The examples of Mexico and Brazil should teach us the importance of a holistic approach to early development: one that that addresses health and nutrition as well as classroom time.
To prepare American students for today's global economy, we need trips that build global competence with quality cultural engagement. With a few exceptions, most international student travel is failing to build that skill.
I suspect that these "reformers," secure in their ignorance of urban realities, still believe that their opponents are to blame. Had educators welcomed enough rookies willing to gut it out and to "put children first," the short term pain they dumped on neighborhood schools would have produced transformational gain.
I'm convinced that the outpouring of political activity on social networks -- especially around hot-button social issues like marriage equality -- is a frustrated attempt to engage by a generation of people unsure of how else to make change.
We've all seen teachers assign texts and say, 'There will be a test to follow.' This is how the system is set up -- but it's not the kind of learning that kids need. What are they going to do when they get out in the real world?
Are we talking to the digital natives to get an understanding of why they are so interested in that cell phone that we think is a distraction in the classroom? The answer may be deeper and more complex than "Oh, they just like to be on that silly Facebook."
To this day, despite its progress, this is one of the most racially segregated cities in America. We have a moral imperative to speak up and demand that the education system treat all of our city's children equitably, independent of race and class.
Free markets have sometimes led to excess -- reality TV and supersized soft drinks come to mind -- but have also given us incredible innovation, a remarkable degree of choice and the world's strongest economy. And yet free markets are absent from K-12 education.
Not unlike many media outlets, The New York Times recently reported about President Obama's call for "a multiyear research effort to produce an 'activity map' that would show in unprecedented detail the workings of the human brain."
Our voices matter because we are the most heavily affected by choices made in education policy and curriculum. I refuse to be simply a number who passed all of his End of Instruction tests (EOIs) and met the requirements.
Parents, students, teachers, and principals are right to seek policy decisions based on evidence, not the popularity of current reforms, and to put a stop to those that harm students, schools, and their communities.
The fundamental policy question today is precisely what it was in 1983: If we are outspending the rest of the world on education, why aren't we out-performing the rest of the world?
On many educational issues, Chicagoans aren't buying what the business-minded school reformers are selling. The future of public education, and by extension the future of the city, continues to be fiercely contested territory.
My third grade teacher was fabulous; in fact, in my 20 years of education I had a lot of really wonderful teachers. However, it is Mrs. Mason who inspired me to take on the challenging work of reforming the way teachers are evaluated, compensated, hired and retained.
We live in a one-size-fits-all educational culture that evaluates the worth of students through their test scores, GPAs, and college acceptance letters. It is this dominant narrative, and the system it supports, that needs to change.
Schools have literally become gateways to prison, instead of gateways to learning. When we wrapped filming, I kept thinking to myself, "There has to be a better way." Thankfully, there is.