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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 Suzanne Eckes — 2016
In Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right for same-sex couples to marry. Some commentators have noted how this opinion raises questions related to educational employment matters. For example, after the Obergefell decision, LGBT educators might likely assume that they are now free to marry without fear of retaliation in their schools. Unfortunately, this has not been the case.

by Dino Sossi — 2016

by Tiffany Flowers — 2016

by Thomas Cottle — 2016
All we are, it has been written, is contained in the stories we tell. In addition, a story becomes a calling to another person. In this case,the story teller is a young high school student, the listener called is her teacher. The actual story involves a literal calling for help.

by Kerri Prejean, Richard Fossey & Mitzi Trahan — 2015
A recent study found that corporal punishment declined in Texas public schools from 2010-2011 to 2014-2015. The percentage of students who attended school in districts that formally prohibit corporal punishment increased from 60% to 66% over four years. Furthermore, through the examination of OCR data for the 2011-2012 academic year, the study found that 72% of Texas students attended school in districts that did not report a single incident of corporal punishment.

by Elizabeth Soslau, Stephanie Kotch-Jester & Ann Jorlin — 2015
As the edTPA quickly becomes the gold standard of teacher performance assessments, the field needs to reflect on what sense our candidates are making of the measure. In this commentary we share our candidates’ conclusions about what the edTPA measures well and less well, and the dangerous inferences they draw from these conclusions. Our aim is to alert teacher preparation programs that teacher candidates view the high stakes performance assessment as an exhaustive checklist of competencies, rather than one of many measures that assess different clusters of teaching skills. The field must counteract this erroneous conclusion and help candidates understand that there are critical competencies that fall outside the scope of the edTPA, which must be developed before being ready to practice.

by Jason Endacott & Christian Goering — 2015
Sixteen states require their Departments of Education to assign a single performance indicator such as a “letter grade” to schools within those states. We take a look at the relationship between school grades and poverty in one of these states. Our analysis indicates that there is a moderate negative correlation between poverty and school performance indicators. We discuss the implications for communities and structural poverty and make a plea to reconsider the manner in which single performance indicators are determined.

by M. Impedovo & Sufiana Malik — 2015
The purpose of this commentary is to consider the role of contemplative practices in the teacher preparation curriculum. Contemplative practices help reduce stress, improve a sense of well-being, and increase coping abilities for professional demands. They can be particularly useful in managing stress in transition situations. We suggest that students preparing to teach be provided specific training on how to use contemplative practices for sustaining positive personal and professional development.

by Hannibal Johnson — 2015
This essay discusses “Black English” in the context of the overall African American culture, with particular emphasis on the consequences of reliance on non-standard English in a competitive, capitalistic, majoritarian-oriented society.

by Jeanne Marie Iorio & Clifton Tanabe — 2015
As previous classroom teachers and now faculty and administration in higher education, we spend time teaching, researching, writing, influencing (at least attempting to), and implementing educational policy and practices. Braced by our experiences as educators and our commitments to the principles of justice and equity we highlight the often odd and irrational approaches to addressing the woes of education plaguing the United States. Framed by Swift (1729) and his infamous A Modest Proposal where he suggests the poor sell their children to the rich and privileged as food, we look at the absurdity of recent educational policy and practice and wonder, facetiously, if this same absurdity has been the inspiration for much of the current construct of the K-12 education system and what our role in higher education is to counteract absurdity.

by Hannah Spector & Marie Prendergast — 2015
This commentary critiques top-down, instrumental approaches to character education. We argue that a pedagogical move from teacher instruction to student construction of what it means to be a socially responsible, politically engaged citizen in a democracy requires a thought-driven approach to character education. We draw from political theorist Hannah Arendt’s analysis of thinking and moral considerations to guide our review of a widely promoted character education program: Character Counts!

by Dorothy Bossman — 2015
This piece is a reflection on my experiences with disability in education, first as a student, then as a teacher, and ultimately, as someone who became disabled, but it is also an argument for a significant change in the manner in which most educational institutions treat, represent, and serve individuals with disabilities. I suggest that including the perspectives of more researchers and teachers who are disabled into the wider education research community is one way to begin this transformation.

by Kendall Paine — 2015
The use of data has produced a narrowing effect in education. It has caused schools to narrow the content we are teaching, focusing on key learning targets (e.g. Common Core State Standards). At the same time, it has caused us to narrow the students we are teaching. Since schools are evaluated by proficiency percentages, educators are using data to create categories of “green,” “yellow,” and “red” students, and diverting resources disproportionately toward “yellow” students as a means of boosting overall percentages. This commentary discusses the consequences of this phenomenon, particularly on student equity and on teacher morale. It ends by urging school systems to use data in a way that tracks growth rather than performance, in an effort to mitigate the triaging effect.

by Judith Hanna — 2015
Recent research in the brain sciences integrated with knowledge in education, the arts, humanities, and social sciences reveals this: dance is nonverbal language with similar places and education processes in the brain as verbal language, thus a powerful means of expression and communication. Dance is physical exercise that sparks new brain cells (neurogenesis) and neural plasticity/connections, the brain’s amazing ability to change throughout life and provide a network for learning any subject. Moreover, dance is a means to help us cope with stress that can motivate or interfere with learning.

by Jameson Lopez — 2015
In light of recent events, it is becoming more important to identify those who are committing ethnic fraud, especially when done for personal gain. Ethnic fraud committed by non-Native Americans posing as Native Americans has been around for years and is not a new subject among Natives. A contribution to a larger solution for identifying those committing ethnic fraud against Native Americans is to use subtle cues in writing, such as humor, to identify those truly from a North American Indigenous background.

by M. Thirunarayanan — 2015
A number of changes, shifts, or 'turnovers' are responsible for the lack of sustained use of tools of technology in classrooms. The commentary identifies various turnovers that have an impact on the productive use of technology in schools.

by Peshe Kuriloff — 2015
In light of recent debates about the value of professional development, this article revisits the question of whether or not great teachers are made or born. If, as the recent study released by TNTP claims, professional development has no impact on teacher performance, we could draw the conclusion that good teachers are simply born good and no professional development program will make them better. That conclusion, however, contradicts ample evidence that teachers, like other professionals, can learn and improve their practice over time. As TNTP reports, school districts may well be wasting billions of dollars on ineffective professional development, but the need for well designed, differentiated teacher support has never been greater.

by Thomas Troisi — 2015
The local and national media are replete with tales about public school districts that have adopted a singular approach to instructional technology such as “iPads for all.” Increasingly parents, teachers, administrators, and school board members are questioning the practical utility of single device technology plans. And as school district budgets shrink, school board members and their constituents are demanding a greater degree of accountability for big ticket items such as technology. In this article I demonstrate how the Valley Stream Central High School District is attempting to differentiate the use of mobile learning technology based upon specific program objectives and student learning needs.

by Arie Spirgel & Peter Delaney — 2015
We review recent experiments we conducted showing that writing produces similar learning outcomes to reading without reading; these results led us to the conclusion that students must first become competent writers before they can reap the benefits of writing-to-learn.

by P. Zitlali Morales & Arthi Rao — 2015
In this commentary, the authors explain that, despite well-respected bilingual education policy, Illinois, like most of the U.S. has an inequitable distribution of dual immersion bilingual education programs. Such programs appear mostly in white, middle-class communities rather than in predominantly Latino ones. The authors argue that this inequity is driven by ideological and cultural capital differences among communities. They contend that these inequities must be addressed if more effective additive bilingual education models are to serve emergent bilingual students in the U.S.

by Andrea Hyde — 2015
This is a proposal to teach classroom-based mindfulness techniques to teacher education candidates as part of their teacher education programs. While mindfulness, including yoga and meditation, is growing more popular in a range of educational settings, the majority of K-12 programs are delivered to schools through external personnel from yoga or mindfulness service organizations. In many cases, these programs are provided at low or no cost to schools, or individual teachers might take trainings ranging from about $600-$2500. A more sustainable, affordable and ethical scenario would be to develop the capacities of teachers to employ mindfulness techniques for their own wellbeing, and that of their students, during their teacher education programs.

by Martin Scanlan — 2015
David Sackett, a physician who died in May, 2015 at age 80, helped usher a paradigm shift in medicine toward embracing evidence-based medicine and applying principles of improvement science to health care reform. A parallel paradigm shift is afoot in educational research.

by Alison G. Dover, Brian D. Schultz, Katy Smith & Timothy J. Duggan — 2015
This commentary examines recent controversies surrounding edTPA, a high-stakes, standardized teacher performance assessment (TPA), focusing on the complex relationships among TPA policy, scholarship, and profit. We argue that TPA mandates have outpaced the research base, thus illustrating the influence of an intensely lucrative educational marketplace. We conclude this essay with a call for independent, peer-reviewed scholarship regarding the validity, reliability, and impact of high-stakes, privatized, teacher performance assessment.

by Nick Sousanis & Daiyu Suzuki — 2015
A collaborative effort in comics form inspired by Maxine Greene to explore the possibilities of social change in the intersections of education, philosophy, and the tree she looked upon outside her window. The authors, both former students of Greene’s, celebrate her life and teaching by continuing the conversation she began in their own unique way.

by Kwami Coleman — 2015
This is a response essay to an interview with George E. Lewis, the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, conducted by Cara Furman of Teachers College. The essay explores Lewis's thoughts on quotidian creativity and the ubiquity of improvisation, their necessity in academic institutions, and their potentially life-transforming effects for all people.

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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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  • I would like to suggest as a topic the educational reforms that Ecuador has started in the last years. Especially in 2015, Ecuador will start to participate in PISA examination. I would like to discuss the possible implications of these international examinations versus the national plan "El Buen Vivir" (The good living).
  • Black males in higher education and police brutality
  • 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
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