Month: March 2018

Should Teachers Get A Bonus For Working In Struggling Schools?

Discussion sparked last week as an op-ed surfaced in The Courier-Journal, pulling no punches: “We’ve set up a system throughout Kentucky, and particularly in JCPS, that fails our most vulnerable students and hamstrings our lowest-performing schools, known as priority schools.” There’s a reason behind why some schools are stagnant, author Kent Oyler posits, though that reason has been buried beneath…

Illusion of ESSA Flexibility Fades as Federal Reviews Clarify Prescriptive Nature of New Education Law

In a recent speech she titled “Tough Love,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said states’ plans for holding schools accountable for progress in student achievement under the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are not ambitious enough, lacking innovation, and not taking full advantage of the law’s flexibilities. While I am certain no state plan is perfect in…

What Is Good Teaching, Anyway?

Earlier this year my principal informed me that our state’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Stephen Pruitt, would be making a visit to my school as part of our district’s showcase. The kicker? Since Dr. Pruitt had a pretty big role in crafting the newest science standards, he was coming to my science classroom to watch me teach. I was honored,…

Taking A Page From Elaine Farris, Kentucky’s First Black Superintendent

We’ve just celebrated International Women’s Day, and goodness, do we have a lot to celebrate. People from around the world are recognizing the tremendous power and potential of women from all sorts of backgrounds, and with it being Women’s History Month, what better place to start than with the inspiring women of our own Commonwealth? Elaine Farris, Kentucky’s first Black…

#ArmMeWith What Makes A Real Difference

On January 23rd, 2018, students and teachers across the state were horrified when the Marshall County High School shooting occurred in Benton, Kentucky. The effects of the tragedy were felt statewide. Classroom educators watched and waited as fear and trepidation fell over our classrooms like dominoes knocked loose in a hectic array of patterns as politicians began arguing whether or…

Kentucky Dropping Its Master’s Degree Requirement: A Win For School Quality?

Kentucky is a hectic place to be right now. Teachers and other state employees across the Commonwealth are fighting for their pensions, which are subject to massive changes at the behest of Senate Bill 1. Major reforms are being made to our accountability system, so there’s a steep learning curve ahead. We’ve just witnessed forty public school teachers announce their…

We’re Kidding Ourselves If We Think 90 Percent of Teachers Are Effective

This post originally appeared with Education Post. Photo by US Dept. of Education, CC-Licensed. A while back I sat through a professional learning community (PLC) meeting where the other science teachers and I listened to a YouTube lecturer discussing strategies of “highly-effective teachers.” I was struck by that phrase, “highly effective.” What makes these teachers so effective? What does learning look like…