Latest posts from Detroit

Oct 27 2012

Achievement Gap? How About Achievement Debt?

At a recent TFA professional Saturday, someone mentioned that they don’t like the term Achievement gap, using instead the term achievement deficit. I’ve never really thought of what’s implied by the term achievement gap, but hearing him say achievement deficit sparked a few thoughts, tied mainly to my understanding of our economic deficits. Deficits come…

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Oct 20 2012

Whiteboard Messages

Whiteboard love messages… the day my kiddos found out the school was closing (and it was their last day). From a new 9th grader who used to get into fights at his old school and whose mother said this was the first place that he actually looked forward to going to school. … I am…

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Oct 16 2012

Backwards Planning Educational Debates

I have a lot of mixed feelings about debates surrounding educational reform. On the one hand, I believe that Sweden–where educational achievement has plummeted since it implemented a universal and even egalitarian voucher system in the early 1990s–is the evidence all critics of school choice should point to that even in the best circumstances, school choice will…

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Oct 11 2012

What we lack in skill…!

I’ve never spent much time on this blog saying anything flattering about my teaching skill. That’s because, like most first/second year teachers, I don’t have much. I’m sure my principal (and coworkers after a few beers) would agree that especially in my first 2/3 of a year, management and organizational issues often prevented me from…

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Oct 06 2012

The Psychology* of teaching part II

* My philosopher friend tells me psychology is the wrong word because there is absolutely no science in these posts, just discussion and extrapolation of first-person thought processes. The real word is phenomenology, apparently. Sorry. Quick thought: what is the most powerful incentive to teachers? Keeping their job? Getting a promotion? Getting a bonus? Not losing…

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Sep 28 2012

The Psychology and Unmeasured Effect of Teacher Alienation

I think one of the most difficult jobs of a teacher is taking responsibility for everything they do. Since this may sound condescending, I’ll speak in the first person. As a teacher, it can be hard in the moment for me to realize every time my class seems “bad”, it is more likely a reflection…

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Sep 28 2012


So… I don’t have time for a real update… or anything for that matter, but my school has gone through significant changes recently. I am a middle school science teacher again. I had to say goodbye to the high schoolers that I was so excited to teach for the 2nd year in a row. And…

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Sep 27 2012

Rick Hess’ vision for school reform

Not yet finished with the article, which is equally dismissive of past democratic and republican efforts to improve schools over the past decades. So far though, I think this critique of RTTT gets at the heart of the  problem with Duncan’s innovative–but in the end still ineffective–attempt to implement federal reforms in a way that…

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Sep 26 2012

This is what bureaucracy looks like? (responses requested)

I happened to be CC’d on a thread where my team (10+ year veteran at the school) lead sent some things to the social studies coach at my school. In her response, the social studies coach advised the team lead “please be advised before administering a formative assessment I need a paper copy 3 weeks…

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Sep 24 2012

Character and the limits of privatization

Very good article about how ed tech and privatization are becoming increasingly intertwined. This is a problem for those (like the author and myself) who are skeptical of educational privatization but optimistic about education technology. I believe vouchers go way too far, but it seems like many are thinking of an even more extreme view of…

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