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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.




Commentary
by Priscilla Wohlstetter & David Houston — 2015
This commentary traces the transition of education policy from the Bloomberg-Klein years to the current administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina a year into their tenure.

by Nadine Dolby — 2015
A commentary on the hidden curriculum of animals in education.

by Samina Hadi-Tabassum — 2015
This commentary addresses turn around schools in Chicago.

by M. Thirunarayanan — 2015
The author argues that the h-index should not be used to make decision regarding tenure and promotion in the profession of education.

by Gregory Bynum — 2015
This discussion of the question, "Should adult educators imitate the children they teach?", draws from the ideas of contemporary psychologist Alison Gopnik and twentieth-century educational philosophers John Dewey and Dorothy Dinnerstein. Gopnik and Dewey have discussed ways in which children can be good intellectual role models for adults when it comes to spontaneity, creativity, and openness to new possibilities. Dinnerstein, however, cautions that it is dangerous not to outgrow some childhood attitudes, and particularly childish understandings of gender roles and gender relations that arise from women's domination of early childcare.

by Ron Byrnes — 2015
In many university classrooms, professors talk and the students pretends to listen. More educational technology is not the key to engaging the "always on" generation—the key is faculty revealing more of their humanity.

by Richard Fossey — 2014
From the perspective of the higher education community, Massachusetts' highest court made a good decision when it ruled that a murder suspect had no constitutional right to privacy in his Harvard girlfriend's dorm room that would prohibit police from searching the room without a warrant.

by Mark Paige — 2014
Applying a legal perspective, this commentary argues against the use of Value Added Models (VAMs) in teacher evaluation.

by Reynaldo Reyes — 2014
This commentary is a call to teacher educators to engage in field experiences in which they are able to really see their students become future teachers. Being present to witness students problematizing pedagogy is as important for the learning of future teachers as it is for teacher educators. Presence and proximity of teacher educators to their students creates a space of unique accountability on both sides, a desire by students to demonstrate their learning as future teachers, and the recognition by teacher educators that the learning that is happening can be used to improve their own pedagogy.

by Fred Bonner — 2014
Raising Hands While Black(RHWB): An African American Man's Cautionary Tale explores the concept of what raised hands represent for men of color and how this representation is often scripted in schools and society from a deficit perspective.

by Peter Smagorinsky — 2014
People who fall outside conventional conceptions of mental health are typically considered disordered, abnormal, deficient, aberrant, and mentally ill. This discursive environment produces feelings of dysphoria—the belief that one is indeed abnormal and inferior—that serve as their psychological and affective basis for self-definition in relation to the broader world. This essay argues, using Vygotsky’s (1993) work in defectology—the unfortunately named science of attending to people lacking typical human developmental traits—that adaptations by people in the environment, rather than by people of difference themselves, provides a more humane approach to addressing the needs life trajectories of the neurologically atypical. By creating a positive social updraft focused on assets rather than deficits, and inclusion rather than isolation, communities of people can help those who are different participate in social activity through which they may become valued contributors to cultural practice.

by Nicole Blalock — 2014
Included in this commentary is a discussion of five key problems that permeate racial identification of Indigenous students in America’s public schools.

by Judith Scott-Clayton — 2014
While the prevalence of remediation has generated widespread concern about the college readiness of our nation’s high school graduates, comparatively little attention has been paid to how “readiness” is actually determined. At most community colleges and at many nonselective four-year colleges, readiness is determined by scores on short standardized math and English placement tests. This commentary describes research finding that assignment to remedial or college-level courses based on standardized placement exams results in large numbers of placement errors, and that incorporating high school transcript information would lead to fewer assignments to remediation while maintaining or increasing success rates in college-level Math and English.

by Zoë Burkholder — 2014
Instead of blaming teachers for the systemic problems of American public schools, how about we consider a more promising reform? This commentary explains how and why school integration remains a potent strategy to equalize educational opportunities.

by Cory Koedel & Eric Parsons — 2014
In a recent article the authors use data from Missouri to show that differences between traditional teacher preparation programs, measured in terms of the effects of their graduates on student achievement, are smaller than has been suggested by previous research in other states. Indeed, they find that most programs in Missouri are statistically indistinguishable from one another. The authors identify a technical error made in previous work to which they attribute their discrepant findings. In short, some previous studies have failed to properly account for teacher sampling, and in doing so, have overstated the extent to which graduates from different teacher preparation programs truly differ. This commentary considers the implications of this result in the context of the current policy push for more rigorous evaluations of teacher preparation programs.

by Jeanne Marie Iorio & Clifton Tanabe — 2014
For the past two years, Hawaii has been focused on establishing a statewide early learning system based on readying children for school. As part of the process, there has been a push for a so-called "public-private solution" where public funds will be routed to private programs in order to “ready” the children within the state. This commentary discusses the amendment, advocacy for the amendment, and the related consequences.

by Stephen Sireci — 2015
In this article, I review and provide comments on the six articles that comprise this special issue on research conducted using PISA data. The articles represent a variety of issues and methods related to contemporary educational assessments and education policies. They feature state-of-the-art statistical analyses and instructive exploration of complex issues related to international assessment of students’ math, reading, and science achievement. A common theme underlying the articles is improving the interpretations of the results of educational assessments. Some articles address this theme via post hoc analysis or discussion of results, while others conduct research that informs future test development efforts.

by Iris Rotberg — 2014
The controversy over the Common Core is the most recent diversion from addressing the basic problems that contribute to the achievement gap between low- and high-income students. In the past decade, the focus has been on charter schools and testing. An enormous amount of time has been spent on promoting, implementing, and debating these initiatives in the hope that they would somehow narrow the achievement gap, even while poverty persisted and income and wealth gaps increased. These policies, which began with high—perhaps, more accurately, unrealistic—expectations, turned out to be irrelevant to narrowing the gap and, in some cases, reduced rather than expanded opportunities for low-income students. This commentary describes the futility of continuing to rely on “solutions” that do not address the underlying problems, serve only to detract attention from the far more fundamental changes that are needed, and risk increasing current inequities.

by Ronald Gallimore, James Hiebert & Bradley Ermeling — 2014
“Rich classroom discourse” has long been valorized by education reformers who object to teacher domination of classroom discussions. Is the greater use of RCD key to intellectually inspiring and challenging classrooms? Perhaps instead of focusing on increased use it’s time to ask what specific role for RCD might be realistic and yield learning outcomes educators value? The best chance for progress is to link this question to another one: how to create rich learning opportunities for achieving more advanced competencies. Strategic deployment of RCD for well-defined instructional purposes seems a more realistic vision than advocating greater use without respect for why, when, and for whom. Finding RCD’ proper role requires at least three conditions. Sustained collaboration between teachers and researchers. An ongoing study of curriculum and practice to identify pivotal RLOs in each unit or project and which might benefit from RCD. Supporting teacher development of the professional judgment to skillfully manage complex decisions with each population and generation of students they teach, so they deploy the best instructional choices.

by Louis M. Gomez — 2014
This introduction is a brief reflection on the import of the Gordon Commission’s work to future considerations of assessment and learning.

by Lawrence Baines — 2014
Since 1965, three precedents have had a powerful influence on the direction of public education—the promise to educate all children, the fluctuating nature of school funding, and mandated standardized tests. This commentary discusses the interplay of these three precedents for rich and poor.

by Daniel Willingham & Gail Lovette — 2014
In this commentary we suggest that reading comprehension strategy instruction does not actually improve general-purpose comprehension skills. Rather, this strategy represents a bag of tricks that are useful and worth teaching, but that that are quickly learned and require minimal practice.

by Richard Fossey, Suzanne Eckes & Todd DeMitchell — 2014
An Illinois school board fired a tenured guidance counselor because he self-published a sexually explicit advice book on adult relationships. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the school board's decision on the grounds that the board reasonably believed that the book could undermine the integrity of the school counseling program.

by Deborah Bieler — 2014
This essay provides a metaphorical reading of The LEGO Movie, suggesting that the movie itself can serve as an instruction manual, the kind for which LEGO is well known. In this reading, the movie offers step-by-step instructions about how Americans can win the fight against privatizing, corporatizing forces that are attacking our public education system. The author shares these instructions and urges readers to follow them – even though they are, ironically, from a kind of instruction manual – as a way to commit ourselves anew to building and continually re-creating schools that help American youth change the world, not serve corporations’ self-interest.

by Ted Purinton — 2014
Recent debates about the demise of cursive instruction demonstrate the disconnect between the educational policy and the profession of teaching.

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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.



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