Tapas-Style Curriculum

Education Week noted recently that there’s an increasing demand for bites of curriculum, as opposed to coherent programs: Instead of selecting one comprehensive program, “districts are asking to … mix and match with selections from other content providers, material that teachers and students have created, and open educational resources.” That’s awesome—and a disaster. It’s awesome…

Read More ›

DC: Embarking on a Knowledge Revolution

Over the past few years, an increasing number of DC schools have been revamping their curricula to teach dramatically more knowledge. Frustrated by low reading scores and nudged by the Common Core standards’ explicit call for building knowledge across subjects, they’re now convinced that broad knowledge—not hour after hour of practicing comprehension strategies—is the key…

Read More ›

Districts Could Do More for the Most Vulnerable Students

In my last post I highlighted two districts that are equalizing opportunity to learn and increasing teacher collaboration through districtwide curriculum and assessments. Across schools, the same knowledge and skills are being taught, and the same expectations are being met. Imagine what it would be like to have to transfer schools mid-year in one of…

Read More ›

Collaborating on Curriculum and Assessment: Two Districts Lead the Way

“Educators and policymakers must avoid the trap of limiting their discussions to questions which the existing data can readily answer, a practice reminiscent of the old joke about looking for lost car keys under the streetlight because that is where the searcher can see, not where the keys were lost.” Chrys Dougherty, a principal research…

Read More ›

Knowledge Equalizer: Jeff Litt

In my last post, I called for knowledge equality. My hope is all educators and concerned citizens—and policymakers with counter-productive, curriculum-narrowing mandates—will see that broad, shared knowledge is essential to equality of opportunity. Today I have the great pleasure of highlighting an educator who truly is a knowledge equalizer: Jeff Litt. Litt spent over 30…

Read More ›

Solving the Grit Problem

Thanks to a new friend, I just read an interesting little article on the struggle to name the set of skills and traits that most successful people exhibit: grit, critical thinking, persistence, optimism, self-control, curiosity, soft skills, etc. The naming part is merely amusing—but the comments surrounding the naming debate offer insights into the skills…

Read More ›

A Successful Formula: Shared Curriculum + Shared Responsibility

A shorter version of this post originally appeared on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog. Like pretty much everyone who is passionate about closing the achievement gap, I’m interested in Success Academies. I’ve read Eva Moskowitz’s book, Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School, and watched the videos…

Read More ›

Reading Comprehension: There’s No Workaround for Knowledge

By Greg Ashman Greg Ashman is a teacher in Australia. Supported by his school (but not necessarily representing its views), he has developed a love of educational research. Ashman is  now pursuing a PhD. This post originally appeared on his blog, Filling the Pail. To mark the recent cricket world cup, I thought it might be a good idea…

Read More ›

Reading Recovery Works—Now Let’s Make It Even Better

Reading Recovery is an intensive intervention for first graders who are struggling to learn to read. Although its research base is not huge, well-controlled studies have found it highly effective. Newly published research shows that Reading Recovery is remaining effective even as it scales up. This is great news—and could mean that Reading Recovery will…

Read More ›