Month: November 2018

Poor Curriculum Is a Recipe for Disaster, Here’s How Schools Can Help Teachers Find and Use High-Quality Materials

Lately, I’ve seen a meme that keeps popping up on social media: “Telling a teacher to use a boxed curriculum is like forcing a chef to cook hamburger helper.” I was tempted to like it at first; it seems catchy and does hint at an issue that teachers face regularly: maintaining autonomy and creativity, while using materials that are aligned…

Kentucky’s Proposed Graduation Requirements Strike The Right Balance

If you’ve ever wondered why conversations about improving schools often resort to people talking past each other, there’s a reason: Public K-12 education means different things to different people. On one end, there’s the “college-for-all” mentality, the philosophy of those who argue that the aim of public K-12 education should be to prepare all students for success at a college…

You Can’t Have Your Pension Reform Cake And Eat It, Too

If you live in Kentucky and consume any form of news media at all, you’ll be familiar with the bitter, contentious debate that’s been raging about teachers’ pensions. The road to reform began with an actuarial report recommending deep, structural cuts to our teachers’ retirement system, then took a major bump in the form of teacher protests and walkouts earlier…

How a Kentucky District Got All Its Schools to Adopt the Same High-Quality Curriculum

Fayette County is a decentralized system. We have 54 schools with complete autonomy. When you provide a high degree of autonomy, you assume the principal knows how to identify a high-quality curriculum and support teachers. But we found that wasn’t always the case. I am not saying that to cast aspersions on school leaders, but some of them were not…

Kentucky’s Midterm Elections: Winners and Losers

It’s been a week since the 2018 midterm elections, but the results are as fresh as ever in the minds of Kentucky teachers. Spurned by Gov. Bevin’s controversial comments and policies, teachers across the Bluegrass protested. At rallies, other teachers and their supporters swore that they would “remember in November.” It looks like they forgot. Of the 51 educators running…

#MeToo Meets Kentucky Schools

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, we’re discovering that sexual assault is a much larger, more widespread issue than we had noticed before. Kentucky schools are not immune. Maybe you saw the breaking news over a Kentucky high school last week. A woman who used to attend the school accused her former teacher of “predatory sexually grooming” of his students,…

Why We Fight (Part I)

Public education, and more specifically public educators, have increasingly been in the media more this year than in the past several decades. Thousands of teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, and North Carolina have held work stoppages, strikes, and rallies at their respective State Capitols over the severe lack of funding for their students, teacher salaries, and teacher (and…

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