Yo Teach…! Or how to avoid teaching like Jason

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Very good article about how ed tech and privatization are becoming increasingly intertwined. This is a problem for those (like the author and myself) who are skeptical of educational privatization but optimistic about education technology. I believe vouchers go way too far, but it seems like many are thinking of an even more extreme view of…

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I cannot recommend Paul Tough’s book How Children Succeed highly enough. It contains fascinating literature reviews on cognitive psychology and the impact of early childhood adversity on adolescents and adults, incredible stories to illustrate these points, and a lot of useful tips for teachers who are skeptical of whether or not mastery of a set…

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Sep 08 2012

Into the Belly of the Beast

In my very short life as an educational thinker and teacher, I have had just about every view on education reform. As a freshman in college, I immersed myself in Marxist critiques in our public school system, believing that NCLB was the culmination of a capitalist takeover of our schools to proletarianize students, prepping them…

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Hey 2012 CMs! I’m a 2011 corps member. I’m not a particularly good teacher; maybe not even a good teacher at all, though I try really hard to get better.  But nevertheless, I think I have some important advice that you can benefit from. If someone uses your experience, which you so honestly and bravely share with…

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Aug 10 2012

Education needs more useful debates

The current educational debate can be very frustrating. On the one hand, I find most ecstatic “reformers” ignorant of what it means to be a teacher, arrogant about power of their ideas, oblivious to the unintended consequences of their inherently limited proposals, and uninterested in the way their proposals get implemented, even though this is perhaps the…

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In today’s NYT op-ed, David Brooks responds to growing literature by Charles Murray and Robert Putnam that the divergence in opportunities for high and low income students is stark and growing. In his usual attempt to straddle the political divide, Brooks writes: “Liberals are going to have to be willing to champion norms that say…

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When I joined the 2011 corps I was slated to be a high school social studies teacher. At institute I was trained as such. However, once I arrived in Detroit, it turned out there were fifteen high school social studies and ELA teachers competing for many fewer jobs. By mid-September ten of us were still…

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Jun 25 2012

Future of Education School?

Just read a very interesting article about a new educational grad school called Relay School of Education that was started by many founders of the most successful charter schools (KIPP, Uncommon). It offers a two year masters degree program meant to help teachers succeed in their classrooms that very year. Interestingly, success in the program (and…

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Gary Rubenstein points out that the attrition rate has not declined over the past twenty years, and uses this fact to conclude that institute has not really improved over time. I think framing our discussion of institute in this way misses some of the bigger goals and weaknesses of TFA.   As many CMA’s pointed…

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I think a very important question skeptics of TFA recent reform efforts need to grapple with is whether teacher turnover is inevitable in low-income schools that produce dramatic results. Many of the most successful charter school chains (KIPP, Uncommon) assume that most teachers will not stay for longer than five years due to natural burnout.…

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Jun 18 2012

The “Corporate Reform” Movement

When skimming through blog posts, I have a nifty trick for quickly deciding whether a something is going to be worth reading. I check whether it uses the phrase “corporate reform” in the first paragraph. If so, I move on. The terms “corporate reform” or “corporate reformers” usually refer to anything or anyone who is…

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Soo… anyone with opinions on the benefit (or total lack there of) of Teach For America should listen to this Tell me More episode interviewing Gary Rubenstein, TFA alum-turned critic, whose main argument is most TFA corps members only teach for a few years. Since it takes at least a year to get good, both…

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Sep 20 2011

Euphemisms and mistaken optimism

In this blog, I will often play the part of the choice/competition “skeptic” mainly because I find that skeptics to a weaker job of making their arguments. I will come back to why I believe this, but I wanted to use this space to point out one grossly incorrect conclusion from an article in The…

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Pontifications of the Unplaced


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