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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 Natalia Ward & Amber Warren — 2016
Using accommodations to ensure access and fairness on high-stakes and classroom assessments for English Language Learners has become embedded in the fabric of American schools as simply common sense. This commentary illuminates unanswered questions and trends related to the uses of accommodations, and urges educators to examine them with a critical eye.

by Richard Fossey, Todd DeMitchell & Suzanne Eckes — 2016
Do students have a First Amendment right to write about controversial topics and express controversial ideas in a university classroom? In some cases they do, as a federal court in New Mexico recognized in a brief opinion released in 2014.

by Tray Geiger & Jessica Holloway-Libell — 2016
In this commentary, we take a look at the response to an Arizona State University (ASU) course titled, “U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Whiteness,” which sparked protests and death threats for the course’s professor. We examine the media’s reaction, as well as ASU’s quiet response to the controversy. We argue that ASU failed to use the national spotlight as a platform to shed light on racism in higher education.

by Amanda Mattocks — 2016
The current educational environment has left teachers trapped between the accountability mandates of high stakes testing and the desire to provide an authentic, skills-based curriculum that is rich in critical thinking activities. As the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is implemented nationwide, teachers and districts should seize the opportunity to develop alternative assessment tools that incorporate more authentic measurement of students’ critical thinking skills.

by Amanda Mayeaux & Robert Slater — 2016
This commentary examines the linking of ACT scores with state accountability measures. It argues that ACT demonstrates potential in increasing postsecondary opportunity, particularly for students from low-income families. However, high school administrators, teachers, and students need to work collaboratively if this is to happen.

by Payal Cascio — 2016
Malala Yousafzai is a personality to be reckoned with in the face of modern warfare. This commentary follows her thoughts and deeds in the midst of the Taliban oppression and seeks to analyze her life through her perspective. Her endless strife to fight for the empowerment of women in the war torn region of the Swat Valley of Pakistan is overshadowed by the threatening presence of the Taliban to this day.

by Rebecca Lowenhaupt — 2016
This commentary argues that principals are well positioned to promote a progressive vision of education. In particular, principals might enact progressive practices through instructional leadership, managing data-use, and developing distributed leadership models in their schools. In this way, principals might co-opt accountability policies to promote progressive aims, despite the threats to progressive education inherent in accountability policies.

by Monisha Bajaj — 2016
This commentary piece explores the global field of peace education with key insights from programs around the world.

by Jordan Corson & Daniel Friedrich — 2016
This commentary engages brief reflections on the pedagogical implications of armed security increasingly appearing in a number of sectors in institutions across the United States.

by Kendra Strouf & Yadana Desmond — 2016
This commentary presents an analysis of the educational marginalization of AI/AN students against international contexts with similar histories of colonization, and offers recommendations to better serve this student group.

by Keffrelyn Brown & Adrienne Dixson — 2016
In this letter we respond to the decision made by TCR to publish Hannibal Johnson's commentary, Word Play: How "Black English" Coarsens Culture, on December 10, 2015.

by Adam Jordan & Todd Hawley — 2016
With this commentary, we add our voices to the rising tide of dissent and resistance to the edTPA. As teacher educators we want to highlight the ways that the edTPA and its proponents represent academic oppression against vulnerable teacher candidates. Additionally we provide resistance in the battle to define good teaching.

by MinSoo Kim-Bossard — 2016
As South Korea’s normalized discourse of “one people, one nation” is being challenged by both the rapidly increasing number of immigrants and concurrent efforts to increase national competitiveness in the global market, this commentary calls for examining what a "normal" child should be to reflect the rapidly transforming demographic landscape.

by Sylvia Bagley — 2016
This commentary proposes that the phrase “teacher leader” adds to confusion about the concept, given many possible interpretations of how the term “teacher” relates to “leader." We should instead refer to “teacher leaders” as “teacher-leaders," and linguistically and conceptually position them as simultaneously leaders and teachers.

by Nadine Dolby — 2016
In this commentary, I reflect on the value of qualitative research methodology classes. As I show in my discussion of the classes I teach, what students learn from the class is not solely a methodological approach to inquiry, but a different (and for many, a new) way to ask questions, and as I suggest, to “see the world anew.”

by Steve Gruenert & Brad Balch — 2016
School leaders are faced with stress as part of their daily jobs; however, left unaddressed, stress has the potential of becoming mentally and physically exhausting. School leaders need opportunities for stress reduction as well as the means to predict and anticipate stress in an effort to minimize its effects. This commentary discusses leadership-related stress and offers strategies to minimize and cope with stress.

by Pamela Felder, Walter Parrish, III, Joan Collier & Reginald Blockett — 2016
This work explores and addresses the programmatic support of doctoral student socialization via social media.

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 Tiffany Flowers — 2016
The purpose of this commentary is to explore, illuminate, and discuss advocacy regarding the problem of the lack of representation of African American male characters in books grades 2-5. This commentary includes a brief discussion of the existing research on children’s literature for African American males, strategies for advocacy, and educational implications.

by Pamela Felder, Walter Parrish, III, Joan Collier & Reginald Blockett — 2016
This work addresses important models of programmatic support specific to the STEM doctoral experience.

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 Tiffany Flowers — 2015
The purpose of this commentary is to explore, discuss, and provide solutions for Teacher Educators looking to revisit their current practices with preservice teacher candidates in order to cultivate their professionalism. There are five habits discussed within the context of teacher professionalism. Educational Implications are discussed and delineated in this commentary.

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.

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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
  • 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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