Category Archives: Schools and Culture

I Am A Teachers’ Union Man (With An Asterisk)

Against a decline of unions in general, scant evidence exists for charges from free market types that teachers unions are a chief hindrance to school reform. But there is room for teachers’ unions to be more effective school change agents. Continue reading

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After All These Years, Separate Still Looks Unequal

Resegration of American neighborhoods leaves kids of color disproportionately exposed to the challenges of growing up in homogeneously poor neighborhoods and going to inferior schools. Comparisons to their poor white counterparts show the latter more likely to live in economically mixed neighborhoods with correspondingly better schools. Will one day we hear renewed calls to desegregation of schools and communities? Continue reading

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History Lessons and Poor White Kids

This voyage into the world of the white underclass begins with a challenge to American myth. The colonies did not simply, as the school books tell, embrace the new European immigrants all on equal terms. Continue reading

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Many Years of School Reform: A Veteran Teacher Reflects on Changes in Kids and the Classroom

The attention span of young kids in particular has shortened, both in the intellectual and physical sense, over the duration of Ticia’s career. Roughly 50% of kids need to be moving all the time – feet, bodies, hands, fingers — whereas at the beginning of Ticia’s working life compulsive movement described perhaps only one or two out of a class of 30. This is one category of school measurement where boys have continued to reign supreme. Continue reading

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See the Kids of Color

Summary: Paintings of young people by Kehinde Wiley are an opportunity to move beyond racial stereotypes and into contemplation of real lives. Continue reading

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Housing Disorder, Poverty, and Test Scores

Summary: Poverty and serial housing destabilize the school fortunes of children from poor neighborhoods and stymie the battle to improve their academic skills.  Promising political developments, economic insights and human resilience contribute hope to the schoolhouse.

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African American Student Skill Deficits and Voices from the Black Community

Summary: With African American academic scores continuing to lag behind their white counterparts, and with the US seemingly sinking back into residential re-segregation, it is beyond time for whites to listen more closely to the consistent messages poorly heard from … Continue reading

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Notes from a Hopi Reservation, an American Story

Summary: A brief story of the perseverance of one man, in his life and with his demons on a reservation in Arizona, casts a useful light on the efforts of our school communities to come to grips with at risk … Continue reading

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Testing Wags the Dog and Other Tales of Unintended Consequence

Summary: Testing in schools has taken its impetus from corporate measurement, and has a place. But the steps taken to assess skills have altered classroom chemistry and in the end may have retarded the very progress the tools have been … Continue reading

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Schools and Culture: Beyond Separate and Unequal

Summary: Acceleration in the mortality rate among low income white males due to suicide and drug abuse holds a mirror up to a war on drugs which targeted disproportionately the black community. The comparison puts in relief the distance between … Continue reading

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