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Gregory Michie
Gregory Michie teaches 7th and 8th graders in Chicago, where he has worked in and with the city's public schools for the past 25 years. He is the author of We Don't Need Another Hero: Struggle, Hope, and Possibility in the Age of High-Stakes Schooling (2012), Holler If You Hear Me: The Education of a Teacher and his Students (2009), and See You When We Get There: Teaching for Change in Urban Schools (2005), all published by Teachers College Press.

Entries by Gregory Michie

Amy Winehouse, Allen Iverson, and the Importance of Seeing Our Students

(3) Comments | Posted August 4, 2015 | 7:18 PM

Two documentaries I saw recently got me thinking a lot about teaching, even though neither focuses on education: "Amy," about acclaimed British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011, and "Iverson," about 11-time NBA all-star and 2000-2001 Most Valuable Player, Allen Iverson.

At their respective...

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Stupidity and Value-Added Models

(1) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 12:15 PM

My 8th graders were discussing a documentary film on the representation of Latinos in the media when our conversation veered to the topic of standardized testing. I don't remember how it came up exactly, but if you're a teacher or student in a Chicago school, testing is always lurking close...

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What White Educators Can Learn From Pittsburgh's Police Chief

(4) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 9:43 AM

When I first saw the picture on my Twitter feed a week or so ago, I did a double-take: A smiling, uniformed, white police officer holding up a sign that read, "I resolve to challenge racism @ work #EndWhiteSilence."

Amid the stark divide in recent months between police...

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On the Importance of Mirrors for Students (and Teachers)

(3) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 1:43 PM

A life in schools is filled with metaphors, and one of my favorites is the idea that the curriculum should be both a "window" and a "mirror" for students. I first encountered it years ago in a book chapter by Peggy McIntosh and Emily Style, and I've used...

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Putting Students First? In Chicago, Not a Chance

(16) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 6:46 PM

I'd intended to write a piece about a few of my students -- kids who made a deep impact on me this year. Roberto. Carmen. Jackie. Leo.

Then I spent yet another morning picketing in front of the Chicago Board of Education headquarters, and my writing plans changed.


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What the Tribune Survey on Chicago Schools Really Says

(34) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 6:32 PM

Chicagoans are ready for education reform.

That's the conclusion the Chicago Tribune's editorial board draws from a new survey about the city's schools it commissioned with the Joyce Foundation.

Of course, by "education reform," the Tribune means its preferred version of change, which hews closely to the...

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Salvador's Last Day

(2) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 3:02 PM

The first day he came into my class, Salvador told me his family would be moving soon.

"How soon?" I asked.

"I dunno. Maybe next week."

The next week came and went, and Salvador was still there. He was a sweet 13-year-old, and he seemed to like my media studies...

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Back in the Classroom, Testing Is As Bad As I Thought -- and Worse

(55) Comments | Posted January 14, 2013 | 5:25 PM

When I returned to the classroom in September after spending 12 years as a teacher educator, I thought I understood pretty clearly the damage that testing was doing in our schools. I'd spent time in dozens of Chicago school buildings and well over a hundred classrooms during the previous decade,...

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A Strike of Choices

(65) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 11:25 AM

So Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the Chicago Teachers Union is engaging in a "strike of choice." I'd say it's more like a strike of choices.

After all, it's rare that anything is chosen in a vacuum. Choices are made within a context, a climate, and often in response to other...

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What Value Is Added by Publicly Shaming Teachers?

(56) Comments | Posted March 7, 2012 | 12:22 PM

Just when you think the climate of disrespect for teachers can't get any worse, it does.

This past weekend, the Chicago Tribune's editorial board urged Illinois parents to demand that the state emulate New York City (and Los Angeles) by making individual teachers' "value-added" ratings available for public...

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If a Parent Who Reads to Her Child is "Good," is One Who Doesn't "Bad?"

(112) Comments | Posted February 10, 2012 | 8:29 PM

If I'm in Chicago, then I'm in Illinois. I'm not in Chicago, therefore I must not be in Illinois.

In the field of logic, that's an example of what's called "denying the antecedent" -- a logical fallacy that assumes that because a implies b, then not a implies not b....

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As the School Year Ends, What Mattered?

(5) Comments | Posted June 10, 2011 | 8:01 PM

I remember standing at the back of a crowded, sticky-hot gymnasium each June and watching my eighth-grade students graduate. The week leading up to the big day was always a blur of rehearsals and last-minute preparations, so the ceremony itself usually provided a respite -- a moment to reflect on...

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What I've Learned in School: Reflections of a Disenchanted Student

(11) Comments | Posted June 1, 2011 | 11:07 AM

When I began blogging here at Huffington Post in January, I hoped that in addition to sharing my own thoughts on educational issues of the day, I might be able to provide space for the voices and experiences of teachers and students. Like many (but not all) bloggers who post...

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The Trouble with 'Innovation' in Schools

(291) Comments | Posted April 4, 2011 | 11:05 PM

I was sitting among a large crowd of students and teachers at the Chicago Public Schools Video Fair. It was 1998 -- four years before No Child Left Behind was signed into law, but already three years into Chicago's own march toward test-driven "accountability."

I listened as a high-level district...

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On 30-Hour Weeks and the Public Pummeling of Teachers

(86) Comments | Posted March 10, 2011 | 9:38 AM

It's been awhile since I had a classroom of my own, but my memory of teaching in Chicago bears little resemblance to the picture Mayor Daley painted last week in a talk at Wheaton College.

"Our teachers [in Chicago] work six hours a day," Daley told his...
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Why Politicians Need to Spend More Time in Classrooms

(5) Comments | Posted February 22, 2011 | 12:25 PM

When President Obama used a Baltimore middle school last week as the setting to talk about his plans for education spending, his visit was short and sweet. He watched kids do a science experiment, delivered some prepared remarks, chatted with a few students, and headed for the exits....

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Finding Community in a Sea of Snow

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2011 | 11:40 AM

Like many Chicagoans, I spent the morning after the big snow shoveling. Sidewalk, front stoop, back walkway, back steps, gangway, entryway to the garage -- then repeated it all for good measure. By the time I finally finished, I was hoping not to pick up a shovel again for at...

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Time for a New Vision for Chicago Schools

(18) Comments | Posted January 26, 2011 | 12:41 PM

Since Mayor Richard Daley took control of Chicago schools in 1995 and began appointing business-minded CEOs to head the system, the march toward a numbers-driven, test-and-punish vision of public education has been steady.

Some insist kids are better off because of it. Tighter accountability, tougher standards and top-down control,...

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How to Be Taken Seriously as a Reformer (Don't Be an Educator)

(61) Comments | Posted January 14, 2011 | 4:24 PM

In the current upside-down world of education policy, there's one foolproof strategy for being taken seriously as a reformer: Make sure you're not an educator.

Urban districts nationwide, with Chicago leading the way, have hired those with business or legal backgrounds to head their school systems. Major voices in the...

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