@johnkuhntx guest post: Five New Years Resolutions for Public Education Supporters


AFT’s 10 Myths: Unyielding Devotion to the Common Core

Gary Rubinstein on TFA and CC: Plus Predictions for 2014 and 2024!

#Commoncore opponents, a word please.

Do “no-excuses” schools create damaging “toxic stress” in children?


Alfred Lubrano, a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer who has written extensively about poverty and its effects, published a piece on December 11th about the ways in which “harsh or authoritarian parenting,” a disciplinary practice that researchers say is more common among families living in poverty, affects the children who are victims of it.

When children who do not feel supported or loved are disciplined harshly, says pediatrician Daniel Taylor, their bodies release cortisol–a hormone that, when released in large amounts, is “toxic to developing brains.”  The resulting “toxic stress,” as it has been labeled, can affect a child’s health, behavior, and ability to learn–resulting in uncontrolled emotions, attention deficits, hyperactivity, combative behavior, problems focusing, reading difficulties, and even physical issues like heart disease.  And unfortunately, since children often parent the way they themselves were parented, many experts suggest that “poor neighborhoods likely hold countless families suffering from compromised…

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Friedberg: stupid textbooks + stupid teachers = stupid kids


Okay–though he doesn’t exactly say this in his December 11th op-ed, which could essentially serve as both a plug for the Common Core and an advertisement for profiteering corporations like Pearson (and which Paul Thomas suggests is the “Worst Education Op-Ed of 2013“), Solomon Friedberg reflects on America’s “appalling” PISA scores and wonders if our students can ever “get smart.” In short, Friedberg concludes that the Common Core is the answer to our country’s educational woes, but that we need to focus on three issues: textbooks, teachers, and testing.

Where to begin…

Textbooks: while I don’t think anyone would disagree that students should be working with the best materials available to them, in placing so much importance on textbooks (he says they not only shape students’ understanding, but that teachers are essentially useless without them–more on that later), Friedberg has effectively reinforced the narrow, myopic approach to education…

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We’re more than the Common Core

Teaching in DC


We wake up early, every morning, ready to teach,

and we look forward to opening our classroom door.

We quietly ponder which student we’ll reach,

because we’re more than the Common Core.

We spend countless hours planning lessons ahead,

and we genuinely desire for our students to soar.

We reflect on each school day before resting in bed,

because we’re more than the Common Core.

We deliver instruction, plus manage off-task behaviors,

and we interact with students from eight to four.

We teach with conviction and with zero disclaimers,

because we’re more than the Common Core.

We seek ways to increase our students’ learning,

and we try to influence their lives, like never before.

Like Rafe, we teach like our hair is burning,

because we’re more than the Common Core.

We’ll always advocate for, and defend, public education,

but we don’t seek fame, profits or a national tour.

We believe…

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