Teaching with evidence in this age of fake news

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  Students need to be able to assess the trustworthiness of evidence — especially when deliberating thorny public policy issues. By Margaret Crocco, Anne-Lise Halvorsen, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Avner Segall Evaluating evidence. Defending claims. Making arguments. Although these words might conjure images of a courtroom, we’re referring to today’s classroom. Drawing upon evidence has become [...]

Emotional intelligence: Learning to walk in another’s shoes

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The capacity to make sense of another person’s thoughts and feelings underlies a host of social-emotional learning outcomes. By Hunter Gehlbach To skeptical teachers and school administrators, social-emotional learning (SEL) might appear to be just another educational fad, the latest in a long line of reforms that fail to live up to their [...]

Wanted: Soft skills for today’s jobs

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Infusing important soft skills in traditional academic courses can improve employability among black youth. By Barton J. Hirsch High schools are supposed to educate students for both college and careers, but that often seems no more than a slogan. There’s a far bigger push to get students into college. A college education can increase a [...]

Confronting colorblindness

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Colorblindness is socially acceptable bias that lives in our personal and institutional beliefs. Its existence inhibits our ability to recognize and respond to the realities of the lives of students of color.  By Edward Fergus During a fall opening conference day for a school district, I provided a keynote on different forms of bias, with [...]

Lessons from a disaster on the Great Plains

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Floodwater from the Souris River surrounds the Ramstad Junior High School in Minot, N.D., on Monday, June 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast). Floodwaters swept away homes, schools, and other buildings in Minot, N.D., in 2011. The community rallied to continue providing an education for its children, teaching us all lessons in how it’s done. By [...]

Mixing guns and schools

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Schools are subject to an often-conflicting array of gun regulations from three levels of government. Educators and parents want schools to be safe places for children. And as the PDK national poll has shown, parents overwhelmingly believe that their children are safe at school. But tragedies do occur, such as the mass murders at Columbine [...]

Backtalk: Why overlook microaffirmations?

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Microaffirmations communicate to students that they’re welcome, visible, and capable of performing well. By Todd L. Pittinsky A bright light can help you see, but it can also blind you. When I walk around classrooms today, I am more aware than ever of microaggressions. Research and public debate are now shining a light on everyday [...]

The transgender question: What are schools to do? 

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As the debate goes on, schools must protect students and comply with the law.  Over the past six months, considerable media and legal attention have been focused on the rights of transgender students in public schools. Last month, a Kappan article, “Seven reasons for accommodating transgender students at school,” tackled the arguments against providing transgender students access [...]

Student online speech rights on and off campus

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  If off-campus online speech presents the likelihood of a disruption on campus, administrators can respond by disciplining the responsible students. Students do not “shed their rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate.” — Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) Nearly 50 years ago, Justice Abe Fortas penned those [...]

In reform decisions, somebody knew consequences

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“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. [...]

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