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Alan Singer
Alan Singer is a social studies educator in the Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York and the editor of Social Science Docket (a joint publication of the New York and New Jersey Councils for Social Studies). He taught at a number of secondary schools in New York City, including Franklin K. Lane High School and Edward R. Murrow High School. He is the author of Education Flashpoints: Fighting for America's Schools (Routledge, 2014) which is based on his award winning Huffington Post blogs, Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach: A Handbook for Secondary School Teachers (Routledge, 2013), Social Studies For Secondary Schools, 3rd Edition (Routledge, 2008), New York and Slavery, Time to Teach the Truth (SUNY, 2008), and Teaching Global History (Routledge, 2011). All opinions expressed in these blogs are my own.

Entries by Alan Singer

Cuomo's School Report Card: Far "Below Standard" in the Education of Minority Students

(4) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 11:03 AM

New York State issues school report cards to help parents evaluate education in local schools and school districts. Students are also graded. Based on standardized assessments in Mathematics and English they are either "Below Standard," "Meets Basic Standard," "Meets Proficiency Standard," or "Exceeds Proficiency Standard."

The public should...

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Debating Common Core: Beware Decomposing Numbers and Rinky-Dink Assessments

(16) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 11:19 AM

Intelligence Squared U.S. sponsored a debate September 9, 2014 on the Common Core State Standards. Four participants argued whether American schools should embrace the standards. They included Carmel Martin, a former assistant Secretary of Education and current executive vice president at the Center for American Progress, Mike Petrilli,...

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Japanese Educators Learn From American Teachers and Schools

(24) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 4:14 PM

The story the American public keeps hearing is that United States schools, students, and teachers are all failures and that massive change is needed. George Bush and the Republican Party contributed to the attack on schools with a "No Child Left Behind" policy that promised to create world-class...

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Pearson and the L.A. School's iPad Project - Time to Tell the Truth

(32) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 10:29 AM

This is a timeline of the Pearson-L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) iPad project and a follow-up to my previous post, "Pearson: Inside the Belly of a Very Troubled Beast."

Email evidence suggests improper contact between Pearson representatives and L.A. school officials prior to the issuing...

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Pearson: Inside the Belly of a Very Troubled Beast

(8) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 1:16 PM

"And the noise was in the beast's belly like unto the questing of thirty couple hounds." -Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory, Book 1, chapter XIX, c. 14769

Being trapped in the belly of the beast is scary. In the Old Testament, Jonah was trapped...

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What Brand Is Your School?

(0) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 11:11 AM

On the first day of school every September students want to wear the right brand of sneakers, jeans, and accessories. Cigarettes come in brands too. So does soda. Who would have thought that schools come in brands also?

Catherine DiMartino, a close colleague at Hofstra University recently coauthored an academic...

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Arne Duncan Declares Victory in War on Schools and Teachers

(6) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 5:24 PM

On Thursday, August 21, 2014, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan used his "Homeroom" blog to announce victory in his war on schools and teachers. After six years of decrying the inadequacy of education in the United States, Duncan "celebrated that "America's students...

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Time to Fix the Real "Broken Windows"

(3) Comments | Posted August 19, 2014 | 9:32 AM

On Saturday August 23, 2014 I will join the "March for Justice for Victims of Police Brutality" in Staten Island, New York. Its sponsors include the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the NAACP, United Health Care Workers Local 1199, and the National Action Network. As a retired New...

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Common Core's War Against Science and Children

(52) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 12:02 PM

One of the major arguments made by advocates for the national Common Core Standards and the high-stakes standardized tests that are paired with them is that the validity of the standards and the reliability of the tests are demonstrated by "data" and scientific research. Unfortunately, their claims are...

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Manny Singer (1920-2014): His Quest is Complete

(1) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 9:06 AM

Manny Singer of 95 Pitt Street on the Lower East Side, 1400 Jesup Avenue in the Bronx, Co-op City, and Century Village in Deerfield Beach, Florida died in his sleep early Tuesday morning August 5, 2014. He was ninety-four years old. On official papers his name was Mandel. His parents...

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Authentic Civics Learning at BxDCA High School

(6) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 1:43 PM

The American Federation of Teachers and Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University recently issued calls for accountability in education that are not simply based on high-stakes standardized assessments. They are particularly interested in assessments that recognize "meaningful student learning" and support educational approaches that "prepare all students...

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Rabbi Creditor - Don't Apologize for Israel, Condemn its Actions

(4) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 9:58 AM

On July 21, 2014, Rabbi Menachem Creditor, a politically progressive Jewish religious leader from Berkeley, California, wrote on Huffington Post, "I'm done apologizing for Israel." In the blog he defended Israel's "defensive responses to Hamas" and defends his right to be a Zionist and a supporter of the...

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I Wore a "Free Palestine" T-Shirt to the Pete Seeger Tribute Concert at Lincoln Center

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 4:51 PM

Pete Seeger died in January 2104 at the age of 94. Seeger was a pioneer in the modern folk music revival as well as lifetime political activist involved in the labor, civil rights, anti-war, and environmentalist movements. He was at home on the banjo, guitar, recorder, tin whistle,...
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Importing "Techies" Is NOT an Immigration or Education Policy

(5) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 9:45 AM

Will the impasse on immigration reform soon be solved now that Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates are on the job? Not likely! Their solution ignores the fundamental reasons for the problem and would probably make other problems facing the United States, especially educational inequity and unemployment, significantly worse....

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Are Math Teachers Really Better Than Social Studies Teachers? Everything Depends on the "Cut" Score

(4) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 2:33 PM

New York State social studies teachers are worried. Between 20 and 40% of their annual "Danielson" assessment will be based on student performance on standardized tests. Untenured teachers are particularly concerned because districts are making it more and more difficult to secure tenure and are basing tenure decisions...

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If Public Education is Outsourced to Private Businesses: A Cautionary Tale

(21) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 3:22 PM

In some quarters in the United States, especially among Republicans, the supposed superiority of unregulated capitalist enterprise over government programs for the delivery of social services is a virtual religious mantra. Recent articles in the business section of The New York Times tell a cautionary tale about what happens when...

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The Case Against Teacher Tenure (Vergara v. California): The (un)Treu Story

(3) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 5:32 PM

The setting, the characters, and the dialogue in this play, are fictional. Unfortunately the court case, Vergara v. California, and the judge's decision are all too real.

The Case:
Vergara v. California, was brought on behalf of nine students, eighteen teenagers and one younger...

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SCALE and edTPA Fire Back!: Methinks They Doth Protest Too Much

(3) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 9:18 AM

On June 13, 2004, Beverly Falk, a Professor of Early Childhood Education at the City College of New York (CCNY) and the director of its Graduate Program posted a statement on Diane Ravitch's Blog defending the Teacher Professional Assessment, better known as edTPA. edTPA is currently...

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Why Pearson Tests Our Kids

(15) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 1:00 PM

Pearson invited me to breakfast. Well not just me. I received an email inviting Long Island educators to a free "Breakfast Briefing" promoting "Pearson Personalized Learning" that would empower me to "Turn your traditional student learning into Student-Centered learning by delivering the right curriculum to the right student,...

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How to Pass a Pearson Test or Peeling the Pearson Pineapple

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 9:35 AM

On Tuesday, June 3, 2014, high school students in New York State take the first new series of math and English exams that are supposed to be aligned with the national Common Core standards. Anticipating that students will have difficulty with the new tests, the State Education Department...

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