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Wendy Kopp was on campus Thursday as part of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Askwith Forum series. She gave brief remarks about TFA before several current ed school students who are TFA alumni joined her. I wandered over from an amazing conference at the law school on “Closing the School to Prison Pipeline” (more…

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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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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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It is possible to fall into the trap of thinking that, because public education is a public service (that is, something provided to all people for free), it is something that all people actually receive in the same way and to the same degree. By this framework, we might see education as an intangible, invisible…

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Apr 01 2011

The Finland Phenomenon

One of the beauties of teaching and living in DC is that education is “big” here. The average person here “cares” about education. This is not to say that people elsewhere don’t “care.” But if we measure how much people care about education by tallying the number of education-related events, then one might rightly believe…

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Feb 25 2011

On the Influence of Parents

Over the past few months, I’ve fleshed out my own theory about why invested parents matter to a student’s success. One common view is that parents matter insofar as they provide the guidance and nurturing outside of the school building. In other words, they play a role analogous to the teacher in the classroom. This…

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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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“Come ON, Mr. K!–you’ve got a room full of black kids begging you to read and you’re going to deny them?!” – Student, utterly amazed that teacher would cut off independent reading block at 30 minutes. My students clearly know about stereotypes. The implied stereotype that this student refers to is that black students don’t…

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Aug 13 2010

20 Anecdotes on Failure

What causes students to fail? I don’t mean “fail” as in “I am going to fail geometry class”; rather, I mean “fail” as in “you are a failure in life.”  (Or maybe, “fail” as in FAIL blog.) I was spurred to think about this after noticing a brilliant, concise post that offers 20 reasons for…

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This is the third in an ongoing series that applies economic theory to aspects of education (introduction in Part 1). Teaching is a time-sensitive profession.  There is not a single moment where a teacher is not aware of time.  Furthermore, in an urban school setting, where students are often many years behind, time becomes even…

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This is a follow-up to my first “Economics and Education” post (available here).  In it, I compared the weak school culture that many poor schools exhibit to the deflationary spirals that countries in economic crisis often experience.  One of the major points I made was that schools could get “stuck in a rut” of poor…

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This is the second in a three-part (maybe more?) series that applies economic theory to aspects of education (introduction in Part 1). ***** I suspect that an ingrained notion exists among CMs that student achievement is a function of expectations.  Once a teacher raises the bar for what is expected in the classroom, students will…

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This is the first in a three-part (maybe more?) series that applies economic theory to aspects of education.  I was not inspired to do this by anyone or anything.  I am not “forcing” the connections either.  Instead, this series recognizes the fact that when I think of issues in education I often think in terms…

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

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