Why Value Education When I Have Everything I Need?

I’m not too worried about the recent PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) scores, which revealed that American teenagers are lagging behind their counterparts all around the globe. I’m not worried about being outperformed by Estonia, Poland, and Ireland in reading, and I’m not worried that we’re only one spot ahead of Lithuania in math.…

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A Priority: Changing How We Talk About School

The following post first appeared on my Bluegrass Dispatches blog at the Center for Teaching Quality. In 2008, one of my first published articles challenged the dominant discourse in education. I was fed up with the way many of my colleagues and administrators conversed about teaching and learning, believing their words stifled innovation. I heard grades, standards,…

Show Me Respect, Or Else!

A few weeks ago, two students showed up for English class a few minutes late–not the first time–and shuffled into their seats, smirking and tossing their backpacks to the floor. While I began to explain the lesson, a hand shot up from the back of the classroom.  “Mr. B, can I go to the bathroom?”…

Can You Imagine Schools Without Sports?

Americans are known throughout the world for being competitive people. We like to win Olympic medals, build the biggest houses, and maintain a superior military force. We have the most human and natural resources any nation has ever known. But do we have the best schools?   Perhaps we have the very best at the…

School Segregation Persists, But Not In Louisville

If you’re a black public school student in Chicago, there’s a 70% chance you’re in an intensely segregated school (90%+ minority student body).  Similar trends occur for Latino students in Los Angeles.  Examine enrollments in many urban districts across the land and you’ll see similar trends suggesting that despite our country’s status as a melting…

Emphasizing the Gift of Attention

Like most teachers, I’m a few weeks into the school year.   I’ve dealt with shifting rosters, a classroom change, opening-school paperwork, and trying to establish a positive, productive classroom culture. Though my classroom actions and procedures, I’ve implicitly and explicitly emphasized certain behaviors and values, like collaboration, being on time, and organization. What’s new…