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You are invited to add your unique voice and perspective to a vibrant, forward thinking conversation around some of the most timely topics in the education sector.   We welcome sophisticated commentary, similar to that found in the world’s leading publications, that covers a wide range of education related topics and draws fresh connections to contemporary issues.  As a contributor you will both be invited to discuss topics of our choosing and have the exciting opportunity to create content of your choice around subjects that interest you as both a scholar and practitioner.  Let’s work together to move the conversation around education further into the future while reframing and evaluating scholarship of the past.

by Arthur McKee & Hannah Putman — 2014
On March 23, Teachers College Record published a commentary by Deborah Schussler and Lisa Johnson of the National Council on Teacher Quality's classroom management report. The following is NCTQ's response to the commentary.

by Anand Marri — 2014
This commentary advocates for the promotion of economic literacy to help foster an active and engaged democratic citizenry.

by M. Felicity Rogers-Chapman — 2014
In this era of big data analysis, there is a push to understand education on a large-scale, yet existing datasets provide only a blurry picture of students and schools. This commentary argues that there is a need to develop twenty-first century tools that can fully capture the nuanced population that constitutes the educational landscape of the United States.

by Mark Ortwein, Stacey Britton & Amber Carpenter-McCullough — 2014
In this commentary, we suggest that the contemporary publish-or-perish academic culture stands to negatively impact pre-tenure professors—particularly professors at R1 institutions. Indeed, we believe that the present overemphasis on publication, and its attending de-emphasis on teaching quality and meaningful service, provides rich soil for the cultivation of intellectual dereliction. To this end, we assert that the development of “intellectual virtue” ought to be a primary aim of doctoral and pre-tenure mentorship. Such virtues include intellectual honesty, conscientiousness, creativity, and open-mindedness. We conclude the piece with some remarks on cultivating intellectual virtue in the academy.

by Deborah Schussler & Lisa Johnson — 2014
A recent National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) report attempts to evaluate how well teacher education programs prepare graduates to manage classrooms effectively. Although the authors of the report attempt to use an empirically supported framework, what they label the “Big Five,” to systematically study a sample of teacher preparation programs, their framework and their study suffer from egregious assumptions and oversimplification. This commentary considers both the premise and the strategies of the NCTQ report and suggests our own “Big Five” in terms of misguided assumptions: relational irrelevance, dismissing context, distinguishing written versus enacted curriculum, focusing on “what” versus “how,” and ignoring systematic structures.

by Francis Schrag — 2014
A dialogue between a proponent and opponent of Evidence Based Education Policy. Each position is stated forcefully and each reader must decide who has the best of the argument.

by Richard Fossey — 2014
The Seventh Circuit ruled that university student inspectors did not violate a student's constitutional rights when they conducted a routine inspection of his dorm room and found marijuana. No warrant is required for routine health and safety inspections, the Seventh Circuit ruled.

by Ronald Gallimore & James Hiebert — 2014
Implementation is a challenging phase of education reform. In many locales, the rush is on to quickly implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In some districts, textbooks and curriculum materials were delivered only days before school began. Many offered only minimal professional development to help teachers understand what kind of student learning the new standards aim for, and to develop new forms of instruction to support that learning. Despite these circumstances, teachers were still expected to teach the CCSS, and get students ready for new, more demanding assessments coming soon. In too many cases, there is little appreciation that the final, decisive implementation step is teachers planning, trying out, and revising new lessons. Week by week, in small incremental steps, change comes. Often progress is uneven, slower than anticipated, and runs afoul of “hurry-up” pressures that kill reforms before they are ever fully implemented. Evidence is mounting that incremental improvement is the best way to get lasting results –– in medicine, teaching, and industry. Even with robust support for incremental progress, it will take years of collaboration by teachers and administrators for the full benefits of CCSS to be realized. Red flags are up.

by Jonathan Cohen — 2014
There has never been more federal and state support for school climate reform efforts in America. Paradoxically, most practitioners are not sure what school climate improvement means on day-to-day basis. This commentary details three factors that contribute to school climate reform being more of an idealized goal than an actual school improvement practice today: (i) confusion about what constitutes an effective school climate improvement process in general; (ii) confusion about how school climate reform is similar and/or different from PBIS; and, (iii) educational policies and accountability systems that actually discourage principals and superintendents from actively supporting school climate improvement efforts.

by Neena Saha — 2014
This commentary examines the neural bases of reading development, combining different scientific disciplines and making the case for educational neuroscience as a promising new field. It demonstrates how atypical reading impairment (Dyslexia) is a ‘model’ learning disability for bridging the gap between neuroscience and education. Next, it describes how experimental approaches in developmental cognitive neuroscience are applicable to educational neuroscience. Lastly, ideas for future research in educational neuroscience that have implications for the classroom are delineated.

by Joey Leonard — 2014
Every state wants to boast the nation’s most prepared workforce. This distinction draws new business and industry to that state, resulting in economic prosperity. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has set a goal of providing a 55% post-secondary credentialed workforce by 2025 in order to keep the business and industry currently located in the state. Tennessee’s key resource to accomplish the goal is its adult learner. The state has nearly one million adults with some college but no degree. Tennessee must find new and innovative ways to capture this wealth of opportunity for the state’s prosperity and future growth. The author discusses the current plan and proposes five key factors to engage the adult learner.

by Stephen Heyneman — 2014
This note will report on distortions from both quantitative and qualitative research. In the end I will argue that we should throw the terms out altogether and, instead of teaching graduate students in a class labeled ‘qualitative research’, that we should teach graduate students in a class simply titled ‘research methods’.

by M. Thirunarayanan — 2014
This commentary asks whether using untested technological tools in classrooms in unethical. Practices in the medical profession are compared to classroom uses of technology and the suggestion is made that all tools used in classrooms should carry a warning label

by Dick Schutz — 2014
The UK and the US are implementing very different models for teaching reading, constituting a Natural Experiment. Preliminary results of the experiment as of June 2013 are reported.

by Robert Lubetsky & William Stroud — 2014
New York City public education has received national attention over the last decades. With the new Mayor and change of administration, it is time to rethink the emphasis on accountability as the leading driver of school reform. The authors propose attending to five critical issues that will profoundly impact both the experiences of students and adults in schools, and potentially transform the vision and significance of public education.

by Heinz-Dieter Meyer — 2013
This commentary discusses the latest PISA results, and criticizes the influence of the OECD upon global education discourse.

by Brian Gibbs — 2013
This commentary critiques the way in which Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are currently being used in some schools. Rather than spaces of intellectual discussion and organic unity, they are too often reduced to spaces of inorganic unity where individual pedagogic choice and creativity are destroyed. A call to return to the original intention of PLCs is issued, including a description of how honoring individuality can lead to an organic unity.

by Jason Margolis — 2013
This commentary argues that the failures of the Affordable Care Act and website are symbolic of the failures of American education policy over the past 30 years. These policies have targeted “achievement,” as defined by the few, rather than “liberty” as sought by the many. It is argued that to live free, healthy, and educated, we must acknowledge that in a country this diverse, we will not all define free, healthy, and educated living the same. Instead of hyper-control and standardization, what makes America and its schools great is the ongoing development of the capacity to think independently and freely.

by Joel Weiss & Robert Brown — 2013
In this commentary, the authors highlight their recently published book: Weiss, J., & Brown, R. (2013). Telling Tales Over Time: Calendars, Clocks and School Effectiveness. Boston, MA: Sense Publishers.

by Richard Fossey & Robert Cloud — 2013
In re Roth, decided by the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is an important decision that took a compassionate approach toward an insolvent college-loan debtor who filed for bankruptcy late in life without any real prospect of ever paying off her student loans.

by David Armor — 2013
Most studies of economic integration, including some published by TCR, emphasize the potential educational benefits of economic integration while ignoring potential educational harms. This commentary illustrates these potential harms using a recent TCR article that looked only at benefits.

by Thomas Troisi — 2013
During the past 30 years, a variety of political, economic, and social forces have shaped the current landscape of public education, a landscape defined by increasing accountability and privatization. Simultaneously, those same forces have contributed to the devaluation of the "career educator" and have produced a leadership vacuum at the local, state, and national levels.

by Amanda Potterton — 2013
This article examines two Arizona-based charter school organizations, well known for their high academic rankings locally and nationally. In response to President Obama's May 5th through May 11th 2013 “National Charter Schools Week” proclamation, and his call for the nation's support of highly performing charter schools, the author analyzes the schools' demographic profiles, using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Common Core of Data (CCD), and the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). The author also explores current public discourses surrounding the two charter school organizations. The findings are relevant and timely in light of Obama’s call to extend and replicate successful charter schools throughout the United States, because the results problematize the definition and nuances of charter school “success” by considering the study’s schools in relation to their underrepresentation of disadvantaged students. Based on evidence discovered in the study, the author provides relevant policy questions and suggestions for local, state, and federal education policymakers.

by Lawrence Flowers — 2013
Broadening participation of underrepresented minorities in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pathway is an important issue for a variety of stakeholders. The current article presents practical strategies that can be implemented by historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to attenuate underrepresentation in STEM education and STEM careers.

by Gregory Bynum — 2013
This commentary on what it means for humans to mature presents a reading of mutually complementary ideas from the philosophers Immanuel Kant and Dorothy Dinnerstein. It is argued that both childhood and maturity, and the relationship between childhood and maturity, must be reconceived in order for us to arrive at a better understanding of what it means to grow up. This re-conception requires that we challenge three different, but interconnected, false binaries. These false binaries are (1) rationalism (which places abstract ideas above empirical evidence) vs. empiricism (which places empirical evidence above abstract ideas); (2) “masculinity” vs. “femininity;” and (3) adult experience vs. childhood experience.

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Teachers’ commentaries provide an important perspective on current educational issues. If you are a K-12 educator, we welcome you to submit a 1,000-1,500 word commentary in which you draw on your experience to address problems and opportunities confronting students and educators.

Recently-Suggested Topics
  • Dear Editorial Department, I hope you are doing well! My name is Syed S. Ahmed. I was interested in the opportunity to submit a piece on "Teaching The Diversity of Islam-A Non Arab Approach." I would be delighted if given the opportunity to contribute in any way. With regards, Professor Ahmed
  • To Whom It May Concern: I'm writing to see if Teachers College Record would be interested in an article on a very specific event. If so, I'll happily write the submission with any writing preferences or directions Teachers College Record desires. Positive psychology, happiness, and character education has been a very hot topic recently. David Levin, the founder of KIPP, is leading an online free class off coursera.org entitled, "Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms." I think this is a very significant event, because so much of the research and science on character development has: (1) remained mostly in academic journals and books away from lay audiences, and (2) has not really been able to offer suggestions for incorporation in the classroom with the science to back it up. I also think this is a very significant event because so much of this research is extremely controversial. Is developing Grit in-itself, without attention to context, anything but obedience? Can you track for character without having students become more dependent on praise? I plan to take this online course. Would TCR be interested in a submission that offers a reflective but possibly highly critical review of this course from someone who is both a student of psychology and a teacher? I'd detail some important research studies but also tie it into the narrative of my classroom as someone who became a teacher (like so many) to inspire and build character. If you think this would be an appropriate submission for TCR, I'd happily write it to be a specific length, with a particular writing style, or accommodate any other preferences the publication might have. The online course will last until the beginning of March, and I could have the article submission to you by the end of March. Thanks for your consideration. Dan Daniel.J.LaSalle@gmail.com
  • supervision and evaluation in schools Collective Bargaining and management prerogatives
  • I am historian of education and am currently working on a history of Germantown High School, a comprehensive high school in Philadelphia. On December 13, 2012, the School District of Philadelphia announced that Germantown was on the list of potential school closures. In my ethnographic work at the school and others like it in Philadelphia, high school youth have commented about their concerns about these school closures and the possibility of gang violence when they transfered to new schools. I would like to write a short commentary piece on this for TCR. I look forward to your response. Sincerely, Erika Kitzmiller
  • The rise of grit as an aspect of character and a trait to teach to students. This has been elaborated recently in Paul Tough's book: How children succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. Thank you.
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