Everyone’s Happy in Happy-Land, Dept.

traditional math

Chicago Tribune carries this story about a controversial approach to education being tried at various high schools in Illinois :

They’re abandoning most aspects of traditional classroom instruction and reshaping the way kids learn.

The approach, called competency-based learning, puts the onus on students to study and master skills at their own pace, making their own choices along the way and turning to peers and online searches for answers before they lean on teachers for help. Students may show proficiency on a topic not simply through traditional testing but by using projects, presentations or even activities outside school.

Competency-based; another “base” in the long line of bases; “inquiry-based”, “research-based”, “evidence-based”, “brain-based”. The list goes on.

The pilots are in various stages of planning and implementation, but all focus on instruction changes in high schools, likely a tough sell for parents who learned the…

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Better Late Than Never

For the longest time, nobody wanted to talk about this. With privatizers on both sides of the aisle, the writing has been prominently displayed on the wall in bold and fluorescent colors yet, crickets.

It’s easier to pretend that one side is better than the other than to believe that the left and the right are two wings of the same bird and neither one gives a darn about public education.

But perhaps, the conversation is now open for discussion? Are people finally opening their eyes? Dare I hope or hold my breath?

“Today, Donald Trump seeks a rapid expansion of charter schools and private school vouchers, while his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, touts “school choice” and market competition for public school at every stop. But in private, Hillary Clinton’s donors, dubbed “experts,” also sought rapid charter expansion and market-based options to replace public schools.”

“In previous speeches, Clinton campaign manager John Podesta indicated that recruiting and grooming younger, more compliant teachers was the plan to overcome resistance to corporate education reform over the long term. But in the policy book, Bruce Reed also sets his sights on teaching colleges, claiming “they don’t deliver the goods.”


Equity & Gifted Children: A Father’s Perspective

This is a wonderful article about equity in education (or lack there of) when it comes to gifted students. There were days when I was teaching middle school that I just wanted to scream at someone. (He speaks Spanish, you know that it’s a different language, right? He’s not stupid you know?!? In fact he’s much smarter than anyone in the classroom.) I wonder how many times the average school teacher has felt the same. I wonder how many students we’ve disenfranchised by not meeting their needs? I wonder what’s become of these students?

What I do know is this, if our public education system was run by teachers, parents and local communities instead of profiteers, vulture philanthropists selling their snake oil social impact bonds and greasy edupoliticians sauntering in with their, “Save the Day” grants taking recess away from small children and telling the teachers who know how and want to do the right thing just how it should be done because THEY’RE the experts, then maybe we’d have a fighting chance for ALL kids. We need to start putting up some ethical and legal boundaries around our schools and let the real educators run them.

Hawk Hopes Blog

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Given that I am trained in special education, I thought that if I had a child with special needs, I would be prepared to assist teachers with strategies to meet the needs of my child’s growth development in order to reach his/her fullest potential.  Too often, gifted students are not considered to be students with special education needs. They are not even listed in the IDEA categories of special education. Gifted education is often separate from special education. I have three sons and have now learned a few invaluable lessons about gifted education, which was not part of my formal training in special education.


As I watched the signs of my three boys in their earliest development, I came to discover something I did not know quite how to deal with about students who are more advanced than their age and peers. There are a number of signs that children…

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Why Teachers Suck …

My favorite part is the one about the teacher failing because she doesn’t play the paper game part well. Or perhaps that’s my least favorite part, it hits a little too close to home! Out of the fifty million things we do each and every day, all too often we get evaluated on some arbitrary measure instated by some educrat who is playing the projection game because, in their hearts they know they couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t cut it in the classroom. 

Source: Why Teachers Suck …

Lewiston Mom Knocks it Out of the Park

Save Maine Schools

as you can see...The following letter, written by Karen McClure-Richard of Lewiston, Maine, appeared in our local newspaper this morning.  It was written in response to the superintendent’s call for an improved state test, and it’s awesome.

This is a response to Bill Webster’s guest column about the MEA tests (June 18). I find his change in opinion on that test very interesting. As a parent, I have spent the past five years advocating that school leaders take a hard look at the over-testing of students. Much of what Webster discussed in his column could have come directly from the many emails I have sent the Lewiston School Committee through the years.

Sadly, while so much focus has been on the one state-mandated test, I have been seeing an increase in the amount of time being spent on numerous assessments that are used multiple times per year, starting with even the…

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Stop! Don’t opt out. Read this first.

Wrench in the Gears


Schools in every state are buzzing this year with talk of “personalized” learning and 21st century assessments for kids as young as kindergarten. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its innovative pilot programs are already changing the ways schools instruct and assess, in ways that are clearly harmful to our kids. Ed-tech companies, chambers of commerce, ALEC, neoliberal foundations, telecommunications companies, and the government are working diligently to turn our public schools into lean, efficient laboratories of data-driven, digital learning.

In the near future, learning eco-systems of cyber education mixed with a smattering of community-based learning opportunities (ELOs) will “optimize” a child’s personal learning pathway to college and career readiness.

Opt out families are being set up as pawns in this fake “assessment reform” movement. I began to realize this a year ago when our dysfunctional, Broad Superintendent-led school district was suddenly almost eager to help us inform parents…

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