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Peter Greene
Peter Greene has taught English in a small town high school for thirty-five years. He writes a mostly non-education weekly column for the local newspaper and blogs about education matters at He plays trombone in a 158-year-old community band and lives next to the Allegheny River with his wife and dog, while wishing his grown children were living a bit closer. He has been a local union president and a local union dissident. He believes deeply in the promise of American public education. You can follow him on twitter as @palan57.

Entries by Peter Greene

College Ready Baloney

(7) Comments | Posted May 2, 2015 | 2:09 PM

There are some parts of the ed reform debates that have repeated so many times, we almost forget that they don't actually make sense.

For instance, the beloved mantra "college and career ready."

What the heck does that even mean?

David Conley, Ph.D, of the Education Policy Improvement Center, has...

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Opt Outers Face Confusing Summer

(1) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 9:29 PM

Given the heightened alarm of some New York official, this, I imagine, is what the news from this coming summer will look like.

"Those who call for opting out really want New York to opt out of information that can help parents and teachers...

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Am I Ready for Hillary?

(23) Comments | Posted April 18, 2015 | 12:30 PM

So now it has officially begun, again. Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for President. Let the questions begin. But the questions I'm interested in are not the stupid ones (was she behind a Nazi commie plot to blow up Benghazi?) or the horse racey ones (will Hillary become inauthentic in...

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Charter Laboratories Are Failing

(57) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 6:53 PM

President Obama has called charter schools "incubators of innovation" and "laboratories of innovation," and he has done so for several years, despite the fact that, so far, the laboratories have yielded nothing.

One of the standard justifications for the modern charter movement is that these...

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If the Money Belongs to the Student...

(54) Comments | Posted March 29, 2015 | 11:59 AM

One of the foundational assertions of the charter movement is that public school tax dollars, once collected, should be attached to the child, maybe in a backpack, or perhaps surgically. "This public money... belongs to the student, not the failing school," wrote a commenter on one of my HuffPost pieces....

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Who Is Closing PA Schools?

(40) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 8:45 AM

Over the past few months I have attended two public hearings in two separate school districts about the closing of two separate rural elementary schools, and they show pretty clearly the giant disconnect that allows the assault on public education to continue unchecked.

People pay a lot of attention to...

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Why Critical Thinking Will Never Be on the Test

(11) Comments | Posted March 22, 2015 | 4:30 PM

Critical thinking is one of the Great White Whales of education. Every new education reform promises to foster it, and every new generation of Big Standardized Tests promises to measure it.

Everybody working in education has some idea of what it is, and yet it can be hard to put...

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Is Early Reading a Problem?

(23) Comments | Posted March 7, 2015 | 8:44 AM

Robert Pondiscio of the Fordham Foundation (a thinky tank deeply devoted to the Common Core) appeared on US News this week to stick up for the Common Core's demand that kindergartners learn to read.

He's responding to the recent report from Defending the Early Years and...

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Flip Flopping the Core: Live by the Sword...

(4) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 2:26 PM

So CPAC happened, at which various GOP future candidates try to see if they can win a little conservative love. And that means that Common Core had to be trotted out for ceremonial abuse, like a disgraced former party officer in Communist China.

There was a CPAC panel that addressed...

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Sorting the Big Standardized Tests

(2) Comments | Posted February 15, 2015 | 6:30 PM

Since the beginnings of the current wave of test-driven accountability, reformsters have been excited about stack ranking -- the process of sorting out items from the very best to the very worst (and then taking a chainsaw to the very worst).

This has been one of the major supporting points...

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An Educator Samples the PARCC

(5) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 6:59 PM

Today, I'm trying something new. I've gotten myself onto the PARCC sample item site and am going to look at the ELA sample items for high school. This set was updated in March of 2014, so, you know, it's entirely possible they are not fully representative, given that...

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What Is a Public School System, Really?

(5) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 8:43 PM

One of the repeated tricks and techniques of reformsterism is to propose policies or procedures as beneficial for public education when in fact, intentionally or not, they are far more likely to damage public education. This argument usually takes the form of trying to redefine public education itself -- kind...

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More Hard Charter Lessons

(6) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 10:03 AM

News comes from Indianapolis last week that two of the older charters in town are being shut down. Fall Creek Academy and University Heights Preparatory Academy are going to that Big Chalkboard in the sky.

Fall Creek actually goes back to the days when then-Mayor Bart Peterson could...

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Where Is the Big Testing Success?

(5) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 11:14 AM

If test-based accountability were going to be a great boon to public education, wouldn't we know it by now?

We've been doing this federally-mandated get-good-scores-or-else thing for over a decade now. If it were working, wouldn't we know about it?

I mean, we're teachers. When things work, we pass them...

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The Great Chain of Educational Effectiveness

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 9:09 AM

The USED is ready to forge the next link in the Great Chain of Effectiveness.

We're already familiar with the two links. The very first chain is the testing link -- a standardized test covering narrow slices of two subject areas is forged as a measure of the full education...

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'School Choice' and Disenfranchising the Public

(30) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 10:47 PM

"School choice" is one of those policy ideas that just never goes away, and it probably never will. For some people it is an irresistible way to unlock all those public tax dollars and turn them into private profits. For others it's a way to make sure their children don't...

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Passing Grades for Standardized Tests: Not a Science

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2014 | 10:18 AM

Benchmark is originally a surveying term. Benchmarks are slots cut into the side of stone (read "permanent") structures into which a bench (basically a little shelf) can be inserted for surveying purposes. We know they're at a certain level because they've been measured in relation to another marker which has...

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Arne Duncan's Denial

(48) Comments | Posted December 17, 2014 | 9:44 AM

There are many portions of Arne Duncan's educational policies that are... what's the word? Counter-intuitive? Not aligned with reality as experienced by most sentient beings? Baloney? There are days when I imagine that the energy Duncan expends just holding cognitive dissonance at bay must be enough to power a small...

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New Frontiers in Data Gathering: Mystifying Personality

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 5:29 PM

One concept I've borrowed from Thomas Newkirk's excellent "Speaking Back to the Common Core" is the idea of mystification.

We are already seeing at work a process I call "mystification"--taking a practice that was once viewed as within the normal competence of a teacher and making it seem...

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Is Nicholas Ferroni Really America's Sexiest Teacher?

(2) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 10:20 PM

People, in a move designed to broaden their appeal, decided that this year they would expand the Sexiest Man title to include men who did things for a living other than work at being sexy. It's a noble effort, and in the sexy teacher department, it brought us this guy....

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