Race and the Role of Schools in Shaping Community

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The conversations around race can be tense and difficult, but they must be addressed to improve schools, equality and society on a larger scale. A student named Ahmed Mohammed is an example of how preconceived notions of a person’s intentions based on their race can result in unnecessarily extreme and traumatic measures. After making a homemade digital clock for science class Ahmed was arrested on the spot because it was assumed he assembled a bomb. After being interrogated as a terrorist, as he explained, Ahmed and his family decided to withdraw from the school.
Santa Fe Public Schools has created a unique program, a districtwide Equity and Access Task Force, which is made up of members of various sectors of the community. The group’s focus is to SFPS eliminates racial and ethnic achievement and opportunity gaps by engaging families with courtesy, respect and cultural understanding.
Pictured above: Joel Boyd, Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent.

At Least They Aren’t Debating Creationism vs. Evolution for Science

Seems like the Brits have similar debates over curriculum, teaching and learning.  Fun piece by Eliza Filby in The Daily Telegraph over arguments on teaching history. Link below:


It is worth a read.  At least the Brits aren’t debating Creationism vs. Evolution in their Science standards.




HS Graduation Rates on the Rise

Good news about US high school graduation rates–see attached article below:

Reason for this writer’s take on the good news from the US DOE is the other side of this good news. States, such as Nevada, are still critically low in getting students across the finish line with a high school diploma.


THIS is Privatization of Education? Really?!

Great OpEd by community education and development expert Miguel A. Acosta. The work Miguel is doing is commendable and admirable. There is a concern that the dropout initiative Engage Santa Fe is a way towards privatization of education, however the truth couldn’t be further from. What really is happening here is the hardcore political agenda of legislators and teachers unions that will go to extreme, even if that means denying the opportunity of success to thousands of students. It’s disappointing that the needs of the community and the youth of Santa Fe are being trampled upon.  -JW

See article below:


To Serious Educators–Assessment Matters! (and so does what happens after the testing period)

It’s that time of year, when mostly every K-12 student is assessed on his or her academic progress.  For those of us who believe that a balanced approach to assessment is appropriate, we know that “that which gets measured gets done”.  Not too much testing and using the best assessments are also key. Very important is getting each student “ready” to sit for their exams.  But, great educators also make the most of instructional time after the last exams are given and taken. Here are some good ideas for engaging kids until the end of the year, and how to help them put assessments into their greater context of school. Link Below:



Common Core as Political Football

The NY Times article on Sunday April 20, 2014 on Common Core Standards is a “must-read”.  Link below:
Republicans see political Wedge in Common Core
It is a shame that so many politicians are playing games with the Common Core Standards movement.  On both sides of the aisle, far too many elected officials and hopefuls to be elected are playing with kids’ lives and frankly our Nation’s economic development.  Good for Jeb Bush for remaining honest and staying the course.  Looks like Chris Christie is doing the same.  It is despicable how Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others are exploiting what’s best for ALL kids, and the Nation building we can and must do.

Tips for Increasing Interactive Learning

Link to an impressive list of “non-negotiables” for improving interaction and engagement with students.  Article and headers indicate these tips are good for turnaround situations and for underperforming students.  This list is actually good for all students.  Kudos to Cochrane Academy in the Charlotte Mecklenburg (NC) Schools.  Link Below:


Arts Education Fuels the Economy

Interesting Op-Ed piece in Chronicle of Higher Education this week.  My perspective around Arts Education is steeped in the academic, aesthetic, and life-enriching aspects of high quality Arts experiences for students.  This perspective by Sunil Iyengar and Ayanna Hudson reveal other material benefits of Arts Education.  Notably:
  • The total economic output (gross revenue and expenses) for arts education in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, was $104-billion. Arts education thus claims the second largest share of output for all U.S. arts and cultural commodities, after the creative services within advertising.
  • In 2011, arts education added $7.6-billion to the nation’s GDP.
  •  In that year alone, arts education as an industry employed 17,900 workers whose salaries and wages totaled $5.9-billion.
  •  For every dollar consumers spend on arts education, an additional 56 cents is generated elsewhere in the U.S. economy.

Link Below:


Poor Kids Under Fire in NYC

Shocking coming from whom (I thought) is a person to be well-meaning, the new Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio.  There is a link to one (of many) articles posted below that describe the Mayor’s policy assault on some successful charter school campuses in NYC.  Each of these schools is filled with kids from abject poverty, each child with high potential to learn and excel, but also with inordinate personal circumstances that make success much harder than for middle class kids.  This is a liberal man, with supposed progressive ideas, appearing to disrupt the great work of these kids and their college-preparation journeys. How can this be due to anything other than raw politics?   I suspect Randi Weingarten has some sort of direct- or indirect hand in it all.  I have nothing against organized teachers, even being represented by a union of they prefer it.  I have a lot against unions, mayors, or any interest that gets in the way of what we are beginning to accomplish with our disadvantaged youth in America.  There would never have been a need for charter schools if we had been getting the job done for kids in the traditional settings.  Shameful Mayor, just shameful!


Project Based Learning

A colleague forwarded this video clip to me.  Not new, but certainly insightful about how classroom need to finish the shift we’ve begun.  Enjoy!
Link Below:

apple made some promises

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