Category: Blog

Elon Musk’s Next Challenge: Education Reform?

It’s no secret: Elon Musk is a titan of industry. It’s not just that he’s the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, he also has a brain that’s hard-wired for innovation. Just look at his Hyperloop idea, for example, which may eventually make it possible to travel from New York to DC in 30 minutes flat. A transit system like the…

Want More Rural Students To Be Lifelong Learners? Give Them More Opportunities.

One of the best baseball movies I’ve seen is Moneyball with Brad Pitt. There’s this scene where Pitt’s character had just brought in an economics wiz and baseball fanatic from Yale, played by Jonah Hill. Using statistics, they were going to build a winning team. It was unconventional at the time. During a tense conversation, one of Pitt’s employees, a…

The Power of Community

This past December my wife and I faced the most difficult challenge of our lives.  We were very fortunate to become parents to a set of beautiful twin girls, but their time spent with us was limited to only a brief moment.  In that moment, despite the outpouring of love and support from friends and family, I struggled to focus…

In Rural Areas, Education Means More

What’s white and red and would have been worth thousands in the 18th century? Yep, a Coke can. As it turns out, pure aluminum used to be one of the most prized metals in the world. Aluminum was once so valuable, in fact, that the government of France used to display Fort Knox-style bars of aluminum next to the French…

#KYEdUpdate: Hal Heiner, JCPS Takeover, and EPSB Overhaul

While teachers and students across the Commonwealth are holding on tight to their final days of summer, the action in Frankfort and beyond just keeps coming. The Kentucky Board of Education has a new chairman, but he’s no first-timer in Frankfort. Interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis has a deal for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), one of the largest districts in the…

Student Voice Matters

This past January, Rachel Belin and representatives of the Prichard Committee’s Student Voice Team came to educate my students on student voice. In one of the activities that they did with my class, my students were all lined up in the front of the room. Rachel explained she would ask them a “yes” or “no” question and then they would…

Labels Are For Products, Not Students

I can remember sitting down with my team of teachers at the end of the school year, filling out a form that included all of the students’ names, academic abilities, behavior issues, etc. This list would be passed to the next team of teachers that taught these students the upcoming year. We included which students should be with which teachers……

It’s Not Enough To Talk About Equity. You Have To Do Something, Too.

By the time I graduated college, I was well-versed in all sorts of teacher talk about equity and social justice. I had gotten into books like Pedagogy of the Oppressed and The Dreamkeepers, and they were basically my law and gospel. I thought the wisdom they imparted alone would be all I needed to close the achievement gap by myself.…

Bring Student Voice Back To Kentucky

Although Kentucky has now dropped this practice, one informal factor of teacher evaluations used to come in the form of student voice surveys. The surveys were introduced back in 2013 as part of Kentucky’s new professional growth and evaluation system (PGES), designed to make sure that teachers are growing in their skills and being held to high standards. As the…

‘Tough Kids’ Need Love Too

For twenty years I worked in traditional school settings — “normal” elementary and middle schools. Then it all changed. I was sent to work at our district’s alternative learning center. I had heard about the ALC. That’s where the “bad” kids were sent. The kids that bullied others. The kids that brought weapons to school. The kids that made bomb threats.…

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