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Here are the top ten articles for the School Reform Site! These rankings are live and get reset at the beginning of each month, so check back often to see what your fellow visitors are most interested in!
1. Firing Teachers Won't Improve U.S. Education
Judging by responses to a recent NPR report on a lawsuit to make it easier to fire California teachers, many members of the public seem to see public school teachers as a species of self-sacrificing missionaries dedicated to acting as surrogate parents to every child who enters their classroom.
2. The Testing Opt-Out Movement
Parents and teachers distressed by the effect of ever-increasing state-mandated standardized testing of younger and younger children are at the heart of a grassroots movement to resist what they see as a mindless process that has little to do with education or the mental well-being of children.
3. Criticism of Reform Not Welcome
Top-tier reformers like Arne Duncan and state superintendents don't want to listen to the valid criticisms of parents, principals, and teachers. They meet complaints by taking the high ground, equating their untried, testing-heavy education reforms with the moral struggle for civil rights.
4. Educational Goals vs U.S. Culture
Efforts at school reform without an overhaul of U.S. cultural priorities are pie in the sky.
5. Teacher Evaluation Scam
Public education is falling prey to the educational consulting scams proliferating as a result of the latest corporate approach to school reform. The Danielson Group is making millions offering services that an educated school workforce ought to be able to do for themselves.
6. Class Size
Beware of smoke and mirror reasoning fostered by entrepreneurs whose principal agenda is the discrediting of the public schools and the rechanneling of public monies into the private business sector.
7. Impulse Control Lacking in Modern Youth
One of the stated goals of the Common Core Standards is to encourage “student-directed learning.” A possible obstacle to classrooms filled with self-directed, internally motivated students is the fact that children's ability to self-regulate has declined steeply in the past 60 years.
8. Is College for Everyone?
A college degree has become a status symbol in American culture--like a BMW or an 8,500-square-foot house. The reality is that most Americans cannot afford the luxury of sending their children to a four-year university with some vague idea that it will insure their financial future.
9. Cut Scores and Priorities
Cut scores are selected points on the scoring scale of a test. Like the tests they are created for, cut scores are arbitrary. As the new Common Core Standards bring a new set of federal priorities to American education, it's more important than ever for parents to take charge.
10. Cursive Writing Controversy
Cursive writing is just one style of handwriting, but many people seem to think that it is the only kind. North Carolina legislators have passed a law requiring that all fifth graders must be able to write in cursive.
Be sure to visit the School Reform Archives for all the articles!
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