Category Archives: Higher Education

Obama Administration Sends Mixed Messages on Teachers and Testing – – Education Week Teacher

From Education Week Teacher Update

Obama Administration Sends Mixed Messages on Teachers and Testing – – Education Week Teacher.

What are your thoughts?

What about the child?

In 1918, a special commission of the National Education Association presented a set of goals on the “purposes of school”.  The list included:

  • providing the child with a sense of ethics
  • teaching the child responsibility for his/her own health
  • teaching the child sensitivity toward the responsibilities of citizenship
  • mastery of the three “R’s”
  • teaching the child to use leisure time well
  • encouraging worthy human relationships with family and friends
  • teaching the child to make a living

We have come to teach a new generation of students and the goals these days seem to focus on teacher quality and offering great schools for students to learn in. While the Common Core Standards stress highest student achievement for all I have to wonder – wouldn’t the goals presented in 1918 be practical for our students today and if so – why are we not paying more attention to them?

Thoughts anyone?

How can we improve early education?

My father was a self-employed painting contractor.  As a child I observed his love of work and determination to grow intellectually even though he left school after the eighth grade – in his day, an accepted thing to do.

dad - youth     Leaving school did not diminish his motivation to learn.  I can still see him sitting on the sofa with book in hand learning all he could about whatever piqued his interest.  Dad always told me, “The more you can do in life, the more independently successful you will be.”  Dad’s passing did not diminish my motivation to learn.  He modeled well the life skills needed to survive in a competitive work world.

I reflected on Dad’s lessons as I viewed the following video “How can we improve early education?”

Listen as D. Quinn Mills, Consultant; Past Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School and expert on the differences between Asian and Western leadership styles shares his views on how we can improve early education by instilling in children motivation to learn.

Why teachers leave

Teachers enter teaching full of enthusiasm – knowing they have an opportunity to affect the lives of many over their time in the classroom.

Time and circumstance often wreak havoc on these idealistic goals.  The teacher in the following YouTube video (Ellie Rubenstein) eloquently expresses what teachers across the nation are feeling these days.  Her passion for teaching can’t be denied.  Ellie’s video has gone viral – she is enthusiastically supported by hundreds of thousands across the nation.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the state of public education today?  Do you share or not share Ellie’s views?  Why or why not?

Why teachers teach

!cid_3172757604_646320   I recently read an article written by a college student who is reconsidering her decision to become a teacher.  While her heart seems to be in teaching, those around her are persuading her to pursue a more prestigious, higher salaried career.  In other words – a “real profession” that is worthy of the cost of a college degree.

The question then arises – why do teachers teach?  It certainly can’t be for the salary.  Teachers are underpaid and overworked.  It can’t be for respect.  Teachers are often falsely charged as being the “problem” with education.  It can’t be for the prestigious working conditions.  Many teachers work in anything but.  Why then do we see teachers endure these conditions year after year not closing the door on education to pursue a more self-satisfying, lucrative career?  The answer must lie in the altruistic nature of teaching and the strong sense of duty most teachers cite as the reason for choosing a teaching career.

According to the National Education Association the average 2011-2012 starting teacher salary in the United States was $35,672.  Factoring into this salary the state of the economy, the increasing cost of shelter, utilities, food, insurance, and yes – taxes, this amount of money doesn’t support a lavish lifestyle or even a modest lifestyle.

Do teachers deserve more respect?  While teachers bear the brunt of accusations on what’s wrong with education, few outside of education stop to question why most teachers teach a specific way.  With the terms and conditions of No Child Left Behind came a landslide of do’s and don’ts over the years eliminating any autonomy a teacher may have in the classroom.

Working conditions?  Consider a career which pays on average for 37.5 hours of work, but commands on average 50-60 hours plus each week to get the job done.   Add to that career – purchasing books and materials out-of-pocket for students unable to afford them, classroom maintenance, professional development, teacher disrespect, constantly changing expectations, added demands, student behavioral concerns, etc., and answer this – would you teach?

While you may say “no” there are many teachers who would still say “yes.”  When I ask my college students why they chose education, the same answer is given every time – “I want to make a difference.”  Indeed, there are many teachers who have done just that.  This altruistic sense of service to others is best expressed with the story of David Menasche who does not consider his declining health but instead asks “Did I make a difference?”

David Menasche: Did I make a difference?

Sir Ken Robinson – always thought-provoking ideas worth listening to and following!


TED Talks are great resources for inspiration in the classroom, but sometimes my students struggle with focusing their attention on one person talking for so long. So, when I found this clever animation that visually articulates the information from a TED talk, I had to share! This one was given by Sir Ken Robinson, a world-renowned education and creativity expert.

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SREB News: Online Teachers Share Strategies with ShortTakes

K-12 teachers – does classroom teaching have you feeling down?  Think online!  K-12 virtual schools are springing up across the nation.  If you have a flair for technology and think you’d enjoy teaching from home, it may be time to investigate virtual schools.

SREB News: Online Teachers Share Strategies with ShortTakes.

Thoughts for Black History Month – “I Am”


I remember the ’60’s as a time of turbulence – a time of triumph.  At the age of seven, my mother, siblings and I climbed the steps of a Greyhound Bus in Connecticut to join my father in Florida. My first image of “those” water fountains remains etched in my mind.  With no previous discrimination experience, I approached the “colored” fountain at one of our first southern layover stops.  I remember people glaring as Mom led me to the “white” fountain. I remember her fearful look as she hurried me back on the bus.

The sixties were an emotional time, but also, a time of great growth.  I reflect on those years often – especially when my students and I celebrate Black History Month each year.  Though happy “those” water fountains no longer exist – I regret that some in society too easily slip back into “water fountain” thinking.

At my first multicultural teacher training, participants were asked to share their thoughts in writing.  My thoughts drifted back to the ‘60’s…

“I Am”

I am thoughtful and loving – two traits you would know

If you’d take time to see what life’s lessons will show

I marvel at kindness imagined and real

I hear glorious harmonies, world echoed with zeal

I see hands held united in colorful hues

I see joy for each person – joy lasting, joy true

I am thoughtful and loving – two traits you would know

If you’d take time to see what life’s lessons will show

I see unity, caring throughout humankind

Immense rays of hope at the thought in my mind

I pity those left untouched by one’s plight

I’m troubled to think that this wrong won’t be right

I am thoughtful and loving – two traits you would know

If you’d take time to see what life’s lessons will show

I discern you are you and I am me

If love’s unconditional – why can’t we see?

I dream of the day when all equal will be

All loving you – all loving me

I am thoughtful and loving – two traits you would know

If you’d take time to see what life’s lessons will show


multicultural students

Black History Month links –

Six Teaching Tools for Black History Month | Edutopia

Great resources!

Six Teaching Tools for Black History Month | Edutopia.

Teaching Without Tests

This is teaching as it should be!  Allowing students to have a choice in demonstrating their knowledge is definitely differentiating and acceptance that one size does not fit all – in teaching, learning, or assessment!  Thanks for sharing Nicholas!

Teaching Without Tests.