This commentary essay responds to the ways public school teachers have become the scapegoats for young Americans’ civic disengagement. Civics education should be a non-partisan priority for U.S. public schools. However, politicians’ reluctance to address a “touchy issues” like civics education is one of many tacit factors that disenfranchise youth from civic activities and spur routine censorship in some public school classrooms. Despite states’ curriculum standards that could support teens’ civic engagement, there are inherent social norms related to top-down politics that govern school communities. These norms are so pervasive that some public school teachers are forced to choose between censoring political topics from discussion or potentially diminishing their job security.
The purpose of this commentary is to reiterate our responsibility to educate our young citizens in ways that go beyond rituals and classroom walls. Our argument rests on the notion of bringing critical democratic literacy into elementary classrooms through examples of how students are thinking about the current election.
Focusing on high-performing early literacy teachers across multiple urban school contexts, this commentary introduces our conceptual model and one example of a high leverage early literacy practice.
This commentary argues that higher education, when viewed in light of its impact on students and broader society, is more than a profession: it is a vocation. This discussion is needed as higher education has become more complex and there is a commensurate need for well-prepared administrators to lead these important institutions.
This commentary is a criticism of anonymous student evaluations as a measure of Aboriginal teacher educators’ effect and affect in Australian Teacher Education programs. It identifies how the policing of Aboriginal teacher educators’ student engagement limits the capacity in working with pre-service teachers in the national project of reconciliation through the development of respectful classroom curriculum and pedagogy.
Cultivating an ecosystem of new and better schools is a lot like gardening. It takes tilling (creating a policy environment that allows for new schools), seeding (starting schools with the necessary human capital to flourish), and weeding (regulation).
The authors of this commentary explore the challenges that arise when learning technologies are not carefully examined for their possibilities and limitations through a critical lens of educational equity and justice. They outline an approach to the incorporation of learning technologies that begins with and prioritizes educational equity and social justice.
The Texas Campus Carry Law permits students to bring guns into classrooms and many faculty members believe this will impact their ability to engage in social justice teaching that challenges the status quo and promotes the development of a reflective and equity-oriented teacher or school leader. This commentary discusses how campus carry is already effecting an institution serving Hispanic students in Texas.
The presidential election offers a rich opportunity for democracy education, through which young people engage with political, social, and moral questions about how we should live together. Discussion of controversial issues is widely advocated, yet teachers need support from researchers, teacher educators, and school leaders as they grapple with tensions in the charged classroom.
Only one federal circuit court of appeals has addressed the legal issues involved with allowing a transgender student to use the restroom that aligns with his gender identity. We analyze this court opinion and discuss the status of the law for school officials.
In an influential concurring opinion to an important bankruptcy decision, Judge Jim Pappas, an Idaho bankruptcy judge, urged federal courts to adopt a more sensible way for dealing with student loan debtors who file for bankruptcy.
U.S. federal government efforts over the last 50 years to strengthen elementary and secondary education have focused on instructional deficits and instructional gaps of disadvantaged students rather than on creating the capacity to improve the pre-collegiate schooling enterprise. The commentary finds that it is now feasible to operationally realize the intent of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) 1965, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and Race to the Top (RttT) with transparent results and without additional taxpayer cost.
This commentary offers a brief critique of Governor Chris Christie's proposed school funding formula. Placing it into historical perspective, the author argues that New Jerseyans will reject his proposal, which offers cash to middle class suburban families in the form of property tax relief, while eviscerating the budgets of urban school districts with high concentrations of poor and working class students of color. We refuse to go back to separate and unequal public schools.
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.
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. But then the court reversed itself a year later.
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.
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.
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.
After reflecting on a recent collaborative research effort, the author of this commentary asks two questions: "Where do I fit in?" and "Where do I find hope?" He suggests that fitting in, in the context of neoliberal educational anti-culture, may actually be a non-place of restive work in techno-rationalized education institutions.
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.
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.
This commentary piece explores the global field of peace education with key insights from programs around the world.
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.
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.
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.