This month has been declared New Conversation Month by reformsters. Teachers are being offered (in vaguely non-specific ways) some sort of seats at various tables. Unfortunately, this largesse underlines just how much teachers have not been included in conversations about public education.
Research clearly demonstrates that integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) into the classroom is good for both students and the adults who work with them. But there's a story that the research hasn't captured -- the one of powerful transformation.
Activism when it comes to public K-12 education is flourishing. Laws regarding K-12 education are no longer simply handed down and enforced without pushback - student, parents, teachers and outside activists have a larger voice than ever.
For some parents, college acceptance approaches the culmination of every single parenting choice ever made. It can seem the ultimate goal, the ROI of parenthood, the final gold award and the epitome of a parenting job well done.
The Western legacy of educational virtue has been called into question by the better PISA test score results coming out of other countries, especially China. Should we in the US be following Shanghai's lead and focusing on improving our students' test scores in this international exam?
Or Else is a terrible way to raise children. Having expectations that are so rigid that you have already mapped out the child's life before you meet the child -- that's no way to parent, and it's certainly no way to run a school system.
I've been paying close attention to the events in Colorado in which students and faculty members of Jefferson County high schools have been protesting the formation of a curriculum review committee that would require students to learn a sanitized version of history that encourages blind patriotism and discourages any sort of protest.
Since education equals opportunity, our educational system plays a strong role in this tremendous wealth imbalance -- despite efforts to the contrary -- because it unfortunately favors wealth.
The protest to preserve the history curriculum is important for many reasons. If the so-called education reformers are not careful, they may bring on that catastrophe by toppling the only remaining institution dedicated to reinforcing civic values -- public education.
My Brother's Keeper is not simply an effort to improve the condition for racial and ethnic minority communities, it is an endeavor of considerable national consequence with a capacity to improve all communities, for all of us.
It's tempting to think that we could come up with a neat, one-size-fits-all approach to curriculum and learning that gives teachers a clearer sense of what to teach and when, and policy makers a better way to assess and optimize student performance. But unfortunately, "neat and linear" is not the way today's economy works.
Reaching beyond the home, it is important for schools to incorporate themes such as resilience, gratitude and optimism into day to day activities and conversations.