Peter Cunningham

Is school reform progressive?

By Peter Cunningham

At its core, to be “progressive” is to fight for the little guy against powerful forces of self-interest. Whether the little guy was a Kansas farmer whose earnings were manipulated by commodities traders in Chicago, a woman denied the right to vote, an underpaid working man seeking union representation, blacks oppressed by segregation, or a […]

A 300 student classroom at University of Windsor, Canada.

How poorly designed classroom space puts student learning at risk

By Lennie Scott-Webber

Space matters. For over 200 years we have been teaching in row-by-column seating. Many experts argue that this classroom style has conditioned both educators and students to ineffectively utilize space. Researchers have said that space affects human behavior in powerful ways. So it is striking to realize that in education, empirical research on space is […]

Ross Wiener

How to save teachers from burning out, dropping out and other hazards of experience

By Jonas Chartock and Ross Wiener

An abundance of recent books, research and headlines present growing evidence that our nation’s schools can and must do a better job of preparing teachers for the experiences they’ll face in the classroom. They show that if educators really knew how to address the challenges of teaching in high poverty areas, they would increase their […]

Clarence McNeil, a fifth-grade science teacher at North Star Academy's Downtown Middle School in Newark, says hard work is necessary to close the achievement gap. (Photo: Uncommon Schools)

Wrestling Newark’s achievement gap: Why finding the extra hours is only half the battle

By Clarence McNeil

I am a public school teacher. I usually arrive at school well before 7 a.m. and stay at least until 4 or 5 p.m., and sometimes as late as 6 p.m. Every teacher in my building here at North Star Academy Charter School in Newark, New Jersey, puts in long hours. Why? Because the achievement […]

Henry Seton

Are there really no shortcuts for getting low-income kids to college?

By Henry Seton

“There are no shortcuts.” Inside the world of high-poverty charter schools, few mantras are as beloved as this one. Teacher-legend Rafe Esquith used it as a book title in 2004, and it was later adopted by prominent charter networks like the Knowledge Is Power Program. The slogan holds some truth: There are few quick and […]

How to keep kids with special needs out of prison and in middle school

By Cossondra George

As a special education teacher, I pride myself on being an advocate for my students and their needs. Special education students deserve reasonable accommodations which make it possible for them to be successful in the school setting. In my 20 plus years of teaching, I have taught students with every possible disability. Some of these […]

Learning is like sex, and other reasons the liberal arts will remain relevant

By Leon Botstein

A minor avalanche of defense, both of the liberal arts and the humanities, has been triggered by the transformation of the economy and the world of work. Technology, particularly in the information sciences and biology, has placed science and engineering at the forefront as timely and useful areas of study. And the sustained loss of […]

Lee Kronert

Against tenure? Here’s why you might want to make an exception for your child’s teacher

By Lee Kronert

I get it. When a worker consistently fails to measure up to standards on the job, that worker deserves to be fired. Yet in the public school system, a very different code is in operation.

North Carolina linebacker Jeff Schoettmer (10) celebrates interception return for touchdown during NCAA Football game action between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the North Carolina Tar Heels at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated North Carolina 50-43 (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Why North Carolina student-athlete cheating scandal is more exploitive than shocking

By Joseph Rauch

Last week, the pubic learned that over 18 years, more than 3,100 student-athletes at the University of North Carolina took fake classes to satisfy academic requirements without significantly cutting into their work as athletes. Advisers, counselors, faculty, coaches, and sometimes students collaborated to set up these “phantom classes” where no one had to meet or […]

Ralph Kuncl

What would Thomas Jefferson say? The mind and heart of the new liberal arts

By Ralph Kuncl

In a statement that may sound similar to today’s media rhetoric, 93 years ago Thomas Edison publicly shared the opinion that a college degree is useless. Albert Einstein brilliantly retorted, “It is not so very important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college. He can learn them […]

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