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Feb 17 2012

Housing and the Achievement Gap

It’s been almost 2 months since my last post. This is the longest I’ve been away. Law school is keeping me as busy as I was in the classroom. Anyways, I thought I’d share an interesting article I came across today–one that connects to both education reform and what I’ll be doing this summer: “Forum…

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Sep 29 2011

An (Unofficial) Renaming…

Despite the lack of a new post in over a month, please know that this blog is still alive and well. I’m no longer a classroom teacher, so I won’t be able to provide up-to-date anecdotes. But know this: I will continue to use this space to comment on issues in education, for whatever it’s…

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Last Friday, I walked out of my classroom for the last time. Two years of teaching, done, just like that. Though I still haven’t had the chance to process that last day I will do so soon. This is, I guess, the first post of “Year Three,” made semi-official by Alumni Induction a few weeks…

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I know I want to stay “in education” for as far out in my future as I can reliably commit to. To this end, I’ve chosen to go to law school this fall. Of course, curious people continue to ask, “If you’re interested in education, why are you going to law school?” Though I may…

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The grass always seems to be greener on the other side. Here in the United States, we like to put the education systems of countries like Finland and South Korea on a pedestal. Finland is a phenomenon of sorts, after all. And South Korea tests really well on an international setting yet spends 30% less…

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“Why do we value people who can shoot a ball through a hoop, or hit a baseball with a bat, or kick a soccer ball, but we don’t value our classroom educators?” Education Secretary Duncan posed this question before a screening of American Teacher, a new documentary that attempts to present, to the public, the…

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TFA is lucky to have the support of many individuals and organizations. Catherine and Wayne Reynolds, two wonderful philanthropists, happen to be major supporters of TFA here in DC. They sponsor me and my classroom. Anyways, I was recently asked to write a reflection on my two years as a Teach For America teacher here…

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How far up the ladder of needs do we put education? Psychologist Abraham Maslow came up with this diagram to help us think about our innate needs as humans. One book I read this weekend got me thinking about where education fits into this hierarchy: Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit, a short expose (a Byliner) that alleges…

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May 04 2011

Harnessing the Broader Community

One of my frustrations with public education today, at least as I’ve seen it here in DCPS, is that the schoolhouse is typically isolated from the community it was built to serve. Somewhere in the evolution of our public education system, systemic pressures built two silos of learning opportunities–those originating inside schools and those outside…

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DCPS made the front page of USA Today today. Unfortunately, it was for the worst of reasons. The headline reads: “When test scores soared in D.C., were the gains real?“ What follows is an in-depth report that highlights the controversy brewing around one Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus, a K-8 DCPS school. At over 4,300…

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Mar 21 2011

Spring and New Beginnings

Spring is a common literary motif. It’s supposed to symbolize new life and optimism. It is ironic, then, that the first thing that I saw when I opened my eyes this morning was a flash of lightning. The first thing I heard (after my alarm clock) was the deep rolling thunder, its timing staggered in…

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Mar 11 2011

“I was walking down Georgia”

We’re currently reading literature from the Middle Ages as part of a unit on storytelling. The accompanying writing assignment is to write a modern-day ballad (a contemporary story that uses the format of a medieval ballad like “Lord Randall” or “Get Up and Bar the Door“). The 5 characteristics that we discussed are as follows:…

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Mar 02 2011

On Black History Month

I’m not going to go into the politics behind Black History Month. Rather, I’d like to talk about how Black History Month influenced my school. There were two narratives for the month of February, one that was uplifting and one that was depressing. Uplifting: Our school incorporated a series of fantastic, truly unique events for…

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Though I posted the sights and sounds of the summit, I didn’t get the chance to reflect on last weekend’s events. Much of the floating thoughts that I’d had got lost, sadly, in the haze of teaching (this week, after such a busy weekend, was not easy). But I do have 3 brief observations: (1)…

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Feb 04 2011

The Peculiarity of 12th Graders

For whatever reason, I keep moving up the grade-level ladder as each semester passes: Fall 2009: 2 periods of 10th grade and 1 period of 11th grade English Spring 2010: 1 period of 10th grade and 2 periods of 11th grade English Fall 2010: 2 periods of 11th grade English and 1 period of Journalism…

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As someone of Korean descent, I noticed something particularly interesting during President Obama’s State of the Union address last night: he referred to South Korea on 4 separate occasions–more than to any other country (even China, which was only mentioned thrice). According to Obama, In South Korea, teachers are revered as “nation builders“; South Korea’s…

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I’ve only really gone off the negativity deep end once. It was over something as seemingly inconsequential as paper (email me if you don’t remember my password). In reality, though, paper management makes all the difference in a school. It’s one part of the hidden infrastructure that allows a school to serve its purpose of…

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Jan 08 2011

2 Lessons from Week One of 2011

It would be ideal if I could say that I’ve had a fresh start to the new year–that 2011, like every new year, somehow ushers in a revitalized phase of teaching and learning.  But the reality is that my first week back (after break, and after my 5-week jury duty term) has been hellish. But…

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What does a teacher do with winter break? In many jobs, a fortnight vacation is elusive. Teachers, then, might be “lucky.” But no matter how “lucky” it might be to have an extended break, the truth is that it is sorely needed. If anything, the break is a time for reflection. Though I’m surrounded, at…

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Dec 23 2010

Education’s David v. Goliath

If we want to create lasting student-centered reform, we should focus less on teacher contracts and more on state-level legislation—because that is where most of the “action” happens for schools. This is the general point that Emily Cohen and Kate Walsh of the National Council on Teacher Quality make in a recent Education Next article.…

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weighing evidence

One of a grand juror’s primary responsibilities is to evaluate the credibility of evidence presented by a prosecutor. Can one trust what the witness is saying? Were there any inconsistencies in the statement? Additionally, a grand juror must factor in the type of evidence involved: is it “direct” (e.g. eyewitness account or offender’s confession) or…

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Dec 06 2010

The Dominoes Fall in DC

It’s hard to feel much hope for school reform in DC after the triple whammy of forced departures: First, Mayor Adrian Fenty, perhaps the first to so faithfully link his political fortunes to the fate of education in DC. Second, DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee, perhaps the most hard-charging of school district leaders to walk the…

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Nov 28 2010

Thank You and a Request

Two things: Thank you, Teach For Us. Will you donate to Teach For Us? ***** To the first, I have 10 reasons to thank Teach For Us: (1) Thank you for helping me decide—by offering the honest, and at times raw, blogs that populate your site—to join Teach For America. Through spending hours clicking through…

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Nov 23 2010

The Achievement Gap≠Resource Gap

Warning! What you’re about to read is counterintuitive. But here goes: our public education system does not need more money to close the achievement gap. In America, we already spend a boatload of money on education. Based on OECD data, we spend $11,301 per pupil annually in secondary education.  Let’s put that in perspective: This is…

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Nov 03 2010

Dream Deletion

Lately, I’ve been having the most exquisite dreams while sleeping. Ironically, they’re exquisite for reasons I can’t even describe.  More accurately, I can’t seem to remember anything specific about any of them. I just know that they are good. I know that they are good because I feel a moment of dread when my alarm…

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Really, "A Blog Covering Dilemmas in Education": A (former) English teacher's reflections…

D.C. Region
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