Show of hands: Anyone surprised it was charter school that expelled Tiana Parker?

Charter schools have been in the news recently. This is due in large part to Tiana Parker, an adorable 7-year-old in Tulsa who was unceremoniously sent home the second week of school for violating her school’s dress code policy, which labeled dreadlocks and afros – hairstyles natural to black children – as “faddish.”

After a public outcry, the board of Deborah Brown Community School, Tulsa’s first charter, rescinded the policy. … [Read more]

College Tuition Costs and You

Politics has its hands in everything. It even affects college and who attends and who doesn’t. Schools are inherently biased about who they will and will not accept as admissions is a selectivity game. As a result, prospective college students often feel as though they must throw everything noteworthy about themselves in their applications and, still, there is a possibility that they won’t be admitted to their higher education institution of choice.… [Read more]

Laws Cool: Shorten the Paper Chase?

The nice part of being a second-term President is you never have to worry about being elected again. The tired, lame refrains of the birthers and impeachers aside, a bulletproof President Obama is using part of his second term to lead in reducing the staggering cost of a law school education. Enter the bully pulpit.

We’re not talking about Texas Gov.… [Read more]

Summer School

It’s summertime and, as a teacher, that means I am home with my two boys for the next two-and-a-half months. Most people assume this means I have oodles of free time to just sit and kick it on my back deck with a book.

While I do have more time now than I did when my days were 7:30am-5:00pm, I still have a lot of “teacherly” things going on.… [Read more]

Surviving the Summer Holidays

Monkey boy painting

The summer holidays are on us again. School is out and the kids are free to run wild. It need not be all chaos at your household this summer as there are many different activities which you can do with your children to occupy their time meaningfully.

  • Sign them up for art camps, or do painting/drawing at home:  It would be great for them to capture their surroundings down in print using different mediums in art.
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History 101—One way WWII had a positive impact for women

In my spare time {groan} I’ve been reading Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation. I enjoy reading about and studying history, and WWII is one of my favorite subjects. You remember WWII , you know, that war we fought to clean up the mess from WWI. You remember WWI, the ‘war to end all wars’. As the men went to war, women went to the workplace and, even though they were ‘fired’ at the end of the war, their presence in the workplace created more opportunities for women.… [Read more]

Closed Schools. Distraught Students. Stunned Teachers. Shocked Community. Buena Vista: An Education Fiasco

“How can you close school…isn’t that against the law?”

This question has been rolling around in my mind for a few days, as I come to the painful realization that we really don’t value education at all. We don’t take it seriously. We pay it lip service. Education is a long-term goal. We worship short-term gain.… [Read more]

The next big financial bubble can be popped.

Education can be an individual’s or a nation’s greatest investment. We talk about the disparity between the  public education provided to students with fewer economic resources and those who have greater financial means. We also talk about gender differences in that young women are often steered away from  Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields of study.… [Read more]

Libraries: Budget Cut Casualties

Budgets reflect priorities. As a nation we often state that our priorities begin and end with the health, safety and well-being of citizens, especially our children as they are represent the future of the country. Education is part of ensuring well-being, and a well-educated populace enables the nation to compete globally among developing countries that are rapidly advancing their social agendas that are supported, in large part, by their technological developments.… [Read more]

The Politics of ‘Food Insecurity’

Hungry children are less likely to develop properly and they are far less likely to be able to pay attention and focus on educational pursuits. So, given how pervasive hunger is for children in this nation, doesn’t it seem all the more incredible that children would be forced to throw out school lunches because of an inability to pay?… [Read more]

Keep Religion in Schools

I’m a HUGE supporter of the separation of church and state. Huge.

But as a public school teacher, that doesn’t mean I can’t teach about religion. It just means I can’t tell my students that one or any religion is the RIGHT religion.

As a high school American literature teacher, it is absolutely impossible for me to teach any of the books in my curriculum without my students having some working knowledge of the Bible.… [Read more]

Common (Core Educational Standards) for a Reason

I’m really not sure how much the non-teacher public know about the Common Core State Standards Initiative that has been brewing over the past few years and has gone into effect this school year.

The idea behind the Common Core is that instead of every state making up their own public school standards and benchmarks for grades K-12 and then giving their own state test to check on the progress of those standards, all the states will have the same…ahem…COMMON…set of standards for each grade level.… [Read more]

Equalizing Education, Equalizing Pay

Here’s a sobering thought as we pass the mid-way point of Women’s History Month: we’re still too far apart in closing the gender wage gap.

Even with moves toward equalizing pay between men and women, and the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Act requiring equal pay, men still make almost 20% more than women in nearly all industries.… [Read more]

Arts Education, Chinese Food and Matt Yglesias’ Tale of Non Sequiturs

You know the saying: one is a coincidence, two is a pattern, three makes you a certified glutton for punishment.

For months I’ve watched Slate writer Matt Yglesias flail away, writing on education issues. First, he tried to pit teachers unions against taxpayers in a smug piece on the Chicago Teachers Union strike. Then he analyzed the phony StudentsFirst report card, treating it like an objective measure of state education policy rather than an ideological wish list of Michelle Rhee‘s pet priorities.… [Read more]

The Value of Teachers’ Time

There it is again. The comparison of teaching salaries of the United States to those around the world.

We are at the top of the list for hours teachers spend working, yet almost at the bottom of the list for pay. The rest of the countries are much more evenly matched with hours worked versus how much pay teachers get.… [Read more]

Kids and Screens – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about allowing my three-and-a-half-year old have access to many different screens and how we monitor it.[Read more]

Teaching Kids about Love, post Valentine’s

This week is the week of Love as we celebrated Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February.  Love is not just for people who are dating but also between friends, siblings and relations.

Love: An intense feeling of deep affection

It is something that we feel, an attachment for a person or an object. If you teach children how to respect and love they will act in kind.… [Read more]

Glass Ceilings and Ivy Walls

Before we get started, I’d like you to picture university science professors in your head. Now, what did you see? Maybe they’re messy and disheveled, with unkempt hair and an untucked, wrinkled shirt. Perhaps they are more meticulous in appearance and have on a crisp, starched button-down with a pocket protector. Maybe they’re carrying the tools of their trade: a graphing calculator, a protractor, a clipboard full of data and equations.… [Read more]

Uncorking New Strategy for Funding Schools

Public education is a public good. This can’t be said often enough or stressed strongly enough. Like law enforcement and fire protection, public  schools are offered free of charge on an even-handed basis. But it’s the one public good no one wants to pay for. Instead we come up with one silly scheme after another as the savior for cash-starved schools.… [Read more]

Engaging your Child through Holisitic Education

In this fast-paced society of ours it is important for an individual to be able to perform well in many different aspects. Gone are the days where only excellent academic results and a high IQ are able to see you through your adulthood. Nowadays EQ (Emotional Quotient) matters more than IQ. One is expected  to have good  academic results, relate well to others, be hands on, physically fit and have an understanding and appreciation for the Arts.… [Read more]