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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 Alison Dover, Brian Schultz, Katy Smith & Timothy Duggan — 2015
This essay examines the impact of outsourcing teacher preparation and evaluation through high stakes teacher performance assessments like edTPA. In addition to undermining teacher preparation by marginalizing the local experts best situated to evaluate candidates’ performance, this has led to a growing industry of edTPA-related services. The authors use their own experiences with edTPA “coaching” and scoring to illustrate the inevitable consequences of shifting teacher preparation and evaluation to the private sector.

by Erin McCloskey — 2015
This commentary discusses the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in a self-contained special education classroom.

by Joel Best & Eric Best — 2015
This commentary surveys the principal issues with student loan policy in the US.

by Richard Kahlenberg & Halley Potter — 2015
Charter schools were originally proposed as vehicles to give teachers more leadership opportunities; however, the sector has evolved to focus on empowering management over teachers, and today just 7% of charter schools are unionized. This commentary piece explores what lessons can be drawn from the experiences of charter schools, both positive and negative, and how to run schools and structure the teaching profession to build and retain strong teachers. A subset of charter schools are pioneering new avenues for empowering teachers that could be adopted in other public school settings.

by Harvey Kantor — 2015

by Larry Cuban — 2015
The commentary answers two questions: (1) Do the articles in this issue make the case that the democratic principles and practices the authors champion have been damaged by the standards-based, testing, and accountability regime of the past three decades? and (2) In light of the historical absence of these principles and practices in mainstream U.S. public schools, why raise these arguments now?

by Richard Fossey & Robert Cloud — 2015
Over creditors' objections, a bankruptcy court in Ohio discharged the student-loan debt of a single mother of two who was living below the poverty level.

by Daniel LaSalle — 2015
Given psychologists' inability to reach a consensus on the appropriate definition of intelligence and the modest correlations between intelligence test scores and professional success, the author advocates for the potential benefits that could occur when teachers and schools drop the words intelligent and smart from classroom and school discourses.

by Laurence Steinberg — 2015
This commentary examines the failings of American high schools.

by Erika Kitzmiller — 2015
This commentary discusses the response from local schools to use private funds to close budget gaps in Philadelphia's public schools.

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.

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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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  • 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
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