Power, influence, and déjà vu 

col - Heller|

 Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), one of ESSA’s coauthors, has made one thing abundantly clear: The law prohibits the federal government from acting as a “national school board.” No longer can the U.S. Department of Education compel states to adopt its favored policies on academic standards, [...]

Who matters?

col - Heller|

For years, critics of test-based school accountability have pointed out that when schools face pressure to raise students’ scores in math and reading, they tend to respond by doubling down on those two subject areas and cutting back on the teaching of history, art, music, civics, and more. In short, when the spotlight focuses on [...]

The more things change . . . 

col - Heller|

Last month, my 15-year-old son created a Facebook account. He friended me right away, which struck me as a kind gesture (what dad wouldn’t want to be his kid’s No. 1 friend?), but he had nothing nice to say about my homepage. “Seriously? A video of the dog playing with the sprinkler? A photo of me with [...]

Moving on

col - Richardson|

  About 4,000 unsolicited manuscripts have landed on my desk since becoming editor of Kappan in July 2008 — and I’ve read every one of them. I’ve also selected and edited about 1,700 articles written by roughly 2,500 authors. I’ve written 78 Editor’s Notes and 16 other bylined articles in Kappan. And — here’s a [...]

When the president is a liar 

col - Richardson|

I have to confess that I have long rolled my eyes at suggestions that schools should promote critical thinking for students.   Duh. Of course, schools should promote critical thinking. Why else would you educate someone?   Spelling out the need to provide this essential component of educating a child has always just seemed ridiculous to me — like [...]

Good enough for my kid?

col - Richardson|

American values about education are never more clear than when we think about what we want for our own children. I know that I’ve evaluated every classroom I ever observed on whether I would want my own child in that classroom. If I deemed the teacher excellent, I would be happy to have one of [...]

The medium is us

col - Richardson|

“We become what we behold  . . . We shape our tools and, afterward, our tools shape us.” — Marshall McLuhan Periodically, I see a query about what person, living or dead, you would most like as a dinner partner. High on my list is Marshall McLuhan. In college, I was captivated by the ideas [...]

Practical preparation for all

col - Richardson|

I never thought of myself as a vocational student when I was in high school. But, in fact, my daily high school newspaper class was a practical course with direct career implications. For one hour five days a week — plus scads of hours after school — my classmates and I did everything that was [...]

In reform decisions, somebody knew consequences

col - Richardson|

“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” sputtered the leader, as it finally dawned on him that, no matter how many times he snapped his fingers, he couldn’t conjure up effective and affordable medical coverage for millions of Americans. Pleased by the media’s response, “Nobody knew. . . ” became his signature line. [...]

The lure of teaching

col - Richardson|

A newly minted teacher of elementary and special education recounts her long journey to a teaching credential. Jillian Stelma was walking through the halls of her high school when a girl touched her back and changed her life. A girl she did not know was tracing a number on her back, and, when Jillian turned [...]

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