I wish my students experienced more cultural diversity. I wish my students interacted with peers of different socio-economic status. But that is not the case where communities in our country remain defined by race and class.
In reaching for solutions to our education problems, we have silenced the voices of those who matter most. We are seeing across the United States -- and in many countries around the world -- the disenfranchisement of our teachers.
This is a story of empowerment. This is a story of how kids in even the worst of situations can still turn their lives around, if we as the adults can make emotional safety a part of a school's culture.
I lie whenever I stand in front of my seventh graders, and say: "Work hard and you can go to college anywhere you want and be anything you want to be." The truth is that their education, their career, their life will be influenced by immigration status.
A holistic approach brings together elements that support the development of a child who is healthy, knowledgeable, motivated, and engaged, seeking to ensure all that is required for successful life and preparation for society.
Just as healthy schools that value diversity are the antidote to GERM, a healthy, cooperative reform movement that respects the diversity of policy positions is the antidote for the destructive virus known as teach-to-the-test.
Education involves the exchange of ideas across diverse communities and across generations. My entire trip was a reminder that our schools must be built on the concept that Jewish people describe as L'Dor V'Dor, or "from generation to generation."
Teachers were the answer. Though I hadn't worked out the details, I was sure the only way to fix education was to focus on people -- the teachers -- to cultivate their passion and tap into their talent. The question was how.
While suspension rates have risen steadily since the 1970s, there remains little to no evidence that zero-tolerance discipline policies such as suspension and expulsion improve school safety or student achievement.
Think of how the divisiveness in education would decrease if we borrowed from the Bill of Rights and adopted a code of ethics declaring, "No stakes shall be attached to standardized tests without the consent of the student or educator."