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Sabrina Stevens
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Entries by Sabrina Stevens

The Real Stand for Children

(7) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 6:13 PM

Pop History Quiz: Do you know how children ended up off the factory floor and in classrooms?

Unionized adults.

From the 1830s until the 1938 passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, organizations like the Women's Trade Union League of New York, the New England Association of Farmers, Mechanics and...

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If We Really Want to #protectourkids, Let's Have an Honest Conversation

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 10:08 PM

As a society, one of our most important shared responsibilities is the one we take to raise children who are ready to become productive, engaged members of our communities. It's up to all of us to keep them safe, healthy and whole, so they can do the hard work of...

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On the Ethics of Selling Slingshots

(3) Comments | Posted June 27, 2012 | 12:27 PM

I was very happy when I learned of's decision to end their relationships with two astroturf organizations operating against the common good in education. It's always heartening to see how people faced with tough decisions can listen to (often heated) input and weigh sometimes competing  concerns. Having spoken to...

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When Ed 'Research' Makes You LOL

(2) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 11:08 AM

... the resulting policies won't be nearly as funny.

Bad education policy doesn't generally arise from good research. Instead, this task falls on a separate body of research -- often planned and executed by advocacy think tanks.

Last week, the National Education Policy Center "honored" the worst of these...

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Sending Teacher Bashing Out of Style

(13) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 4:22 PM

It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher, and I don't just say that because teaching is my own calling as well. As a whole, we are a group of people who knowingly choose a profession that will pay us less than our education and skills merit,...

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A People-(Em)Powered Evaluation System

(4) Comments | Posted March 27, 2012 | 10:33 AM

Standardized testing -- especially the high-stakes variety -- has earned a serious and growing backlash, and for good reason. The weight of the research evidence shows that it has not improved education, and that it undermines the kind of academic behaviors that support critical and divergent thinking....

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'Bad' Women, Teachers, and Politics

(38) Comments | Posted February 24, 2012 | 2:25 PM

Just three months into 2012, as the Republican primary season continues, the tenor of the political conversation around contraception and other "women's" issues has grown increasingly alarming (to those of us firmly grounded in the 21st Century, anyway). Though there is a long historical tradition of projecting social anxieties onto...

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Why the #EdSOTU Matters

(2) Comments | Posted January 29, 2012 | 5:25 PM

(Or, A Tale of Two Speeches)

Over at Teacher in a Strange Land, Nancy Flanagan asked, ""Who speaks for public education?"

I'd answer that a lot of people do (for better, and for worse) but we don't all get the same kind of microphone, or the same airtime.


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The Other Trouble With 'Elites'

(4) Comments | Posted January 19, 2012 | 11:10 AM

Wednesday morning, Denver progressive radio host David Sirota had DPS Superintendent (and Boulder, Colo. resident) Tom Boasberg on his show. The segment picked up on a point from Sirota's recent opinion piece, "America's dangerously removed elite": the significance of a high-profile school superintendent who, as neither an educator...

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SFC & SB 130: "Innovating" Around Teacher Voice?

(4) Comments | Posted January 10, 2012 | 10:12 AM

What a bunch of populists we have working on "our" behalf in the Colorado State Legislature!

A few months ago, I wrote about how the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education may have violated Colorado's so-called Innovation Schools Act by voting 4-3 in favor of granting Innovation status...

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How Do We Move Mountains?

(4) Comments | Posted December 28, 2011 | 5:00 PM

"We know the statistics," Jim Brown said firmly. "I'm sick of the statistics; we could fill a book with them."

They hardly needed repeating. Standing in a school built atop a reclaimed strip mine, the McDowell County School Superintendent spoke about the pride he...

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Just Cause, or "Just 'Cause"?

(2) Comments | Posted September 30, 2011 | 6:23 PM

Late last week, news broke that 75 probationary (non-"tenured") teachers who were improperly fired under then-DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee would be re-instated.

In covering the coverage, a writer over at the Washington City Paper said,

Rhee's acolytes, no doubt, will say that it is another case of a...

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Why I'm Marching

(14) Comments | Posted May 23, 2011 | 1:43 PM

"The development of common standards and shared assessments radically alters the market for innovation in curriculum development, professional development, and formative assessments. Previously, these markets operated on a state-by-state basis, and often on a district-by-district basis. But the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will...
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DPS and SB 130: "Innovating" Around the Law?

(1) Comments | Posted May 6, 2011 | 1:00 PM

Denver Public Schools recently voted 4-3 to approve innovation status for three new schools in Far Northeast Denver. In doing so, they almost certainly broke the law.

For those who don't know, SB 08-130 (The Innovation Schools Act) grants schools and districts that receive innovation status the...

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Children First?

(4) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 6:55 PM

A couple of weekends ago, I found myself chatting with a local parent who was born and raised in Europe. Once we exchanged information about our careers, the conversation naturally turned to education, and recent news coverage of education issues:

"I have to say, I find this really strange. I...

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Reclaiming the Table

(17) Comments | Posted March 3, 2011 | 3:30 PM

Over the past few months, I've started to feel cautiously hopeful that things might be taking a turn for the better. It started when I read and signed the Declaration of Professional Conscience for Teachers earlier this year, and continued as I watched groups like Parents Across America...

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How About a Measures of Effective Reporting Project?

(10) Comments | Posted January 13, 2011 | 9:33 AM

Though researchers have repeatedly warned of instability and high-error rates as they caution against the use of value-added measures (VAM) of teacher performance for high-stakes purposes, "reformers" of a certain kind remain infatuated with the practice -- as does much of the media. I've written about VAM in the past,...

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Knowing What You Don't Know

(20) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 5:49 PM

It's another one of those first-meetings I have a lot recently. I'm sitting in a bar/grill/café/I-don't-know-what-but-don't-care-as-long-as-they-serve-beer-place, across from someone who "works in education," but not really. Everybody "works in education" now, but few people want to actually work in education anymore, and I understand. Teaching is freakin'

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How Do Successful School Systems Treat Teachers?

(386) Comments | Posted December 11, 2010 | 10:38 AM

The recent release of two important reports led me to ask this question.

The National Education Policy Center shared a brief that reviews available research on several different aspects of teacher evaluation and makes recommendations for a comprehensive approach to teacher evaluation. If different measures, like observation (by peers...

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Normalizing Inadequacy

(14) Comments | Posted December 2, 2010 | 3:24 PM

Recently, Education Secretary Arne Duncan set Reformy listeners' hearts aflutter when he declared that public schools need to adjust to "The New Normal" of lean budgets and sacrifice. It's clear that we're in really tough economic times, and I agree with Secretary Duncan that we should be thinking...

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