Kids Love Knowing Stuff

By Karin Chenoweth Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust, is the author of numerous articles and three books on schools that are succeeding with significant populations of children of color and children living in poverty. This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post, to which she is a regular contributor. A commonplace idea floating…

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“Putting Real Food on the Plate”

“I am in the medical field and while I ‘hated’ learning anatomy, I am not sure you would want me to treat you unless I had it memorized,” writes LSC from Seattle. That’s just one of the hundreds of comments in response to a terrific op-ed by Natalie Wexler in the New York Times. Wexler…

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Joy Hakim’s Science Stories: Proof that Informative Can Be Engaging

Kiana Hernandez is a young woman who opted out of a standardized test last spring. She had her reasons, as the Mother Jones article about her details, but that’s not what interests me about her story. What grabbed me is the reading instruction she received—or endured: She’d failed the Florida reading test every year since…

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Dear Alliance: You Almost Nailed It

The Alliance for Excellent Education has a new report: The Next Chapter: Supporting Literacy Within ESEA. It’s definitely worth reading, making many crucial points about supporting literacy from kindergarten through twelfth grade in a few pages. There’s just one problem: it does not discuss building broad academic knowledge. Like almost all discussions of literacy, the…

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I’m Afraid of Personalized Learning

There. I’ve admitted it. I’m afraid of personalized learning. Of course, I’m fascinated by it too. But the allure only adds to my fear—there’s a small chance that personalized learning could radically improve education and a large chance that it’ll produce the next flood of snake oil. Writing about DC’s foray into personalized learning, Natalie…

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Why Is Creativity in Decline?

For the past 25 years, creativity has been in decline. I’ve just started to look into it, so I won’t pretend to have an answer—but I do have a hunch. We’re trivializing creativity. First the research. Kyung Hee Kim is a professor of creativity and innovation at The College of William & Mary. She’s found…

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Mississippi: Common Core Lite

Mississippi is a little more than half way through a public comment period on the 2014 Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards for English Language Arts—a document that is co-branded with the Common Core and Mississippi Department of Education logos on every page. The Common Core squabbles in Mississippi became interesting last week when a…

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Seeking Confirmation

Of all the problems with school reform, one of the biggest seems to be the tendency to seek bits of evidence that confirm preconceived notions. Silver bullets, tunnel vision, blind faith—call it whatever you want—somehow, those of us interested in school improvement have to stop searching for THE change. There is no one change that…

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Teachers Want to Learn about Curriculum Design

The July 2nd SmartBrief has a little reader poll that doesn’t appear scientific or representative or trustworthy at all. But still, it brightens my day. More than a host of trendy topics, educators want to learn about curriculum design: Which topics are you most interested in learning about in your self-directed PD this summer? Curriculum…

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Life Is a High-Stakes Reading Test

Life is a high-stakes reading test. Those who pass gain entry to the best humanity has to offer—great literature, active and effective citizenship, fascinating dinner debates, meaningful connections with people across time and space, jobs that are both interesting and high paying, genuine capacity for self-directed learning, etc. The key to passing is broad knowledge….

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