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Kenneth Bernstein
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Blog Entries by Kenneth Bernstein

What Beyond Curriculum Should We Be Teaching?

Posted January 17, 2011 | 11:55:34 (EST)

I am a government teacher. In light of recent events in Tucson and the reactions to what has happened across the political spectrum, I find myself once again wrestling with a question -- what responsibility do I have to help my students become productive participants in our political processes? Without...

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Of Generals and School Superintendents

Posted January 5, 2011 | 15:57:36 (EST)

The superintendent of the school system in which I teach in Prince George's County, Maryland, according to the 2009 annual report, had a budget of $1.7 billion, serving more than 127,000 students, with roughly 18,300 employees, of whom about 9,000 were teachers.

In the U.S. Army a Major General, with...

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Some Words to Consider From Parker Palmer

Posted December 29, 2010 | 11:44:54 (EST)

Parker Palmer has been an important figure in American education for several decades. His book The Courage to Teach has influenced many educators, myself included.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Palmer, and to obtain several of his books I had not previously known. I have been reading The...

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A Brief Reflection on the PISA Results

Posted December 14, 2010 | 18:09:41 (EST)

Recently the OECD released the results of the latest version of PISA, Programme for International Student Assessment. This is a comparison of samples of students from each of the participating nations in OECD. If one goes to the PISA website, one will read the following:

Are students well...
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Thoughts About Teaching in a Democracy

Posted November 29, 2010 | 14:54:12 (EST)

They are not mine, although I will give my assent to them. I encountered them when reading a book.

Allow me to share them so that you can ponder them, before I tell you the author, because the value of thought should be independent of what we know of the...

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Two Conversations and a Piece of Paper

Posted November 16, 2010 | 14:20:59 (EST)

Dear Mr. Bernstein

I just want to say thank you for everything. You could have let me do what I wanted and I would have been held back in your class. I liked your class a lot because you never gave up on me. No matter how stupid I acted...

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Student Grades, Test Scores, and Rankings

Posted November 2, 2010 | 02:02:05 (EST)

Some want to tie teacher evaluation to student performance on external tests. They may advocate a value-added methodology, which in theory should allow us to rank teachers by how much their students improve. While there are methodological issues about whether we can truly isolate what the teachers have actually contributed...

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The Most Objectionable Thing About Waiting for 'Superman'

Posted October 29, 2010 | 02:56:48 (EST)

The Most Objectionable Thing About Waiting for 'Superman' is the cartoon imagery portraying teaching as peeling back the skull of a student and pouring in information.

That Davis Guggenheim chose to use that imagery demonstrates to this teacher how little he actually understands about teaching.

If teaching were only...

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The Department of Faith-Based Education Initiatives

Posted October 19, 2010 | 19:01:36 (EST)

Does that title surprise you? It shouldn't. When a department and its leadership are advocating for courses of actions either lacking research supporting effectiveness or -- even worse -- where the research clearly demonstrates that the course of action does not work or provides inaccurate and unreliable information, to insist...

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How Would Teachers Like to be Evaluated? What do They Think is Fair?

Posted October 7, 2010 | 14:48:24 (EST)

Of course, I can't speak for all teachers. But there are probably many who feel as do I, a Maryland high school teacher of government with some 15 years' experience.

Let's be clear. Were I evaluated by the external tests my students take, be they Maryland's High School Assessments (all...

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