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The Only Real Issue in Public Schools: Keeping Them Alive (from 6-29-15)
Posted

Over-testing. Test validity. Test reliability. Testing narrowing the curriculum. Value Added Measures for rating teachers. School grades. The killing of arts programs. Standards and national standards. No Child Left Behind. Race To the Top. Scripted curriculum. Teacher demoralization. Drop out rates and graduation rates. STEM and STEAM. Reading Wars. Tenure. Teacher pay, teacher turn-over, and Read More >>


“Ya Got Trouble”: Education Reform as a Con Game (6-22-15)
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As I have mentioned in this space previously, this spring I finally fulfilled a long-held wish as an actor and played Harold Hill in The Music Man.  The supposedly old-fashioned, supposedly corny play holds many levels of meaning for me, but as I became more and more familiar with the script, I realized that the con Read More >>


Testing Vs. Teaching Episode 7: The rest of the Year (6-18-15)
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It had been my plan to keep a running blog post about the way this spring’s testing affected my teaching. The best laid plans… What happened in practice was that after spring break, my teaching was affected by testing, but my blogging was affected by my teaching being thrown off, and my the fact that Read More >>


Why I Keep Cartooning (3-27-15)
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Mr. Fitz for March 28th, 2000: the very first strip. Tomorrow marks 15 years since my little comic strip about teaching, Mr. Fitz, began running in the Daytona Beach News-Journal. It’s hard to calculate exactly how many strips I’ve drawn since I have occasionally had to put re-runs in the paper, and at one point (I don’t even recall when) Read More >>


A Letter to My School Board (Pandemic 2020)
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Dear School Board Members, After listening to this week’s school board meeting, I felt a need to write you all. After 28 years teaching in Volusia County Schools, I am still excited about being in the classroom, but this summer that excitement is tempered with the uncertainty of going back to school in the midst Read More >>


The Purpose of Education: Theory of Knowledge
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For twenty years now, in an attempt to make schools accountable, we have focused entirely on a very narrow set of skills (standards) built by committees, which have then been measured by narrowing them even further and translating them into a very narrow, easy to score format (standardized tests). There are unintended consequences to such Read More >>


Teaching vs. Testing – Episode 6: Crash! (from 3-3-15)
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It’s been a busy couple of days, so this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write something. Of course what happened yesterday, on the first day ever of the Florida Standards Assessment, made the news all over Florida. But here’s the scoop from my little corner of the educational world. I Read More >>


Teaching vs. Testing – Episode 5: Final Preparations! (3-1-15)
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I got busy last week – partially school, partially other things. So I need to get you caught up on how Teaching is doing against Testing. I suspect you can guess who’s winning, but it’s the details that make it such an interesting competition. I’ll begin with 6th grade. On Wednesday I handed their essays Read More >>


Teaching vs. Testing – Episode 4: Remediation and Substitute Plans (2-24-15)
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I missed posting yesterday, so for the record, both yesterday and today were completely dominated by test prep. Yesterday and today were remediation days. We had to set up a remediation plan so show we were “doing something” to raise scores. In the past we have pulled students from PE or Elective to remediate them Read More >>


Teaching vs. Testing – Episode 3: District Testing and Plotting Remediation (from 2-20-15)
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So today all my classes were taking the district writing exam. I read, outlined, and wrote my own version of the 6th grade essay so I could see what my students had to do, and read and outlined the 7th and 8th grade essays as well. What strikes me about these assessments is how tricky Read More >>


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