A common thread connects these thought leaders, which is a commitment to using innovative, hands-on methods to solve the problems of inadequate education programs.
Much attention is paid to related topics such as teacher tenure, due process, salaries, and external factors such as poverty. But not nearly enough focus is paid to teacher education and what it really takes to prepare a truly excellent teacher for the challenges of today's classrooms.
The trope of the "bad teacher" continues to dominate the media and effectively obscures the systemic realities that teachers and students struggle with every day.
Regardless of how we begin our lives, where we've been, what we've done or with whom we have studied, we all have something of value to share with the world.
The number of Chinese students seeking to be educated in the West has received significant media attention in recent years, but what about the flipside? What will this mean for the further development of higher education institutions in modern China and for their influence with educators and students around the world?
How much do you really know about the people you meet? You'd probably be surprised by what your unassuming waitress or grocery store clerk or even your next-door neighbor writes about on their social media pages.
For the first time in 13 years, the DOE now makes clear that states, school districts, and schools must make education resources equally available to all students without regard to race, color, or national origin. This is some of the unfinished business of the civil rights movement and a giant step forward for poor children, often children of color.
We probably all have memories of our favorite teachers, the ones who inspired us and still make us smile years later. And then there are the ones who are like Grendel at the banqueting hall in Beowulf, casting a long shadow.
It seems like almost every day more evidence comes in showing that teachers are the most important single factor when it comes to education quality. While that makes intuitive sense, it is also critical to have empirical evidence to support it.
Even on the difficult days, remember that you are never forgotten. Students who read this letter will think of you. They think of you all the time. We all will talk about the stories of teachers that we adored for decades. We will laugh, cry and appreciate. We carry what you taught us in our minds, and also in our hearts, for the rest of our lives.
There is no question of the cancerous effects of groups like PennCAN and the Commonwealth Foundation. It may be years before we know the full range of the damage they have inflicted on our children and schools or how long it will take to repair that damage. One thing, however, is clear: Philadelphia teachers and students deserve our interest and support.
When teachers embrace students as individuals and recognize their personal strengths and needs, young people in poverty can develop the kind of confidence needed to propel them beyond their circumstances.
A few years ago, my daughter and I worked with AIDS orphans in schools in Tanzania. The Ebola crisis is another grim example of the challenges that strike hardest on people in poor countries. Education is one of the most effective tools we have to combat poverty.
Make no mistake: dress codes are increasingly becoming an excuse for sexualizing women and disgracing young girls for the apparent pleasure of those in power. It's bullsh*t.
Last week I quoted a principal who said about the student achievement data in her school, "They are just numbers, but the teachers here know that every number represents a kiddo's face."
I had no idea what I would be as an adult because I didn't see anybody I could be. What I would have given to hear a high school teacher say, "I'm gay," "I'm a lesbian," "I'm queer;" to tell me that I could grow up to be a person a young man would respect?