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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 P. Zitlali Morales & Arthi Rao — 2015
In this conceptual essay, 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

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.

by Sandra Okita — 2015
Many technological artifacts (e.g., humanoid robots, computer agents) consist of biologically inspired features of human-like appearance and behaviors that elicit a social response. The strong social components of technology permit people to share information and ideas with these artifacts. As robots cross the boundaries between humans and machines, the features of human interactions can be replicated to reveal new insights into the role of social relationships in learning and creativity. Peer robots can be designed to create ideal circumstances that enable new ways for students to reflect, reason, and learn. This, in turn, has increased expectations that robots and computer agents will enhance human learning and complement people’s physical, social, and cognitive capabilities. This paper explores how peer-like robots and robotic systems may help students learn and engage in creative ways of thinking.

by Erick Gordon & Ruth Vinz — 2015
This commentary details the creative process of New York City teachers and students coming together as players to remix Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the summer of 2014.

by Alice Ginsberg, Marybeth Gasman, Andrés Samayoa & Francisco Ramos — 2015
This article argues that rankings and decontextualized criticisms, when applied to HBCUs, are especially damaging and it is worth rethinking our standards for teacher education quality and accountability.

by Jim Burns — 2015
This commentary is contextualized in America’s gilded age of corporate education characterized by millionaire CEO university presidents and a growing chasm of wealth inequality in our educational class system. America’s deepening educational stratification mirrors and magnifies wider social, economic, racial, and political inequality and injustice. The author calls for a praxis of refusal among all educators as active public intellectuals to re-politicize education and reframe it as a way of being and becoming in the world and a force for justice and democracy.

by Olga Hubard — 2015
Excerpts form a conversation on creativity with Olga Hubard, conducted prior to a symposium on the same topic at Teachers College, are interwoven with artworks by Hubard's students and professional artists.

by Srikala Naraian — 2015
This commentary notes the oppositional traditions that inform polarized perspectives on disability and schooling, and raises the question of the significance of such divisions for schools and for preparing teachers. Drawing on an international collaborative experience involving competing knowledge traditions the creative possibilities of uncertainty and ambiguity for reforming schools are explored.

by Sharon Bailin — 2015
This commentary argues that creativity is best viewed in terms of significant achievement and that such achievement is best developed through promoting critical inquiry.

by Lori Custodero — 2015
In this Introduction, the contextual background, organization, and contents of the issue are provided.

by Anita Pandey — 2015
This piece identifies cultural bias in the word gap debate and offers recommendations.

by Toni Brzeski — 2015
Do you know what the most common electronic device that college student’s possess? According to Joshua Bolkan, a multimedia editor for Campus Technology and The Journal, “85% of college students own laptops while smartphones come in second at 65%”. If technology is becoming a common practice among our students, what are we doing as professors to incorporate it into our classrooms? How can students use technology to reflect on their work? How can instructors use technology as a supplement in reading and writing courses? How can technology be used to deepen our student’s critical thinking skills? These are questions we should be asking ourselves in a world where technology is paving the way to learning.

by Gabriel Della-Piana, Connie Kubo Della-Piana & Michael Gardner — 2015
The authors build on previous scholarship describing signs that appropriate validity evidence for education achievement measures is either not gathered, not reported, or not accessible for independent review. The consequences are troubling for valid interpretation of test scores for evaluation of individuals, groups, or programs. Six potential sources of influence on the validity evidence gap for valid interpretation and use of test scores are explored: (a) the influence of demands on the test user for interpretation of test scores; (b) the challenges of professional standards in assigning responsibility for providing validity evidence and argument; (c) law and regulatory practices constraining validity evidence gathering; (d) technology constraints and opportunities on kinds of validity evidence gathered and accessible; and (e) effects of the new education industry on testing. The paper concludes with suggestions for developing case studies in responsible gathering of test validity evidence in the problematic contexts outlined, with the intent to promote dialogue on responding to the challenges of the influences on the validity evidence gap.

by Angus McMurtry — 2015
This commentary is an actual email letter from an education faculty professor to an educational textbook sales representative. In it, the Professor explains why he will not use a textbook that is based on the popular, but unexamined assumption that learning is about individual brains acquiring information. Instead, he uses numerous practical examples, sarcasm, and a strong dose of idealism to argue for a view of learning that engages with the realities of embodiment, individual subjectivity, social participation, cultural context, and biological diversity. To bolster his argument, the professor draws upon Piaget, Vygotsky constructivist theory, and a relational view of epistemology that transcends both objectivism and subjectivism.

by Amee Adkins, Tracy Spesia & John Snakenborg — 2015
This commentary rebuts several questionable claims asserted by the Dover et al. (2015) commentary regarding the development and implementation of edTPA. Based on our deep and long-term involvement with the initiative, we counter their assertions drawing on a range of scholarly and experiential evidence that suggests their analysis is partial at best.

by Richard Fossey & Robert Cloud — 2015
Bankruptcy judges are increasingly willing to rely on compassion and common sense when they decide cases involving honest but unfortunate student-loan debtors who took on mountains of student-loan debt hoping to improve their lives but did not find jobs that paid well enough for them to reasonably make their loan payments.

by Mark Conley & Gina Garner — 2015
With more and more states adopting edTPA as an assessment of a teacher candidate’s readiness for the classroom, it is important to ask: will edTPA result in increasing a teacher’s classroom reasoning and decision making ability? Or could edTPA, like some reforms from No Child Left Behind, lead to a deskilling of America’s teachers? The purpose of this article is to explore these questions in the context of implementation scenarios and cases that can only be described as the worst of times and the best of times with regard to teacher preparation. This article portrays several different ways in which the tensions between state mandates and local contexts create conditions for a narrowing of visions for teacher preparation. On the other hand, edTPA poses some alluring possibilities for teacher preparation programs and teacher candidates to engage in self-study and improvement. The authors describe ways in which programs can maximize the potential for edTPA to complement and improve assessment and teacher preparation, as opposed to de-skilling teachers.

by Peter Cookson Jr. — 2015
In this commentary, the philosophic and policy origins of educational instrumentalism are explored, its learning myths revealed, and a positive alternative is suggested.

by Christopher Cross — 2015
This commentary reflects on the need to establish a national policy on education so that there is a clear understanding of our national priority and appropriate roles for states and the federal government.

by Jessica Holloway-Libell & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley — 2015
Despite the overwhelming and research-based concerns regarding value-added models (VAMs), VAM advocates, policymakers, and supporters continue to hold strong to VAMs’ purported, yet still largely theoretical strengths and potentials. Those advancing VAMs have, more or less, adopted and promoted a set of agreed-upon, albeit “heroic” set of assumptions, without independent, peer-reviewed research in support. These “heroic” assumptions transcend promotional, policy, media, and research-based pieces, but they have never been fully investigated, explicated, or made explicit as a set or whole. These assumptions, though often violated, are often ignored in order to promote VAM adoption and use, and also to sell for-profits’ and sometimes non-profits’ VAM-based systems to states and districts. The purpose of this study was to make obvious the assumptions that have been made within the VAM narrative and that, accordingly, have often been accepted without challenge. Ultimately, sources for this study included 470 distinctly different written pieces, from both traditional and non-traditional sources. The results of this analysis suggest that the preponderance of sources propagating unfounded assertions are fostering a sort of VAM echo chamber that seems impenetrable by even the most rigorous and trustworthy empirical evidence.

by Benjamin Justice — 2015
This commentary describes the promises and pitfalls of writing institutional history.

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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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