Category

Curriculum

Close-up of hand inserting a key to the door
Close-up of hand inserting a key to the door

Equity Concerns for Education Access During COVID-19 Closures

Clearly, closing school doors can bring both positive and negative results.  The obvious positive: closing may slow the peak of the spreading virus.  However, the CDC reports that 19-year-olds and younger appear to have milder COVID-19 illness, with almost no hospitalizations or deaths reported to date in the United States in this age group. However, the fear is that they can still carry and spread the virus. On the flip side, for a large number of children, the best place for them to be is actually in school. Many parents remain working, and some children may lack access to educational materials or even meals at home.  And what is to limit children from contacting others when they’re away from school? Read More ›

Young woman is holding outside and is about to throw an apple core out of the open car window. Bottom view, against the background of blurry trees and sky. Close up
The girl is holding outside and is about to throw an apple core out of the open car window. Bottom view, against the background of blurry trees and sky, summer day. Close up
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Idaho is Right to Abandon the Common Core

Idaho has recognized that Common Core has not improved schools. Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation recently stated, “The days of Common Core in our public schools appear to finally be numbered.” This comes after a joint letter from the House and Senate education committees to the Governor and the two education agencies in the state, in which legislators are urging for new standards. Standards will not improve schools any more than a budget will improve a business. Neither will change how the organization performs. But they can be tools to assess effectiveness. ACTE Program Chair Don Nielsen argues, “Unfortunately, many believe our schools will improve with more rigorous standards and that was one of the drivers Read More ›

Close-up of signing declaration of independence on two dollar banknote. United States, macro
Close-up of signing declaration of independence on two dollar banknote. United States, macro
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Our Way of Life is Worth Preserving

Tradition is under attack in America’s educational system. Dissolving the connections with our history will break society. Edmund Burke argues in Reflections on the Revolution in France that “Men… [are] becom[ing] little better than the flies of a summer,” each generation vanishing and giving nothing but the simple fact of their life on to the next. There are unfortunate, but not surprising, similarities between the French Revolution and the current battleground of education in the United States. Much like the French civilization in the 18th century, we have become deluded with a belief that the only way to change is to abolish what we have come to know. Burke’s commentary is equally fitting for our time as his, when he Read More ›

Law concept - Open law book with a wooden judges gavel on table in a courtroom or law enforcement office
Law concept - Open law book with a wooden judges gavel on table in a courtroom or law enforcement office. Copy space for text

Knowledge and Civics: A Guide to a Responsible Citizenry

In a recent article, Classroom Content: A Conservative Conundrum, Robert Pondiscio argues that conservatives have placed all their faith in school choice while retreating in the battle over curriculum in K-12 classrooms. He urges conservatives to stay engaged in this battleground and not abandon educational content to the Left. Using E. D. Hirsch Jr.’s 1987 landmark book, Cultural Literacy, as his main point of reference, he notes that Hirsch concluded that a “student’s ability to comprehend a text is largely determined by the student’s background knowledge.” That is, speakers and writers make assumptions about what readers and listeners know, and “rely on them to understand references and allusions, and to make correct assumptions about word meanings and context.” But Hirsch Read More ›

We the People.
Constitution of America, We the People withAmerican flag.
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Double Down on Civics Education

How do we expect children to be productive citizens if they do not understand the reason, the importance, and the necessity of a properly-functioning republic? My experience is a case in point. When I was going through the K-12 public school system, I took one, yes one, course on the American Government. It was not required; I had to choose it as an elective. Don Nielsen, program chair to the American Center for Transforming Education, highlights one of the root causes of this deficiency in his book Every School: “Unfortunately, many believe our schools will improve with the more rigorous standards and that was one of the drivers for the development of the Common Core. But, poor performing schools, like Read More ›

kids making team gesture
team of adorable kids making team gesture
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Separate Students by Achievement, Not Ability

In an article published on Aeon, Oscar Hedstrom suggests that tracking, measuring a student’s ability to learn (i.e. ranking students as above average, average, or below average) is not a good idea. The author is right. If you believe every child can learn, as I do, then you need to take into account where a child is in their learning. Rather than tracking, what I propose in the updated version of my book Every School is simply giving kids who are behind in their learning more time (longer day and longer year) and smaller class sizes with the best teachers. That is, give them the opportunity to catch up quickly so they can rejoin the others. This is not tracking; Read More ›

Group of American activists is protesting
Group of American activists is protesting
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Civic Engagement has Led to Civic Miseducation

Students are being encouraged to oppose the government rather than to engage the established political process. The preference for protests and civil disobedience, driven by bitterness and resentment,  reflects their lack of sound knowledge about how our democratic republic operates. Bruce Chapman, Chairman of the Board to Discovery Institute, shares a shocking statistic in his book Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government Except for All the Others: “In 2014, the US Department of Education reported (again) that all but 23 percent of eighth-graders are deficient in civics.” This is an impediment to maintaining our democratic society. As Americans we should be embarrassed. Chapman continues by summarizing how the deterioration in the study of history and civics Read More ›