affected by how sick patients are to begin with."

    How sick and how rich.

    Teachers' Letters to Obama: The Sleeping Giant Stirs
    By Anthony Cody
    Publication Date: January 20, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Education Week, Jan 20, 2009, posted with permission of the author.

    If you want an in-depth window on what committed teachers are thinking, here it is.

    Did Anyone Watch The Rosa Parks Story on TV? I Thought of the Situation with NCLB
    By Georgia Hedrick
    Publication Date: January 19, 2010
    Quick Summary: Also take a look at the Newbery Honor book,
    Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose.

    Hoose reveals the true story of an unsung hero of the Montgomery bus boycott, merging Colvin's own recollections with the narrative voice, providing a uniquely personal view of Colvin and the Civil Rights Movement.

    Don't drink the tea.
    Don't ride the bus.
    Don't give the test.

    How does it feel to be Reconstituted?
    By Anthony Cody and Chuck Olynyk
    Publication Date: January 18, 2010
    Quick Summary: A teacher who, like all faculty in his school, must reapply for his Los Angeles job says teacher reaction to the news of their impending reconstitution reminds him of when he was a case manager for Federal inmates. . . and he decides to "go naked to the world"--with a shout--instead of whispering in dark hallways as though he'd done something wrong.

    Read Chuck's painful, poignant account of being assaulted by Cortines and everybody else who goes along with this system. Read it and know you could be next. Remember: Arne Duncan embraces this "reconstitution" plan and promises to spread it nationwide.

    This is posted from the Living in Dialogue blog, Jan. 14, 2009, with the permission of Anthony Cody.

    Origins and Purpose of No Child Left Behind and AFT/UFT Complicity
    By Norm Scott
    Publication Date: January 18, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Education Notes Online, Jan. 18, 2010. Thanks, Norm!

    Educators suffering from turmoil and loss of professionalism should definitely heed those adages about those who don't learn from history.

    Rage against the vegetable garden
    By Andrew Leonard
    Publication Date: January 16, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Salon.com How the World Works.

    A parent takes issue with the Atlantic piece that insists kids would be better off staying inside classroom reading Emerson and Euclid than out in the school garden picking lettuce.

    Got Fascism? Obama Advisor Promotes 'Cognitive Infiltration'
    By Marc Estrin
    Publication Date: January 16, 2010
    Quick Summary: This comes from The Rag Blog, The Latest in News and Views from the Progressive Front. January 11, 2010

    We see these tactics for distracting/disrupting movements for real change in our own education groups. Just when the discussion for resistance seems to be going somewhere, a person some of us suspect of being an agent, disrupts the discussion with a new plan, effectively shutting down organized dissidence. Watch for it. Be aware of what's going on. When people consistently take up discussion time and space with issues secondary to the item under discussion, it may not be random noise but a deliberate distraction intended to sidetrack a real challenge to the corporate political system.

    The No Lock People
    By Joyce Wadler
    Publication Date: January 14, 2010
    Quick Summary: From the New York Times, Jan. 13, 2009. Okay, so this isn't about education. Or is it? I am convinced that teaching is all about how you see the world. Locks or no locks on the door seems to be something similar. Some teachers look at the child holistically; some don't. And I think this more instinct than training. One accepts what was presented in ed courses. Or not. I mean, my education professor at Hunter College night school spent a whole lot of time on the one best way to hand out paper. Honest. (I wrote about this once before and a lawyer in Washington D. C. swore he was in the same class--only he came ten years after me.) So my core instincts about teaching had to come from somewhere else. I figure I was born with them.

    As to locks, ohmygod, what stories I could tell about the contrasting views in my household. But I'm not going to. I'll just say there are some basic worldviews involved. Even when one lives in bucolic, rural Vermont.

    And teaching is no different.

    Okay, I can't resist telling a story about a no-lock person who married a super-lock person. They were moving from a suburban home to what's known as an urban transitional neighborhood, and so for a couple of months they were back and forth. The no-lock person had to be out of town for ten days, and she returned to the city home. Imagine her surprise to discover not only was it unlocked but the front door was wide open. The super-lock party had done some work in the house and then returned to the suburban house seven days previously.

    Yes, the door in the transitional urban neighborhood had not only remain unlocked, it had been wide open. For a week.

    The no-lock person's theory is that every potential thief figured somebody MUST be home.

    MORAL: This happenstance changed no deep-seated beliefs. . . except that after many years the no-lock person has gotten used to locking doors. Even in bucolic Vermont.

    Debunking the Case for National Standards - Alfie Kohn
    By Ken Bernstein
    Publication Date: January 12, 2010
    Quick Summary: This is from Daily Kos, Jan. 12, 2010, discussing Alfie Kohn's commentary in Education Week, who deny permission to reprint. But as Ken explains, you can read Alfie's piece on his website.

    Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality: A Review
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 08, 2010
    Quick Summary: This book review is from Education Review [pdf file]

    January 8, 2010

    Spaces of Childhood and the Pedagogy of Place
    By Dr. Elizabeth Goodenough
    Publication Date: January 03, 2010
    Quick Summary: from Green Money Journal, Winter 2009/10 issue

    Where Do Children Play? is a stunning documentary. Recommended especially for showing to parent groups.

    Book Review: Wounded by School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture
    By Laura Lloyd-Smith, University of South Dakota
    Publication Date: January 01, 2010
    Quick Summary: Olson, Kristen. (2009). Wounded by School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Pages: 222 Price: $21.95
    ISBN: 978-0-8077-4956-2

    Published in Education Review, the reviewer brings us to Kristen Olsen's profound questions, which nobody in the U. S. Department of Education is willing to ask, never mind try to answer.

    For a small start on "healing," take a look at What Does a Good School Look Like?--and contribute you own ideas.

    AND contribute a story about a small piece of joy you encountered in your school. See An Apple for the teacher. Send in your story!
    Add to the lightness of being in the world.

    The Joy of Physics Isn't in the Results, but in the Search Itself
    By Dennis Overbye
    Publication Date: December 29, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is from The New York Times, Dec. 29, 2009

    Physicists can get away with saying something like "The joy of physics isn't in the results, but in the search itself" --mainly because most people don't have a clue what physicists do, anyway. Can you imagine the scandal if a kindergarten teacher said "The joy of kindergarten isn't in the results but in the day-to-day process"? Ohmygod, these days every corporate politico in the land knows what a kindergarten teacher must do to save our place in the Global Economy. And it's all about results, inappropriate results.

    Red Flags, National PTA, and Common Core Standards
    By Nakonia (Niki) Hayes
    Publication Date: December 29, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is from Math Wizards, Dec. 29, 2009.

    Don't forget our Grassroots effort to Stop the Standards!

    Take Back Your Education
    By John Taylor Gatto
    Publication Date: December 29, 2009
    Quick Summary: This was posted Sept. 9, 2009 as Yes! Magazine and Dec. 29, 2009 at Common Dreams.org

    Gatto says, "Once you take responsibility for your own education. . . . " And that's it. I get lots of mail, asking "What can I do." Take responsibility for your own teaching. Do that, and we'll have the revolution we need.

    Neo-liberalism and Charter Schools
    By Danny Weil
    Publication Date: December 27, 2009
    Quick Summary: This piece comes from Dissident Voice. Go there and join the discussion on this important topic. Danny Weil, a Danny Weil is a public interest attorney, an educational writer and a professor of philosophy at a junior college in California, answers questions and adds more comments.

    Kim Peek, Inspiration for 'Rain Man, Dies at 58
    By Bryce Weber and Telegraph staff
    Publication Date: December 27, 2009
    Quick Summary: You can see a 5-part documentary The Real Rain Man.
    Part 2.
    Part 3.
    Part 4
    Part 5
    This film is informative and inspirational. Note in second film how hard it is for Kim to follow directions. . . and think about what that means--or should mean--in schools.

    Tthe psychologist giving him a standard IQ test concludes: "Standardized tests have their limitations. . . . He's not a standard person."--Dr. Rita Jeremy, UCSF Medical Center

    Barry Morrow,screen writer for "Rain Man," celebrates Kim's social blossoming, observing that this belies the myth that people with developmental disabilities don't change.

    And more.

    In video 5, Kim's almost-80-year-old father worries that he won't outlive Kim. Kim says, "My dad and I share the same shadow." His father says, "Maybe he can't reason, but he sure hit that one on the button." At nearly age 80, Kim's father worries about what will happen to Kim if his own health fails.

    Are Americans a Broken People? Why We've Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression
    By Bruce E. Levine
    Publication Date: December 26, 2009
    Quick Summary: A psychologist asks: Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves?

    This is from AlterNet, December 11, 2009

    Bruce Levine explains why teachers are so silent: When one already feels beaten down and demoralized, the likely response to the pain of shame is not constructive action, but more attempts to shut down or divert oneself from this pain. It is not likely that the truth of one's humiliating oppression is going to energize one to constructive actions.

    Here's another important point: When people get caught up in humiliating abuse syndromes, more truths about their oppressive humiliations don't set them free. What sets them free is morale.

    What gives people morale? Encouragement. Small victories. Models of courageous behaviors. And anything that helps them break out of the vicious cycle of pain, shut down, immobilization, shame over immobilization, more pain, and more shut down.

    I have to think about this. I thought I was providing a service by informing teachers, but I may be further demoralizing them by making them feel ashamed of their silence. Levine argues that more information about how bad things are doesn't move people to action but actually demoralizes them further, as they feel shame for having tolerated this crap for so long.

    Dave Stratman puts the important psychological components of the situation in their historical and social context:

    1) Since 1972 working people and their families have been under attack in every area of life by the forces of capital in the US and around the world, aimed at beating back the huge social movements of the 1960s and early '70s. The corporate and government counteroffensive has taken many forms--slashed social programs and pensions, jobs outsourced overseas, the war on terror, corporate-led education reform, etc. The passivity that people seem to be showing now is the result of temporary defeat in the class war.

    2) Workers have been defeated largely because they have been betrayed by the institutions that they thought were on their side--the federal government, the Democrats, and in particular the unions, which joined with the corporations and government to sabotage workers in the workplace and in every class battle of these past decades.

    3) The historical failure of communism as an alternative to capitalism has left working people without a clear revolutionary alternative to aim for, and thus has made it more difficult for people to mobilize.

    On the question of morale, there are two crucial points to make to people. One is to explain the real meaning of the good things that people do in their everyday lives, even in the absence of mass public struggles; when people support their spouses with love and respect; when they work to provide a nourishing environment for their children and try to guide them with good values; when they support a friend or colleague or help out a neighbor: when they do any of the million things that people do naturally, hardly giving them any thought, they are working against the capitalist values of competition and inequality and striving to supplant them with mutual support. Though temporarily defeated in the public battle for democracy, people everywhere are waging the struggle to challenge capitalist values in any way that they feel they can.

    Second is to show people that they are not alone. The great majority share values and goals opposed to the values of the war monger and exploiters. Nothing is so weak as the force of one, nothing so powerful as people knowing that their goals are shared.

    What Does a Good School Look Like?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 03, 2010
    Quick Summary: Critics argue that all I and people of my ilk do is complain. They call us naysayers. So here's a growing list of what so many of us take for granted, the little pieces that add up to making a good school.

    In this spirit, The Alliance for Childhood is making available a beautiful poster titled Childhood. It has a poem listing children's rights, ending with
    The spirit of childhood calls for protection and nurture
    It is an essential part of every human being
    and needs to be kept alive.

    There is a sidebar titled The Essentials of Healthy Childhood. They will send this poster to anyone who makes a donation. Be generous. These are people who are standing up for children's need to play.

    Alliance for Childhood
    PO Box 444
    College Park, MD 20741
    Voice and Fax: 301-779-1033
    e-mail: info@allianceforchildhood.org

    'You Can't Be President': Race, Class, and Memories of Obama
    By Paul Street
    Publication Date: December 18, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Z Net, Dec. 18, 2009.

    Note Street's cogent analysis of Pres. Obama's enthusiastic participation in the Olympic bid, which, if successful, would have displaced inner-city black residents: "The city's plans particularly targeted inner-city black residents on Chicago's South Side for clearance and removal, escalating on ongoing urban gentrification project that was pushing hundreds of thousands of impoverished African Americans out of black neighborhoods and to the margins of the metropolis and its glittering, ever-expanding corporate downtown. . . ."

    And note how Street ties this to the segregation and the poverty of Chicago schools. Much of this provocative piece is anchored to the reality of segregated inner-city schools.

    My one quarrel with this piece: Why does Street call Ruben Navarrette a liberal?

    Another Wrong Diagnosis
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: December 18, 2009
    Quick Summary: This fine column appeared in the Washington Post Answer Sheet, December 17, 2009.

    Learning to Hate Learning Objectives
    By Mikita Brottman
    Publication Date: December 14, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is from the Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 13, 2009.

    Public school teachers should think seriously about embracing Brottman's credo:

    I do not expect the students who take my courses to absorb any particular "body of knowledge" or attain any new "skills." On the contrary, for the most part, they will probably develop new kinds of doubts and anxieties, concerns and hesitations. They will not learn anything that has any advantageous practical implications, nor will they learn anything that can be "applied" to any other situation, except in the most oblique ways. They will not develop any new "transferable benchmark skills." They will not achieve any "goals or outcomes." Indeed, they will not have "achieved" anything, except, perhaps, to doubt the value of terms like "achievement" when applied to reading literature.

    List-Making Idea for the Highly Qualified Teacher
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 10, 2009
    Quick Summary: I love lists.

    These should really be done in a book, but maybe you'll get the idea. I hope you'll print it out and try it.

    The Education Agenda is a War Agenda: Sequel
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 04, 2009
    Quick Summary: The spark for this commentary is a bland article in the New York Times, Panel Criticizes Military's Use of Embedded Anthropologists, Dec. 4, 2009, reprinted below my commentary. This article brought the Rich Gibson & Wayne Ross article The Education Agenda is a War Agenda home to me, helped me see that the LEARN (sic) is indeed a war act. Clearly not all wars are fought on foreign soil. Many are fought right in our public school classrooms, where the corporate politicos have workers embedded to institutionalize their policies and programs. You can read AAA Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the
    US Security and Intelligence Communities (CEAUSSIC)
    Final Report on
    The Armyâs Human Terrain System Proof of Concept Program
    Submitted to the Executive Board of the
    American Anthropological Association
    October 14, 2009
    (pdf) for yourself.

    Too big to (be made to) fail: Part III
    By Jim Broadway,
    Publication Date: December 03, 2009
    Quick Summary: This fine commentary is from State School News Service, which is an e-mail update of school news in Illinois. But as you will see when you read this commentary, what's happening in Illinois is happening across the country. And Jim Broadway offers thoughtful commentary.

    Schools are windows through which the conditions of the community are most clearly visible. Trying to fix the achievement gap solely with school "reforms" is like seeing dirt and debris and trying to make it go away by washing the window.

    Too big to (be made to) fail: Part III
    By Jim Broadway,
    Publication Date: December 03, 2009
    Quick Summary: This fine commentary is from State School News Service, which is an e-mail update of school news in Illinois. But as you will see when you read this commentary, what's happening in Illinois is happening across the country. And Jim Broadway offers thoughtful commentary.

    Schools are windows through which the conditions of the community are most clearly visible. Trying to fix the achievement gap solely with school "reforms" is like seeing dirt and debris and trying to make it go away by washing the window.

    Evidence-Based Practice, Best Practices, and Other Lies
    Follow the Money
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 30, 2009
    Quick Summary: Teachers, who are often told they should aspire to be more like doctors, might have something to learn from Dr. Groopman's comment on recent changes forced on the medical community.

    The Season of Our Discontent: Poverty and Hunger in America
    By Mark Winne
    Publication Date: November 29, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Truthout in Yes! Magazine, Nov. 17, 2009

    There's good news in the midst of poverty, with individuals finding their voices, but whatever the virtues of food bank programs are, they do not lift their clients out of poverty. Nor do they help people find their democratic voice, build confidence and wealth, or otherwise take a stand against their poverty.

    Wall Street Wants to Milk the UC Cash Cow*
    By Steven Miller
    Publication Date: November 28, 2009
    Quick Summary: November 26, 2009
    (This article is a slightly expanded version of "Wall Street Lurks Behind California's University Crisis" written on November 22).

    Steven Miller has taught Biology, Physics and PE in Oakland Public Schools for 24 years. He currently teaches at Life Academy - a small, public school for low-achieving students.He has been involved with local school reform since 1989. When California took over Oakland schools in 2004, under the direction of Eli Broad, Steve started documenting the privatization of our public schools.

    Not about race? Prove it
    By John Young
    Publication Date: November 26, 2009
    Quick Summary: from John Young Column, November 24, 2009. As always, John Young gets to the core of the matter.

    There has been increasing admission in Vermont about how needed undocumented workers are in the dairy business.

    The Urban Deerslayer
    By The Urban Deerslayer
    Publication Date: November 25, 2009
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: I'm posting this story from the New York Times, Nov. 25, 2009, so that I can mention that although I just made a pumpkin pie, I am cooking a Road Kill venison roast tomorrow.

    Over the Top: Winning Strategies for the Race to the Top Fund
    By Yong Zhao
    Publication Date: November 23, 2009
    Quick Summary: November 16, 2009, from Yong Zhao blog Michigan State. Suggestion #1 is a brilliant take on what's happening, almost too close to Arne's dream to be a parody. Go to the site and read the comments, too.

    Democracy, unions and Why I do not support the LEARN act either
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: November 18, 2009
    Quick Summary: Rich Gibson declares "These are not democracy's schools. They are capitalist schools." And he explains why.


    This was posted to the EPATA list, a group of people trying to figure out what to do next.

    LYONs and TIGRs and ELKS! Oh, My!
    In Peddling Safe-Sounding 'WACronyms,' Wall Street Is Exploiting a Quirk of the Human Mind
    By Jason Zweig
    Publication Date: November 18, 2009
    Quick Summary: from The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2009. Adapted from The Little Book of Safe Money, by Jason Zweig. Copyright 2010 by Jason Zweig. Published by John Wiley Sons Inc.

    Enjoy the language discussion as some light relief. Not that we don't have our ugly/tricky acronyms in education.

    Education Reform: Wrong Diagnosis, So Wrong Cure
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 16, 2009
    Quick Summary: From Truthout, November 10, 2009

    Marion Brady explains why The Race to the Top is reactionary in the fullest sense of the word and and why the creaky curriculum at its core becomes more dysfunctional with each passing year.

    What's an M.B.A. Worth in Terms of Happiness?
    By Robert A. Prentice
    Publication Date: November 16, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 8, 2009. The author advocates that when ranking MBA programs, U.S. News and its ilk could survey the happiness of applicants and compare it with their happiness levels five, 10, and 20 years after graduation. Likewise, public schools should develop a Happiness Index.

    Ten Things You Can Do to Reduce Incarceration
    By Walter Mosley
    Publication Date: November 06, 2009
    Quick Summary: from The Nation, November 16, 2009. See it online here.

    This list of ten things has direct relevance to what we do in the schools and what we should do.

    Dear Mr. President: What are you thinking?
    Stop dawdling on healthcare, forget about Snowe and Lieberman, and become the leader we voted for already
    By By Anne Lamott
    Publication Date: November 06, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is about health care but the criticism of presidential decision-making makes it apt for our cause. Plus: Anne Lamott can write. KEEP READING because you won't want to miss the story of a boy's moral courage.

    Dreams of Better Schools
    By Andrew Delbanco
    Publication Date: November 02, 2009
    Quick Summary: Volume 56, Number 18 · November 19, 2009
    New York Review of Books

    Here is a thought-provokiing book review that observes that if E. D. Hirsch is chiefly interested in the content of the curriculum, Mike Rose is concerned with "the everyday detail of classrooms, the words and gestures of a good teacher," with "what happens when teachers...create opportunities for students to venture opinion, follow a hunch, make something new."

    The Paper Chase
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 01, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 69, no. 2 (October 1987): 153-155.

    Yes, this is an old piece, which was named the award "best education article" of the year in its day, beating out a submission from Newsweek. Since PDK has relegated it to the dustbin, making it no longer available, I have decided to revive it here. In revealing how schools do--or don't--work, the piece seems relevant to teacher plight today.

    Not Your Mother's Literary Classics A Mash-Up of Comics and Literature
    By Elizabeth Alsop
    Publication Date: October 29, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 25, 2009. In 2005, Penguin began asking famous cartoonists to redesign covers for a series, Graphic Classics.

    Changing the World
    By Bob Herbert
    Publication Date: October 27, 2009
    Quick Summary: Bob Herbert talks about the passivity and sense of helplessness so many ordinary Americans feel--and what we can do about this.

    from New York Times, Oct. 27, 2009.

    Don't drink the tea.
    Don't ride the bus.
    Don't give the test.

    Maurice Sendak Tells Parents to Go to Hell
    By Fingerlakes Wanderer's Blog
    Publication Date: October 21, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is from Salon. com, October 20, 2009.

    Stress, Control, and the Deprofessionalizing of Teaching
    By Thomas Newkirk
    Publication Date: October 20, 2009
    Quick Summary: Education Week, Oct. 21, 2009
    Reprinted with permission of the author.

    Anyone who doubts Tom Newkirk's conclusion should take a look at The Future of Teaching in America: Teachers as Human Capital. Even if you already agree with Newkirk, you should take a look.

    This is a great, disturbing article. Even if teachers choose to keep silent, it could galvanize parents.

    Diagnosis: What Doctors Are Missing
    By By Jerome E. Groopman
    Publication Date: October 19, 2009
    Quick Summary: from The New York Review of Books, November 5, 2009

    If you want an intelligent account of the art and science of medicine that will cause you to reflect on how teaching is and is not like practicing medicine, then read this fine essay.
    Groopman questions the growing reliance on "clinical guidelines," the algorithms crafted by expert committees that are intended to implement uniform "best practices". . . ."evidenced-based medicine." He laments patient interactions with the clinical staff that are "remote, impersonal, and essentially mediated through machines."

    Groopman insists: "The most seasoned clinicians teach that the patient tells you his diagnosis if only you know how to listen. The clinical history, beyond all other aspects of information gathering, holds the most clues. And it is this part of medicineâthe patient's narrative, the onset and tempo of the illness, the factors that exacerbated the symptoms and those that ameliorated them, the foods the patient ate, the clothing he wore, the people he worked with, the trips he took, the myriad of other events that occurred before, during, and after the maladyâthat are as vital as any DNA analysis or MRI investigation."

    Fellow Inmates Ease the Pain of Dying in Jail
    By John Leland
    Publication Date: October 18, 2009
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: I was going to put this in Good News but the "Yahoo!" lead-in would make that offensive.

    This is an extraordinary account of redemption. And it has direct relevance to the way we treat juvenile "offenders." For starters, it raises the questions of how "offenders" can offer presence to each other.

    Think about how and why the nursing director at the maximum security Coxsackie Correctional Facility said of a man into the 12th year of his sentence for killing a man during a robbery and a volunteer to provide round-the-clock companionship to dying fellow inmates, "I think Mr. Henson made me a better mother."

    from New York Times, Oct. 18, 2009

    Changing Hearts and Minds: Think Globally, Suffer Locally
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 14, 2009
    Quick Summary: This commentary is inspired by the discipline policies in the Christina, Delaware School District.

    Bob the workaholic
    By Thaddeus Russell
    Publication Date: October 11, 2009
    Quick Summary: from The Boston Globe
    April 16, 2006

    Fred Flintstone and George Jetson were work-averse lollygaggers. Bob the Builder, and a host of today's cartoon characters, are work-obsessed drones.

    Book Review: A Standardized Test Accomplice Spills the Beans
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 11, 2009
    Quick Summary: Making the Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry by Todd Farley
    Polipoint Press (October 1, 2009)
    242 pages

    A Math Paradox: The Widening Gap Between High School and College Math
    By Joseph Ganem
    Publication Date: October 09, 2009
    Quick Summary: From
    APS News
    , Oct. 2009

    Here's a close-up look at the dead end rigor and higher standards in mathematics pushes us into. The same can be said for literature--only nobody has the nerve to say it in such nuanced detail as provided by Professor Ganem. Everybody's too busy jumping on the Achieve money train.

    Students should not be pushed into algebra and calculus too early. Nor should they be forced to pretend to be pedants in training, parsing poems and sophisticated novels--at the expense of finding real pleasure in books.

    80 Ways to Cook Your Data
    Plus Data Sightings Bonus
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 22, 2009
    Quick Summary: Some thought on Arne Duncan's overweening belief in data.

    My Classroom Wall
    By This Week's Education Humor
    Publication Date: September 20, 2009
    Quick Summary: Don't you just love it when a teacher nails what kids really care about?

    Learning Laffs

    MCLB (Much Curriculum Left Behind): A U.S. Calamity in the Making
    By David C. Berliner
    Publication Date: September 19, 2009
    Quick Summary: Published in The Educational Forum, Oct. 1., 2009, 73:4,284 â 296.

    The relationships between high-stakes testing, curriculum, and
    the economic needs of our nation are explored. High-stakes testing has
    been found to narrow the curriculum by forcing more attention to be paid
    to reading, mathematics, and test preparation. Less time is available for
    the arts and humanities and for activities that could promote creativity
    and critical thinkingâskills needed for national success in the 21st
    century. High-stakes testing may ultimately weaken our nation, not
    improve it.

    Who, Me?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 17, 2009
    Quick Summary: Teachers MUST speak out. They must do it for children, for the preservation of teaching, for democracy itself. And here's a way to make this easier than you might think.

    When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’
    By Alfie Kohn
    Publication Date: September 15, 2009
    Quick Summary: from The New York Times, Sept. 15, 2009

    Rational Responses to High-stakes Testing and the Special Case of Narrowing the Curriculum
    By David C. Berliner
    Publication Date: September 15, 2009
    Quick Summary: Citation: Paper presented at the International Conference on Redesigning Pedagogy, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, June 1, 2009.
    An earlier and slightly different version of this paper was given as: Berliner, D. C. (2009, April 14). The Centrality of Curriculum in Contemporary Educational Psychology. Sylvia Scribner Award address, presented at the meetings of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, California, April 14, 2009.

    Note: References are cut short because of space limitation. Tables and charts and full references are available here.

    Turn Middle School Into ‘Boot Camp for Life'
    By Valerie Strauss
    Publication Date: September 03, 2009
    Quick Summary: Washington Post, Sept. 2, 2009
    E-mail Valerie Strauss: theanswersheet@washpost.com

    As a longtime middle school teacher, I applaud much of this article. Strauss gives a wonderful argument against Race to the Stop and National Standards.

    You heard about Matthew Crawford here and here and here. And Mike Rose commented on it here.

    Dehumanized: When math and science rule the school
    By Mark Slouka
    Publication Date: September 03, 2009
    Quick Summary: Mark Slouka is a contributing editor of Harperâs Magazine, and this article is in the September 2009 issue. Subscribe! His novel The Visible World is available in paperback from Houghton-Mifflin.

    We need to support the few publications that get it right. And even though he's entirely too kind to Brent Staples, Mark Slouka nails it when he says, You have to admire the skill with which weâve been outmaneuvered; there's something almost chess-like in the way the other side has narrowed the field, neutralized lines of attack, co-opted the terms of battle. Itâs all about them now; every move we make plays into their hands, confirms their values.

    When Reading Becomes Work: How Textbooks Ruin Reading
    By Thomas Newkirk
    Publication Date: November 29, 2013
    Quick Summary: from National Association of Independent Schools, winter 2008

    Newkirk argues that textbooks don't create readers, just profits.

    Race to the Top Comment
    By Stephen Krashen
    Publication Date: August 27, 2009
    Quick Summary: Comment Tracking Number: 80a14c59

    You can read all comments at the federal website here.

    Stephen Krashen's comments make good talking points.

    What If. . . ?
    By Ian Gilbert
    Publication Date: August 27, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Independent Thinking LTD

    I think about the first question on this list a lot. And since I've vested so much time, effort, and money in MY view, it is disconcerting to ask this question. But I do.

    Neoliberalism, Charter Schools and the Chicago Model
    By Danny Weil
    Publication Date: August 24, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is from CounterPunch, August 25, 2009
    Arne Duncan is part and parcel of an educational movement that we are increasingly witnessing in New York, Washington D.C., New Orleans and Chicago, Texas and elsewhere: a movement towards centralizing decision-making regarding public schools in the hands of an elite autocracy; this is often referred to as 'mayoral control'. Under this governance structure, a small group of policy makers are then tasked with the job of legitimizing corporate and financial actors to make crucial decisions about public education without the messy problem of public accountability, public transparency nor public input.

    The Gorilla in the Room
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 10, 2013
    Quick Summary: Lisa Sanders' new book Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis (Broadway Books 2009) offers more material worthy of teacher reflection than all the pronouncements issued from the U. S. Department of Education since its inception.

    Change: Not more of same
    By Alis Headlam
    Publication Date: August 15, 2009
    Quick Summary: from the Rutland Herald, July 29, 2009. We don't need more of the same; we need a transformation of how we view learning and our children.

    Cogito ergo sum, baby
    By Robert Burton and Alison Gopnik
    Publication Date: August 13, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Salon.com, Aug. 13, 2009

    Gopnik makes a convincing case that, from a very early age, even before the acquisition of language, we are actively engaged in assessing everything from statistics (probabilities) to right vs. wrong in a moral sphere.--Salon.com

    As she tackles philosophical questions regarding love, truth and the meaning of life, Gopnik reveals that babies and children are keys not only to how the mind works but also to our understanding of the human condition and the nature of love.--Publisher's Weekly

    On page 53, Gopnik refers to her brother Adam Gopnik's New Yorker article, "Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli." (Sep. 30, 2003) So I put down the book and looked up the article, which I pronounce to be an hysterical, provocative, poignant, and troubling piece about the imaginary friend of a three-year-old growing up in Manhattan. In Adam Gopnik's words, "The most peculiarly local thing about Olivia's imaginary playmate is this: he is always too busy to play with her." She calls him on her toy cell phone but reports, "I always get his machine." Olivia's musings about Charlie Ravioli very much reflect her affluent Manhattan environment, but she adds the unique insight of a three-year-old. Alison Gopnik concludes that although "from the adult point of view, there's something spooky about imaginary friends, in fact, as far as children go, they're not only commonplace, they're a sign of social competence." I'm still only on p. 70 of the book, but it's fascinating.--Susan Ohanian

    Unfulfilled Promises: Obama's Education Initiatives
    By William J. Mathis
    Publication Date: August 12, 2009
    Quick Summary: Mathis points out that the highly publicized Race to the Top funds are a very large tail wagging a very small dog. And yet everybody is racing to bow to the federal rules so they can grab the money.

    Two Difficult Truths of Teaching
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 09, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is taken from Ask Ms. Class.

    The Bird in the Window
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 04, 2009
    Quick Summary: For Pete, wherever you are.

    This excerpt is from Ask Ms. Class, available from Amazon.com at shockingly low prices.

    No Choice About the Terminology
    By Mark Dow
    Publication Date: July 29, 2009
    Quick Summary: Susan's Notes: This appeared in the New York Times, July 28, 2009, under the heading Happy Days: The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times. I think it has special meaning for me because I taught students just like the ones described. Once I got the idea of asking them to write down every ice cream flavor they'd ever encountered-- or heard about--on a piece of adding machine tape stretched along the hallway outside the classroom door. Kids took this assignment very seriously. They checked the freezers in grocery stores, taking notes. They studied menus, taking notes. We had to keep adding more tape. When students had exhausted their own ice cream universe, they began making up flavors. We added more tape.

    Then we began having contests to see who could read all the names without making a mistake. And every time someone added a new ice cream flavor, everybody else had to read the whole list from the beginning. This was great practice for kids designated as the worst readers in the school.

    When I first started posting stuff like this in the hall, I worried other 7th and 8th graders would just have more ammunition for thinking our class was weird. But in a school where the walls were bare, where student work never got posted, the hallway in our corner of the school became a beehive of interest. Everybody came to read the ice cream names. Over and over. Their interest inspired us to create more lists and add other attractions.

    Eggs or Eggheads: Which does the U.S. Economy Really Need?
    By Michael T. Martin
    Publication Date: July 28, 2009
    Quick Summary: Michael T. Marton is Research Analyst for the Arizona School Boards Association. This article ran in their 2009 Winter Journal.

    The regrets of adoption
    By aspasia411
    Publication Date: July 27, 2009
    Quick Summary: This Salon narrative is a moving, painful, very real account by a mother who was very well qualified to deal with a difficult child. As you read her account, think about the fact that for 13 years or so this child was in school. Think about the words "all children" and "no excuses."

    Nothing for Nothing
    By Laura Shapiro
    Publication Date: July 22, 2009
    Quick Summary: Review of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
    By Ellen Ruppel Shell

    from New York Times Sunday Book Review, July 19, 2009

    Read why there's no such thing as cheap shrimp--and why a great number of other price tags are deceptive as well. We lecture our kids on social responsibility and then buy them toys assembled by destitute child workers on some far-flung foreign shore,

    Apparently we're not even building better mousetraps anymore -- just cheaper ones.

    National Education Association Ends 147th Annual Meeting... A critical summary of the NEA RA
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: July 10, 2009
    Quick Summary: Rich's trenchant appeared in Substance, the only education newspaper of the resistance.

    July 7, 2009

    Subscribe here, though if you mail a check for $16 they don't have to pay a commission.

    Improvements in Teaching and Learning
    By Linda Darling-Hammond
    Publication Date: July 10, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Harvard Educational Review, Summer 2009. Here is their tagline: From the unique perspective gained heading Obamaâs education policy transition
    team, Darling-Hammond describes President Obamaâs commitment to making the
    education of every child a collective responsibility and reviews the major tenets of
    the new administrationâs plans for education. She reflects on the importance of
    suggested policy changes, particularly focusing on the importance of legislation to
    improve teacher capacity and retention. Finally, she considers how the field of education
    might look in 2016 should the Obama administrationâs education agenda succeed
    as planned.

    Darling-Hammond skips Obama's 2005 education speech, written by the Center for American Progress, "Teaching Our Kids in a 21st Century Economy."

    There is plenty to discuss here--under the high-sounding rhetoric. Critiques welcomed.

    On Assessment, Accountability, and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 06, 2009
    Quick Summary: This essay is from Language Arts â Vol. 86 â No. 5 â May 2009. Published by NCTE, I think it is to the editors' credit that they would publish an article containing strong criticism of the organization (of which I'm a longtime member).

    NOTE:The quotes in bold were featured as breakout quotes in the journal.

    Teachers are key for students who like learning and remain curious
    By Greg Toppo
    Publication Date: July 06, 2009
    Quick Summary: from USA Today, July 5, 2009.

    Admittedly, the people who plug this book don't raise my confidence level:

  • Bill Evers

  • Randi Weingarten

  • E. D. Hirsch

  • Here is Alfie Kohn's detailed reply/rebuttal to Willingham's criticism of his work on a blog.

    Education at Risk: Fallout from a Flawed Report
    By Tamim Ansary
    Publication Date: July 06, 2009
    Quick Summary: As the author acknowledges in his intro, he is late in discovering the background of "Nation at Risk," the Sandia Report, and so on. But he provides a good summary of what happened. And we need to welcome all newcomers to the outrage.


    July 5, 2009

    Improving Science Teaching in America's Schools
    By James M. Gentile
    Publication Date: July 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: Here is an excerpt of a review of Science Teaching as a Profession: Why It Isn't, How It Could Be, a free online book. See hotlink below. The full review is available at Huffington Post, June 9, 2009.

    Note that what science teachers want, every teacher should have: autonomy, control, and stature. They definitely don't want scripts, timetables, and high stakes tests.

    A Hot Beach Debate for Edu-Nerds Like Me
    By Gerald Bracey and Jay Mathews
    Publication Date: July 04, 2009
    Quick Summary: Good for Jay Mathews for featuring this chapter from Gerald Bracey's new book, Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality, now available from Amazon.

    This is MUST reading.

    If you want to try your hand at reordering the precepts from most important to least, go here.

    Portraits of Thinking: The Manual and Mental in General Surgery
    By Mike Rose
    Publication Date: June 23, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is from Mike Rose's blog, June 23, 2009:

    Mike muses on the notice given to Shop Class as Soulcraft and wonders if we as a society might be predisposed--even be just a little bit ready--to rethink our received ideas about thinking, about what it means to be intelligent.

    Print and Deliver: Using The Peition
    By Yvonne Siu-Runyan
    Publication Date: March 11, 2012
    Quick Summary: Another member of the Coalition for Better Education shows that this group has what it takes. Yvonne exhibits several excellent strategies for speaking truth to power.

    One Part Creativity: Zero Parts Recipe
    By Jennifer Reese
    Publication Date: June 12, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Slate, June 2, 2009. Fascinating issues raised here, not unrelated to teaching. I speak as a cook whose scientist husband gets upset if he sees her stirring up a pot of something without a recipe on the counter. His favorite question is, "What is this?" and he definitely doesn't want to hear it's something I invented. So as dinner time nears at my house, there's always a cookbook nearby on my kitchen counter and I am always ready with a French- or Italian-sounding name.

    It reminds me of my lesson plan writing days. That said, the reviewer's sponge cake tasting like green tea invented makes me think my husband has a point. I like my green tea in a steaming cup and my cake with whipped cream and strawberries.

    Here's what a reviewer on Amazon said: "This is not a cookbook -- indeed, it is an anti-cookbook. Those expecting complex recipes, or the "best" way to make something, will be dissatisfied. This is a manual for real cooks who want to understand the fundamental underpinnings of what makes food FOOD in order to play, tweak, recontextualize, and personalize their methods in infinite variations. It's a book for culinary explorers who don't wish to be, pardon the pun, spoon-fed."

    Translate that statement into teaching and the current push for National Standards and you have some insight into what real teachers are about.

    Here's a snippet from the book (available on Amazon):
    Bread is alive until you cook it, and so it's an especially complex system that's affected by many variables, especially temperature, but also by how long it's mixed, how long it rises, how long it rises again before being bake, and how it's shaped. All these ariables affect the finished bread, so you need to pay attention as you practice."

    Read this again, with this substitute, "Children are alive until you . . . " Make substitutions as you go.

    Students Aren't Customers; Education Is Not a Commodity
    By William Astore, Tomdispatch.com
    Publication Date: June 02, 2009
    Quick Summary: June 1, 2009

    Offering three myths--and three realitites-- about higher education, Astore argues that students need more than a utilitarian, vocational, and narrow education. It's simply not enough to prepare students for a job: We need to prepare them for life, while challenging them to think beyond the confines of their often parochial and provincial upbringings.

    Beware of Corporate Politicos Talking About Reform
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: Corporate-politico school reform is worse than stealing ice cream from children.

    America's Prisons: Is There Hope?
    By By Helen Epstein
    Publication Date: May 26, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is from The New York Review of Books, June 11, 2009.

    A high school diploma itself seems to help keep black men out of trouble. The likelihood of incarceration drops fourfold among black high school graduates compared to those who make it only to tenth or eleventh grade.

    The Case for Working With Your Hands
    By Matthew B. Crawford
    Publication Date: September 03, 2009
    Quick Summary: Find an earlier excerpt from this book here. In another essay, Crawford asks educators to consider why students should study science and takes a best-selling high school physics textbook to task for its pathetic answers.

    Read a review of the book.

    Heidegger and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Get out of your cubicle, and get those cuticles dirty!
    By Michael Agger
    Publication Date: May 21, 2009
    Quick Summary: Book Review, from Slate, May 19, 2009.

    When Matthew Crawford finished his doctorate in political philosophy at the University of Chicago, he took a job at a Washington think tank. Five months later he quit and started doing motorcycle repair in a decaying factory in Richmond, Va. Here is a commentary on his story.

    What Is To Be Done?
    By Staughton Lynd
    Publication Date: May 20, 2009
    Quick Summary: This was Keynote Speech at Rouge Forum Conference, May 16, 2009, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan.

    We can all wish we'd been there--to hear this call to action from this towering figure and to pay him tribute.

    YES! Make every school a Freedom School!

    Find a bio of Straughton Lynd here.

    Catch the light and color when you take time to read
    By Ramnath Subramanian
    Publication Date: May 15, 2009
    Quick Summary: from the El Paso Times, May 14, 2009.

    Go forth and explore your classroom joy.

    A path to building a functional public school system
    By Rogier Gregoire Ed.D.
    Publication Date: May 14, 2009
    Quick Summary: NOTE: This is a combination of several comments made by Rogier Gregoire on EDDRA, Gerald Bracey's discussion list.

    May 14, 2009

    Now I Know Just How Bad Open Court Can Be
    By Anonymous Teacher/Parent
    Publication Date: April 23, 2009
    Quick Summary: April 24, 2009
    Here is an inside description of just how bad
    things are--for kindergartners and for teachers
    forced into professional development workshops
    aligned with the basal programs.

    'Alan Greenspan II' Heads Education Department
    Arne Duncan's Newspeak -- and Ayn Rand/'Free Market' Ideology-- -- Means Bullying States Into Forced School Closings, Massive Privatization
    By George N. Schmidt
    Publication Date: April 18, 2009
    Quick Summary: April 15, 2009

    Ken Libby's comment shows why you should subscribe to Substance. Substance subscribers allow Substancenews.net to continue.

    This is a must read for anyone interested in current education "reform" efforts.

    Duncanspeak is scary. I see it in the Portland Public Schools, where I am a student teacher. Our superintendent, Carole Smith, also refers to our portfolio of schools. Board members talk of "failing" schools - elementary and middle schools in poor neighborhoods that were turned into K-8 models by a $25 million grant from Bill Gates and a local philanthrocapitalist. Add in Portland's open enrollment system (students can easily switch schools even before NCLB's open transfer policy kicks in).

    Reversing the market mechanisms are tremendously difficult. Kim Smith, former TFA member and influential member of the New Schools Venture Fund supporting a variety of Chicago charter schools, notes public education can be privatized by outsourcing services - food service, busing, textbooks. And, of course, through the charter school movement driven by Gates/Broad/Walton.

    Keep up the good fight,

    Getting the Word Out
    Countering the fear mongers about American Public Schools
    By Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: April 14, 2009
    Quick Summary: This is the text of an invited address given by Gerald R. Bracey at the annual convention of the American Educational Research Association in San Diego on Tuesday, April 14, 2009. Dr. Bracey was invited to give the "Charles Degarmo Invited Lecture" to AERA. Dr. Bracey explained in an e-mail two days before he delivered the address,"What follows are the first few pages of an invited address I will give at the annual convention of the American Educational Research Association in San Diego on Tuesday. The pages quote a lot of statistics from President Obama and Secretary of Education Duncan and then show that the statistics are all wrong. It pains me to do this since I campaigned for Obama, canvassed for him, donated to the campaign and, of course, voted for him. But listening to what he says about education, it is easy to see why Diane Ravitch said that in education, Obama is a third term for Bush and Duncan is Margaret Spellings in drag.

    Arne Duncan and the Chicago Success Story: Myth or Reality?
    By Jitu Brown,, Eric (Rico) Gutstein , and Pauline Lipman
    Publication Date: April 11, 2009
    Quick Summary: We cannot build toward education for social justice without real partnerships in which teachers understand that their interests and those of their students' neighborhoods are fundamentally aligned and that they need to express real solidarity with the ongoing struggles of those communities.

    This is from the Spring 2009 issue of Rethinking Schools. You should subscribe. You need to read the rest of the issue:

    Dunking on Arne Duncan
    By Dave Zirin

    When '21st-Century Schooling' Just Isn't Good Enough: A Modest Proposal
    By Alfie Kohn

    Goodbye to Schools as Businesses
    By the Editors of Rethinking Schools

    And lots more.

    School Wars
    By Gary Stager
    Publication Date: April 09, 2009
    Quick Summary: from the September issue of GOOD Magazine.

    To 'Pete,' Who's Lost in the Mainstream
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 29, 2009
    Quick Summary: I am provoked to post this old Commentary from Education Week by these remarks by Herb Kohl in the preface of Reading, How To that got posted to a Fair Test offshoot: "There is no reading problem. There are problem teachers and problem schools. Most people who fail to learn to read in our society are victims of a fiercely competitive system of training that requires failure. If talking and walking were taught in most schools we might end up with as many mutes and cripples as we now have non-readers. However, learning to read is no more difficult than learning to walk or talk. The skill can be acquired in a natural and informal manner and in a variety of settings ranging from school to home to the streets." Later, in Chapter 2, he writes, "If a youngster fails to acquire the skill or comply with the rules of learning, he or she is considered retarded or criminal, that is, in more polite school language, a learning or behavior problem."

    I wish Mr. Kohl could have been a fly on the wall to all the "natural and informal manner" strategies I employed with Pete. I considered him neither retarded nor criminal. I regard our note exchange as a triumph of sorts but certainly it was not enough. Now, I wonder just what Herb Kohl would have done. I also wonder what he's doing now to fight the destructive elements of NCLB. I hope he signed The Petition to end NCLB.

    The Education Agenda is a War Agenda
    Connecting Reason to Power and Power to Resistance
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: March 27, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Z Net
    March 23, 2009

    The authors ask a crucial question and explain why it is so critical that we come to terms with answering it: How long will educators, kindergarten through universities, continue to exchange reasonably good pay, benefits, and some security for staying mum about the nature of imperialist warfare, for implementing racist high stakes exams that not only intimidate and make dishonest everyone in a class room, but that also segregate children wrongly by class and race-under a fictitious veneer of science, hiding privilege behind a veneer of accomplishment?

    Recovering Teacher
    By Jo Scott-Cole
    Publication Date: March 26, 2009
    Quick Summary: A "recovering teacher" remembers a colleague who did not fit the "perfect teacher" fantasy that does not make allowances for imperfection or dissatisfaction.

    Memoir Journal.

    Don't miss it.

    A School Bus from Nowhere: Connecting with “at risk” kids requires crazy and crucial hope
    By Robin Cody
    Publication Date: March 24, 2009
    Quick Summary: Excerpted in the Utne Reader from Portland(Autumn 2008), a spiritual and civic-minded magazine published by the University of Portland, Oregon; .

    What Bernie Madoff Can Teach Us about Accountability in Education
    By Dr. Walter Stroup
    Publication Date: March 24, 2009
    Quick Summary: From href=http://hobokencurriculumproject.blogspot.com
    about.html"> Hoboken Curriculum Project
    , Feb.
    19, 2009, a final version of this commentary
    appeared in Education Week, March 18,

    Certainly the new Obama administration has taken
    several Bernie Madoff lessons to heart, including
    surrounding itself with true believers. No one
    else need apply. And there's more. . . .

    Supporting parents, teachers, and/or students who take a bold stand
    By Juanita Doyon and Phyllis Fletcher, KUOW News
    Publication Date: March 21, 2009
    Quick Summary: It is both instructive and inspiring to read about the work of the Parent Empowerment Network's work.

    It is a shock to read how the Washington State Education Department treats students with special needs and their teachers.

    Where Bad Education Really Comes From
    By Sam Smith
    Publication Date: March 13, 2009
    Quick Summary: Pieces like this come from Sam Smith's Progressive Review, which is delivered to members e-mail box. Membership is easy and free.

    March 12, 2009

    The Obamagogues' Liars and Our Future
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: March 12, 2009
    Quick Summary: It is not our education system. It is Theirs. It is not our economy.
    It is Theirs.

    Why education reforms have thus far failed And a proposal
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: March 10, 2009
    Quick Summary: Congress, having become Americaâs school board, is in position to decide the future of American education. It can choose to continue the present reactionary thrust of reform, freezing in rigid, permanent place with standards and tests the familiar but primitive, deeply flawed, 19th Century curriculum. OR. . . .

    Duncan and Obama: Airballs
    By Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: March 06, 2009
    Quick Summary: from Huffington Post, March 5, 2009.

    My only 'quarrel,' is the claim that Obama was
    issuing "wonderful oratory on education" before
    the election. Not so. I've been issuing warnings
    for several years about his allegiance to
    standardized tests and merit pay. That said, this
    commentary is on target.

    The KULT of KIPP: An Essay Review
    By Jim Horn
    Publication Date: March 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: March 5, 2009

    This review is from Education Review, 12(3). Jim Horn, PhD, is Associate Professor at Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA where he teaches foundations courses in the EdD program. He also is the keeper of Schools Matter, a must-read weblog.

    Crazy Talk
    By Doug Noon
    Publication Date: March 01, 2009
    Quick Summary: February 23, 2009
    Doug Noon has been teaching in Fairbanks, Alaska since 1983. He teaches sixth-grade at Denali Elementary School, and holds a M.Ed. with a focus in language and literacy. He lives with his wife and family outside of Fairbanks. He blogs at Borderland, a featured resource on this site.

    This essay appears on

    E Pluribus Unum?
    By Chester E. Finn Jr. and Deborah Meier
    Publication Date: February 27, 2009
    Quick Summary: Find this article in
    Education Next , Spring 2009 (vol. 9, no. 2)

    Chester Finn Jr. and Deborah Meier face off over the merits of a national curriculum. Finn advocates a voluntary system. Meier questions the likelihood of gaining consensus on the curriculumâs content and prefers a democratic school structure.

    No Dog Left Behind: The Fallacy of 'Tough Love' Reform
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: February 11, 2009
    Quick Summary: Posted with the author's permission. from Education Week, Jan. 28, 2009

    Post this fine piece in the faculty room. Send it home to parents. Send it to members of the House & Senate Education Committees.

    Dear Members and Friends of PEN:
    By Juanita Doyon
    Publication Date: February 11, 2009
    Quick Summary: Under the leadership of Juanita Doyon, The Parent Empowerment Network is an impressive organization. Join them--even from afar--and you will learn a lot about grassroots organizing--and about never giving up the fight for students.

    How Well Do You Know Your Children?<
    By Lisa Belkin
    Publication Date: January 23, 2009
    Quick Summary: from the New York Times Magazine

    Obama's betrayal of public education? Arne Duncan and the corporate model of schooling
    By Henry A. Giroux and Kenneth Saltman
    Publication Date: December 18, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Truthout, Dec. 17, 2008

    This is packed with information teachers should take to heart. For starters, The hidden curriculum is that testing be used as a ploy to de-skill teachers by reducing them to mere technicians, that students be similarly reduced to customers in the marketplace. . . .

    When will teachers resist the destruction of what used to be their profession?

    Flotsam and Jetsam: Movement Time
    By Sam Smith
    Publication Date: December 15, 2008
    Quick Summary: Sam Smith is the editor of the very savvy The
    Progressive Review, with the e-mail commentary

    My Story
    By Fakhria
    Publication Date: December 05, 2008
    Quick Summary: As Cindy Lutenbacher explains below, this is an extraordinary child being given a chance because of the devoted work of volunteers. Read on for her remarkable story and that of the Saturday School, which has evolved from four sisters and two volunteers to seventy-five students and thirty volunteers. A group of volunteers are working to go even further. You will read what they are up to in Cindy's message below.

    You will see that you can help in this remarkable effort to rescue refugee teens pretty much abandoned by the public school system.

    Help! I suddenly stopped going to work
    By Cary Tennis, Advice columnist on Salon.com
    Publication Date: December 05, 2008
    Quick Summary: The advice given to a young woman who stopped
    going to work two months ago may startle you. . .
    and uplift you, if you let it.

    Dec. 5, 2008

    The Child Trap
    The rise of overparenting
    By Joan Acocella
    Publication Date: November 19, 2008
    Quick Summary: from The New Yorker, Nov. 17, 2008

    Optimism and Obamagogue
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: November 14, 2008
    Quick Summary: This essay first appeared on a list devoted to literacy concerns. Pointing out that justice demands both organization and a sense of moral right, Rich Gibson explains what we can do and why we must do it.

    Homework for Obama
    By Bruce Fuller
    Publication Date: November 10, 2008
    Quick Summary: This is from the Education Watch blog at the NY

    Bruce Fuller is a professor of education and
    public policy at the University of California at

    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 10, 2008
    Quick Summary:

    With Malign Intent
    What’s Behind the Drive for Standardized Testing
    By Steven Miller
    Publication Date: November 10, 2008
    Quick Summary: This report is an expanded version of a speech
    given by Steven Miller on November 1, 2008.
    The speech was part of a public forum on "How
    Standardized Tests are Ruining Public Education"
    that took place at the Lansdowne Campus of
    Camosun College in Victoria, Canada.

    New Rothstein Book on Accountability: Review and Discussion
    By Monty Neill and Richard Rothstein
    Publication Date: October 29, 2008
    Quick Summary: Monty Neill reviews an important new book, and then he and the author discuss specific points in the review. We all benefit from such a discussion.

    An Open Letter To State Farm Insurance
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 23, 2011
    Quick Summary: June 28, 2009

    Ohanian offers a reply to an offer form State Farm Insurance.

    Test mania and distractions take the joy out of learning
    By Todd Portnowitz
    Publication Date: October 26, 2008
    Quick Summary: from the Orlando Sentinel, New Voices: A forum
    for readers under 30, October 25, 2008

    The trials of teaching
    By Cherie Bell
    Publication Date: October 25, 2008
    Quick Summary: from the Dallas Morning News, Oct. 23,

    Flotsam and Jetsam: Ann
    By Sam Smith
    Publication Date: October 23, 2008
    Quick Summary: Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington under nine presidents and edited alternative journals since 1964. You can subscribe to Smith's perceptive, inspiring outrageous, funny daily notes on life in our time and have it sent by e-mail. Sometimes, in the midst of incisive comment on corporate politicos such as you will read nowhere else, Sam offers a humanistic bit like this one. The image of a nine-year-old child thinking about floating on her back in the middle of the ocean if her boat gets torpedoed is haunting. We can't offer today's nine-year-olds even that small hope against NCLB's torpedos.

    Is a Dysfunctional Family a Presidential Prerequisite?
    By Sue Shellenbarger
    Publication Date: October 22, 2008
    Quick Summary: from the Wall Street Journal, Oct. 22, 2008. There is an interesting slide show here

    Education, Politics, and a Hunger Strike: A Social Movement's Struggle for Education in Chicago's' Little Village Community
    By Gabriel E. Cortez
    Publication Date: October 17, 2008
    Quick Summary: This is from a dissertation submitted in partial
    fulfillment of the requirements
    for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in
    Educational Policy Studies
    in the Graduate College of the
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008

    Here are a few excerpts from this dissertation
    showing the efforts by the Little Village
    community to challenge Chicago Public School
    policy that minimizes the voice of local
    communities. It is low-income communities of
    color, like Little Village, that have become
    expendable to the new policies and goals of urban
    public education. The dissertation shows how we
    all have a stake in this struggle if we care at
    all about democracy.

    The New Kindergarten
    By Douglas J. Besharov and Douglas M. Call
    Publication Date: October 16, 2008
    Quick Summary: From the Autumn 2008 Wilson Quarterly

    The authors show that universal pre-K isn't as rosy as it is cracked up to be.

    Math wasn’t Einstein’s strong point, but how bad was he? Very, very bad, says a ruthless new book...
    By George Johnson
    Publication Date: October 13, 2008
    Quick Summary: A book review from the Los Angeles Times, Oct.
    12, 2008

    Even the great genius of Albert Einstein stumbled
    when it came to calculations.

    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 03, 2008
    Quick Summary: New York Times Obituary: Nick Reynolds, Kingston Trio Harmonizer, Dies at 75

    A Policy with Punch
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: October 03, 2008
    Quick Summary: Marion Brady offers a challenge to school board members that we all need to heed, pointing out that people donât abuse or abandon social institutions that help them meet a need. This article is from The American School Board Journal, October 2008.

    By a parent
    Publication Date: October 01, 2008
    Quick Summary: In March 2008, this parent wrote My Little Professor, a quite extraordinary account of her son, diagnosed with Asperger's. Now she has started Asperger's A Love Story, a blog.

    INTERview: Hans Ohanian: A professor of physics explores the human failings of genius in a new book, Einstein’s Mistakes.
    By Joshua Brown
    Publication Date: September 24, 2008
    Quick Summary: This is from The View, Sept. 24, 2005.
    Ohanian's new book shows how Einstein used a
    sleepwalker's intuition â rather than force of
    logic â to catch the tail of a cunning universe.

    The Thinker
    By Jonathan Mahler
    Publication Date: September 22, 2008
    Quick Summary: from the New York Times Magazine, Sept. 21, 2008.

    âMy view is that you really fall into a trap when
    you start allowing what you believe about your
    students to dictate how you teach your
    discipline,â he answered. âToo often these days
    we end up setting up our courses in light of what
    we believe about our students and we end up not
    teaching them. At best, we end up housebreaking

    Get Ready, Get Set, Vote
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 16, 2008
    Quick Summary: Skills associated with success in kindergarten speak to corporate politicos. Or should. Skills listed here are from the San Francisco Chronicle, September 16, 2008.

    Why an Undemocratic Capitalism Has Brought Public Education to Its Knees
    By Richard A. Gibboney
    Publication Date: September 17, 2008
    Quick Summary: The public schools are being punished for the
    achievement gap, which they did not create and
    cannot close. Mr. Gibboney urges educators to
    rise up and fight to protect public education and
    democracy, which will both collapse if our
    society refuses to take the steps necessary to
    eliminate poverty.

    From Phi Delta Kappan September 2008

    Here's What Teachers Need
    By Yvonne Siu-Runyan
    Publication Date: September 12, 2008
    Quick Summary: This is from the Education Week blog, Aug. 26,

    Great and Imperfect
    By Darron McMahon
    Publication Date: September 05, 2008
    Quick Summary: From The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 5,

    Are Advanced Placement Courses Diminishing Liberal Arts Education?
    By Paul Von Blum
    Publication Date: September 02, 2008
    Quick Summary: This Commentary, published in Education Week, Sept. 3, 2008, is posted here with the permission of the author. Every parent who has a child tempted by the AP hype should read it.

    The problem with praise: Author says self-esteem kick is hobbling society
    By Kevin O'Connor
    Publication Date: August 31, 2008
    Quick Summary: from the Rutland Herald, August 31, 2008. This book offrs an antidote to our culture's obsession with perfect children.

    Paul Goodman, 30 Years Later: Growing Up Absurd; Compulsory Mis-education, and The Community of Scholars; and The NewReformation—A Retrospective
    By James S. Kaminsky
    Publication Date: August 26, 2008
    Quick Summary: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 7, 2006, p. 1339-1361

    Some of us are still working to hold on to that "romantic humanism" to which Paul Goodman gave strong voice. Say his name, and there are a few elders who will start expounding. Is there anyone writing today who will produce that same nostalgic reverence among aging educators 50 years hence?

    As the author rightly observes, Goodmanâs educational agenda was about personal liberty and authenticity, not social revolution or academic performance.

    Note to teachers who say they have to do DIBELS because they're afraid for their jobs: Paul Goodman pointed out that if you have to choose between bread and liberty, it is better to choose liberty.

    Finding a Loony List While Searching for Literacy
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 26, 2008
    Quick Summary: This review was published in Education Week May 6, 1987. Ohanian asks what you make of a list of cultural need-to-know terms that includes the trombone but not the tuba, Fresno but not Ghana, Kenya, Nagasaki, Sri Lanka, and Armenia. It's a bizarre list that includes Onan but not Ruth, Naomi, or Esther. Although this review of E. D. Hirsch's cultural determinism is twenty years old, the issue is as current as today's newspaper headlines.

    Using a National Test to Commodotize Children
    By Michael T. Martin
    Publication Date: August 21, 2008
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment:I can't emphasize enough how important it is for educators and parents who care about public schools to become aware of the dangers of NAEP.

    For more info on how dastardly the NAEP is, take a look at the kinds of questions they ask and how they score the answers.

    For some context on Bob Wise's remarks on C-Span which provoked Michael Martin's comment, see Gerald Bracey's Huffington Post.

    We must keep informing people about how shoddy the NAEP is. The corporate-politicos and their Standardisto allies want to turn it into the National Exam. Michael Martin's observations are must reading.

    Accountability Meets the Corporate Achievement Gap
    By Peter Campbell
    Publication Date: August 17, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Transforming Education, Aug. 15, 2008.

    Teachers, start fighting back. Pass on this commentary.

    A Family Again, if Only for a Week
    By Michael Winerip
    Publication Date: August 17, 2008
    Quick Summary: This is heartbreaking.

    A Teachable Moment
    By Paul Tough
    Publication Date: August 16, 2008
    Quick Summary: from New York Times Magazine, Aug. 17, 2008

    The Standardisto version of "a teachable moment" is agreeing to go to school 11 hours a day if you don't get your homework done on time. Read deep down into the article and you will find that these schools operate on a tightly managed curriculum. That and Teach for America. One can question how successful a good principal can be with a revolving door of green teachers. Of course, this is one reason they have a tightly scripted curriculum.

    This said, I think New Orleans officials are right in not rebuilding the old system. All of us have to take responsibility for old systems that never worked. My great reservation on the model being built is that, with Control as its abiding philosophy, it relies solely on scripts and data.

    Where Are They Now?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 07, 2010
    Quick Summary: 2010 Update: Tristan is pursuing a Ph.D. in a joint program with MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    Here's what happened to one teen who challenged the imperative to sit in silence while McDonald's corporation offered a program to a captive audience.

    From Schoolhouse to Jailhouse: Doing Hard Time in Publici Schools
    By Annette Fuentes
    Publication Date: August 10, 2008
    Quick Summary: The truth of the matter is that our system must leave plenty of students behind. We don't have living wage jobs for everybody.

    This commentary is from The Black Commentator, April 8, 2004.

    "Urban Pedagogies and the Celling of Adolescents of Color," by Garrett Duncan [in Social Justice: A Journal of Crime Conflict and Social Order, 2000], gives examples of how images of "dangerous youth" are used to justify incarceration. The essay centers on how the association between urban schools and prisons reflects the historical relationship between the white-controlled public education of subjugated U.S. populations and the economy. Specifically, under segregation, urban pedagogies work through students of color to make them less economically competitive and to prepare them to occupy and accept subordinate roles in the socioeconomic system.

    Economic Free Fall
    By William Greider
    Publication Date: August 07, 2008
    Quick Summary: from The Nation, Aug. 18, 2008

    Read this important article in the context of what the corporate politicos--Republicans and Democrats--have done to attack, demean, and deprofessionalize teachers--in the name of accountability.

    The Trolls Among Us
    By Mattahias Schwartz
    Publication Date: August 01, 2008
    Quick Summary: from New York Times Sunday Magazine, Aug. 3, 2008.

    While schools continue to operate in a Standardisto box ruled by McGraw-Hill and their kin, young people are involved in another universe.

    Rosa Parks, Hail to Thee!
    By Ralph Nader
    Publication Date: July 30, 2008
    Quick Summary: July 30, 2008

    Where is the national organization urging teachers "Don't give the test."

    How can we teach about Rosa Parks and other historical icons but steadfastly ignore the principles they espoused?

    We need to break the bonds of teachers thinking something about NCLB will "just happen." No, it won't unless and until teachers make it happen.

    Don't drink the tea.
    Don't ride the bus.
    Don't give the test.

    Don't drink the tea
    Don't ride the bus
    Don't give the test

    Chester Finn and Diane Ravitch Respond to AFT President Randi Weingarten
    By Diane Ravitch, Chester Finn, and Radi Weingarten
    Publication Date: July 25, 2008
    Quick Summary: This exchange comes from THE EDUCATION GADFLY
    A Weekly Bulletin of News and Analysis from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
    Volume 8, Number 28. July 24, 2008

    Teacher Voice in Today's Schools-Why Is It Critical?
    By Editors of Democracy and Education
    Publication Date: July 24, 2008
    Quick Summary: Here is a chance for the teacher's voice to be heard.

    AP Diary
    By Christopher Phelps
    Publication Date: April 11, 2011
    Quick Summary: The true story of what it's like to spend a week grading Advanced Placement exams

    From Chronicle of Higher Education, July 11, 2008

    16 Tons of Corporate School Bashing and No Teacher Protest
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 11, 2008
    Quick Summary: Looking back at hopes to bring down NCLB.

    Half-Hour Lunch
    By Jo Scott-Coe
    Publication Date: July 03, 2008
    Quick Summary: In my middle school, lunch was 27 minutes, and the union lost the argument that this 27 minutes should NOT include "passing time," so, in reality, lunch was more like 22 minutes--if we were lucky and did not encounter--or acknowledge--any hallway difficulties during the race to lunch. Gulp.

    But as this remarkable piece points out, the actual time for lunch is symptomatic of something much more crucial.

    Wolin, Democracy, and The Math Wars
    By By Michael Paul Goldenberg
    Publication Date: June 27, 2008
    Quick Summary: from The Pulse,, Education's Place for K12 Debate, June 21, 2008.
    Important reading

    Essential Rules for Writing
    By Padgett Powell
    Publication Date: June 18, 2008
    Quick Summary: From The Believer, September 2006

    From an interview with Padgett Powell by Brian J. Barr, music editor at the Seattle Weekly.

    Rule 3 is particularly masterful.

    A Perpetual Student Pursues Education to the Nth Degree
    By Sara Lipka
    Publication Date: June 08, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Chronicle of Higher Education

    Hallowell Connections
    By Ned Hallowell
    Publication Date: June 04, 2008
    Quick Summary: http://www.drhallowell.com/#newletter

    Be inspired by the commencement speech at Eagle Hill School, a school that describes itself on its website as a school for students with learning disabilities.

    When Change Is Not Enough: The Seven Steps To Revolution
    By Sara Robinson, with comment by Dave Stratman
    Publication Date: May 28, 2008
    Quick Summary: Dave Stratman, New Democracy.org, Comment:

    The article rests largely on an artificial contrast between liberals and conservatives. It ignores the fact that the coprorate onslaught against working people of the last 35 years has been the joint effort of Dems and Reps: witness Clinton's sponsorship of NAFTA, his destruction of welfare, his repeal of the Glass-Steagel Act, his sponsorship of ferocious sanctions and war preparations against Iraq, of enhanced police powers, and the Dems continuing embrace of the "War on Terror," etc. Still it makes some valuable and intriguing points.

    New Democracy has long argued that the ruling class is tactically strong but strategically weak. That is, the corporate and government assault on working people of these three decades has succeeded magnificently, showing that the capitalists have the power to slash wages, destroy pensions and health care, undermine education, and in every respect devastate people's sense of security and hopes for the future; in so doing, however, the corporate state has destroyed the historic basis of stability and cohesion in America: people's confidence in the future, their faith in the American Dream.

    The capitalists have overwhelming power to brutalize and destroy, but they cannot and dare not build a future people want. To create that future will require a popular revolution that destroys the capitalist state and builds society anew on the basis of widely-shared, anti-capitalist values of solidarity, equality, and democracy.

    Ohanian Comment: I hope you will think about the destruction of our public schools as you read Dave's comments and the commentary below. Stop blaming the conservatives. Recognize the corporate push. Realize that "corporate" influence goes a whole lot deeper than Harold McGraw's friendship with George Bush or how much money the testing industry makes. We could survive those two things. Whether we can survive the real corporate thrust depends on the willingness of teachers and parents to stand up and shout "No!" The silence of teachers and parents is killing us.

    Read #5 Gutless Wonders in the Ruling Class with special attention. Make a list of the gutless wonders in education who have failed in their duty to lead.

    Preparing Our Children for Success
    By R. Z. Greenwald and RaisingSmallSouls.com
    Publication Date: May 27, 2008
    Quick Summary: It will do you good to watch this.

    Commencement Address, Smith College, 2008
    By Margaret Edson
    Publication Date: May 25, 2008
    Quick Summary:
    Award-winning playwright Margaret Edson, a Smith College alumna who teaches kindergarten in the Atlanta public school system, was the speaker at Smithâs 130th commencement ceremony Sunday, May 18. This is a transcript; the speech was delivered without a written text.

    May 18, 2008

    Tracing the Roots of Kindergarten Readiness
    By Peter Campbell and responders
    Publication Date: May 22, 2008
    Quick Summary:

    The Riddle in the Front Row
    By M. Garrett Bauman
    Publication Date: May 22, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Chronicle of Higher Education, May 23, 2008

    It is rare to witness a college professor writing about a student so powerfully.

    Ending All Literary Crises
    By Stephen Krashen
    Publication Date: May 15, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Language [pdf file], May 2008

    Stephen Krashen presents some very good news about childrenâs literature, some very bad news about access to books, and a solution to end all literacy crises.

    A Surgeon’s Path From Migrant Fields to Operating Room
    By Claudia Dreifus
    Publication Date: May 14, 2008
    Quick Summary: A Conversation With Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa from the New York Times, May 13, 2008.

    Twenty years ago, Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa, now 40, was an illegal immigrant working in the vegetable fields of the Central Valley in California. Learn why he thinks his courses at Harvard Medical School weren't all that tough.

    Why I took a stand against WASL and why the state should abandon it
    By Carl Chew
    Publication Date: May 08, 2008
    Quick Summary: from the Seattle Times, May 8, 2008.

    A remarkable teacher explains his so-called insubordination as "a small act of peaceful civil disobedience," voicing his concern that "so many have forgotten that in this country our moral duty is to act when we see wrongdoing."

    Advancing Beyond AP Courses
    By Bruce G. Hammond
    Publication Date: May 06, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 2008

    The author observes that Without the required curricula and tests, students and teachers could rediscover their passion and creativity.

    Words That Destroy Your Child's Future--And My Profession
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: May 02, 2008
    Quick Summary:

    America's Most Overrated Product: the Bachelor's Degree
    By Marty Nemko
    Publication Date: May 01, 2008
    Quick Summary: From Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 2008

    Carl Chew Chimes In
    By Carl Chew
    Publication Date: April 28, 2008
    Quick Summary:

    Fighting for Recess: One Parent's Story
    By Marie Walton
    Publication Date: April 24, 2008
    Quick Summary: "Thank you, Mrs. Walton for getting us recess," summarizes the story of one parent's determination.

    Another parent summarized the problem with this statement: "I think prisoners basically have a little bit more social interaction than our children."

    Crossing the Rubricon
    By Carolyn Foster Segal
    Publication Date: April 22, 2008
    Quick Summary: Using a rubric, the author provides a final assessment report of Emily Dickinson.

    from Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2008

    Conclusion: "It all comes down to just two categories: great and sh____." It's actually a very handy rubric.

    Bitter? You Should Be!
    By Nicholas Von Hoffman
    Publication Date: April 17, 2008
    Quick Summary: from The Nation, April 17, 2008.

    Those who aren't bitter and/or angry at this point are simply not paying attention.

    Students Organizing Themselves??
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 09, 2008
    Quick Summary: Here is a Q & A from my website.

    Keeping Priorities Straight, Even at the End
    By Tara Parker-Pope
    Publication Date: April 09, 2008
    Quick Summary: from The New York Times, April 8, 2008.
    This one is a must-read. And follow the hot link. Take the time to listen to Randy Pausch's most remarkable lecture. You will be glad you did.

    A Nation at Risk Twenty-five Years Later
    By Richard Rothstein
    Publication Date: April 07, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Unbound, Cato Institute

    April 7, 2008

    NOTE: The article contains graphs, which are viewable at the Cato site.

    Ohanian Note: Rothstein offers a good analysis. . . with one exception. I dispute that Nation at Risk was "well-intentioned." People say the same thing about NCLB. Baloney. Read Why Corporate America Is Bashing Our Public Schools?

    High Standards
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 06, 2008
    Quick Summary: This chapter appears in Knowledge & Power in the Global Economy: The Effects of School Reform in a Neoliberal/Neoconservative Age, Second Edition, ed. David Gabbard (Lawrence Erlbaum 2008).

    Book Review: Testing: The Real Crisis in Education
    By FairTest
    Publication Date: April 03, 2008
    Quick Summary: from The Examiner, April 2008

    Quality-Managing the Country
    By Marc Bosquet
    Publication Date: March 31, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Chronicle of Higher Education, March 31, 2008.

    Think about what Quality Management has meant in the classroom: DIBELS in kindergarten and absence of novels in middle school.

    Church of Scientology and Public Education
    By Pamela Lichtenwalner
    Publication Date: March 27, 2008
    Quick Summary: This commentary shows, among other things, the connection between Scientology and NCLB.

    My 'Little Professor'
    By M. Patterson
    Publication Date: March 24, 2008
    Quick Summary: from The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 29, 2008.

    Ohanian Comment: I admit to awe and applause at this second grader speaking in the voice of the turkey. But I understand a smidgen of the agony that travels along with this precocity.

    The Schools To War Collision: Whither the Resistance?
    By Rich Gibson and E. Wayne Ross
    Publication Date: March 22, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Counterpunch, March 2008

    Our task is to connect reason to passion, passion to power, and power to a critique of what is, what we are doing, and what can be.

    Schools must produce contributors
    By Lynn Stoddard
    Publication Date: March 21, 2008
    Quick Summary: Standard-Examiner, March 14, 2008

    Lynn Stoddard asks a crucial question. Ask parents what their priorities are for their children.

    A Boy Named Sue, and a Theory of Names
    By J. Marion Tierney
    Publication Date: March 11, 2008
    Quick Summary: from New York Times, March 11, 2008

    Ohanian NOTE: I looked up the American Name Society and became so interested in the article titles of their journal, that I joined.

    Numbers Guy: Are our brains wired for math?
    By Jim Holt
    Publication Date: March 08, 2008
    Quick Summary: from The New Yorker, March 3, 2008

    According to Stanislas Dehaene, humans have an inbuilt "number sense" capable of some basic calculations and estimates. The problems start when we learn mathematics and have to perform procedures that are anything but instinctive. But here is a quarrel with Holt:

    Dear New Yorker Editor:

    Jim Holt, writing about Stanislaus Dehaene's research on neurobiology and arithmetic, tells us about findings which are new and tantalizing ("Numbers Guy," March 3rd.) But one might expect a writer on research to have done some research himself. As a longtime curriculum developer in school math and researcher in the learning of mathematics I can say without hesitation that Holt's claim that the "new math" was grounded in the theories of Jean Piaget is utterly false. "New math" or "modern math" as known in the USA amounted to the imposition on children of mathematics as known by university mathematicians, most of whom would not have heard of Piaget â most certainly not in the nineteen-fifties, a time in which Holt claims Piaget's views were "standard." At that time, Piaget's research was virtually unknown in the United States.

    Second, the notion that "reform math" calls for children to discover things their own way gives the impression that they wander aimlessly and randomly through math. A substantial body of research shows that this is fundamentally wrong. The one thing that we humans do is to make sense of things; what "reform math" curricula do is to challenge pupils to make sense of math, usually in the face of thoughtfully constructed problem situations. This is not chaotic or chance discovery. Rather it provokes adaptation involving the evolution of children's networks of ideas in terms of complexity, stability, economy and generalizability (and, not the least, the quest to go further in their investigations).

    Holt's slippery characterization of reform math could support the authoritarian approach to the teaching of mathematics so common these days, a policy virtually identical to "modern math" with the widespread message to children, "You're incompetent. You are capable only of following orders."

    Third, one should keep in mind that there is an enormous gap between research showing that the notion of subtraction, for example (not to say anything about a wide range of more complex mathematical thinking), resides in these or those neural folds and evidence for the success of educational methods/school curricula which enable children to subtract.

    Thomas C. O'Brien
    North Atlantic Treaty Organization Senior Research Fellow in Science

    All Our Students Thinking
    By Nel Noddings
    Publication Date: February 21, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Educational Leadership February 2008

    Nel Noddings makes a convincing case for educating students for the real world, and this means acknowledging that not everybody will go to college.

    Cover the Material—Or Teach Students to Think?
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: February 21, 2008
    Quick Summary: Kudos to Marion Brady, a leader in the call for real curriculum reform. Brady asserts that to move beyond rote memorization and use a full range of thinking skills, students need to tackle issues straight out of the complex world in which they live. This article should be in every faculty room.

    From Educational Leadership February 2008

    Teaching for the Test
    By Emmet Rosenfeld
    Publication Date: February 17, 2008
    Quick Summary: Washington Post
    Feb. 17, 2008

    How hard could it be for a top teacher at an elite high school to win the coveted National Board certification? You'd be surprised. He sure was. You may not be so surprised to see how biased National Board scoring is. Emmet's conclusion shows his real teacherliness: on a more fundamental level, I wonder if I really want to be a member of a club that doesn't get the canoe. For all their rigor, the National Board certification seems to flunk on the essence of teaching.

    The Reality of Art
    By Michael Martin
    Publication Date: February 13, 2008
    Quick Summary: Michael Martin asks, Suppose we stopped teaching math and science and schools only taught singing and dancing and painting and photography and acting and music. How impoverished would we be?

    Of Snips and Snails and Snowplows
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 31, 2008
    Quick Summary: A New York City snowplow driver knows what's developmentally appropriate for little boys.

    The U.S. Psycho-Pharmaceutical-Industrial Complex
    By Bruce E. Levine
    Publication Date: January 31, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Z Magazine, November 2007.

    Levine observes that As mental illness has become profitable, we are seeing more of it

    Reading Emerson
    By William A. Proefriedt
    Publication Date: January 27, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Education Week, Oct. 29, 2003. Posted with permission of the author.

    The author asks us to look to Emerson in our current NCLB woes because Emerson He offers an idiom that allows us to grasp our educational problems by the right handle.

    The Colorado Coalition for Better Education: An Interview with Don Perl—Teacher, Advocate, & Activist for Better Education
    By Yvonne Siu-Runyan and Don Perl
    Publication Date: January 25, 2008
    Quick Summary: Here is the inspirational story of an education activist whose spirit and work influences many people.
    -Jan. 25, 2008

    Who Made Education Week the Gradebook of the Universe?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 24, 2008
    Quick Summary: Quality Counts, the annual report from Education Week, rears its ugly head once again.

    Musings on the Latest Crisis
    By Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: January 25, 2008
    Quick Summary: Gerald Bracey urges teachers to stop accepting the blame and to take the initiative.
    Jaunuary 23, 2008

    Iraq Policy/NCLB Policy, With Liberty and Justice for the Privileged Few, Part 2
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 16, 2008
    Quick Summary: This is Part 2 of a document designed to help us think about the devastation our government has brought to people in a distant country and to children and teachers in our own. here.

    The Secret to Raising Smart Kids
    By Carol S. Dweck
    Publication Date: January 14, 2008
    Quick Summary: from Scientific American, Nov. 28, 2007

    Hint: Don't tell your kids that they are smart. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on effortânot on intelligence or abilityâis key to success in school and in life

    Iraq Policy/NCLB Policy, With Liberty and Justice for the Privileged Few
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 02, 2008
    Quick Summary: This is the opening part of a lengthy document designed to help us think about the devastation our government has brought to people in a distant country and to children and teachers in our own.

    Children Learn What They Live
    By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
    Publication Date: December 30, 2007
    Quick Summary: I found this on Richard Lakin's website, a place worth visiting. His book Teaching as an Act of Love is available from Amazon.com.

    Twilight of the Books
    By Caleb Crain
    Publication Date: December 28, 2007
    Quick Summary: from The New Yorker, Dec. 24, 2007

    Words and Phrases About School You will Hear Coming Out of the Mouths of Those Who Would Be President
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 23, 2007
    Quick Summary: Think about what the politicos are saying AND what they are not saying.

    Harmony Through Diversity
    By Dr. Tom Keating
    Publication Date: December 15, 2007
    Quick Summary: This article is from School Planning and Management Magazine, November 2007.

    During visits to other countries and through his role with an international organization, this nationally known crusader for better restroom care confirms his expectations that some problems are not unique to U.S. schools.

    The Case Against Standardized Testing
    By Peter Henry
    Publication Date: December 12, 2007
    Quick Summary: Peter's article was named "best submission" in the Minnesota English Journal. It delivers on its title. Site space limitations cut off the notes at the end. They can be accessed using the hot link above.

    Math Considerations
    By Norm Matloff
    Publication Date: December 11, 2007
    Quick Summary: Norm's remarks were posted on EDDRA, Dec. 11, 2007. He gave me permission to post them here. They are certainly worth reading.

    The Most Effective Learning Tool
    By Peter Campbell
    Publication Date: December 09, 2007
    Quick Summary: We are robbing young children of important developmental skills in order to stuff so-called reading skills into them.

    Dec. 8, 2007

    By Philip Kovacs, Educator Roundtable
    Publication Date: November 20, 2007
    Quick Summary: Join the conversation on this important subject. Educator Roundtable has provided a place where you can put in your two cents worth on education issues you care about. Come take a look.

    Triumph of the Wills
    By Daniel Brook, with comment by Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 19, 2007
    Quick Summary: Article from The Nation, Dec. 3, 2007.

    Ohanian Comment: As you read about the average American mill worker in the 1920s tending more than 700 spindles per hour, while the average Indian worker was tending just 118, think of today's teachers under the thumb of corporate-politico rules demanding passive obedience, allowing no say in job conditions and materials, and offering pay bonuses based on criteria that harm children.

    Another parallel comes to mind: As the reviewer points out, under medieval Catholicism, ordinary people were forbidden to read the bible on their own. Today NCLB's Reading First denies teachers the right to choose books suited for their students needs and demands a rigid, time-dominated , scripted delivery of commercial product. What teachers--and the children in their care--desperately need is a Martin Luther nailing a proclamation on the politicos' doors. Luther had 95 theses. Educator Roundtable offers just 16 reasons for saying NO to NCLB.

    With this continued silence, teaching is no longer a profession. Soon it will be piecework.

    Good Things Never Die
    By Joseph Lucido, 5th Grade Teacher
    Publication Date: November 15, 2007
    Quick Summary: In addition to being a fifth grade teacher and a father, Joseph associates himself with
    Educators and Parents Against Test Abuse and
    Educator Roundtable

    Election '08 Meets The Great Education Myth
    By David Sirota
    Publication Date: November 15, 2007
    Quick Summary:
    This must read is from:
    Campaign for America's Future

    Please send it to your friends who support Hillary or Obama.

    New York and Chicago: Same Script
    By Jim Horn and George Schmidt
    Publication Date: November 13, 2007
    Quick Summary: Whether it's New York or Chicago, the charterizing brigade is in full force, financed by Broad, Gates, and Walton and aided by the AFT. Jim Horn and George Schmidt document what's happening. Your city may be next.

    Do We Need National Standards with Teeth?
    By Zalman Usiskin
    Publication Date: November 09, 2007
    Quick Summary: Educational Leadership
    November 2007
    pages 38-42

    Kudos to Zalman Usiskin for pointing out that national standards with teeth might exacerbate rather than solve the problem. Haven't we learned anything from NCLB?

    Promises Worth Keeping
    By Doug Christensen, Nebraska Commissioner of Education
    Publication Date: November 06, 2007
    Quick Summary: Opening Speech at the Leadership for Classroom Assessment conference, October 17th. It was a conference about Leadership in Classroom Assessment. . . a day and a half about the promise and practice of classroom-based assessment.

    Doug Christensen's passion will take your breath away.

    American Business Hasn’t A Clue
    By Roger Schank
    Publication Date: November 01, 2007
    Quick Summary: This is from The Pulse: Education's Place for Debate, Nov. 1, 2007.

    Kudos. Stop the math and science fixation.

    A Graduation Test: The Wrong Cure for Pennsylvania's Education Problems
    By Monty Neill, Ed.D., Co-Executive Director, FairTest
    Publication Date: October 30, 2007
    Quick Summary: Monty Neill gave this talk to an emerging alliance of education, civil rights, community, parent, disability organizations that have come together to oppose a proposal that students who do not pass a state test cannot get a diploma. We can all learn from it.

    The Uncanny Symphony of Oliver Sacks
    By Leonard Cassuto
    Publication Date: October 30, 2007
    Quick Summary: This review is from Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 2, 2007. In Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Oliver Sacks, quirky as ever, again shows the reader unexpected human complexity and mystery, connecting this to how we perceive "the disabled" in our current world. We need to read all we can about the richness of human possibility. . . and the weirdness.

    Thirteen Ways of Looking at No Child Left Behind
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 10, 2007
    Quick Summary: Apologies to Wallace Stevens who must be rolling in his grave.

    Going Beyond Jonathan Kozol's Manifesto: How Can We Overcome the Weapons of Mass Destruction
    By by Rich Gibson, emeritus professor, San Diego State University
    Publication Date: October 09, 2007
    Quick Summary: I posted this essay once before. I urge you to read it again.

    Schools as Scapegoats
    By Lawrence Mishel and Richard Rothstein
    Publication Date: October 01, 2007
    Quick Summary:
    This article is from American Prospect, Sept. 24, 2007. You need to be a paid subscriber to access it.

    National Educational Assessment Rubbish
    By Walt Thiessen
    Publication Date: September 30, 2007
    Quick Summary:
    The U.S. Department of Education is all aglow because 4th and 8th grade Math scores are two points higher than they were two years ago. They don't even want to consider the idea that intensive testing only proves that kids are learning to study for the tests, at the expense of their real educations.

    This is from Nolan Chart, Sept. 26, 2007.

    Next year in the garden: Famous Last Words
    By Stephen Morris
    Publication Date: September 09, 2007
    Quick Summary: This essay about gardening contains more good advice for teachers than anything offered by the U. S. Department of Education or, for that matter, many in-service training sessions inflicted on teachers.

    Back to School
    By Sam Smith
    Publication Date: September 05, 2007
    Quick Summary: Sam Smith edits Undernews, an e-mail service sending out provocative news items on all sorts of topics. Sometimes, readers get the treat of an essay by Sam. This one has a number of gems. Imagine: a journalist who respected teachers and who was willing and able to learn from young children.

    Smith's website is Progressive Review: An Online Journal & Archive of Alternative News & Information. ( http://www.prorev.com)

    Questions and Answers About What is to Be Done Within the Testing and School Reform Movement
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: September 04, 2007
    Quick Summary: This dissection of NCLB comes from Substance News, February 2007.

    By Kip Zegers
    Publication Date: August 29, 2007
    Quick Summary: Kip Zegers says, "I'm readying to return for my 24th year at Hunter College H.S. in New York City. I'm a
    poet, have 7 small press books, and here's my
    back to school poem, which I thought might give support to fellow workers.

    The Unknown Teacher
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 19, 2013
    Quick Summary: An update on an old poem, with apologies to W. H. Auden.

    Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
    By Edward L. Deci with Richard Flaste
    Publication Date: August 28, 2007
    Quick Summary: Recent flurry over schools paying students to achieve led me back to Edward Deci's work. Below is a brief excerpt from Why We Do What We Do: The Dynamics of Personal Autonomy, Putnam 1995.

    Unplugged Schools
    By Lowell Monke
    Publication Date: August 23, 2007
    Quick Summary: from Orion
    September/October 2007

    Education can ameliorate, or exacerbate, society's ills. Which will it be?

    If I Were the Goddess of Education in the World…
    By Cindy Lutenbacher
    Publication Date: August 08, 2007
    Quick Summary: Cindy and I invite your additions.

    Three Things a School Needs
    By Donna Metler
    Publication Date: July 30, 2007
    Quick Summary: A Memphis mom has come up with a simple test for any future school she's willing to let her young daughter attend.

    Steve Orel: Don't Stand by my grave and weep. . . .
    By The family and friends of Steve Orel
    Publication Date: July 13, 2007
    Quick Summary: Keep the legacy alive. Send a memorial gift to the WOO.

    The Gregarious Brain
    By David Dobbs
    Publication Date: July 04, 2007
    Quick Summary: From the New York Times Magazine
    July 8, 2007

    Distorted Statistics on Graduation Rates
    By Paul Attewell and David E. Lavin
    Publication Date: July 03, 2007
    Quick Summary: The methods now used to determine college-completion rates produce a warped and outdated picture of how today's students experience and benefit from higher education.

    from The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 6, 2007

    Why a Student and Parent Testing Protection Act?
    There is a need to protect students, families and communities from abusive assessment practices that violate due process, civil rights and liberties.
    By Harold Berlak
    Publication Date: June 29, 2007
    Quick Summary: June 2007

    This Protection Act clearly states the problems and the needed protections to prevent further child abuse by misuse of standardized testing.

    When States Seize Schools: A Cautionary Tale
    By Walt Gardner
    Publication Date: June 24, 2007
    Quick Summary: from Education Week
    June 13, 2007

    Substituting one level of government for another has done little to improve educational quality. The state possesses no more inherent wisdom than local communities.

    Anti-capitalism in five minutes or
    By Robert Jensen
    Publication Date: June 23, 2007
    Quick Summary: from ZNet Commentaries
    May 15, 2007

    [Remarks to the final "Last Sunday" community gathering in Austin, TX, April 29, 2007. For a PDF of all five of the talks in this series, write to rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu .]

    Why is it that we must choose an economic system that undermines the most decent aspects of our nature and strengthens the most inhuman? Robert Jensen provides answers.

    Frederick Taylor and Science of Education
    By Dr. Alan A. Block
    Publication Date: June 21, 2007
    Quick Summary:
    June 20, 2007

    This prescient comment was written in response to an ongoing discussion about Taylorism on Gerald Bracey's EDDRA discussion list. It is certainly worth noting that so-called models of good teaching never seem to take into account the nose-scratching idiosyncratic rituals of good teachers. . . but claim to rely instead on science.

    Dr. Alan A. Block
    Professor of Education
    University of Wisconsin-Stout
    Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751

    Editor-in-Chief, Journal of The American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies


    The Body Electric
    from Salon.com, June 19, 2007
    By Ann Bauer
    Publication Date: June 19, 2007
    Quick Summary: Our son's condition kept getting worse, and everything we tried to help him failed. Then we discovered there was one final option: Electroshock therapy.

    Education: the learning of skills we will never need?
    By Teacherken
    Publication Date: June 17, 2007
    Quick Summary:
    Picking up on a discussion on Gerald Bracey's, EDDRA discussion list of whether or not studying calculus in high school is useless, Kenneth Bernstein's comments on Dailykos have elicited lots of responses, many of them interesting. Ken's article is posted here. Go to the url for the reader responses.

    June 16, 2007

    Who Give's a Rat's Patootie About High School Calculus?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 13, 2007
    Quick Summary: Susan, Tom Magliozzi of Car Talk, and George Schmidt, editor of Substance, weigh in on calculus.

    June 13, 2007

    A Transformational Model of Public Education
    (To Counter the Counterfeit No Child Left Behind Law)
    By Lynn Stoddard
    Publication Date: June 11, 2007
    Quick Summary: Lynn Stoddard offers a plan to help schools become accountable for skills communities value, skills that will truly help students grow as contributors to society. And he has a tool for assessing school effectiveness in reaching this goal, a great counter to what the federal government is piling on us in NCLB. Which is of more value to the parent of a second grader: his child's DIBELS score or whether the child is learning to ask good questions and developing the ability to work independently?

    A Diminished Vision of Civil Rights
    No Child Left Behind and the growing divide in how educational equity is understood
    By James Crawford
    Publication Date: June 07, 2007
    Quick Summary: This important article is from Education Week, June 6, 2007. Among other things, James Crawford shows that words matter and the shift in terminology fostered by politicos hurts the very children NCLB purports to help. The inescapable conclusion is that, despite its stated goals, the No Child Left Behind law represents a diminished vision of civil rights.

    When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?
    By Elizabeth Weil
    Publication Date: May 30, 2007
    Quick Summary: from New York Times Magazine, June 3, 2007.

    Increasing the average age of the children in a kindergarten class is a cheap and easy way to get a small bump in test scores, because older children perform better, and statesâ desires for relative advantage is written into their policy briefs.

    If we raised kindergarten starting age to 12, maybe all the kids would be able to read by first grade. And then we would get a bigger bump in test scores.

    The Specter Haunting Your Office
    By James Lardner
    Publication Date: May 29, 2007
    Quick Summary: from The New York Review of Books
    June 14, 2007

    THE FUGEES: Adjusting to America; Outcasts United
    By Warren St. John
    Publication Date: May 21, 2007
    Quick Summary: This article is from the New York Times, January 21, 2007. It shows the best and worst of people.

    By Jo Scott-Coe
    Publication Date: May 18, 2007
    Quick Summary: This is from Swink Magazine.

    Donât say data equals children. Equals learning. Say something gentler. Say No Child Left Behind.

    The Graduates
    By Louis Menands
    Publication Date: May 16, 2007
    Quick Summary: from The New Yorker
    May 21, 2007
    Ohanian Comment:
    I'm not sure I get the tuna-fish-salad metaphor here but found this worth reading anyway. I majored in English and got an MA in medieval lit. What could be more useless in terms of finding "a slot?"

    By the way, I'm all for grade inflation.

    Evil Empire: Is Imperial Liquidation Possible for America
    By Chalmers Johnson
    Publication Date: May 15, 2007
    Quick Summary: This article is about the horrendous war in Iraq, but initially one can't help but be struck by the parallels with the federal government's war on public schools which travels under the name of NCLB.

    This article cuts deeply, getting at fundamentals. As Johnson observes: But the war itself is the outcome of an imperial presidency and the abject failure of Congress to perform its Constitutional duty of oversight. And then, of course, there's the failure of the press. Had the government been working as the authors of the Constitution intended, the war could not have occurred. This is a tough read--and a necessary one.

    Go to the article at Information Clearinghouse for many links to more information.

    Chess Champion Offers Success Strategies for Life
    By Josh Waitzkin
    Publication Date: May 15, 2007
    Quick Summary: Remember "Searching for Bobby Fisher?" Why Josh Waitzkin, the chess phenomenon, grew up to be a man who no longer plays chess should be of interest to teachers and to parents. Here, he reflects on the learning process that applies equally well to business, athletics, and to life.
    I think in the learning process itâs really valuable for people to go very, very deeply into one thing at one point in their lives and touch quality. And then they can, like youâve described, translate that quality into other things, because I believe these principles are the same. They transcend specific disciplines.

    Talk of the Nation
    May 14, 2007)

    What's Wrong with Doctors
    By Richard Horton
    Publication Date: May 14, 2007
    Quick Summary: As you read this brilliant essay, think about the parallels with teaching. After all, we teachers are continuously enjoined to adopt a medical model in our work. As Richard Horton observes, "On average, about 15 percent of a doctor's diagnoses are inaccurate." Nonetheless, unlike teachers, doctors are revered rather than belittled and scapegoated. Except when a surgeon cuts out the wrong kidney or some such travesty, doctor shortcomings get no headlines. Sensationalism aside, Horton's more important point is that "There is a rich and rather disturbing variety of human weaknesses to consider when watching a doctor at the patient's bedside." It is these human weaknesses that offer provoking contrasts with good teaching.

    As teachers administer the omnipresent DIBELS, for example, they might think about this declaration: "The emotional temperature of the doctor plays a substantial part in diagnostic failure and success."

    The doctor whose book is being reviewed advocates that his fellow physicians seek a new ally in helping to correct their own cognitive limitations. Teachers should take to heart who this ally is.

    from The New York Review of Books
    May 31, 2007

    Little income makes big difference in schools
    By Leah C. Wells
    Publication Date: May 09, 2007
    Quick Summary: When low-income kids get the assistance they need to reach school ready to learn, and when children from low-income and middle-income families go to school together, all students' performance is enhanced.

    Review: Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America's Schools
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 01, 2011
    Quick Summary: Book Review: Nichols, Sharon L. & Berliner, David C. (2007). Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America's Schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

    Pp. 250 $25 ISBN-13: 978-1-891792-35-9

    Education Review

    Young, Gifted, and Not Getting Into Harvard
    Michael Winerip
    Publication Date: May 04, 2007
    Quick Summary: How does one summarize what Michael Winerip does, other than to say he provides a context for thinking about issues that matter.

    A Call for Slow Schools: Rethinking Education in the Green Mountains
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: May 23, 2015
    Quick Summary: This call to Vermonters to take back their schools appeared in Vermont Commons, April 4, 2007.

    Concerned citizens in every state should take a look at what the Feds are doing to their schools and join the fight to end NCLB. Childhood is at stake, and so is teacher professionalism.

    America Gone Wrong: A Slashed Safety Net Turns Libraries into Homeless Shelters
    By Chip Ward
    Publication Date: April 27, 2007
    Quick Summary: from AlterNet, April 2, 2007

    There are at least 200,000 people across the nation living more or less permanently on the street, enough to fill a thousand public libraries every day. . . . Most of them are mentally ill.

    America Gone Wrong: A Slashed Safety Net Turns Libraries into Homeless Shelters
    By Chip Ward
    Publication Date: April 02, 2007
    Quick Summary: from AlterNet, April 2, 2007

    There are at least 200,000 people across the nation living more or less permanently on the street, enough to fill a thousand public libraries every day. . . . Most of them are mentally ill.

    Brain Trust: Dr. Groopman On 'How Doctors Think'
    By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Dr. Jerome Groopman
    Publication Date: March 31, 2007
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: Because teachers are so inflicted by exhortations to be "more scientific," to "be more like doctors," it is always illustrative to look at how doctors work. It is of particular value when a doctor admits to error. I read Dr. Groopman's new book on a recent long plane ride (but I don't blame him for arriving home sicker than the proverbial dog). Groopman has provocative and disturbing things to say about how doctors think. For starters, But today's rigid reliance on evidence-based medicine risks having the doctor choose care passively, solely by the numbers. Statistics cannot substitute for the human being before you; statistics embody average, not individuals. This is just for starters.

    Educating for Human Greatness:
    By Lynn Stoddard
    Publication Date: March 29, 2007
    Quick Summary: (EditorÂ?s Note: For several years the Sutherland Institute has articulated the need for systemic reforms in Utahâ??s public education system. The following short essay by long-time Utah public school teacher and administrator, Lynn Stoddard, is one example of a systemic reform we can embrace. It addresses the purpose of public education and concludes that public education should focus on serving children and society Â? that as we constructively assist the one, we constructively build the future of the other. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, Â?standardization
    Â? is a pedagogical evil and relic of an inhumane factory system for teaching children. The federal No Child Left Behind Act only exacerbates this fundamental error. This essay is right on target if we truly care about the future of our children and one public institution we have entrusted to their care. Inasmuch as the essay sets forth a framework for substantive changes to our public education system, we urge readers to copy and use it for discussion.)

    This essay is from The Sutherland Institute

    Dinosaur Scientist to Lecture, Inspired 'Jurassic Park' Character
    By Mary Challender, Register Staff Writer, Des Moines Register, 3/28/07
    Publication Date: March 28, 2007
    Quick Summary:

    Kay's Comment: I love success stories like this one! Bad grades in high school. Failed out of college seven times. Only college degrees are honorary. Inspite of having dyslexia, this dinosaur genius is now a respected scientist. John "Jack" Horner says: "For kids with dyslexia, inoculated in failure, Horner hopes his life is evidence to the contrary. Success, he said, has nothing to do with grades. The interest and the love of a field are what's important."

    How the governor can advance 'career tech'
    By Mike Rose
    Publication Date: March 27, 2007
    Quick Summary: from San Francisco Chronicle
    March 26, 2007

    Anyone who has read Mike Rose's powerful books knows that he speaks from experience about vocational ed.

    By Mark Fisher, with comments from Annie
    Publication Date: March 22, 2007
    Quick Summary: Mark Fisher writes: No Child Left Behind is built on a mirage. At some point that's always just over the horizon, the law assumes, all children in the nation will miraculously read and compute at grade level, simply because they have been tested and tested and tested again.

    By Mark Fisher, with comments from Annie
    Publication Date: March 22, 2007
    Quick Summary: Mark Fisher writes: No Child Left Behind is built on a mirage. At some point that's always just over the horizon, the law assumes, all children in the nation will miraculously read and compute at grade level, simply because they have been tested and tested and tested again.

    By Mark Fisher, with comments from Annie
    Publication Date: March 22, 2007
    Quick Summary: Mark Fisher writes: No Child Left Behind is built on a mirage. At some point that's always just over the horizon, the law assumes, all children in the nation will miraculously read and compute at grade level, simply because they have been tested and tested and tested again.

    Proposed Academy Would Serve ADHD Kids [MN]
    First-of-its-kind Charter School Seeks State Approval
    By Kay Jones, Educator, k4teens.info
    Publication Date: March 16, 2007
    Quick Summary: Sad, but true: the needs of some special students cannot be met in the mianstream public schools and some charter schools might meet their needs better.

    High Stakes Tests: A Harsh Agenda for America's Children
    By Paul Wellstone
    Publication Date: March 15, 2007
    Quick Summary: It is past time to revisit Senator Paul Wellstone's speech at Teachers College, Columbia University, March 31, 2000. Tragically, Senator Wellsone died in a plane crash Oct. 25, 2002, and our schools are far worse because of his loss. Paul Wellstone was willing to fight for what is right.

    Read the bill on testing proposed by Paul Wellstone.

    The Overscheduled Child?
    By The Chronicle Review
    Publication Date: March 14, 2007
    Quick Summary: This is from The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 16, 20007.

    High-Stakes Testing is Putting the Nation At Risk
    By David C. Berliner & Sharon L. Nichols
    Publication Date: March 12, 2007
    Quick Summary: This article appeared in Education Week, March 12, 2007.

    Why Can't We Talk about Peace in Public?
    By Matt Taibbi
    Publication Date: March 01, 2007
    Quick Summary: WARNING: This contains offensive language and even more offensive "ideas."

    For anyone interested in the parallels of government strategy and operations in Iraq and NCLB, surely the reactions of the fighting forces is telling.

    Travels to a Distant World
    By Norm Scott
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: Footnote:

    "No Child Left Behind"??: The Song
    U. S. Department of Education
    by Christopher Cerf and Sarah Bruce Durkee

    We're here to thank our president,
    For signing this great bill,
    That's right! Yeah,
    Research shows we know the way,
    It's time we showed the will!

    Worst Place to Be a Kid
    By Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: February 22, 2007
    Quick Summary: The story has played big in Brunei, Georgia, Thailand, & Seychelles. It is not about bashing public schools so it has not played in New York or Washington.

    No Child Left Behind as an Anti-Poverty Measure
    By Jean Anyon & Kiersten Greene
    Publication Date: February 18, 2007
    Quick Summary: This article appears in Teacher Education Quarterly, Spring 2007.

    Here is the dirty little secret: for better scores on achievement tests and increased education to secure better jobs for low-income folks, there have to be better jobs available.

    This article is must reading. It takes the NCLB argument where it should have been all along.

    By Kay Ryan
    Publication Date: August 05, 2011
    Quick Summary: This is from Elephant Rocks, poems by Kay Ryan, Grove Press 1996.

    As a former teacher of third grade chicks, I found the first line haunting. I think the rest is directed at teachers, who MUST remain steadfast to their vision of what teaching is supposed to be.

    And then the poem gets very personal me. As I shut down my computer around midnight, I always tell myself, "Tomorrow, I WILL work on my book." But the next morning I always take a peek at my e-mail--and there's always something from Porlock. Coleridge claimed he had perceived the whole of Kubla Khan in a dream, but as he was writing it down, someone from Porlock interrupted him. . . and he never finished the poem.

    Goodbye teachers
    Hello to the Brave New World of NCLB
    By Anne E. Levin Garrison
    Publication Date: January 26, 2007
    Quick Summary: The recent decision of a Maryland superintendent of schools is a clear illustration of the destructive nature of NCLB policy.

    Charles Murray and the Wall Street Journal: A Muddled Look at Education in the U. S.
    By Michael T. Martin
    Publication Date: January 25, 2007
    Quick Summary: NOTE: This essay expresses Michael Martin?s views
    alone, and not those of the organization that employs him. The essay appeared on Gerald Bracey's discussion list Education Disinformation Detection and Reporting Agency (EDDRA).

    The Importance of Play
    By Dan Laitsch
    Publication Date: January 24, 2007
    Quick Summary:
    January 22, 2007 | Volume 5 | Number 1
    Research Brief
    Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

    by Dan Laitsch

    The Question: How important are play, unstructured time, and recess in the social and academic development of children?

    The Low Road
    By Marge Piercy
    Publication Date: January 24, 2007
    Quick Summary: This poem speaks so strongly for the need to find an ally--one person who stands with you. And then find another one. And another.

    Pretty soon you'll join Educator Roundtable, sign the petition, speak out, send in a donation. Next comes workbook refusal. And then. . . we take on the tests. Yes, it starts when you say We.

    It goes on one at a time,
    it starts when you care
    to act, it starts when you do
    it again after they said no,
    it starts when you say We
    and know who you mean, and each
    day you mean one more.

    Reform Trumps Race
    By David Nicholson
    Publication Date: January 23, 2007
    Quick Summary:
    Book Review: The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial, by Susan Eaton (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill), Publication Date: January 23, 2007

    The book offers a reminder that people, unlike rats, will continue down the same tunnels long after it's apparent there is no cheese. This is, I know, harsh, but it seems an apt characterization of superintendents, principals, and educational consultants who keep devising solutions that are only variations of old ways of failing.

    This review first appeared at Education Sector.

    Sister leaves behind a lifetime's worth of lessons
    By Jerry McGovern
    Publication Date: January 18, 2007
    Quick Summary: from the Press-Republican, Jan. 14, 2007.

    This lovely tribute reminds us where kids learn the lessons that count.

    Aztecs vs. Greeks
    Those with superior intelligence need to learn to be wise.
    By Charles Murray
    Publication Date: January 18, 2007
    Quick Summary: Appearing on January 18, 2007, this is the third of three articles on the topic of IQ appearing in The Wall Street Journal.

    A Declaration of Independence and a Bill of Rights for American Education
    By Jeffrey L. Peyton
    Publication Date: January 17, 2007
    Quick Summary: Go to Jeff's website at http://www.puppetools.com

    Join the Forum and you can discuss this.

    What's Wrong With Vocational School?
    Too many Americans are going to college
    By Charles Murray
    Publication Date: January 17, 2007
    Quick Summary: This appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 17, 2007.

    The New, Improved Educational Machine
    (But Where Are the Children?)
    By Peter W. Cookson Jr.
    Publication Date: January 16, 2007
    Quick Summary: This essay appeared in Education Week, Dec. 16, 2006.

    Intelligence in the Classroom
    Half of all children are below average, and teachers can do only so much for them.
    By Charles Murray
    Publication Date: January 16, 2007
    Quick Summary: This appeared in The Wall Street Journal January 16, 2007

    School Daze
    By Anne E. Levin Garrison
    Publication Date: January 12, 2007
    Quick Summary: The policies of NCLB are leading our schools away from an appreciation and understanding of the individual; that works well for no child.

    The Crisis in Urban Education: Resisting Neoliberal Policies and Forging Democratic Possibilities
    By David Hursh
    Publication Date: January 11, 2007
    Quick Summary: Educational Researcher, May, 2006


    High Stakes Education: Inequality, Globalization, and Urban School Reform. Pauline Lipman. New York: Routledge, 2003. 224 pp., $25.95 (paper). ISBN 0415935083.

    Radical Possibilities: Public Policy, Urban Education, and a New Social Movement. Jean Anyon. New York: Routledge, 2005. 240 pp., $22.95 (paper). ISBN 0415950996.

    Here is a provocative review of two books, providing a beginning for the analysis required to reverse the tide of neoliberal policies and to develop a new social movement.

    Happiness 101
    By D.T. Max
    Publication Date: January 07, 2007
    Quick Summary: Read about the distinction between feeling good, which according to positive psychologists only creates a hunger for more pleasure ? they call this syndrome the hedonic treadmill ? and doing good, which can lead to lasting happiness. Read far enough, and you might, like me almost fall out of your chair. Guess what charter group is interested in applying positive psychology? One can hope they will start with their own behavior toward children.

    Everything I Know About NCLB I Learned from Primetime Live
    By Gary Stager
    Publication Date: January 05, 2007
    Quick Summary: Gary Stager brings us a shocking update on the infamous Milgram experiment and this one relates directly to test prep and teachers' willingness to participate in practices that harm children. There is no getting around it: Many people are participating directly. Many others are pretending not to notice that harm is being done.

    Here, you'll find links to the illustrations in the notes at the end. At The Pulse they appear right in the essay.

    January 4, 2007

    An Inconvenient Truth:
    By Gary Stager
    Publication Date: January 03, 2007
    Quick Summary:
    District Administration
    January 2007

    This is an important notion: Why don't we embrace children's happiness?

    We Will Finally Get Mathematics Education Right
    By Keith Devlin
    Publication Date: January 02, 2007
    Quick Summary: Every year, Edge The World Question Center asks leading scientists "What are you optimistic about?" Here's one answer.

    Keith Devlin: Mathematician; Executive Director, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford; Author, The Millennium Problems

    The Real Purity of Pure Science
    By Piet Hut
    Publication Date: January 02, 2007
    Quick Summary: January 2007


    Every year, Edge The World Question Center asks leading scientists "What are you optimistic about?" Here's one answer.

    Piet Hut: Professor of Astrophysics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

    Why Teacher Unions Are Good for Teachers and the Public
    They Protect Teachers' Rights, Support Teacher Professionalism, and Check Administrative Power
    By Diane Ravitch
    Publication Date: December 22, 2006
    Quick Summary: Kudos.

    This is from American Educator, Winter 2006

    Swingin' in the Rain
    By Judith, Parent
    Publication Date: December 20, 2006
    Quick Summary: Here's a thought: If children had time to swing, might some of the ADD, anxiety disorders, depression, insomnia, and oppositional behavior disappear?

    Snapshots from School
    By Cynthia Peters
    Publication Date: December 13, 2006
    Quick Summary:
    ZNet Commentary

    A searing look at today's high school. As Peters observes, the really terrible thing about all this is that the children are trained to think that there is no other way it could be.

    December 12, 2006

    Largest Science Teachers Organization Rejects Gore Video ... Why?
    By John F. Borowski
    Publication Date: November 28, 2006
    Quick Summary: This is from t r u t h o u t, November 28, 2006


    We need someone to expose the corporate connections of our other professional organizations. Then we'd begin to see why they don't make a full frontal assault on NCLB.

    Teachers: The Ruby Slippers
    By Peter Henry
    Publication Date: November 25, 2006
    Quick Summary: from the Minnesota English Journal
    Fall 2006

    Peter Henry asks What makes a teacher effective as a professional?

    Interrogating Kids About Literature: HELP!
    By Jeff Westergaard
    Publication Date: November 22, 2006
    Quick Summary: Jeff is asking for help from other teachers. Please respond to him.


    Assignment: Persuasive Speech
    By Hallie Garrison, high school student
    Publication Date: November 15, 2006
    Quick Summary: Given a suggested list of topics for a required speech, Hallie decided to chose her own, writing about high-stakes testing. She provides a provocative student-eye view of the system. This high schooler observes, "Our classes are like bombs, and in each one, if the teacher doesn?t figure out the code in time, well, you know what happens."

    Edward in Deep Water (Edward-the-Unready): Book Review
    By various reviewers, including Sarah Puglisi
    Publication Date: November 09, 2006
    Quick Summary: Here we get contrasting views of what types of books we should bring to young children. A librarian argues for always presenting The Little Engine that Could cheering section. Sarah, deeply involved with children who are struggling and one who isn't, celebrates a book that gently acknowledges that sometimes we aren't quite ready for the task at hand.

    Grand Visions and Possible Lives
    By Mike Rose
    Publication Date: November 07, 2006
    Quick Summary:
    First published in Education Week, 10/11/06.
    Mike Rose is so right: In all the blather, good and bad, written about schools, few document "the common, everyday detail of classrooms, the words and gestures of a good teacher." A decade ago, I took a similar journey, visiting classrooms in 27 states and witnessing that everyday detail. And feeling proud to call myself teacher.

    The Critical Distinction Between Science and Religion
    By Richard P. Sloan
    Publication Date: November 02, 2006
    Quick Summary: This article makes interesting points about attempts to quantify human experience. What happens, for example when you try to measure a sunbeam with a ruler, reducing it to what which can be quantified? What happens when you try to measure a child's reading experience with DIBELS?

    America 101
    By Bill Moyers
    Publication Date: November 01, 2006
    Quick Summary: October 27, 2006

    Bill Moyers is president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy and a veteran journalist. He delivered these remarks in San Diego on October 27 to the Council of Great City Schools , an organization of the nation?s largest urban public school systems.

    He observes that teachers now are expected to staff the permanent emergency rooms of our country?s dysfunctional social order. They are expected to compensate for what families, communities, and culture fail to do.

    Joel Klein's Iron Curtain
    By Norman Scott
    Publication Date: October 27, 2006
    Quick Summary: Here is a powerful description of what happens when school policy becomes monlithic. Norm is talking about New York City, but what he describes will resonante with hundreds of thousands of teachers. Teaching has become a career in which the usurpation of any vestige of autonomy can make a grown man who knows how to teach cry. The parallels with Soviet domination of Eastern Europe are striking.

    When will teachers have a revolution?

    A shorter version of this column appeared in The Wave on October 20, 2006.

    The full version is available on Norm's blog .

    Please stop by and leave a comment.

    A Plea to All Journalists
    By Doug McGill
    Publication Date: October 26, 2006
    Quick Summary: This essay comes from: Local Man (a blog) by Doug McGill .

    The Opposite of Wonderland
    By Anne E. Levin Garrison
    Publication Date: October 26, 2006
    Quick Summary: ...as the speech ends and the words echoed: ?Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we?re free at last?? my daughter says she felt her heart pounding, racing!

    Classroom Assessment: A Brave New World
    By Dr. Douglas D. Christensen, Nebraska Commissioner of Education
    Publication Date: October 24, 2006
    Quick Summary: NOTE: This presentation was the Opening Keynote at the 2006 Leadership for Classroom Assessment Conference

    Ohanian Comment: Although I disagree with the Standardisto assertion that teachers must always start with the ends, there is plenty here I do agree with. As Christensen observes, Regardless of NCLB as law, Washington does not know best. Lincoln does not know best. We are a lot closer to the action than the folks in Washington, DC.

    We need to find ways to break down this hierarchical system because it is not going to get us where we want to go. We need a system where although there are different jobs to be done, the players come together collegially and as equals. Everyone comes to the table with something to contribute.

    Improving College Aid
    ...and another perspective
    By Washington Post Editorial/ with Comments from Annie
    Publication Date: October 19, 2006
    Quick Summary: Maybe there are Post readers willing to buy this load but it smells like rotten fish to me.

    Notes From Sarah: Just Thinking at the End of a Long Day
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 08, 2006
    Quick Summary: Sarah's notes touch so many chords in my own teaching memories. As we saw with our last visit to Sarah's classroom, she has a big, generous heart. And here she gives us a glimpse of one of the greatest pedagogical principles: What is given is returned.

    Shop Class as Soulcraft
    By Matthew B. Crawford
    Publication Date: October 05, 2006
    Quick Summary: Yes, the Wall Street Journal has pointed out the monetary benefits that accrue to those equipped for skilled manual work, but Matthew Crawford makes a strong case for the psychic benefits.

    This essay is from The New Atlantis, a Journal of Technology and Society, Number 13, Summer 2006, pp. 7-24.

    Another essay by Crawford, Science Education and Liberal Education, asks educators to consider why students should study science and takes a best-selling high school physics textbook to task for its pathetic answers.

    Beyond No Child Left Behind
    By Thomas Sobol
    Publication Date: September 26, 2006
    Quick Summary: from The Forum for Education and Democracy, Sept. 26, 2006

    A loosely organized cadre of currently serving and recently retired school superintendents, called ?Public Schools for Tomorrow,? have been discussing issues beyond NCLB throughout the past year. Believing that superintendents with a life-long commitment to educating all children can bring a unique perspective to the dialogue, here are six of the issues they have identified.

    Therapy That Keeps On the Sunny Side of Life: Rising Number of Therapists Focus on the Positive
    By Elizabeth Bernstein
    Publication Date: September 26, 2006
    Quick Summary: from Wall Street Journal, Sept. 26, 2006

    A small but increasing number of therapists are employing an emerging discipline known as "positive psychology." The treatment focuses primarily on the affirmative aspects of a patient's life with the goal of helping them feel more optimistic and fulfilled. What if we had a department in government that trained teachers to accentuate the positive?

    By Jim Holt
    Publication Date: September 26, 2006
    Quick Summary: In string theory, beauty is truth, truth beauty. Is that really all we need to know?

    For more than a generation, physicists have been chasing a will-o?-the-wisp called string theory. The beginning of this chase marked the end of what had been three-quarters of a century of progress. Dozens of string-theory conferences have been held, hundreds of new Ph.D.s have been minted, and thousands of papers have been written. Yet, for all this activity, not a single new testable prediction has been made, not a single theoretical puzzle has been solved. In fact, there is no theory so far?just a set of hunches and calculations suggesting that a theory might exist. And, even if it does, this theory will come in such a bewildering number of versions that it will be of no practical use: a Theory of Nothing. Yet the physics establishment promotes string theory with irrational fervor, ruthlessly weeding dissenting physicists from the profession. Meanwhile, physics is stuck in a paradigm doomed to barrenness.

    Now read this passage again, substituting "Reading First panel of experts" and "scientific reading" for "physicists" and "string theory."

    from The New Yorker Oct. 2, 2006

    12 Traps That Keep Progressives From Winning
    By George Lakoff
    Publication Date: September 26, 2006
    Quick Summary: Progressives need to start talking about values and avoid the common pitfalls that cause us to lose voters' hearts and minds.

    from AlterNet, Sept. 26, 2006

    A Good Day
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 25, 2006
    Quick Summary:
    When one runs a website that purports to be people-centered, then people write, asking for some attention to be centered on them. And there is an obligation to respond. I have changed all the names in this account, not even letting you know in which state this 18-year-old lives.

    The Ballad of Big Mike
    By Michael Lewis
    Publication Date: September 21, 2006
    Quick Summary: It is very hard to know how to characterize this story. I'll just say that Michael Lewis knows how to tell a story. And this one will leave you breathless.

    from New York Times Magazine Sept. 24, 2006

    Too Serious
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 21, 2006
    Quick Summary: Book Review: Serious Farm by Tim Egan
    Houghton Mifflin
    pb 2006

    Education: Class Dismissed
    By Hara Estroff Marano
    Publication Date: September 21, 2006
    Quick Summary: This article appeared in Psychology Today May/June 2006. Compare this view with the Sandy Kress observation when speaking at the EduState Summit in 2004: "...for those of you who are intimidated or threated by No Child Left Behind, the world is actually going to become worse as we go along. I mean to say, 'more demanding.' And it will look back at No Child Left Behind as kind of just an initial foot in the water, if you will, to the world we're about to enter."

    Sandy Kress is Presidential advisor and chief architect of No Child Left Behind.

    Hara Estroff Marsano is the author of Why Doesn't Anybody Like Me?": A Guide to Raising Socially Confident Kids.

    Who would you rather sit next to at dinner if you wanted some advice on your children's happiness?

    Fascism Anyone?
    The 14 characteristics of Fascism
    By Dr. Lawrence Britt
    Publication Date: September 07, 2006
    Quick Summary: Slightly off topic, but is it really?

    Learning How to Break Rules
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 06, 2006
    Quick Summary: Here's a review of a book that should be read aloud at every faculty meeting in the land. And at school board meetings. And in Congress.

    Running Fast
    By Sarah Puglisi
    Publication Date: September 02, 2006
    Quick Summary: This beginning-of-a-new-school-year account by a first grade teacher is at once harrowing and magnificent. Mostly it's wonderful to know there are still TEACHERS out there doing what teachers do best, ignoring the scripts, responding masterfully to the needs of the moment, and caring deeply for children.

    Yes, Sarah is Sylvia's mother. What a combination!

    A Wordinista Strikes Back
    By Sylvia Puglisi
    Publication Date: August 31, 2006
    Quick Summary: After reading an article in the Los Angeles Times describing a recent Donald Rumsefeld observation about Fascists, this high schooler realized he described her (those with opposition belief around this war).

    Reclaiming The Issues: Islamic Or Republican Fascism?
    By Thom Hartmann
    Publication Date: August 29, 2006
    Quick Summary: You may not want to read this. You may think, as I did for many years as a classroom teacher, that you aren't political, that you only want to be with children and help them do their best. You must read this to understand what forces are preventing you from doing this.

    Buy Thom Hartmann's books. Donate to Common Dreams.

    Saturday, an Excerpt
    By Ian McEwan
    Publication Date: August 26, 2006
    Quick Summary: I listen to books while making my daily trek to the post office two miles away. Often they are good enough that I end up buying the book so I can mull over passages. This is what happened to Ian McEwan's Saturday, described as a cerebral novel about an ominous day seen through the eyes of Henry Perowne, a reflective neurosurgeon. I don't know about cerebral or ominous. I say it's a very good listen and a very good read. As McEwan remarks, ?When anything can happen, everything matters.? Lines like that resonate with me. That's what's important about the classroom: everything matters.

    This is not a book about education except in the grand sense that life's fragility is about education. In the passage below, the hero is thinking about how very different his two chldren are. It got to me thinking about the craziness of schools insisting that One Size Must Fit All. Or else.

    By Sylvia Puglisi
    Publication Date: August 24, 2006
    Quick Summary: Sylvia is a high school student, starting her senior year next week.

    And speaking of firewalling, I've just learned that kingpins in the Aldine ISD in Houston have officially denied teachers access to my website. Now what are they afraid of?

    And just what on earth are the California folk thinking of--to deny high schoolers access to all the sites Sylvia describes (so wonderfully) in this essay? As Sylvia asks, Why on earth do schools have computers at all if they're going to so severely limit their use?

    Does Sylvia sound like she needs protection from information on the Web? I don't think so. Her savvy and her indignation, expressed with such humor and such style, is great to behold.

    My Ideal School Wouldn't Be A School
    Teachers College Record, Sept 1970
    By Patty Wirth
    Publication Date: October 23, 2010
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: I am working on a paper about what students of all ages like and don't like about school. I want to know about what kind of school they'd design. Patty Wirth's 26-year-old essay seems like a good place to start.

    Patty Wirth was 13 years old when she wrote this essay. She resents being more and more controlled. Ohmygod, think about our government-directed schools these days.

    I don't want to be controlled. I can
    feel myself being squashed. Very few
    of my teachers ever seem to say
    anything spontaneously. The ground
    we will cover has already been
    mapped out.

    Now things are mapped out by committees appointed by the White House.

    Where is Patty now? Impossible to say. Doing a Google search on Patty Wirth produces some possibilities (though we must remember that her name may no longer be Wirth:

  • The Rocking Z Ranch, surrounded by the splendour of the Rocky Mountains, and Patty Worth invites guest to enjoy the stunning scenery while learning new riding skills and enjoying the relaxed Montana way of life.

  • Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove, Illinois): Birth Care Staffing Specialists, Inc. Nursing Scholarship
    This new scholarship was established by owner Patty Wirth, who is a labor and delivery room nurse with more than 25 years of experience. It is awarded to a returning student who has completed the first year of WCC?s nursing program and is 30 years of age or younger.

  • Wirth, Patricia: Greenhouse/Gardener, Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Individual contributors: Chip and Patty Wirth: MAISON FORTUN? ORPHANAGE, HINCHE, HAITI

  • Patty Wirth, Director, Branch Staff Training and Development, Edward Jones: Making Sense of Investing

  • Patty Wirth of St. Louis, instructor of Performance Based Training, Standards Of Practice Manual For Community Health Workers And Community Health Occupations

  • Patty Wirth, Owner, The Funnel House, Long Beach, CA: Offering homemade cookies, funnel cakes, lemonade and coffee. Come create your own ice cream sandwich or funnel cake sundae!

  • Patty Wirth: The Benton Park Association (St. Louis) successfully executed its Project Blitz with the complete clean-up of trash and debris and the planting of 20 saplings.

  • Patty Wirth: Kitchen, Slinger Elementary School Staff (Wisconsin)

  • Patty Wirth: Florida real estate

  • This is undoubtedly a foolish endeavor, but maybe it's useful for us to examine our values, our prejudices, and our hopes about what education can and should do as we consider what Patty might be doing today.

    Attitudes can help clean school restrooms
    August 2006
    By Tom Keating and Jim Fazzone
    Publication Date: August 18, 2006
    Quick Summary: You can tell a lot about a school's attention to students by checking out the restrooms, and Tom Keating has a plan for changing attitudes and behaviors. Senior Editor Jim Fazzone introduces Tom's article.

    Robert Tomsho described Keating's work a few years ago in The Wall Street Journal.

    You will find several articles about Keating's work on this website, because I think the work is important.

    Rotten Ralph Lives
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 14, 2006
    Quick Summary: Rotten Ralph turns 30. Maybe there is hope for the world.

    Janice's Lesson
    By Steve Orel, The World of Opportunity
    Publication Date: August 03, 2006
    Quick Summary: Steve's wife Glenda Jo says: Steve wanted to share with you a story he wrote based upon a conversation he had one of his students, he refers to as Janice for the story. It is entitled, "Janice's Lesson." I really encourage all of you to read this story and would welcome any comments for discussion for Steve to read. I met "Janice" today at the WOO and she said the story was "right on target" and she would keep it for the rest of her life.

    Glenda Jo and their son Justin welcome words of encouragement. Hit the "Write to Susan" button on the left side of the screen and they will get your comments.

    Educating to Narrow the Engineer Gap: Where rules are broken in the pursuit of learning
    By Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
    Publication Date: August 02, 2006
    Quick Summary: August 2, 2006
    San Francisco Chronicle

    Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot articulates what the Standardistos deny, that children learn by messing around and making discoveries. They learn it in language, in math, and in science. When you try to shortcut this reality with scripts, you damage children. Learning is about breaking rules, not memorizing them.

    Educating to Narrow the Engineer Gap
    By Dennis M. Bartels
    Publication Date: August 02, 2006
    Quick Summary: August 2, 2006

    San Francisco Chronicle

    Here's a thoughtful and smart approach to helping students and their teachers develop technical competence. Even if he does resort to terms like the global playing field.

    The News Release I Couldn?t Find
    By Anne E. Levin Garrison
    Publication Date: July 28, 2006
    Quick Summary: Imagine this?

    What Oskar Hadn't heard of
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 20, 2006
    Quick Summary: Jonathan Safran's novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close raises an interesting thought exercise and an important pedagogical question.

    Higher test scores come at a high price to education
    By John Monahan
    Publication Date: July 14, 2006
    Quick Summary: This is an honest, informed, and important essay from a teacher who is brave enough, and who cares enough, to speak out about what is happening.

    I hope his voice encourages many more to come forward.

    This is powerful courage and conviction.


    Instructions for Use
    By anonymous
    Publication Date: July 10, 2006
    Quick Summary: Source unknown but let it be an inspiration to a compilation of schoolhouse directions.

    In a Professional Learning Community, Don't Touch the Children
    By Jo Scott-Coe
    Publication Date: July 10, 2006
    Quick Summary: NOTE: After teaching English for eleven years at her former suburban public high school, Jo Scott-Coe works now in voluntary exile, attempting a practice of recovery and creative witness--through writing, mentoring and art. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in publications such as ONTHEBUS, The Chariton Review, Nerve Cowboy, Pearl, Chiron Review, Rattle, Spillway, KB Journal and The Los Angeles Times. A freelance writer and independent scholar-researcher, Scott-Coe works as lecturer in Creative Writing and Composition at UC Riverside and Riverside Community College, respectively. She also teaches workshops from home. Her memoir in essays, Teaching at Point Blank, is currently in search of a publisher.

    On Jonathan Kozol's Manifesto
    By Rich Gibson
    Publication Date: July 08, 2006
    Quick Summary: This is not easy reading. It is a tough message. It is also essential. These are tough times, and it is long past time for us to take on deeper issues.

    Read this.

    Then read it again.

    The piece has provoked a lot of comments, mostly positive. Here is one:

    Harold Berlak Comments:

    The jury is out You've got to be more than a little bit wary of a movement that is built around a cultural icon largely composed of (genuinely) liberal or progressive (mostly white) democrats who like Kozol support desegregation, civil rights and liberties. but do not make connections between what going on in schools (and universities) to the obscene concentration of wealth and power in the US, and increasing domination of the political process and social policy generally by corporate capital.

    Enter coalition with eyes wide open. For all who are concerned about testing abuse on children and teachers, and returning some sanity to nationlal and state educational policies. we must put aside important differences if we want to curb the worst abuses in NCLB (and state assessment policies). For example. The feds are in the process of attacking the Nebraska model --which has its problems but relatively speaking is a breath of fresh air. Supporting federal legislation that would affirm Nebraska (and other states) departure from the NCLB straightjacket is a battle that probably could be won. (CDE and CA State Board could no longer hold to excuse that they are only following federal mandates)

    Have we forgotten civic education?
    Two centuries after Jefferson, social studies are lacking at public schools.
    By Marshall Croddy
    Publication Date: July 06, 2006
    Quick Summary: Each new generation must be enlightened by the principles of liberty and prepared to fight for the rights that had been won.

    And Are They Happy?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 07, 2006
    Quick Summary: This reflection was provoked by a short item in The Chronicle of Higher Education (June 30, 2006), in which David Glenn notes that Economists at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor have created what might become the first large-scale, long-term index of American happiness.

    Representing the Proposition that "Poverty Is Not an Excuse"
    By Steve Orel, The World of Opportunity
    Publication Date: June 24, 2006
    Quick Summary: Those who blithely intone "No excuses" never come up against the grinding poverty that so many students face every day. Thank you to Steve Orel for providing us a reminder of reality.

    The Not Welcome Mat On Our School Doorstep
    By Anne E. Levin Garrison
    Publication Date: June 22, 2006
    Quick Summary: I have to step outside of my usual line of comments occasionally and write from the mind of my very own spirit.

    Walt Disney Stalks Your Child:
    By Mark Morford
    Publication Date: June 16, 2006
    Quick Summary: Mark Morford is a screechingly funny San Francisco Chronicle online columnist whose humor always makes a deeper point: technology has stomped on in and has taken childhood by the throat and is right now handing a cell phone to every child over 5 years old, telling them it's absolutely mandatory that they be able to call Mom or Dad or the police at a moment's notice...

    June 16, 2006

    Executive Pay in the U.S. : CEOs still take the money and run
    By Jack Rasmus
    Publication Date: June 15, 2006
    Quick Summary: We all need to understand economic realities, and this article helps. For starters, focusing on CEO salaries, outlandish as they are, misses the real point.

    Want to learn? Get outside of your comfort zone
    By Jerry McGovern
    Publication Date: June 12, 2006
    Quick Summary: This is worth reading for what Sam had for breakfast (and who gave it to him), and there's more. When you think about it, too many people making the rules in education and determined that nobody move outside the official comfort zones.

    Stephen Colbert's Address to the Graduates
    By Stephen Colbert
    Publication Date: June 10, 2006
    Quick Summary: The following is the full transcript of Stephen Colbert's June 3, 2006, Commencement Address at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

    from Alter Net.

    Return of a Golden Oldie: Bedfellows Issue Yet Another Manifesto
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 08, 2006
    Quick Summary: After advising a reporter to put "Eli Broad" into a search on my site, I did the same thing. And I decided to reprise this article, from May 22, 2003. It got not a whit of reaction then. I hope people will read it now. The contest is still open.

    Voices of Dissent 4: Interview With Gloria Pipkin
    By Gloria Pipkin, interviewed by Peter Campbell
    Publication Date: June 07, 2006
    Quick Summary: To hear this interview, go to

    Book Review: Reading Fads: Why Tom Friedman Does Not Compute
    By Gary Stager
    Publication Date: June 01, 2006
    Quick Summary: Amen. I want to vomit every time I hear Tom Friedman pontificate smugly on education--or on the global economy.

    Why Supe Selection Is Like Judging a Dog Show
    By Bob Sipchen
    Publication Date: May 29, 2006
    Quick Summary: The columnist concludes that the Los Angeles district "at this moment is a bigger beast than the toughest education careerist from, say, Boston or Philly, could tackle with success." But that doesn't mean he advocates asking Eli Broad for advice.

    Agitation: The Essence of Democracy
    By Jim Hightower
    Publication Date: May 22, 2006
    Quick Summary: You can hear Jim deliver this speech by buying a disc, cassette, or download from Alternative Radio, an outfit that definitely deserves to be supported.

    Read this/listen to this and ask yourself, "Why/how have we become so inert?"

    Why Can?t Schools Be Like Businesses?
    By Larry Cuban
    Publication Date: May 16, 2006
    Quick Summary: from The School Administrator, AASA
    February 2006

    Larry Cuban observes that the strong belief that schools and businesses are alike has remained fixed in the minds of most corporate and civic leaders, parents and educators. And both institutions are seriously entangled with one another. And he explores the important differences. For starters, deceit and fraud are easier to cover up in the private sector.

    Scholarship Package Is $7,000 a Year And Subsidized Kilts
    By Paul Glader
    Publication Date: May 11, 2006
    Quick Summary: With all the blarney about getting an education for a job for the Global Economy, I love the very idea of a major in bagpipes. In the program's 16-year history, only six students have pursued the major. Three didn't complete the program.

    from The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2006

    A Young Work in Progress Shattered on a Road in Iraq
    By Samuel G. Freedman
    Publication Date: May 10, 2006
    Quick Summary: This is hard to read, and I thank Samuel G. Freedman for writing it. It would seem to trivialize it to put it in "Outrage of the Day." The outrage and the grief is far greater.

    from The New York Times, May 10, 2006

    An Open Letter to the Class of 2006
    By Coach Moore
    Publication Date: May 08, 2006
    Quick Summary: A Florida educator reflects on the mean streets his students live in and challenges them to defy the expectations many people have of them.

    "What kind of person enrolls a 2 yr old in a music class?" A Parent Responds
    By Donna Metler
    Publication Date: May 04, 2006
    Quick Summary: In response to the question posed in an article about classes for very young children, a parent points out some of the benefits.

    The Management Myth
    By Matthew Stewart
    Publication Date: June 06, 2006
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: This is an elegant, laugh-out-loud essay. Think DIBELS while you're reading about loading-pig-iron-onto-railway-cars theory. Here's Frederick Winslow Taylor's scientific method in a nutshell: Think harder! Work smarter! Buy a stopwatch!

    Could DIBELS exist without a stopwatch?

    The author observes, Taylorism, like much of management theory to come, is at its core a collection of quasi-religious dicta on the virtue of being good at what you do, ensconced in a protective bubble of parables (otherwise known as case studies).

    Reading First, anyone?

    Taylor, if mentioned at all these days is just seen as a weird man with a stopwatch. How many kindergartners will have their academic careers held hostage by a stopwatch before people acknowledge how weird and damaging DIBELS is?

    From The Atlantic Monthly, June 2006

    The URL for this page is http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200606/stewart-business

    Tales from the Competitive Marketplace Once Called Schools
    By Anne E. Levin Garrison
    Publication Date: April 27, 2006
    Quick Summary: The competitive frenzy begins in a child's most tender years.

    Beyond Newark's School Yard
    By Jean Anyon and Alan Sadovnik
    Publication Date: April 23, 2006
    Quick Summary: from The New York Times. April 23, 2006.

    How refreshing to see the Times op-ed feature the notion that improving family wages increases student test scores. Quite a contrast to their ugly and ill-informed editorials.

    What Scientist Shortage?
    By Daniel S. Greenberg
    Publication Date: April 20, 2006
    Quick Summary: Obscured by the alarmist rhetoric are the repeated false alarms, erroneous forecasts and gluts of unemployed scientists -- rather than shortages -- that have been the reality in the scientific marketplace for decades.

    Horrible Exams
    Homework assignment, English 9
    By Hallie Grace Garrison
    Publication Date: April 20, 2006
    Quick Summary: One child's response to her homework assignment.

    New Education Jobs for the Global Economy
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 19, 2006
    Quick Summary: This first appeared in Substance, April 2006 Subscribe! Send $16 to Substance 5132 W. Berteau Chicago, IL 60641

    Schools aren't factories
    Micromanaging teachers, fixating on test results won't equal success.
    By Randi Weingarten
    Publication Date: April 13, 2006
    Quick Summary: Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers writes:"The mayor and chancellor must abandon their one-size-fits-all, top-down management style that treats teachers like assembly-line workers and children like widgets."

    Peter Campbell reviews "Oprah's Special Report: American Schools in Crisis" (Part 1):
    By Peter Campbell
    Publication Date: April 13, 2006
    Quick Summary: The most telling aspect of the show was Oprah's repeated emphasis on
    raising expectations for poor children.

    Spellings Declares, "We've Waited Long Enough"
    By Jim Horn
    Publication Date: April 12, 2006
    Quick Summary: During a rare break between CBN fund-raising segments, Sec. Spellings took a few moments out of her busy schedule of threats, castigation, and ultimatums to sit down and chat with Mrs. Charbonneau--and to throw this big chunk of red meat to the basest of the base.

    Apologies to Sandra Cisneros
    How ETS' computer-based writing assessment misses the mark
    By Maja Wilson
    Publication Date: April 07, 2006
    Quick Summary: This article is from Rethinking Schools, Spring 2006. The original essay in Rethinking Schools includes Sandra Cisneros's (unadulterated) narrative "My Name."

    Rethinking Schools has a long tradition of supporting teachers as professionals. Subscribe!
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    My Billy
    By Paul Rudnick
    Publication Date: March 29, 2006
    Quick Summary: This appears in the April 3, 2006 issue of The New Yorker.

    A Poverty of the Mind
    By Orlando Patterson
    Publication Date: March 26, 2006
    Quick Summary: A deep-seated dogma that has prevailed in social science and policy circles since the mid-1960's: the rejection of any explanation that invokes a group's cultural attributes ? its distinctive attitudes, values and predispositions, and the resulting behavior of its members ? and the relentless preference for relying on structural factors like low incomes, joblessness, poor schools and bad housing.

    Mediocrity: Deplorable, Yes. Until We Consider the Alternative
    By Rona Wilensky
    Publication Date: March 22, 2006
    Quick Summary: Siu-Runyan's Comments: Wilensky, principal of New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado questions standards and the relentless testing that does nothing to improve learning. This thoughtful piece discusses the correlation between privilege and achievement. New Vista High School is one place where students are engaged in what they learn. I know, I have a close relationship with a student who is a student at this high school and will graduate this Spring.

    All Hail the SAT Snafu!
    By Dalton Conley
    Publication Date: March 22, 2006
    Quick Summary: The writer, who is Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at New York University and Director of NYU's Center for Advanced Social Science Research, says the latest scoring screw-up offers a golden opportunity to find out just how predictive -- or biased -- the controversial test really is.

    In Defense Of Big Schools
    By Samuel Freedman, Jessica Siegel, and the Gotham Gazette
    Publication Date: March 16, 2006
    Quick Summary: from Gotham Gazette,

    Here's a fine, thoughtful discussion about education policy and practice in New York City.

    The Cab Ride I'll Never Forget
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 09, 2006
    Quick Summary: Of course this story will pull at your heartstrings. I hope it also resonates with the plight of young people. They get only one time for their childhood, and they, too, deserve to be treated with dignity. As this cab driver tries to treat old people the way he'd want his mother treated, we must do the same for children, not standing silent in the face of outrages we would not allow be done to our own children.

    Two Views on What We Should Say About Testing
    By Monty Neill and George Schmidt
    Publication Date: March 06, 2006
    Quick Summary: George Schmidt's critical analysis of the FairTest position as stated in Monty Neill's letter is essential to our struggles. He is not attacking FairTest but pushing them to deepen the argument. His analysis challenges all of us to think carefully about these issues.

    Principles of School Reform
    By Dave Stratman, New Democracy
    Publication Date: March 06, 2006
    Quick Summary: This document was prepared for the Minnesota Education Association, March 1986.

    Dave Stratman recognized the threat of the Business Roundtable long before most of us even knew the organization existed.

    Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 07, 2006
    Quick Summary: Yes, this book was written for children, but as with any good book, it's for adults too.

    Recapturing the Kindergarten for 5-Year-Olds
    By Harriet A. Egertson
    Publication Date: March 01, 2006
    Quick Summary: This piece was published in Education Week, May 20, 1987. Look at how current the concerns are. This piece speaks to issues that we should all care about right now. Young children need our protection.
    Those advocating developmentally appropriate kindergartens are not suggesting settings that do not challenge the precocious. In fact, a learning environment organized around concrete, open-ended materials has a far better chance of stimulating the "ready" than does the paper wasteland of many kindergartens.

    Kindergarten teachers should nail this essay on their classroom doors.

    Thank you, Harriest A. Egertson.

    Privatization or social control?
    By Dave Stratman, New Democracy
    Publication Date: February 23, 2006
    Quick Summary: Comment from Annie: In this essay, the system of public education was ?designed to legitimize and reinforce the inequalities of capitalist society? and suffers as ?as US society becomes more dramatically unequal and less democratic.?

    What Does "Privatization of Public Schools" Mean?
    By Craig Gordon
    Publication Date: February 23, 2006
    Quick Summary: Comment from Annie: The issue of whether the corporate agenda is really about privatization is discussed on the ARN list serve. In this essay, in a ?Results Based? system, the public school is supported by private money. Public schools following a ?business model,? have ?corporate executives? who ?hold the district accountable to fulfill the plan? and function to ?attain goals set by these private funders.??So the schools remain ?public,? or do they?

    Letter (unpublished) to the San Diego Union Tribune
    By Anne E. Levin Garrison
    Publication Date: February 23, 2006
    Quick Summary: There is nothing more powerful than an informed parent. Our community of education professionals continues to miss the benefits available from seeking partnership with parents like Anne E. Levin Garrison.

    Beyond Statehood: The Vermont Sovereignty Declaration
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 23, 2006
    Quick Summary: I am a member of the Second Vermont Republic. I believe that the Green Mountain Manifesto might provide a starting place for thinking about how we are going to take back our public schools.

    I am currently working on a document to add a Vermont-specific education component to the manifesto below. Though Vermont-specific it will be applicable to any state that accepts Reading First funds.

    The Impact of High Stakes Testing
    By Kathy Emery
    Publication Date: February 20, 2006
    Quick Summary: Kathy Emery is my co-author on Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools? She explains why critics of high stakes testing are so easily painted into a corner.

    Book Review: A Different View of Urban Schools: Civil Rights, Critical Race Theory, and Unexplored Realities
    By Henry Hitz
    Publication Date: February 20, 2006
    Quick Summary: Henry Hitz is the Coordinator of Oakland Parents Together, a grassroots organization of public school parents.

    When a Teacher Speaks Out
    By Anne E. Levin Garrison
    Publication Date: February 04, 2006
    Quick Summary: A concerned and savvy parent worries about that there is absolutely no room for the teacher's perspective or opinion in matters of curriculum and other school policy. And worse, teachers are being asked to sacrifice their own ethics in front of students whose respect they also sacrifice.

    The Party of Davos
    The Party of Davos
    By Jeff Faux
    Publication Date: February 01, 2006
    Quick Summary: Although this important article isn't directly about education, it certainly explains a lot about what's happening in public schools. We touched on the horrors of APEC in Why Is Corporate America Bashingt Our Public Schools but did not tie it to NAFTA. We ran out of room.

    This NAFTA explanation is something people can understand, even though it means progressive educators will have to stop wasting their time trying to prove Harold McGraw is a crook. He doesn't need to be. His company will do just fine even when a family friend isn't in the White House. The crooks, as Greg Toppo, revealed are the petty functionaries.

    So are we going to wait for a "traitor to his class," a "good Democrat" to appear? Or are we going to organize for grass roots revolution?

    Fixing School Isn't Everything
    By David Berliner
    Publication Date: January 19, 2013
    Quick Summary: This condensed version of Berliner's influential article in the August 2005 Teachers College Record appeared in NEA Today, February 2006. Berliner sends a message that needs to be hammered home again and again: Poverty is the 600-pound gorilla in the classroom. And we need to face that gorilla.

    Shall We Dance? (The Privatization of Education)
    By Heather-Jane Robertson
    Publication Date: January 18, 2006
    Quick Summary: If you want to know why our public schools are under attack, then read this article. Heather-jane Robertson is employed by the Canadian Federation of Teachers. Where is the similar in-depth analysis from our own teacher unions?

    Here is more information on APEC.

    And more.

    Books Worth Remembering
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 12, 2005
    Quick Summary: While searching for something else on the Net, I stumbled into this article. Education Week asked me to come up with a list of books every teacher should read. This is it. Nearly ten years later, I stand by the list.

    A sidebar that got dropped was a lot of fun. I wrote my favorite authors, asking them what books they'd like to see teachers read, and so there were mini-lists by Wendell Berry, Edward Abbey, and so on. Jim Herndon was traveling at the time and he'd ask people he encountered--sending me postcards with their recommendations.

    Please be sure to read the footnote. It explains why this is the last commentary I have written for Education Week.

    from Education Week
    September 11, 1996

    National Security Requires Corporate Welfare?
    By Prof. Jim Horn
    Publication Date: November 28, 2005
    Quick Summary: This comes from
    Jim Horn's blog
    Jim explains another of the manufactured crises of our time. Don't miss it.

    Corporate greed advanced by school ratings
    By Don Perl
    Publication Date: November 27, 2005
    Quick Summary: This op-ed appeared in the Greeley Tribune November 27, 2005. As an elementary teacher in Greeley, Don refused to give the state test. Along with a few other resisters he founded the Coalition for Better Education. Membership in this group now nears 400. They are accomplishing great deeds, such as getting test opt out signs placed on bus stop benches. Not the least of their accomplishments is getting pieces like this into local papers.

    Use Don's piece as inspiration and information to go foth and do lockwise. We must get out there and invoke "we the people."

    The List
    By Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: November 24, 2005
    Quick Summary: I've put up Gerald Bracey's list of human qualities we value most and which are very difficult to assess before. It's time for a reminder. Reading this aloud when people talk about education can't happen often enough.

    Warning flags are flying over America?s public schools.
    By Paul A. Moore
    Publication Date: November 22, 2005
    Quick Summary: Since graduating from the University of Florida in 1982 Paul has taught social studies at Carol City High School in Miami. He coached the girls' basketball team at the same school for 17 seasons, retiring from coaching when he was elected to the Executive Board of the United Teachers of Dade (AFL-CIO, AFT-NEA) as one of three Vice Presidents for High Schools. He is an active member of the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform (FCAR).

    Charter School Performance Versus Charter School Accountability
    By Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: November 17, 2005
    Quick Summary: Short and sweet, Bracey provides a definitive message: Charter school performance has in most states not lived up to billing. And he provides fascinating discussion of why achievement is no longer the chief concern.

    Is There Life After Rankings?
    By Colin Diver
    Publication Date: November 05, 2005
    Quick Summary: A report card from one college president, whose school now shuns the U.S. News ranking system?and has not only survived but thrived. Anyone who cares about public schools should take this role model to heart.

    Standardized students: The Problems with Writing for Tests Instead of People
    By Bronwyn T. Williams
    Publication Date: November 02, 2005
    Quick Summary: The author raises interesting questions about training students to game the system, and his remarks about computer-graded tests raise a fascinating/disturbing/important question: Who's the audience? What is the point of writing for a computer? One can easily extend this and ask, What is the point of going to school at all when your teacher has become nothing more than a delivery agent for a standardized curriculum designed to game the system?

    Don't test well in school? Don't I know it!
    By Beverly Beckham
    Publication Date: September 30, 2005
    Quick Summary: This commentary appeared in the MCAS-loving Boston Globe, September 29, 2005. Thank you, Beverly Beckham, for pointing out that One voice, one test, one label can destroy a child.

    Thank you for pointing out that We are measuring the wrong things in our children.

    A sign of our times: Underneath this article online is an ad promising Reading Worksheets Here
    Grade 1-3 reading worksheets guaranteed improved reading skills.

    Top Ten New School Rules
    By Common Good
    Publication Date: September 09, 2005
    Quick Summary:
    You can describe this annotation as How to ruin a joke in 150 words or less. I apologize for over-analyzing humor but this clever, often-funny piece does seem to beg for a few notes. The Common Good, founded by Philip K. Howard, the author of he Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America and several "son of" sequels, speaks against legalistic shenanigans that enrage many of us. Publishers Weekly hit the nail on the head when they called Howard's collection of anecdotes about lawsuits out of control "powerful but myopic."

    Myopic is a good way to describe Common Good's characterizations below. We may chuckle but that chuckle is accompanied by a "Yes, but..." dash of reality. Take a look at this part of the Common Good Mission Statement: Teachers cannot maintain order in their classrooms, or even put an arm around a crying child. It doesn't have to be this way.

    Who are they talking about when they say teachers? Which ones can't keep order? What kind of order are they talking about here?

    Think about the civil rights/social justice/education equity perspectives of members of the Common Good Advisory Board as you chuckle over the absurdities below.

    Common Good Advisory Board

    Hon. Howard H. Baker, Jr., former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to Japan

    Griffin B. Bell, Partner, King & Spalding; former U.S. Attorney General and Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

    Hon. Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator and National Basketball Association player

    William R. Brody, President, Johns Hopkins University

    Christopher DeMuth, President, American Enterprise Institute

    Alain C. Enthoven, Marriner S. Eccles Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus, Stanford University

    Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr., Chairman, The Frist Foundation

    Hon. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

    Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

    Eric Holder, former Deputy U.S. Attorney General

    Frank W. Hunger, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General

    Robert D. Joffe, Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore

    Robert A. Kagan, Professor of Political Science and Law, University of California, Berkeley

    Harry P. Kamen, retired Chairman and CEO, MetLife

    Hon. Tom Kean, Co-Chair, President, Drew University, and former Governor of New Jersey

    Steven Kelman, Albert J. Weatherhead III and Richard W. Weatherhead Professor of Public Management, Harvard University

    Charles Kolb, President, Committee for Economic Development

    Shelly Lazarus, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather, and Chair, Board of Trustees, Smith College

    Robert E. Litan, Co-Director, AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies

    Dr. Paul A. Marks, President Emeritus, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

    Hon. George McGovern, former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization

    Lawrence J. Mone, President, The Manhattan Institute

    Jeffrey O'Connell, Samuel H. McCoy II Professor of Law, University of Virginia

    Margaret O'Kane, President, National Committee for Quality Assurance

    Dr. Herbert Pardes, President and CEO, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

    Hon. Peter G. Peterson, Chairman, The Blackstone Group and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce

    Stephen Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University Law School

    Diane Ravitch, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, and Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

    George Rupp, former President, Columbia University; President and CEO, International Rescue Committee

    John Silber, President Emeritus, Boston University

    Hon. Alan K. Simpson, former U.S. Senator

    Shelby Steele, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

    Hon. Richard Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General and Governor of Pennsylvania

    Deborah Wadsworth, Senior Advisor and Board Member, Public Agenda

    John C. Whitehead, Chairman, Lower Manhattan Development Corp and former Deputy Secretary of State

    Common Good mourns the death of two Advisory Board Members in 2003. Andrew Heiskell, former chairman of Time Inc. and a civic leader, died on July 6 at the age of 87. The Hon. Paul Simon, former U.S. Senator and founder of the Public Policy Institute at the Southern Illinois University, died on December 9 at age 75.


    About the State of the State of Education
    By Michael F. Shaughnessy: An Interview with Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: September 06, 2005
    Quick Summary: This interview appeared on http://www.educationnews.org Sept. 6, 2005, and is used with permission.

    An Interview with Gerald Bracey:
    Monday, September 5, 2005
    Michael F. Shaughnessy
    Eastern New Mexico University
    Portales, New Mexico 88130

    Gerald W. Bracey is an associate professor at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia and an Associate of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, Ypsilanti, Michigan. His most recent book is Setting the Record Straight: Responses to Misconceptions About Public Education in the U. S.: Second Edition (Heinemann, September 2004).

    Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's eduational apartheid
    By Jonathan Kozol
    Publication Date: August 30, 2005
    Quick Summary: This article, appearing in the September 2005 Harper's, was adapted from Jonathan Kozol's new book The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, to be published this month by Crown.

    Harper's Magazine v.311, n.1864 1sep2005

    Is That Penguin Stuffed or Real?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 26, 2005
    Quick Summary: Sugaring and teaching are not projects for the impatient. Even in these days of instant everything, you can't hurry maple syrup -- or third-graders or seventh-graders.

    Some Are More Equal Than Others
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 26, 2005
    Quick Summary: This essay, written nearly a decade ago, seems to speak to our current woes.

    We could revolutionize education if we asked every prospective educator at every level just one simple question: Read any good books lately?

    What are we teaching our kids?
    By Hamilton E. Davis
    Publication Date: August 21, 2005
    Quick Summary: When the Shattuck article first appeared, I introduced it on this site with brief commentary.

    Our Impoverished View of Educational Reform
    By David C. Berliner, College of Education, Arizona State University
    Publication Date: August 20, 2005
    Quick Summary: Below find the opening of David Berliner's Presidential Invited Speech given at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, May 2005. The 63-page essay is published by Teachers College Record .

    Refrains of the School Critics
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 03, 2005
    Quick Summary: Behind the rhetoric lies a contempt for the work of public school educators.

    This article is from the August 2005 School Administrator, published by the American Association of School Administrators.

    Don't Know Much About (Black) History
    By Tim Wise
    Publication Date: July 26, 2005
    Quick Summary: This essay is reprinted, with author's permission, from ZNet.

    July 19, 2005

    Death and Wheatgrass
    By Jon T. Coleman
    Publication Date: July 14, 2005
    Quick Summary: I post this because it stands so squarely against the rules of the five-paragraph theme and because it is lovely.

    Weasel Words
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 01, 2005
    Quick Summary: Whenever you see these words connected to education, read carefully and resist much. You are in the presence of what George Orwell called "a catalogue of swindles and perversions."

    A Father's Influence
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 08, 2007
    Quick Summary: This homage appeared in Substance, June 2005.

    A Better Investment than NCLB
    By Stephen Krashen
    Publication Date: June 19, 2005
    Quick Summary: In the 70ies, I wrote "Smuggling Books into Remedial Reading," an account of making free reading choice the core of a course with 7th and 8th grade so-called reluctant readers. I always figured this article was turned down by all the professional journals because it was, like Krashen's plan, too simple. [It was later a cover story in Learning.]

    Most education experts won't advocate for such a plan because they lack faith in kids and faith in books. All their faith seems to be with McGraw-Hill and others of that ilk.

    I wish these experts could have witnessed what I did last week in a northern California city. Friends of the Library have organized Books in The Plaza, giving kids a book a week throughout the summer. Kids go through hundreds of paperbacks to find the one they want. It was wonderful to see four 10-year-old boys organizing themselves to grab up consecutive volumes in a popular series, figuring since they can swap, they'll get an even better deal. It was wonderful to see toddlers poring over books, learning to make choices. I didn't tell them what will happen in pre-school.

    Did I mention that this event is held outside and it was raining? Nothing can keep kids away from books when they get to choose what they want.

    Missing the Heart-Shaped Piece: How I Failed as a Middle School Latin Teacher
    By Rob Hardy
    Publication Date: June 20, 2005
    Quick Summary: A Northfield, Minnesota teacher offers a lesson about teaching--not 'just' Latin, but everything. This message is so on-target and so well expressed that I have goose bumps. Thank you, Rob Hardy.

    The author offers a list of what Latin teachers should resist. I'd say the list would hold every teacher in good stead: resist standardization, resist incentive plans, resist the temptations of conventional success. Resist the temptation to distribute rewards and make everything fun. Your job should be to create enthusiastic amateurs who are devoted to the uselessness of Latin. When asked to state the reasons for studying Latin, resist the SAT-boosting argument, or the mental gymnastics argument, or any other candy-coated incentive, and offer instead the heart-shaped piece.

    This article was published in Classical Journal and appears with permission.

    The Near Impossibility of Testing for Teacher Quality
    By David Berliner, Regents' Professor, Arizona State University
    Publication Date: May 26, 2005
    Quick Summary: This is from Journal of Teacher Education, May/June 2005


    It is provocative and highly quotable.

    Using Good Stories and Poems as Test Items Destroys Love of Literature
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 20, 2008
    Quick Summary: This article appeared in Substance May 2005 and launches a series on test items. Subscribe and you will get the full series. I ask people to send me names of literary works used on standardized tests. Send full information of author, title, publisher, and name of test.

    Resisting the Specter of Fierce Neatness
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: May 23, 2014
    Quick Summary: I insist that teaching is messy and that teachers must fight to keep it so. I apologize for the formatting. It looks a whole lot better in the journal in which it was published:
    Voices from the Middle, Volume 12 Number 4, May 2005.

    This issue is packed with provocative articles.

    Join NCTE and subscribe.

    It's Time to Start the Slow School Movement
    By Maurice Holt
    Publication Date: April 28, 2005
    Quick Summary: The "slow food" movement began as a protest against the global proliferation of McDonald's restaurants. Mr. Holt calls for a similar backlash against today's "hamburger" approach toward education, which emphasizes uniformity, predictability, and measurability of processes and results.

    We need to follow Mr. Holt's lead. For the sake of the children, we need to slow down the curriculum.

    The Resistance: Casting a Broad Net of Influence
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 10, 2013
    Quick Summary: This appeared in Substance February 2005.


    The Nature and Purpose of Education
    By Maurice Holt
    Publication Date: April 28, 2005
    Quick Summary: This is definitely what we need: Slow schools. The author provides a powerful rationale for what's wrong with Fast Schools and why we must slow down.

    Homeland Security Threat Advisory Teacher Rating System: 1043 U. S. Individual Teacher Return 2005
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 15, 2005
    Quick Summary: Here is your Individual Teacher Return. Fill it out now and file it now. This piece appeared in Substance, April 2005, where Ohanian's byline appears monthly. Subscribe. $16 for ten issues. It's a bargain.

    Jack Welch is My Daddy
    By Mary Hoffman
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: The Former CEO of General Electric Brings His Big Stick to the Principals Academy...and Shows the Newbies How to Use It

    For more low-down on Jack Welch and the Leadership Academy, see

    and Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools by Kathy Emery and Susan Ohanian.

    Education for the Second Vermont Republic?Or the Current One
    By Robert S. Griffin
    Publication Date: April 14, 2005
    Quick Summary: This article was published in Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence, Issue 2 . This is a journal for the independent Vermonter, and we mean this quite literally. Here's our resolution:

    Be it resolved that the state of Vermont peacefully and democratically free itself from the United States of America and return to its natural status as an independent republic as it was between January 15, 1777 and March 4, 1791.

    Schools for Globalized Business: The APEC Agenda for Education
    By Larry Kuehn
    Publication Date: April 11, 2005
    Quick Summary: Ohanian Comment: This article was written in 1997. It informed my thinking in What Happened to Recess and Why Are Our Children STruggling in Kindergarten? and Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools and continues to inform it today. I wonder why teacher unions in the U. S. don't talk about this sort of threat to public education.

    Bill Gates and the Corporatization of American"Public" Schools
    By Philip Kovacs
    Publication Date: April 09, 2005
    Quick Summary:
    When corporate leaders shape government institutions according to their needs, we move away from democracy and toward corporatism, a relative of, and arguably a precursor to, fascism.

    Parents who want their children to grow up to be more than blindly obedient worksheet completers must challenge CEO classroom encroachment. Citizens who value democracy must join them.

    This commentary appeared on CommonDreams.org
    April 6, 2005

    Check out a front page story in Substance, the newspaper of the resistance, April 2005: Billionaire Putocrat, Governors Attack H. S. High Schools.

    An Academic Question
    By Paul Krugman
    Publication Date: April 05, 2005
    Quick Summary: This is a serious essay on a serious topic, and since the issues besetting kindergarten teachers and college professors are more the same than they are different, we should be in this together.

    Saving Public Education ?- Saving Democracy
    By E. Wayne Ross, Kathleen Kesson, David Gabbard, Sandra Mathison, & Kevin D. Vinson
    Publication Date: March 31, 2005
    Quick Summary: The authors make a crucial point, one that receives too little notice: The truth about NCLB goes beyond any ineptitude on the part of its architects. NCLB sets impossible standards for a reason.

    And they explain that reason.

    The Ad
    By Gerald W. Bracey
    Publication Date: March 31, 2005
    Quick Summary: Here is a fascinating account of the flap and the chicanery surrounding the publication of a New York Times article about a report on charter schools.

    B. .F. Skinner, Revisited
    By David P. Barash
    Publication Date: March 28, 2005
    Quick Summary: Rereading B. F. Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity caused this professor of psychology to rethink the comfortable conceptual dichotomy "behaviorism bad; evolutionism good."

    Insults to the Soul
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary:
    It is disheartening to see that things have gotten worse since this was written. And NCTE, my professional organization, didn't learn anything from past Standardisto forays but now is entering the field of writing rules about what should happen in middle schools.

    I got so steamed up writing this essay that I kept going and One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards is the result.

    Why Finland Is Tops in Education
    By Jukka Sarjala, former director-general of the National Board of Education of Finland.
    Publication Date: March 21, 2005
    Quick Summary: Notice the emphasis on pedagogical philosophy and practice. Our policy makers think that the solution is in a box of (scripted) materials.

    Toward a Unified Theory of Black America
    By Stephen J. Dubner
    Publication Date: March 20, 2005
    Quick Summary: This article from The New York Times (March 20, 2005) is fascinating, but I admit I got hung up on why the New York City school chiefs would let a Harvard economist run such a shoddy study on the use of pay-offs to young children.

    Learning from My Students
    By Laurel Santini
    Publication Date: March 14, 2005
    Quick Summary: This teacher did what so many teachers seem incapable of doing: she admitted to her own frailty, ignorance, even failure.

    State of the Beat: How Are the Kids
    By LynNell Hancock, with comment by George Schmidt
    Publication Date: March 15, 2005
    Quick Summary:
    The author, former education editor at Newsweek, is an assistant professor in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She observes that the scandal in Houston shines a Texas-sized spotlight on the new world facing education reporters around the nation, reporters too tied to top-down reporting habits.

    Another View:
    Although the Columbia Journalism Review article on the news coverage of "No Child Left Behind" is generally good (pointing out that covering "education" by covering the annual test score spreadsheets is bad policy and bad journalism), the CJR uncritically praises the Chicago Tribune's coverage, which is the main reason why the "Chicago Miracle" hasn't gotten the same critical coverage as the "Houston Miracle."

    Anyone who reads the CJR article should please write and otherwise contact CJR (and the Columbia University School of Journalism) about the immense damage that has been done to public schools over the past 20 years by the Chicago Tribune and the privatization ideologues who shape the Trib's political and educational coverage.

    Chicago's 10-year attack on teachers and kids since the imposition of the "CEO model" of school governance in 1995 would not have been possible had the Tribune not slanted its coverage, often in an overtly racist way, in favor of private over public and privatization over public service. That coverage continue with those biases to this day. In fact, were it not for the immense influence of the Tribune (and Catalyst) over educational decision makers nationwide, the "CEO Model" which is now attacking democracy and public schools in Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New York (to name just a couple) could not have been sold so easily by the Business Roundtable and its allies across the nation.

    The attack on urban public schools may be orchestrated by the highest levels of corporate boards and executives, but in order for it to have credibility it must receive the consent of at least some decent people. The Tribune's clip files are one of the most dangerous sources of these kinds of footnotes, and the CJR praise of the Tribune will help spread this problem further and further.

    Please tell CJR to take a second and much more critical look at the Chicago Tribune, one of the most important neoliberal centers of the attack on public education and worker unions in the United States.

    George Schmidt
    Editor, Substance
    5132 W. Berteau
    Chicago, IL 60641

    DIBELS and other Standardista Horrors: On Asking Primary Graders If They've Read a Good Book Lately
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 08, 2005
    Quick Summary: Susan writes a monthly column for Substance. Subscribe! Send $16 to:

    5132 W. Berteau Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60641-1440

    Good to Great: A Commitment to Using Time Differently
    By John Hodge Jones, with commentary by Billee Bussard
    Publication Date: March 02, 2005
    Quick Summary: Below is the text of Dr. John Hodge Jones' address to the 36th Annual National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE) Conference in San Diego California on Feb. 5-9, 2005. Dr. Jones is the former chair of the National Education Commission on Time and Learning and is a former school superintendent and member of the school board in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. But first some background is in order. This commentary is by Billee Bussard, indefatigable researcher on issues surrounding year-round schooling.

    The Nutrition Crusade
    By Ann Cameron
    Publication Date: February 27, 2005
    Quick Summary: Here is a fable for our times by a noted children's author.

    The Tale of the Iraqi Librarian Who Saved the Books She Loves
    By Karen Campbell in Christian Science Monitor
    Publication Date: December 09, 2009
    Quick Summary: When you think there's nothing you can do against the crush of corporate-politico-media power, think about the librarian of Basra. Here is evidence of the difference one person can make. The Christin Science Monitor does not allow posting of full articles. For the full article go here. This article appeared on Feb. 22, 2005.

    A Roar From the Tower
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 10, 2011
    Quick Summary: This essay is from Teaching and Learning Literature with Children and Young Adults, May/June 1996. It is distressing to see how timely it still is.

    What Eight Knows
    By Cathy Marciniak
    Publication Date: February 07, 2005
    Quick Summary: Please read this very strong piece about the moral truth of an eight-year-old.

    NOTE: Phyllis Schlafly once told Phil Donahue (in response to his question) that if the Gestapo asked her if she knew where Anne Frank was hiding, she would be morally compelled to tell the truth.

    On Deer Whistles and Direct Instruction
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: This article is from Substance, January 2005.

    Subscribe today! Send $16

    5132 W. Berteau
    Chicago, IL 60641-1440

    The Progressive Lurking in the Bushes
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 14, 2005
    Quick Summary: When it comes to education policy, can you tell a neo-liberal from a neo-con?

    The Loss of Literature
    By Lawrence Harvey
    Publication Date: January 10, 2005
    Quick Summary: This provocative article is from American School Board Journal. It provides much to think about. I would just add to Diane Ravitch's observation about Silas Marner: I also cried over it--but for different reasons. I was required to drag high schoolers through it during my first year of teaching.

    But the larger point is important: too often we ruin noteworthy, classic literature for kids by forcing it on them too early. To name just one, I don't think anyone under 40 should read Moby Dick. I had a great professor in college, who loved this book but that wasn't enough. I hated it. When I was 44, I tried again and discovered that it is a great book.

    Go to the article at the journal and you will find links to related pieces:


    Emotional Intelligence
    By Daniel Goleman, Psychologist
    Publication Date: January 07, 2005
    Quick Summary: Now why don't these 'test results' rate the same headlines as math and reading scores?

    Daniel Goleman is the author of Emotional Intelligence.

    What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?
    By Randolph Nesse, M. D., Psychiatrist, Univ. of Michigan
    Publication Date: January 07, 2005
    Quick Summary:
    Here is The Edge annual question for 2005. This question was posed to scientists, futurists and other creative thinkers (ranging from Harold Gardner to Freeman Dyson) by John Brockman, a literary agent and publisher of Edge, a Web site devoted to science.



    Great minds can sometimes guess the truth before they have either the evidence or arguments for it (Diderot called it having the "esprit de divination"). What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

    I have posted on answer I find particularly relevant to our struggles over pedagogy and the bogus claims of scientific methods promulgated by the Feds and other Standardistas.

    You will find plenty more provocative answers from 120 contributions at The Edge.

    The Rotten Apples in Education Awards of 2004
    By Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: January 06, 2005
    Quick Summary: Jerry Bracey is back with his putrid fruit, one of the few education experts who has the guts to name names.

    My Secret Stash of Books on Tape
    By Thomas H. Benton
    Publication Date: January 03, 2005
    Quick Summary: Somehow it seems sad, even outragaeous, that the author feels it necessary to hide his identity. Audio books are a wonderful resource. I do all my yard work hooked up either to an audio book or a lecture. And often when I take a walk I'm also plugged in.

    This essay appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 3, 2005.

    A Nation of Wimps
    By Hara Estroff Marano
    Publication Date: December 13, 2004
    Quick Summary: Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile.

    The author points to the damaging effects of removing unstructured play from children's lives. And the negative effects of cell phones, which might surprise you.

    Open Court for Twenty-Nine
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 08, 2004
    Quick Summary: You can guess the melody: Clementine.

    Marine Remembered for Dedication to Duty, Commitment
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 29, 2009
    Quick Summary: A community remembers a high school graduate.

    On the Necessity for Subversion
    By Edgar Schuster
    Publication Date: December 02, 2004
    Quick Summary: Note: This essay was published in English Journal, November 2004, Vol 94, No 2
    National Council of Teachers of English.

    The author makes a good case for not succumbing to the tyranny of the topic sentence and other Mythrules of writing propagated by Standardistos.

    Let's make Ed's final thought our rallying cry:
    What is a teacher to do? Subversion or victimhood.

    Down with Dentention!
    By LouAnne Johnson
    Publication Date: December 01, 2004
    Quick Summary:
    Illogical and inhumane are good descriptors of typical school discipline practices. One thing many educators have a tough time coming to grips with is that the kids who behave the worst are the very ones needing our most careful consideration.

    This essay is from Education Week.

    A Math Purchase You Should Care About
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 18, 2004
    Quick Summary: I wish the time and money were available to uncover every article written about education. Here we have a seemingly simple announcement of a district purchasing a math program. A very cursory look at a few details shows that it isn't simple at all. I am not an investigative reporter and I don't pretend to have more than scratched the surface. But I hope that what I did reveal raises questions. For starters, I hope people ask questions about pedagogy, about professionalism, and about profiteering. Those of us who care about education must ask these questions of every item we read.

    Must Schools Fail?
    By Richard Rothstein
    Publication Date: November 11, 2004
    Quick Summary: Book Review in The New York Review of Books, Dec. 2, 2004


    By Sam Smith
    Publication Date: November 11, 2004
    Quick Summary: You can subscribe to Sam Smith's perceptive, inspiring outrageous, funny daily notes on life in our time. Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Smith, who has covered Washington under nine presidents and edited alternative journals since 1964.


    Neocon 'Flex Players' Await Bush's Second Term
    By Janine R. Wedel
    Publication Date: November 10, 2004
    Quick Summary: Although this article is not directly about education, the flex player concept helps us understand what is happening in education. As a Maryland resister observes, "Bringing Chester Finn in to head an education policy panel in our state, and eschewing input from the real stakeholders or even citizens of Maryland, the contracts awarded to the political patronage group headed by the ex-IBM chair, with neocons from both parties as members, means that we are dealing with Flex Players."

    A Brief Framework for Understanding the Anti-Public School Movement
    By Tom Siebold
    Publication Date: May 30, 2005
    Quick Summary: Three cheers for this Minnesota group of teachers. Visit their website.

    This article contains good graphics, which I can't reproduce here. Unfortuntely, the url to access the article at their site no longer works.

    Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools: A Review
    By Sally Banks Zahariya, Editor-in-Chief, American School Board Journal
    Publication Date: November 05, 2004
    Quick Summary: The review adjectives are compelling and shrill.

    Holding Accountability Accountable: What Ought to Matter in Public Education
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 28, 2004
    Quick Summary: This review appears at TC Record online
    http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=11386 and will appear in the February issue of the journal.

    Fighting the Tests: A Practical Guide to Rescuing Our Schools
    By Alfie Kohn
    Publication Date: October 24, 2004
    Quick Summary: Alfie published this a few years ago in Cultural Logic. It is well worth reading again.


    Stand Against the Word
    By Tom Drummond, North Seattle Community College
    Publication Date: October 20, 2004
    Quick Summary: This is an updated version of an earlier posting. It raises important issues about the very idea of readiness. Think about it: Why don't we ever talk about the school's readiness for the child? The author's website is http://homepage.mac.com/tdrummon/advocates

    Hairy Guy Lives!
    By Mary Bencini
    Publication Date: October 17, 2004
    Quick Summary: Mary Bencini needs no introduction. She tells it all in this account: Mary Bencini is a teacher, not a cog in an information delivery system shipped out from the Business Roundtable.

    The Praxis II is Pushing Good Teachers Out of the Profession
    By Beth-Ann Owens
    Publication Date: October 10, 2004
    Quick Summary: I went to the ETS site to see a description of the Spanish Content Knowledge test.

    The questions in Section II, Part A (Speech Analysis) are based on speech samples recorded by students of Spanish who are not native speakers; you will be asked to identify errors and error patterns in the students? speech.

    I don't know anything about teaching a foreign language but I would think a person would have to be a very experienced teacher to be able to identify error patterns in a student's speech.

    Be familiar with the following: the structure of the Spanish language; terminology used to describe grammar, syntax, and phonology; a variety of print and nonprint sources, such as periodicals, literature, Internet resources, and
    advertisements; the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries and regions.

    Let's see: The test-taker needs to be familiar with a variety of print and non-print resources and advertisements as well as the cultures in:

    Costa Rica
    Dominican Republic
    El Salvador
    Equatorial Guinea
    Congo, Republic of the
    United States

    It's not hard to see how someone could slip up on this test. It is hard to see just where teacher savvy in the classroom is evaluated. Where does what the teacher has proved she can do with students enter the equation?

    Where is the NEA on this?

    Let's Hope Young Athletes Learn from the Greeks
    By Jerry McGovern
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: If sports is a metaphor for life, we'd better help kids put things in perspective.

    Asperger's Confounds Colleges
    By Elizabeth F. Farrell
    Publication Date: October 06, 2004
    Quick Summary: The curriculum issues described in this article also confound grade k-12 teachers.

    Where Have All the Children Gone?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 18, 2008
    Quick Summary: They only get one childhood, and we're letting the State steal it.

    Bubble Students and Teaching to the Statistic
    By Dave Posner
    Publication Date: September 23, 2004
    Quick Summary:
    A couple of years ago, Dave Posner wrote a letter to the editor that circulated on teacher lists, with people arguing whether it was satire or not. Dave suggested that teachers could improve the statistical performance of their classes by giving special attention to selected students. He noted that the particular choice of students to favor would depend on what statistical measure was being used. For example, if the mean is used then the teacher would probably get the most bang for her time by working with the strong students and ignoring the weak ones. If, on the other hand, the median were used then the smart teacher would completely ignore the weakest, give less attention to the strongest and focus on the middle. In general the teacher evaluates each student with respect to improvement of the given metric per time spent with the student. She then allocates most of her attention to students with the highest return per minute spent.

    I admit that I had to write and ask--to be sure that his tongue was halfway through his cheek. After all, some version of what he was advocating was being practiced in schools across the land. As he mentioned in ensuing correspondence, "This country is far and away the world leader in innovation and technology. Things are not broken on the 'high end of the curve.' Where things actually seem to be broken is on the 'low end of the curve,' and those are the people most victimized by this process. It's completely ass backwards."

    Dave also asked why the intellectual community remains so silent about this outrage. Why indeed?
    (Our exchange was published as "Is Satire Possible?" Phi Delta Kappan, December 2002.)

    Now Dave is at it again. See below.

    Scorcher Book Reviews
    By multiple book reviewers
    Publication Date: September 20, 2004
    Quick Summary: These reviews appear on Amazon.com


    When Business Plans Become Lesson Plans
    By Sid S. Glassner, Executive Director, Vermont Society for the Study of Education
    Publication Date: September 18, 2004
    Quick Summary: This book review is from the VSSE Education Report, Autumn 2004.

    Permanent Vacation
    By Cathy Sproul
    Publication Date: September 17, 2004
    Quick Summary: from Teacher Magazine

    The Death of Hippocrates: When Medicine Turns Evil
    By Sherwin B. Nuland, M. D.
    Publication Date: September 13, 2004
    Quick Summary: A distinquished physician reflects on why the German medical etablishment behaved the way they did during the 1930ies and 40ies (and why scientists and politicians in other countries joined in the eugenics movement), observing that though some of these researchers were rabble-rousing quacks, many were serious scientists whose aim was to discover ways in which the very best of the inherited characteristics might be encouraged and the very worst eliminated, with the ultimate goal of curing the ills of society. Nuland details how scientists today are trodding dangerous paths. Although not mentioned, the parallels with "science" in education research and practice are obvious.

    The President's Reading Lesson
    By Dennis Baron
    Publication Date: September 09, 2004
    Quick Summary: The parallels between the President's behavior on 9/11 and the docility engendered by direct instruction lessons are clear and they are tragic. I wonder if children can ever recover from direct instruction.

    Taking the Public Out of Public Education
    By Benjamin Barber
    Publication Date: September 08, 2004
    Quick Summary: This is must reading, an important commentary that pinpoints the source of the current move to privatize schools as neo-liberalism. Got that? Neo-liberalism.

    The Latest Poll
    By Lee Kalcheim
    Publication Date: September 07, 2004
    Quick Summary: As you know, I try to stick to standards and testing and NCLB atrocities. But these poll results were too good to pass up.

    Social Justice Educator
    By Jim Cantor, California State University, Dominguez Hills
    Publication Date: September 06, 2004
    Quick Summary: When the California Council on Teacher Education meets October 7-9, 2004 in San Diego, Professor Jim Cantor will provide entertainment at the conference banquet with original songs of resistance, including:

    Here Comes Another Standardized Test, And It Won't Help My Students
    Everybody Has to CAH-CAH-CAH
    People Get Ready, ABC-TE is Coming
    Social Justice Educator, We're Singing About Justice.

    The California Council on Teacher Education is a non-profit organization devoted to stimulating the improvement of the pre-service and in-service education of teachers and administrators. The Council attends to this general goal with the support of a community of teacher educators, drawn from diverse constituencies, who seek to be informed, reflective, and active regarding significant research, sound practice, and current public educational issues.

    For more information,

    News and Analysis on a Manhattan Institute Report
    By Gerald Bracey
    Publication Date: September 04, 2004
    Quick Summary:
    Gerald Bracey has a wonderful ability to tie small incidents to big significances, marshalling useful information to do so.

    You can read his incisive and witty analysis every month if you subscribe to Phi Delta Kappan.

    Dear Adult
    By GoAnimal
    Publication Date: August 29, 2004
    Quick Summary: The tagline for this essay--and others on the GoAnimal website--is Play As If Your Life Depended On It.

    Madame Cheney's Cultural Revolution
    By Mary Jacoby
    Publication Date: August 26, 2004
    Quick Summary:
    How the vice president's powerful wife makes sure that historians and other scholars follow the right path.

    Teachers, Welcome Back to School
    By George Sheridan, California teacher
    Publication Date: August 18, 2004
    Quick Summary: Here is a reminder of what we teachers are about.

    What Teachers Make, or You Can Always Go to Law School If Things Don't Work Out
    By Taylor Mali
    Publication Date: August 16, 2004
    Quick Summary: You can find more poems at www.taylormali.com

    It would be a useful activity if all teachers in the land made a list of what they make kids do.

    Classroom Struggles: Rethinking Reading and the Brain
    By Gerald Coles & Steven L. Strauss
    Publication Date: August 10, 2004
    Quick Summary:
    Classroom Struggles: The Voice for Democracy and Equity in Education is a premier online radio show.


    ?Rethinking Reading and the Brain?

    The new show has special guests...

    Gerald Coles

    Author of recent Kappan article ?Danger in the Classroom: ?Brain Glitch? Research and Learning to Read.? Also author of Reading the Naked Truth: Literacy, Legislation and Lies, a critique of the purported "scientifically-based reading instruction" that is the foundation of the "No Child Left Behind-Reading First" legislative mandates. His 2000 book, Misreading Reading: The Bad Science That Hurts Children, was described in a London Times book review as "one of the most important books" on literacy "in the past 10 years."

    and Steven L. Strauss

    Fulbright scholar in linguistics and practicing neurologist who critiques the current ?scientifically-based? NICHD research on the brain and reading, as well as the politics driving the government-corporate agenda in reading in numerous articles in professional journals such as Language Arts, Kappan, and Educational Researcher. His forthcoming Erlbaum book The Linguistics, Neurology, and the Politics of Phonics: Silent, Linguistics, Neurology, and the Politics of Phonics: Silent "E" Speaks Out? is a multidisciplinary examination of ?neo-phonics?, the basis for current federal policies and mandates in reading research and instruction.

    A Conversation with Susan Ohanian
    By Jo Coe and Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 18, 2008
    Quick Summary: This interview is from educationoasis.com

    Won't You Come Home, John Dewey?
    By Martin Bickman
    Publication Date: July 22, 2004
    Quick Summary: The writer blames two extremes in a pendulum swing. I think he has a point. Certainly both extremes don't listen enough. But I'm not convinced it isn't more than a pendulum swing, as I try to show in my new book, Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?

    When Will We Stand Up?
    Publication Date: July 11, 2004
    Quick Summary: Teachers and parents unhappy with government school policy could learn something from Corrine Grad Coleman.

    Is That Penguin Stuffed or Real?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 05, 2004
    Quick Summary: This pre-NCLB article is a manifesto, reminding us that Standardistas were wreaking their havoc long before Congress passed the NCLB act. Sugaring and teaching are not projects for the impatient. Even in these days of instant everything, you can't hurry maple syrup -- or third-graders or seventh-graders.

    A Blue-Ribbon Panel Weighs In on Students' Body Mass Index
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 26, 2004
    Quick Summary: Big Macs and Oreos aren't the problem; education is the problem.

    The Details of Life
    By Jonathan Kozol
    Publication Date: June 23, 2004
    Quick Summary:
    Thank you to Jonathan Kozol for pointing out that it is very peculiar to speak of young children as "investments." Peculiar, ugly, and wrong. Thank you for reminding us what competitive skills poor children desperately need, skills that don't appear on the Business Roundtable's list.

    Subscribe to The Nation. Periodicals that still publish articles in support of children's needs are rare. They deserve are support.

    The Dumbing Down of America
    By Manuel Valenzuela
    Publication Date: June 23, 2004
    Quick Summary: Here is a serious examination of the dumbing down of America, the methodical destruction and purposeful elimination of the means by which a society educates and enlightens itself. Think about that purposeful.

    The Fight of Our Lives
    By Bill Moyers
    Publication Date: June 21, 2004
    Quick Summary: Some things are worth getting mad about. Case in point: the growing, vast equality gap between the richest and the poorest Americans. If this isn't class war, what is?

    Not Just a Test
    By Claude M. Steele
    Publication Date: June 21, 2004
    Quick Summary: Steele discusses the test-score gap and offers some remedies for loosening the grip of "the ability paradigm" on the academic fate of African-American, Latino, and poorer students. He observes that the fact that monies for poor kids always go for skill drill, not for meatier courses ensures that the skill gap will continue.

    Incubation: A Neglected Aspect of the Composing Process?
    By Stephen Krashen
    Publication Date: June 19, 2004
    Quick Summary: Steve Krashen does us a great service by pulling together illuminating observations on procrastination and incubation in writing. Reading how creative people work makes our test prep curriculum all the more disastrous.

    The Business Roundtable is Alive and Well in Maryland First Grade Classrooms
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 18, 2004
    Quick Summary: Here's some basic economics for first graders in Maryland.

    Teachers as Eunuchs and Odalisques: The Not So Stealth Attack on Public Education
    By John F. Borowski
    Publication Date: June 16, 2004
    Quick Summary: For my comment, I just repeat John's: Bravo to teachers who stand for their beliefs and defend the constitution. Without them, the dunce sitting in the corner of the room will be our democracy.

    College Isn't For Everyone
    By Marty Nemko & USA Today editorial
    Publication Date: June 16, 2004
    Quick Summary: Nemko's view goes against the current Business Roundtable claim that schools must prepare everyone for college. Unfortunately, USA Today Editorial doesn't address his point.

    Re-Assessing School Standards
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 10, 2004
    Quick Summary: Five years after publication,One Size Fits Few gets 4 scholarly reviews.

    If I Were Emperor of Education
    By Richard Chapleau
    Publication Date: June 09, 2004
    Quick Summary: I applaud much of what this teacher says, but what about raising the minimum wages of those parents who can't quote Dr. Seuss?

    Vouchers: The Right's Final Answer to Brown
    By The Black Commentator
    Publication Date: June 01, 2004
    Quick Summary: Don't miss this powerful critique of the powerful forces that are driving vouchers.

    Superintendent Debate: Do We Need Big Tests?
    By Bill Cala and Mike Riley
    Publication Date: June 01, 2004
    Quick Summary: NY superintendent Bill Cala and WA superintendent Mike Riley offer a spirited discussion on big issues in curriculum and testing.

    Six Phonics Myths Dispelled
    By Maryann Manning
    Publication Date: May 30, 2004
    Quick Summary: Here's a brief article that will be helpful when explaining phonics to parents.

    Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black?White Achievement Gap
    By Richard Rothstein
    Publication Date: May 14, 2004
    Quick Summary: Here's the table of contents, two prefaces, and the introduction to Richard Rothstein's new book.

    Preparing Culturally Competent Leaders
    By Phyllis J. Edmundson
    Publication Date: May 13, 2004
    Quick Summary: Consider this view in provocative/outrageous contrast to the New York City business model for preparing principals. There, Neutron Jack Welch is advisor.

    For more about the New York City model, see Why Is Corporate America Bashing Public Schools? by Kathy Emery and Susan Ohanian. Coming in July.

    Hey, Click and Clack! A Puzzler for 'Car Talk'
    By Warren Goldstein
    Publication Date: May 11, 2004
    Quick Summary:
    When I was on Car Talk, they made fun of Vermont, physicists, and the French. There was no way I was going to mention that I have a graduate degree in medieval literature.

    Standards for Sarah
    By Stephen Kramer
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: A 4th grade teacher posts a reminder next to the display of his state standards. Every teacher in the land should follow his example and post these standards.

    Voices of Courage in Education
    By Bess Altwerger, Gloria Pipkin, ReLeah Lent,, Steve Orel, Brunetta Wade
    Publication Date: April 24, 2004
    Quick Summary: Don't miss this online radio show. It is heartbreaking, challenging, and inspirational.

    A GIFT WITHIN REACH: Given college scholarships at age 4, the 20 former Krolik Elementary students had an opportunity, but many obstacles to face alon
    By Suzette Hacknew & Jemele Hill
    Publication Date: April 21, 2004
    Quick Summary:

    This is a remarkable news story, containing details and nuance that one seldom sees.

    Solitude and the Fortresses of Youth
    By Michael Chabon
    Publication Date: April 18, 2004
    Quick Summary: This article about teenagers and writing elicited strong letters to the New York Times. They are below the article.

    Education Reform: Standardized Testing: Questions Gone Wild Aren't the Answer
    By James Hope, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 4/16/04
    Publication Date: April 16, 2004
    Quick Summary: James Hope is a Gwinnett County teacher and an honorable man. Hounded by the local and state officials because he thought parents should be aware of testing absurdities, he refuses to be silenced, offering here a revealing look at the new state test.

    Don't Toss Out Teens for Test Scores
    By John Foley, Everett, WA Teacher
    Publication Date: April 13, 2004
    Quick Summary: This teacher points out that "We should. . .mistrust any instrument that is designed by politicians to make them look concerned and force-fed by administrators to make them look good."

    The Liberal Reach: Teaching Humanities to the Poor
    By Debra Satz and Rob Reich
    Publication Date: April 06, 2004
    Quick Summary: Why teach the humanities to a bunch of junkies? Two Stanford professors provide powerful answers to this question.

    "No one ever asked me my opinion before," one woman said to us, "and if they had, they would never have followed that by asking me why."

    The K12 Primary School History Curriculum: A Participant's-eye View
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 14, 2011
    Quick Summary: This research was undertaken for the Education Policy Research Unit (EPRU) at Arizona State University. It is paired with a study of Knowledge Universe by Gerald Bracey.

    The Medical Metaphor: Gross Anatomy and Third Graders
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 22, 2004
    Quick Summary: Why do we treat third graders like medical students?

    Book Review: The War Against Excellence: The Rising Tide of Mediocity in America's Middle Schools
    Cheri Pierson Yecke
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 22, 2004
    Quick Summary: It's scary to think that this book's author is the commissioner of education in Minnesota, formerly holding the top post in Virginia.

    Active & Compassionate Teens
    By Sam Smith, The Progressive Review Undernews
    Publication Date: March 19, 2004
    Quick Summary:
    Sam Smith's talk has it all: humor, passion, struggle,inspiration, and challenge.

    Hire Ed
    By Marc S. Tucker and Thomas Toch
    Publication Date: March 18, 2004
    Quick Summary: Writing in a neo-liberal magazine, these two standardistos say the secret to making Bush's school reform law work means more bureaucrats.

    Public Schools, Minus the Public
    By Diane Ravitch and Randi Weingarten
    Publication Date: March 18, 2004
    Quick Summary: Since the mayoral takeover, the school system has been reorganized along the lines of a corporate business model, as though educating children was no different from selling toothpaste.

    Stenographers to the Powerful
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 17, 2004
    Quick Summary: Here's an incident that tells you why it is so hard for the voices of teachers and parents to be heard above the cacaphony of government shills.

    What, Me Worry?
    By Patrick Shannon
    Publication Date: March 15, 2004
    Quick Summary: By detail the specific schoolwork of his daughter,
    Patrick Shannon uncovers the mendacity of NCLB.
    In advisory council meetings, which often resemble the adult version of the Chicken Little story, some accept the authority of the state and the economy to direct the day-to-day activities of writing in the school.

    Out of the Mouths of Third Graders
    By Umatilla Elementary Third Graders
    Publication Date: March 14, 2004
    Quick Summary: When children are given the chance to speak out about high-stakes tests, look at what happens.

    Food Fighter
    Alice Waters Has a Dream
    By Peggy Orenstein
    Publication Date: March 07, 2004
    Quick Summary: OK, so even if you think you don't have time to worry about what middle school kids are eating, you should read this article. Read this article for information and inspiration. Trust me.

    Informed Consent: An Experimental Subject's Bill of Rights
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 03, 2004
    Quick Summary: NCLB-mandated testing is a huge experiment, and it should be treated as such. Parents should sign an Informed Consent form before a school can test their children. And informed consent should mean just that.

    Harbor School Assignment: A Time That Changed You
    By Melissa Jones
    Publication Date: March 02, 2004
    Quick Summary: This feature is part of an ongoing series in the Wall Street Journal.


    On Unions and Education
    By Deborah Meier
    Publication Date: March 01, 2004
    Quick Summary: Meier reports that in her experience it's Central Office that runs from innovation, not unions.

    Still Separate, Still Unequal: The Continuing Struggle for Racial Justice in American Education
    By Leo Casey
    Publication Date: March 01, 2004
    Quick Summary: Casey reviews relevant texts to show how contemporary conservatives highjacked the Brown decision.

    "NAIVE Awards Paige with Highest Honor"
    By Eric Crump
    Publication Date: February 28, 2004
    Quick Summary: NAIVE's tongue may be firmly in its collective cheek, but they hit the nail on the head: Paige has done a lot to stir up NCLB resistance.

    Open Cult
    By A Maryland Mom
    Publication Date: February 26, 2004
    Quick Summary: A Maryland mom reflects on the story her first grader read in school.

    Would Shakespeare Get Into Swarthmore?
    By John Katzman, Andy Lutz, and Erik Olson
    Publication Date: February 23, 2004
    Quick Summary: Writing Contest: Rewrite Shakespeare (February 17, 2004)
    According to the College Board's grading criteria, Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage" speech scored only 2 out of 6. Join the Princeton Review's contest, and help the Bard get a higher grade. http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2004/03/shakespearecontest.htm

    I Have a Dream
    inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    By Lee Prior
    Publication Date: February 20, 2004
    Quick Summary: I took my all-time favorite non-violent protest speech from my all-time favorite courageous and inspirational civil right leader and changed the words.

    Dr. Martin Luther King?s ?I Have A Dream? speech was delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Source: Martin Luther King, Jr: The Peaceful Warrior, Pocket Books,1968.

    Politicians worry about job losses this year, not education
    By By Daniel Pryzbyla
    Publication Date: February 19, 2004
    Quick Summary: "Equally facetious as their corporate gatekeepers is the silence of the school voucher carpetbaggers during the global marketplace job disasters. This seems a bit out of character for so-called education ?reformers? allegedly concerned about the poor. But maybe not. NCLB sanctions dismantling public schools resemble the dismantling of workplaces during the current global marketplace job wars."

    On Turning Down a Prize and Standing for Principle Instead
    By Benjamin Zephaniah
    Publication Date: February 18, 2004
    Quick Summary: Poet Benjamin Zephaniah is talking about his refusal of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) award. One can't avoid the parallels with educators turning themselves inside out for grant money.

    Stand Against "Readiness"
    By Tom Drummond
    Publication Date: February 17, 2004
    Quick Summary: The author asks an important question: Why do we want to define children as ready or not? He calls on concerned educators to bury the term.

    On Being a Hedgehog
    By Kathleen O'Shaughnessy
    Publication Date: February 16, 2004
    Quick Summary: When the zeal for accountability ends up being the zeal for paperwork, reports, and teaching to lists of check-boxes, teachers are forced to get creative--and sometimes to move on.

    San Francisco Superintendent's Plan for a Dream School Revealed as a Nightmare
    Publication Date: February 16, 2004
    Quick Summary: Below are two newspaper articles about San Francisco Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's plan--dubbed Dream Schools--to overhaul low-performing schools. In reality, overhaul means getting the lowest performing children out of the schools.

    Ed Watch by Julia Steiny DIAGNOSE, CHALLENGE, SUPPORT
    By Julia Steiny
    Publication Date: February 15, 2004
    Quick Summary: "Actually, K-12 schools are doing great right now, much better than could be expected . . .," enthuses Rhode Island's commissioner of higher education, Jack Warner, who is something of a tease.

    Teens Nationwide Promote Abstinence
    (But this is, like, sooooooooooooo a controversial topic, dudes and dudettes
    By Mike Sneider
    Publication Date: February 14, 2004
    Quick Summary: Probably more than abortion as a topic among teens, is the topic of being accepted and sex is the way in. For many, it is simply a sport. For others, something like a chic-mcnugget. And the alternative is sooooooo self-righteous, some say. What's it supposed to mean anyway, they wonder.

    A Novel Approach to Evaluation
    By Ernest R. House
    Publication Date: February 05, 2004
    Quick Summary: Below is Chapter 1 from an evaluation novel.If you want to read the rest, go to:


    Joel Klein gives his opinion on New York's reading program
    By Joel Klein
    Publication Date: February 05, 2004
    Quick Summary: SOMETIMES the absence of a few numbers can distort the whole picture of what is happening in public education. And sometimes leaving out a few facts can make a huge difference in explaining what works and what does not in helping our children learn.
    In her column last week, Diane Ravitch, an education scholar, lacked both the right numbers and the right facts.

    The Shrub Who Stole Learning
    By Kimberly Marciniak
    Publication Date: November 27, 2005
    Quick Summary: ?Duh, Dude. Learning, and life, are not multiple choice.?

    Same Folks, Different Strokes
    By Laura Flanders
    Publication Date: February 03, 2004
    Quick Summary: This is a commentary from ZNet:


    Bush Flunks Schools
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 02, 2004
    Quick Summary: This article appeared in The Nation, Dec. 1, 2003

    The Wal-Martization of Education
    By Edithe A. Fulton
    Publication Date: November 29, 2010
    Quick Summary: This essay is from The Black Commentator

    An heir to the fortune dreams of private school empire.

    For Walton--as for Wal-Mart--it's about market domination.

    Making a Difference
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 29, 2004
    Quick Summary: If 1,791 people in North Dakota made snow angels at one time, how many teachers can we get to sing a song?

    By Joel Klein
    Publication Date: January 23, 2004
    Quick Summary: "Last month's National Assessment of Educational Progress results, the most comprehensive comparison of large urban districts, showed that districts using "balanced literacy" approaches, like New York, Boston and San Diego, outperformed those using the restrictive programs Stern advocates. And those results were equally true when applied to students whose families live in poverty." And yet, these places could NOT get RF grants!

    The Three Little Pigs Buy the White House
    By Dan Piraro
    Publication Date: January 20, 2004
    Quick Summary: Dan Piraro, whose Bizarro cartoon has won three consecutive Reuben Awards from the National Cartoonists Society, is the author-illustrator of The Three Little Pigs Buy the White House. It looks like a children's book but definitely has a message for adults. Yes, the message is heavy-handed, but it's also funny. Not to mention true.

    The Standards Juggernaut
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: January 17, 2004
    Quick Summary: This commentary first appeared in Phi Delta Kappan in May 2000. It is well worth reading again.

    Turning the Accountability Tables: Ten Progressive Lessons from One 'Backward' State
    By Chris Gallagher
    Publication Date: January 15, 2004
    Quick Summary:

    For too long teachers have been forced into a defensive posture, protecting their professionalism and their students' learning from the accountability hawks who know little about teaching and learning, Mr. Gallagher asserts. It's time to turn the tables.

    What Are We Going To Do About the Abuse of Teachers?
    By A Teacher in Metro Atlanta
    Publication Date: January 14, 2004
    Quick Summary: We are destroying a generation of teachers.

    The Rush to Outsourcing Means More Than the Loss of Jobs
    By Jeff Taylor
    Publication Date: January 14, 2004
    Quick Summary: An engineer's perspective: Outsourcing jobs to India doesn't just hurt workers but also threatens the health of the entire American technology sector.

    Letter to the Commissioner
    It is becoming impossible to go into one's classroom and 'make a difference'
    By Karen Atwood Cook
    Publication Date: January 12, 2004
    Quick Summary: An eloquent letter, as well as a letter that bleeds words of sadness, frustration, and exhaustion. Will the joy ever return to teaching?

    Fear is a form of propaganda
    It works, too.
    By Georgia Hedrick
    Publication Date: January 09, 2004
    Quick Summary: Truth is the boldest,bravest thing you can have. Yet, Truth is rare these days, because, if you are a newspaper or a magazine, you may lose your advertisers if you tell it.

    National and State Writing Tests: The Writing Process Betrayed
    By Edgar H. Schuster
    Publication Date: January 07, 2004
    Quick Summary: Imagine what kind of writing you would produce if you could not plan it or revise it. Most national and state writing tests create these and other artificial conditions for students, Mr. Schuster points out. Can anyone possibly demonstrate writing proficiency under such circumstances?

    Boxed in: Education should be about more than storing facts
    By Marion Brady
    Publication Date: January 06, 2004
    Quick Summary: In another good column, Marion Brady reflects on roof trusses and ritual knowledge.

    Let's Ask the President To Step Up To the Test
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: January 07, 2004
    Quick Summary: Maybe it's time for a lot of people to prove competency on the tests required of the nation's children.

    Court Rules Substance Can't Publish Whole Test: Schmidt Responds
    By George Schmidt
    Publication Date: January 01, 2004
    Quick Summary: George Schmidt, publisher and editor of Substance, fought a hard fight. There were victories. Chicago's disreputable test, CASE, was abolished.

    But George lost his job and is out more than $200,000 in legal bills. Every test resister in the country, everyone who believes in the First Amendment, should help him pay this bill. Send your contribution to:
    5132 W. Berteau
    Chicago, IL 60641

    When someone is willing to fight your fight, you need to do what you can to help.

    Why California Second Graders May Score Poorly on Those Math Tests
    By A California teacher
    Publication Date: December 30, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    Teachers are bullied about not educating children for the 21st century--and then their students are tested on questions about hanging produce scales. Ask yourself: When was the last time you used a produce scale. Someone should tell the test writers that many children have never seen a parent or store clerk use a hanging produce scale.

    Examining Data and Power Point Spin
    By Harold Berlak and Stephen Krashen
    Publication Date: December 21, 2003
    Quick Summary: You don't have to live in the California Bay Area to be concerned about what's going on in this article, which may be news and may be strategized spin. Read the article. Read the two letters by very savvy researchers questioning its content.

    Some Criteria for Intelligent Accountability
    By Terry Crooks
    Publication Date: December 18, 2003
    Quick Summary: How can you not admire a fellow who writes about accountability without once uttering the word stakeholders? Besides that, he asserts that
    "If our accountability measures sideline school leaders or teachers, making them feel like pawns in a game that is controlled by someone else, their sense of professionalism is threatened, and this in turn can be expected to undermine a key resource: their intrinsic motivation."

    School Bullies
    By Phil Katz
    Publication Date: December 12, 2003
    Quick Summary: We need more teachers speaking out. Until this happens, the bullies win. First speak out; then walk out. When they force you to do things that harm children, you have no other choice.

    Meet Frank Smith
    Gifts of Wisdom for Educators
    By Gary Stager
    Publication Date: December 04, 2003
    Quick Summary: Instead of talking about what teachers should teach and what students should learn, Smith argues that we should talk about experiences that they should be mutually engaged in, involving reading, writing, imagining, creating, calculating, constructing, producing and performing.

    Juanita Doyon Launches Campaign for Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 27, 2003
    Quick Summary: Step up and be counted. Support this extraordinary attempt to bring a voice of reason to high places in education bureaucracy.

    Writing Like Crazy: a Word on the Brain
    By Alice Weaver Flaherty
    Publication Date: November 21, 2003
    Quick Summary: Scientific and literary evidence suggests
    that the drive to write is often more emotional than cognitive, more primal than intellectual, writes Alice Weaver Flaherty, a staff neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a
    neurology instructor at Harvard Medical School.

    Reading, Writing, Resistance
    By Anne Lamott
    Publication Date: November 21, 2003
    Quick Summary: Anne Lamott remembers her SRA experiences.

    Let's Weigh the Cow Some More
    By Kelley in Southern California
    Publication Date: November 08, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here's accountability: Teachers are given 24 hours to correct and tabulate thirty 23-page tests. And that's just for starters.

    Getting the Most Out of Parent Teacher Conferences
    The Spectre of the Little Chair
    By Greg Toppo
    Publication Date: November 07, 2003
    Quick Summary: In a Q & A, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot offers tips on improving parent teacher conferences. For starters, bring the kid along.

    Jedi Attackers Lose: Vouchers Don't Work
    By Gerald W. Bracey
    Publication Date: November 05, 2003
    Quick Summary: Gerald Bracey's got the goods on vouchers. Why does the Washington Post ignore him?

    The Fire Side: Still Funny, Still On Target
    By Michael Dirda
    Publication Date: November 04, 2003
    Quick Summary: Good cartoons explain the world. And nobody was better at explaining things than Gary Larsen comes very very close. The good news is that even though he hasn't drawn any new cartoons for 10 years, his works stand up. The very very bad news is price of the whole thing.

    The Rorschach Inkblot Test, Fortune Tellers, and Cold Reading
    By James M. Wood, M. Teresa Nezworski,Scott O. Lilienfeld,& Howard N. Garb
    Publication Date: November 04, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    Famous clinical psychologists used the Rorschach Inkblot Test to arrive at incredible insights. But were the astounding performances of these Rorschach Wizards merely a variation on astrology and palm reading? Here's an excerpt from a book taking on this topic.

    Why Our Schools Are Under Attack
    By David Stratman
    Publication Date: October 24, 2003
    Quick Summary: These remarks were presented to kick off a talk show segment on KPFT Pacifica Radio, July 14, 2002. They will help you understand why our schools are under attack.

    Repudiating Voodoo Edunomics
    By Jeffrey Zorn
    Publication Date: October 27, 2003
    Quick Summary: Jeffrey Zorn, a lecturer in English at Santa Clara University, offers an update on Nation at Risk as he counters a book out of the Hoover Institution with Martin Bickman's Minding American Education: Reclaiming the Tradition of Active Learning. You're going to want to read the book.

    The Trial
    By Franz Kafka
    Publication Date: October 14, 2003
    Quick Summary: It's time to reread Kafka's classic work, and if you can stand it, read "The Castle" too.

    A Teacher Speaks Up
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 11, 2003
    Quick Summary: A teacher vows to spread the word.

    Heroes Who Don't Make the News
    By Frosty Troy, The Oklahoma Observer
    Publication Date: October 10, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here's a reminder about heroes that we can all take to heart. It comes from the December 2001 Oklahoma Observer. It wasn't a fluke. The Oklahoma Observer supports and celebrates teachers in every issue.

    Who Moved My Stalag?
    By Gary Stager
    Publication Date: October 07, 2003
    Quick Summary: Gary Stager asks an important question: Isn't it about time that we draft a Geneva Convention for teachers and learners? Don't we need to create a set of principles governing how we humanely treat the people occupying our school buildings?

    The 13th Bracey Report on Public Education
    This year's Report begins and ends with No Child Left Behind
    By Gerald W. Bracey
    Publication Date: October 03, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    Gerald Bracey terms NCLB "a weapon of mass destruction."

    Full Disclosure Needed from Education Policy Makers
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 27, 2003
    Quick Summary: Science Journals will now require full disclosure of financial ties from authors of articles appearing in their pages. The time is long past when consultants for the U. S. Department of education should do the same.

    B. I. T. C. H. Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity
    By Robert L. Williams, Ph.D.
    Publication Date: June 01, 2011
    Quick Summary: The famous B.I.T.C.H. test, written in the 1970s, provides an opportunity to test your "cultural background." The link to the source site is now dead, but a reader supplied me with different questions and answers, given at the end.

    School Commercialism, Student Health, and the Pressure To Do More With Less
    By Alex Molnar, ASU Education Policy Studies Laboratory
    Publication Date: September 23, 2003
    Quick Summary: This important report puts the impact of health- and nutrition-related marketing in our schools into context, providing data with which to reach the public--and convince politicians--to take action.

    What's In a Test? Ask Kids and Teachers in New York
    2 English Tests Speak
    By Michael Winerip, The New York Times, Sept. 17, 2003
    Publication Date: September 17, 2003
    Quick Summary: Another fine piece by Winerip, revealing how bizarre NY State tests are--and how damaging they are to students.

    Opposing the Governor, the Department of Education, Many Businessmen, The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, President Bush, Secretary Paige. . . .
    By Frank I. Smizik, Massachusetts legislator
    Publication Date: September 15, 2003
    Quick Summary: Even though this amendment didn't pass, the speech is stirring--and worth reading for the list of groups for and against high-stakes testing. It has relevance far beyond Massachusetts.

    Open Court in PreSchool
    A Kindergarten Teacher in The South Bronx Speaks Out
    By Susan Kotansky
    Publication Date: September 10, 2003
    Quick Summary: This kindergarten teachers asks an important question: why are so many teachers so silent--when they know this is wrong?

    The Collapse of the Middle Class
    By Rep. Bernie Sanders
    Publication Date: September 04, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    Bernie Sanders explains why we, as a nation, need to radically rethink our national priorities. Until we do, schools will never have a chance.

    Talking Back to Educrat Spin
    By Mickey VanDerwerker
    Publication Date: September 04, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here's how to talk back to the numbers purporting to show that rising SAT scores are proof high stakes testing is working.

    Willa Player, A Remarkable Woman
    By obituary
    Publication Date: August 30, 2003
    Quick Summary: This is the obituary of a remarkable educator. Notice how she stood up for students.

    Here's How YOU Can Make a Difference
    By anonymous retired teacher
    Publication Date: August 29, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    This terrific idea comes from a retired teacher friend who prefers to remain anonymous. Let's hope this spreads like wildfire.

    The Road to Trust
    By Deborah Meier
    Publication Date: August 22, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    In the cover story of the September 2003 American School Board Journal Deborah Meier talks about why we must make public education feel like a public enterprise again--and how we should set about doing it.

    Less Teaching, More Testing
    By Joyce McGreevy
    Publication Date: August 12, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    Three cheers: Concern about No Child Left Behind is bubbling up in mainstream media. This piece appeared on Salon.com August 11, 2003.

    A Range of Views about Students Who Aren't Flourishing in School
    Publication Date: June 30, 2005
    Quick Summary: An article in The New York Times about students pushed out of high school because they were not progressing at standard rate provoked a range of letters.

    Got Democracy?...A Modest Proposal For Parents
    By Alan Morse
    Publication Date: July 16, 2003
    Quick Summary: This commentary, which was published by www.commondreams.org, has a revolutionary proposal to end standardized testing woes--one to protect his daughter and her teachers.

    A Kentucky Principal Answers, "How Do I Know If My Child's School is Good?"
    By Dr. Stanton Simandle
    Publication Date: July 16, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    Note that none of these questions, so important to parents and kids, ever appear on official ratings of schools.

    Confrontation and Redemption
    By The World of Opportunity
    Publication Date: July 12, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here is a remarkable snippet from a day at the World of Opportunity, a portrait of a teacher trying to help a student learn about confrontation and redemption--through words of reconciliation.

    Letters to the Editor
    By multiple authors
    Publication Date: July 10, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    This op ed and series of letters has drama, deceit, and discovery.

    The Education of Sam Sanders
    By T. S. Poetter
    Publication Date: July 07, 2003
    Quick Summary: The following excerpt from The Education of Sam Sanders, a novella by T. S. Poetter, provides a look at schools in the very near future. Sam Sanders, an eighth grader who desperately wants to read books in school, encounters school personnel who have been socialized into a system that fully embraces the tyranny and control of high stakes and standardized testing.

    The reader cheers for the one student who breaks the mold and takes a stand.

    Available from 1st Books Library:

    or call 1-800-839-8640

    $9.40. An electronic book is available for $3.95

    What Schools Need Is a Happiness Index
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 29, 2003
    Quick Summary: People who care about public schools need to ask why the school research approved by the U. S. government cares less about happiness than does the chicken research sponsored by McDonald's.

    The Executioner's I.Q. Test
    By Margaret Talbot
    Publication Date: June 29, 2003
    Quick Summary: A provocative look at I.Q. tests, mental retardation, and Death Row, this is also a painful account of abused children. Every teacher will ache for these children, wondering about her role in their development. Acknowledging and detailing the unspeakable crimes committed by the profiled inmates, the author raises important questions about repentance and rehabilitation, concepts that no longer have much purchase in our culture, even though, as the author observes, the idea of repentance gave us the word "penitentiary."

    How to Demoralize the Faculty: A Six-Step Program that Works
    By Howard B. Altman
    Publication Date: June 20, 2003
    Quick Summary: This is written by a university professor--about university employment conditions. Public school teachers can probably add a few steps to his proposals for demoralizing faculty.

    Send them to:

    A Reporter Takes the TAKS
    By John Kelso
    Publication Date: June 15, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    John Kelso, columnist at the Statesman, is unique. Read his column and you'll see why.

    Here's his address if you want to write him:



    High Stakes Tests: A Modest Proposal
    By Louis Van Roy, St. Petersburg, Florida
    Publication Date: June 12, 2003
    Quick Summary:
    The writer's simple solution to the fuss over the FCAT would work in other states too.

    Remembering the Missing on Graduation Day
    By Emily Lederman and Tim Noyes
    Publication Date: June 10, 2003
    Quick Summary: Adults and students around the country should "speak out/act out" for the missing on graduation day.

    Capitalism, Calculus, and Conscience
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 05, 2011
    Quick Summary:
    This article was published in Phi Delta Kappan, June, 2003, pp 729-735. You can access it online here

    Bedfellows Issue Yet Another Manifesto
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: May 22, 2003
    Quick Summary: Contest: Send in your answers. The most outrageous-and fun--will be posted.

    The Persistence of the 'Grammar of Schooling'
    By Edgar H. Schuster
    Publication Date: May 21, 2003
    Quick Summary: Ed Schuster has a modest proposal: Since we don't bother to study school reform in any way to benefit schools, why not just reprint "Nation at Risk" every ten years?

    It's Time to Boycott
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: May 17, 2003
    Quick Summary: Do you wonder what you can do to resist high stakes testing? Join the boycott!

    Bitter Battle Over Class Standards
    By Nanette Asimov
    Publication Date: May 05, 2003
    Quick Summary: This article by able San Francisco Chronicle reporter Asimov shows just what's at stake in a California lawsuit--and why we all have a vital interest in the outcome. In short, poor students are suing the state of California for the right to equal resources in their schools. Governor Davis, the state of California, and 13 hired expert witnesses insist that giving resources to poor schools that now lack them is a waste of money--because resources rich kids take for granted don't help poor kids score better on tests.

    I Told You So!
    The Misinterpretation and Misuse of The National Reading Panel Report
    By Joanne Yatvin
    Publication Date: April 30, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here, in an Education Week Commentary, Joanne Yatvin tells the real story of The National Reading Panel Report.

    Students In a Fog
    By Richard Rothstein
    Publication Date: April 28, 2003
    Quick Summary: Richard Rothstein points out that students' health is an educational problem as well as a medical one.

    Far and away the best book on the National Reading curriculum. . .
    By Jim Trelease
    Publication Date: April 20, 2003
    Quick Summary: Jim Trelease reviews Dick Allington's Big Brother and the National Reading Curriculum: How Ideology Trumped Evidence

    MCAS Snow Job
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 17, 2003
    Quick Summary: Some reporters thought that the MCAS snafu over asking 4th graders to write about what they did on a snow day was funny. "Fluke Flake" ran a Boston Herald headline. In a Boston Globeeditorial column titled "MCAS Snow Job," Joan Vennochi took the matter very seriously, showing a respect for children absent in other coverage. Vennochi takes MCAS question writers to task for presuming that a day off from school is "wonderful" for everybody, wonderful enough to write about.

    All That Minnesota Kindergartners Need to Know
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 15, 2003
    Quick Summary: This commentary raises question of what we want for our kindergartners.

    Maryland Set on Destroying Childhood
    Standardizing grades, as a logical outgrowth of standardizing learning
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 14, 2003
    Quick Summary: Below is the deconstruction of an article from the Washington Post.

    And a Teenager Shall Lead Them. . . .
    By Brittany Nickerson
    Publication Date: April 13, 2003
    Quick Summary: Brittany Nickerson is a senior at Amherst Regional High School. Here are her reflections on her two-year refusal to take the MCAS. Yes, for two years she has withstood all pressures to take the test.

    When Learning Is the Hands-On Kind
    By Michael Winerip, The New York Times
    Publication Date: April 09, 2003
    Quick Summary: "We'll always need people to fix our cars, build our houses, cut our hair. Not everybody needs college."

    Three Letters You Will Find Useful
    By CalCARE San Diego
    Publication Date: April 07, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here are sample letters from CalCARE San Diego. CalCARE urges community members to contact local school board officials, state education officials, and state legislators. Write to CalCare San Diego at: takebackeducation@hotmail.com

    Why Our Son Won't Attend STAR Tutoring Sessions
    By Stephen Cary & Andrea Kevech
    Publication Date: April 02, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here, parents explain why extra tutoring sessions aren't about helping students become better readers at all--and look who gets a copy of their letter.

    "April Foolishness: The 20th Anniversary of A Nation At Risk
    By Gerald W. Bracey
    Publication Date: April 01, 2003
    Quick Summary: This is a draft version of an article appears in the April 2003 Phi Delta Kappan. If you care about what's happening to education, you need to subscribe to this important publication. Gerald W. Bracey spends half of his time as an independent researcher. He divides the rest as an Associate Professor of Education at George Mason University, an Associate of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, and a Fellow of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University.

    These Schools Are Our Schools
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 21, 2003
    Quick Summary: Sing along.

    Fixing Head Start: A Bone-Headed Idea
    By Sue Ontiveros
    Publication Date: March 20, 2003
    Quick Summary: This column appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, March 8, 2003, titled "Bush prepares to fix Head Start, which isn't broken."

    A Teacher Learns to Let Her Students Be
    By Natalie Harris
    Publication Date: March 18, 2003
    Quick Summary: These days, it seems positively revolutionary to tell students, "Follow your bliss." Our society will be the loser for our insisting, "Follow the test."

    State-Mandated Testing: Why We Opt Out
    By Fred L. Hamel & Catherine Ross Hamel
    Publication Date: March 18, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here's why these parents have decided to protect their children from high-stakes testing.

    With 19 Governors and 24 Corporations, You Can Have a University Funded by the U. S. Taxpayer
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 08, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here is another look at No Child Left Behind's systematic takeover of education.

    Bureaucrat's Field of Dreams
    If You Test Them They Will Learn
    By Bill Page
    Publication Date: March 05, 2003
    Quick Summary:

    Let There Be No
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 26, 2011
    Quick Summary: Here's a quick explanation of why Standardistas are like eunuchs in a harem.

    When the Press Cites
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: March 27, 2003
    Quick Summary: Among other things, StandardsWork Inc. is a public school-bashing outfit that defines parents as "priority shareholders" in their children's well-being.

    The Straightjacket of Standardized Tests
    By Tom McKenna
    Publication Date: February 25, 2003
    Quick Summary: Get out your handkerchiefs. But you'll also be cheering. This is from http://www.nea.org/neatoday/0303/cover.html and is an adaptation of an article that originally appeared in The Oregonian.

    No State Left Behind: a Modest Proposal
    By Ann HS/WA
    Publication Date: April 07, 2003
    Quick Summary: Send a copy to your legislators.

    An FCAT Survivor Calls for Change
    By Stephanie Scribner
    Publication Date: February 25, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here's the hgih-stakes testing story of a Florida teen.

    If You Cannot Find Osama, Test the Kids
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 24, 2003
    Quick Summary: If we can't laugh at 'em, where are we?

    National Reading Panel Gives Poor School Kids the Shaft
    By Farin Houk-Cerna
    Publication Date: February 24, 2003
    Quick Summary: Read this commentary, which first appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune on Feb. 23, 2003, and be proud you are a teacher. http://www.tribnet.com/opinion/story/2666172p-2707492c.html

    Take This Test and Shove It
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 23, 2003
    Quick Summary: Take this test and shove it, We ain't doin' this no more.

    What Did You Learn In School Today?
    By Pikku Myy
    Publication Date: February 22, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here's a Standardisto update on an old Tom Paxton song.

    Goals 2000: What's in a Name? and Why Should We Still Care About It?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 05, 2011
    Quick Summary: More than a decade after President Bush the Elder and the nation's governors adopted goals for education for the year 2000, I asked, Whose good is being served? Now, in this era of Bush the Younger and NCLB, it's useful to take a look at what drove Goals 2000. The players haven't changed, and although the current administration is more ruthless about it, neither have the goals.

    Enron and Education
    By Gary Stager
    Publication Date: April 07, 2003
    Quick Summary: In this hard-hitting column from District Administration Gary Stager asks: If we can't trust educators to make curricular decisions, assess student progress or meet the needs of students, perhaps they could run Worldcom.

    The Federal Hickory Stick For Teaching Reading
    By Gerald Coles
    Publication Date: February 20, 2003
    Quick Summary: Gerald Coles offers important information about Federal arm-twisting for "scientific" reading. Buy his book!

    What's Good for Globalized Business is Good for Third Graders
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: Teachers and parents, you need to understand who's calling the shots in education policy: APEC. And if you've never heard of APEC, it's time you did.

    Take This Test and Shove It
    Should a Miami Teenager Have to Deconstruct a Poetic Account of Tracking Moose in Alaska to Get a High School Diploma?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 21, 2003
    Quick Summary: Parents of kids facing graduation tests should take a close look at the questions being asked--and then ask a few questions of their own.

    "I am in Birmingham because injustice is here."
    -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Here's your chance to redress injustice.
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 13, 2003
    Quick Summary: ACT NOW

    Please donate to the Courage in Education Award

    First Rule in Evaluating Schools: Check the Vomit Index
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 11, 2003
    Quick Summary: Is there any hope for a system where education leaders define "fun" as finding innovative ways to give standardized tests?

    Test Prep for the FCAT
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 11, 2003
    Quick Summary: Read it and weep.

    Then promise:

    Hell, no.
    We won't take this any more.

    And a Teenager Shall Lead Them
    By Kimberly Marciniak
    Publication Date: February 01, 2003
    Quick Summary: Here are some comments by a Texas teenager who has announced her refusal to take the upcoming TAKS. Following Kimberly's comments are the reactions of her mom. See two news articles from San Antonio News-Express--under NCLB News on this site. Stay tuned for upcoming developments.

    Victory in Chicago!!
    By George Schmidt
    Publication Date: January 28, 2003
    Quick Summary: As we join George and Sharon Schmidt in their victory, remember that the enormous legal bills in standing firm for principle continue. Become part of this vital First Amendment struggle. Send Substance a check:

    *$16 for a subscription
    *What you can afford to support their struggle

    Silence Kills: Your Kid Could Be Next
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: This bit is based on "First they came for the communists. . . next the Jews. . .", attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller and referring to the complicity of people who didn't speak up against evil during the Nazi reign of terror. Pastor Niemoller also declared that he "would rather burn his church to the ground, than to preach the Nazi trinity of "race, blood, and soil."

    This updated version reminds us of the effect of apathy and complicity today, as the high-stakes testing juggernaut proceeds. We need voices speaking out against the Standardisto trinity of standardization, competition, and dehumanization.

    Selling Our Students Short
    A Senator Speaks Up
    By Senator James Jeffords
    Publication Date: January 16, 2003
    Quick Summary: Vermont's Senator Jeffords delivered this speech on the floor of the Senate January 14, 2003. Ask your Senator what he's doing.

    Concerning the Matter of a Desk Audit
    By Wendell
    Publication Date: January 03, 2003
    Quick Summary: The occasional nagging question gets answered.

    Start the Year Right--And Improve Your Health
    Study Finds Protesting Is Good For You
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 31, 2002
    Quick Summary: Saying "No!" to the government will improve your health--and make the world a better place.

    Out of School
    PBS's National Desk showcases education myths
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 29, 2002
    Quick Summary: FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) does a great job as watchdog on the media. You should support them. But what they didn't print was my observation, after researching PBS funding by conservative Think Tanks, that if you have $500,000 to spend, you can say any damn thing you want to about public schools. I reprint this small piece here as a reminder to check out who's funding what you watch on PBS, whom we sometimes credit with being more objective than they are.

    The Difference Between Corporations and Schools
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 25, 2002
    Quick Summary: This explains why schools can't be more like business.

    Enabling Inequality in Education
    By Joan Ryan
    Publication Date: December 25, 2002
    Quick Summary: The Savage Inequalities continue: middle class parents foot the bill to make sure their public school still have art and music, foreign-language teachers, librarians, classroom aides, building renovations, playgrounds, computers, field trips, and more. Poor parents can't do this, so their kids go to schools without these "luxuries."

    Ask a Kindergartner: What Are the Qualities of a Good Teacher?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 22, 2002
    Quick Summary:

    School Committee Should Escalate MCAS Opposition
    By Dennis Fox
    Publication Date: December 22, 2002
    Quick Summary: This appeared as an editorial in the Brookline (MA), TAB:Townonline, Dec. 18, 2002. Dennis points out how legislative "tinkering around the edges" serves to divide-and-conquer the opposition. It most definitely does not serve children. Dennis wants the Brookline Committee to act. My question is: When are teachers going to join MassRefusal?

    Vultures of a Feather Flock Together
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 18, 2002
    Quick Summary: Former state superintendents of schools never die; they find new foundations

    Life in the Twenty-First Century without Analytical Algebra
    By Sue Allison
    Publication Date: December 17, 2002
    Quick Summary: In the old days, siblings with very different strengths and interests could both receive high school diplomas.

    Jobs and Education
    The Big Scam Perpetuated by the Media
    By Dennis W. Redovich
    Publication Date: December 16, 2002
    Quick Summary: Dennis knows about job trends and he hits hard at myths of future job seekers needing advanced math and technological skills

    Legislation Won't Make Children Learn
    Educators know the truth but are afraid to say it: All children cannot learn.
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 14, 2002
    Quick Summary: Longtime educator David Finley is right: we do children no favors by proclaiming "All children can learn." We must acknowledge that children learn differently--and we must insist that politicans acknowledge it too.

    What Does 'Being Smart' Mean?
    A Lesson from a 'C' Student
    By Anne Wheelock
    Publication Date: May 17, 2003
    Quick Summary: Anne Wheelock reminds us something about the notorious MCAS that is true of all high-stakes tests: "If we learn one thing from Jennifer Mueller's experience, it is that MCAS unrealistically and unnecessarily narrows the definition of what it means to use our minds well."

    Deschooling Society
    By Ivan Illich
    Publication Date: December 06, 2002
    Quick Summary: The opening to Deschooling Society remains a provocative commentary of our time

    The Next Step After CASE
    By Dave Stratman, Editor, New Democracy
    Publication Date: December 06, 2002
    Quick Summary: As Dave shows, the demise of the CASE shows the importance of individual action. Soon Chicago will have a bigger and better test. What is needed there--and across the nation--is mass refusal to cooperate with the testocracy. . . and the big business agenda pushing it.

    Chicago Ends CASE Tests
    By George N. Schmidt
    Publication Date: December 06, 2002
    Quick Summary: Here's the full story on the infamous CASE and the people who erased it.

    The Sacredness of Money
    By Dennis W. Redovich
    Publication Date: December 04, 2002
    Quick Summary: Dennis writes a weekly commentary on education and the economy, posted every monday on his website: http://jobseducationwis.org

    Also available at http://www.educationnews.org

    Notes on Japan from an American Schoolteacher
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 28, 2012
    Quick Summary: As our government pursues its relentless path to standardize education, to decree the books and methods we use, the issues discussed in this 1987 essay from Phi Delta Kappan are more current than ever.

    Stop the Abuse
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 07, 2002
    Quick Summary: I don't know when, in last two weeks, anyway, an article has made me so sick as the New York Times piece which provoked this commentary.

    Do We Really Want Rigor For Our Kids?
    By Nancy Barth
    Publication Date: January 02, 2003
    Quick Summary: It's important to look carefully at the words we use to describe the way we work with children. We must also be vigilant about the words other people use.

    A Horse Called NCLB
    By Anne C. Lewis
    Publication Date: December 02, 2002
    Quick Summary: This is the beginning of a provocative commentary on NCLB. Read the rest at: http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/k0211lew.htm Everyone should subscribe to Phi Delta Kappan. Do it today.

    Misguided Reforms Won't Educate Poor Children
    By John Scudder
    Publication Date: November 05, 2009
    Quick Summary: Here's an op ed from the East Valley Tribune (Arizona)

    Frustration in the Classroom
    Listening to the Teacher
    By San Francisco Chronicle editorial
    Publication Date: February 20, 2005
    Quick Summary: This is quite an editorial--trying to represent teachers rather than denounce them.

    Keeping One's Job
    Silence and Inaction in the Face of Child Abuse Takes a Terrible Toll
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 21, 2002
    Quick Summary: e. e. cummings once wrote, "There is some shit I will not eat." When will teachers reach this point?

    A Modest Proposal
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: December 25, 2002
    Quick Summary: Here's an antidote for people who think educational excellence ended the day they graduated from high school.

    How the Government Can Screw Up A Child's Love of Books
    Defend Democracy: Stop No Child Left Behind Insanity
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 21, 2002
    Quick Summary: Now the government is handing out instructions showing parents how to make their kids hate reading.

    Questions the New York Times Doesn't Choose to Answer
    By Paul Shaker
    Publication Date: November 19, 2002
    Quick Summary: Point of information: Bill Borders is an editor who sent form letters to people writing the New York Times complaining about the dismissal of education columnist Richard Rothstein.

    Fear and Loathing ... and Preschool
    By Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor Book Editor
    Publication Date: December 09, 2009
    Quick Summary: According to this scenario, Citigroup holds trademark on Toddlers, offering a full range of financial and playground advice for parents as they navigate the complex world of childhood asset management.

    Get the F(aith) Out
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: November 02, 2002
    Quick Summary: While many of us have been dozing the faith-based healers have been setting up their initiatives and legislation

    Corporate Scriptwriters Call State School Boards? Tunes
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 02, 2011
    Quick Summary: Studying conferences programs reveals a lot of info about Standardisto bedfellows

    Let's Turn the Tables
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: April 18, 2003
    Quick Summary: Why are we quizzing kindergartners when it's CEOS and their political cronies who should be answering the questions?

    Ten Commandments of No Child Left Behind
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 14, 2002
    Quick Summary: And Congress spake, "We are your masters who brought you out of the wilderness of teacher professionalism and into the house of direct instruction."

    Never Never Land
    By Wendy Darling
    Publication Date: October 09, 2002
    Quick Summary: The short version of opening exercises for the school year is that it's all our fault: the achievement gap exists because we teachers "don't believe all children can learn."

    Codicil Needed for No Child Left Behind Legislation
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 08, 2002
    Quick Summary: Japanese engineering advancements reveal new possibilities for tracking children's vital statistics.

    Let Them Go to Prison
    By Charles Dickens
    Publication Date: October 08, 2002
    Quick Summary: What to do with kids pushed out of high school in the name of high standards and high stakes tests? Scrooge had the answer: "Are there no prisons?"

    Who's a Liar?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: October 06, 2002
    Quick Summary: Here's why a Viginia mom should lie to her son about his text score. For lots more about Virginia tests, go to http://www.soreform.com

    The Crayola Curriculum: Shocking Secrets Revealed
    An Answer to USA Today Inanity
    By Leila Christenbury
    Publication Date: October 10, 2002
    Quick Summary: This is from NCTE's InBox, an online newsletter you can receive by e-mail--for free


    In Defense of Massachusetts Public School Children
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 28, 2002
    Quick Summary: Here's the cover letter for the package that CARE (Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education) sent out to all School Committees in Massachusetts.


    Governor Barnes Announces
    Pre-natal High-stakes Test

    By Concerned Parents of Georgia
    Publication Date: September 23, 2002
    Quick Summary: A+ Education Reform Act Extends Testing to the Unborn

    Leave No Legislator Behind (LNLB)
    A proposal from some really grateful moms
    By Parents Across Virginia United to Reform SOLS
    Publication Date: September 23, 2002
    Quick Summary: Parents Across Virginia United to Reform SOLS (PAVURSOL) issues a modest proposal to politicians who passed No Child Left Behind legislation: Take a test--any test.

    Should Education Be More Like Medicine? Ask Any Patient
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 19, 2002
    Quick Summary: Let's remind ourselves of how hospitals treat patients before we try to make schools restructure themselves into scientific institutions. out

    "Reading First" Removes Freedom to Teach
    By Constance Weaver
    Publication Date: September 18, 2002
    Quick Summary: With "Reading First," Ideology Masquerades as Science

    Looking at Tests
    Can Drive You Mad

    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 17, 2002
    Quick Summary: Here's one more example of why the testing industry must keep test content secret.

    Washington Mothers March Against WASL
    Moms Call for Test Boycott
    By Juanita Doyon
    Publication Date: September 08, 2002
    Quick Summary: Upon the release of 2002 Washington Assessment of Student Learning scores, Mothers Against WASL calls for the statewide boycott of WASL testing.

    Who Give's a Rat's Patootie About High School Calculus?
    School Should Be More Than Preparation for More School
    By Tom Magliozzi
    Publication Date: September 08, 2002
    Quick Summary: In this commentary on "All Things Considered," April 4, 2001, Tom Magliozzi asks, "Why did I and millions of other kids spend valuable educational hours learning something we would never use? Is this the goal of education, the teaching of skills that we'll never use?"

    Coming Soon to a School Near You
    The No Child Left Behind Legislation: Fighting Back
    By Vermont Society for the Study of Education
    Publication Date: September 07, 2002
    Quick Summary: The Vermont Society for the Study of Education is launching a series of public meetings throughout the state--to inform the public of the dangers of the No Child Left Behind legislation. We are flooding the schools and public meeting places with flyers. We post the press release for the first meeting here, hoping it will provide inspiration for other groups to do something similar in their communities. Silence is the enemy. We must speak up. Let us know of your efforts! If you want to help make the VSSE international, annual membership fees are $25. We welcome out-of-state members, who will receive our newsletter.

    Quote to Remember
    By Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Publication Date: December 09, 2009
    Quick Summary:

    Slap Their Little Hands into Phonics
    No Child Left Behind Decrees When Slapping Doesn't Work, Try Prayer
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 31, 2002
    Quick Summary: Maybe it's time for people to pay attention to the faith-based provisions of No Child Left Behind.

    e. e. cummings Answers Standardistas
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 26, 2002
    Quick Summary: What can be measured? And how do you go about measuring it?

    Guest Commentary
    by Lawrence Douglas & Alexander George
    By Lawrence Douglas & Alexander George
    Publication Date: August 25, 2002
    Quick Summary: In We Must Save the SAT authors include such questions as this one in their argument:

    beluga : blini
    foie gras: ?

    (a) saltine
    (b) egg and onion matzo
    (c) fischietti genoveste
    (d) toast point
    (e) none of the above

    Guest Commentary
    by John Borowski
    By John Borowski
    Publication Date: August 17, 2002
    Quick Summary: What passes for 'environmental education' often is just smoke and mirrors

    Perhaps Governors and Corporate Leaders Should Talk to Parents
    A Parent Talks Back
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: August 06, 2002
    Quick Summary: When media lackeys roll over and play dead for corporate-politico alliances, parents need to respond

    Where Are the Parents?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: February 29, 2004
    Quick Summary: Here's a hard-hitting commentary on Congressional stonewalling on IDEA.

    When I Raised My Hand in Class
    By James Stevenson
    Publication Date: December 09, 2009
    Quick Summary:

    Who's Watching the Data Watchers?
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 12, 2002
    Quick Summary: The No Child Left Behind legislation puts in place the total data control of schools and the people in them.

    Blowing the Whistle on Science Shams--in Surgery and in Reading
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: July 10, 2002
    Quick Summary: The New England Journal of Medicine has published a report declaring arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis a sham. When will the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English and other professional groups call government-ordered scientific reading a sham? And then will the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times print this information?

    Hope on Three Legs
    By Georgia Hedrick
    Publication Date: February 21, 2004
    Quick Summary: The courage, no, more--the pure joy of parents who have children with disabilities, amazes me. Talk about hope springing eternal from the human heart--they exude it!

    A Few Questions for Standardistas
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 12, 2002
    Quick Summary: We need to consider questions that matter, and we need to ask these questions often.

    An 11 year-old writes to the President about H.R. 1350(IDEA)
    By Daniel Alperstein
    Publication Date: January 11, 2004
    Quick Summary: Daniel has some very clear views about inclusion of kids into the regular classroom--and he's just 11 years old.

    Reading First Expert Quiz
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: June 06, 2002
    Quick Summary: A loaded deck? Let's look at who's on the expert panel for the federal Reading First program and ask some questions about the committee's makeup: Where are the teachers? Where are the people who know something about children?s literature? Where are the people whose professional alliance is other than special education and learning disabilities? Where are the people who would caution that a medical model of education is not only foolish but also dangerous?

    Parents Devoted To a Disabled Child
    By Clare Ansberry
    Publication Date: January 08, 2004
    Quick Summary: In the 1950s and 60s a group of pioneering parents shunned institutionalizing their developmentally delayed children. Now, in old age, they face challenge and heartbreak.

    National Reading Tribunal News Channel
    By Susan Ohanian
    Publication Date: September 18, 2002
    Quick Summary: Sex and Syllabification. Conjugal Consonants. And more!

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