It's a rare thing to meet a public school stakeholder who honestly believes politicians and corporate-funded lobbying groups should have more say over education than educators do. Yet that's exactly what's happening.
Research shows that time may be the most essential resource of the education system. However, it is important to recognize that merely increasing the amount of time students are in school is not a panacea for improving student performance.
It takes a special person to be an educator. You understand that your reward is not money or bonuses, but instead the satisfaction of knowing that the lesson you spent a great deal of time preparing resulted in student learning.
Given that spending thousands of millions of additional dollars hasn't noticeably improved outcomes... why keep spending it? If we really care about children's education, the way to show it is by ensuring that every dollar we spend actually accomplishes something.
Here is a quick glimpse of my sense of a brain-based middle school day based on Brain Rules, the bestselling book by molecular biologist John Medina. Following is a quick summary of the rules and key principles for educators.
Chicago's Walter H. Dyett High School was set up as a house of cards. Arne Duncan, served for years as the absentee landlord. And current CEO Jean-Claude Brizard was recently cast in the role of the evicting sheriff.
Advocacy is an essential part of a teacher's profession. When teachers advocate for a student, their action conveys the message that the teacher cares about their well being and also creates a positive bond between teacher and student.
Are the best, most experienced D.C. teachers concentrated in the wealthiest schools, while the worst are concentrated in the poorest schools? Or does the statistical model ignore the possibility that it's more difficult to teach a room full of impoverished children?
Too often, the most critical decisions concerning the educational system are made by people without the capacity to understand the inner workings of the individual school and what it takes to ensure no child is left behind.
"The path to real reform begins with the truth," stated Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2009. He strongly believes that education policy should be "framed by evidence." We agree. So why is the secretary reacting so negatively to evidence about teacher compensation?