4398 Slices
Medium 9781936763290

Chapter 2 Back to the Future: Road to the Core

Cheryl Zintgraff Tibbels Solution Tree Press ePub

This chapter offers a brief synopsis of the historical, societal, and educational influences and events that led up to the Common Core State Standards. The events are not necessarily in chronological order. The intent is to reveal some of the reasons, tensions, and discontent that prompted the creation of the Common Core State Standards.

Some educators reading this chapter might think, “We’ve been there. We know. We lived through this era. We don’t need to hear this again. Let’s move on.” However, when we move on, we drag the past with us. Therefore, if we want to make significant changes in anything we are doing, we must first think about what we did. As popular author Michael Crichton (1999) writes in the book Timeline, “The purpose of history is to explain the present—to say why the world around us is the way it is” (p. 480).

Knowing our past empowers us to create new roads that will take us in the directions we really want to go. In this technology/information century, roads may not even be the correct term. Perhaps, as in the movie Back to the Future, “where we’re going, we don’t need roads,” at least, not roads as we have known them in the past.

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Medium 9781936764143

Chapter 3 Touring an Effective School From the Inside Out

James A Bellanca Solution Tree Press ePub

Aaron Brengard

A principal’s best view of a school campus does not come by looking at the buildings from the office. In my fifteen years as an educational leader, I have learned it comes by getting into the classrooms, talking with students, and staying aware of the school’s shifting needs. Throughout my day, that’s where you find me. Seeing student engagement and learning, experiencing the culture of our school, and understanding the complexity of the intense work teachers do brings me humility, empathy, and direction. It also helps me deepen my understanding of the effectiveness that grows in my teachers. Therefore, to better talk about teacher effectiveness, the teaching quality that encourages deeper learning and 21st century skills development for every student, let me take you on a tour to better understand the work and meet some of the staff of Katherine R. Smith Elementary School. As if we are examining pictures at an exhibition, I will highlight throughout our journey the key elements of teacher effectiveness that encourage deeper learning. At the end, I will draw some conclusions and make some broader applications drawn from my own experiences.

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Medium 9781475816778

Tax Credit Scholarship Programs and the Law

International Journal of Educational Ref Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Lenford C. Sutton

Patrick Thomas Spearman

ABSTRACT: After Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), civil conflict over use of vouchers and taxes to purchase private education, especially in religious schools, largely remained an issue for state courts’ jurisprudence. However, in 2010, it returned to the U.S. Supreme Court when Arizona taxpayers challenged the constitutionality of the state’s education tax credit program permitting private donations to student tuition organizations that in turn provide scholarships for student attendance at private schools. This article describes selected U.S. education tax credit programs used to purchase private education, their legal sustainability, and the ongoing public policy debate.

Advocates for education tax credits contend that the proliferation of school choice for parents fosters a competitive environment whereby all schools, in both the private sector and the public, are compelled to compete, thereby increasing achievement levels for all students. In contrast, opponents of education tax credits claim that subsidizing private education with extractions from the state general revenue diverts tax dollars away from public schools, making it more difficult initiate school improvement strategies. Opponents also view education tax credits that purchase religious education as a source of tribalism in a society of racially resegregated schools and widening income and wealth disparities among its citizens.

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Medium 9780253006752

5 The History Learning Project “Decodes” a Discipline: The Union of Teaching and Epistemology

Kathleen McKinney Indiana University Press ePub


Thirty years of the scholarship of teaching and learning have provided a plethora of books about teaching, containing potential assessments, advice about course design, teaching tips, and prescriptions. Much of this work, which arises from practical classroom experience, useful as it may be, treats symptoms—specific student difficulties—rather than diagnosing the underlying illness, so that there is no framework for applying solutions. The “Decoding the Disciplines” (“Decoding”) methodology provides such a framework; it has led us first to identify and then classify student difficulties or “bottlenecks” in history. These turned out to be closely related to the epistemology of the discipline. While we do not expect that most of our students will become historians, our charge as college teachers is to teach students to think historically, whatever they go on to do, and this means that they must understand the ways of knowing of our discipline. Our teaching has been radically altered by this insight. We have found that the disconnect between epistemology and teaching is standard in many other disciplines. If we are to change student learning through our efforts, we will need to delve into the heart of this darkness.

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Medium 9781935249009

Section 2 Learning Empathy: Facilitating Social Discovery

David A. Levine Solution Tree Press ePub

You want to be friendly,
funny, and smart.
You try to fit in,
but where do you start?
Your friends are all laughing,
sharing some news.
You join in the laughter.
You haven’t a clue.
Who am I?
I really should know.
I have so many faces.
Which one should I show?

—From a Song Written by Three Seventh-Grade
Students in Attleboro, Massachusetts


A principal at a middle school recently told me he felt that the middle school curriculum should concern itself only with social issues. “They’re going to get the academics all over again in high school,” he said. “At this age, all they’re concerned with is what’s going on with their peers.”

Of course, he and I both knew this could never happen in the age of standards and high-stakes testing, and yet I took his point to mean that within this time of assessments and standards, we must not discount the social and emotional development of our students and the sense of hope and purpose which the school experience can provide. Thomas J. Sergiovanni (2004) wrote in the article “Building a Community of Hope” about the importance of hope:

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