My favorite blog posts in February

girl reading bookSome of these are recent blog posts, others are resources I’ve discovered that have been out there for a while.

Education News

First of all, there is the growing question about nationwide practices regarding special education services.  In this article from EdWeek, it is argued that “RTI can be used as a “legally persuasive” way to avoid Child Find (the law that mandates  identification of learning disabilities) in other words, to avoid paying for special education.

The New Texas A-F School Grades have drawn some fire from educators and superintendents, who say that the ratings continue the nationwide high stakes testing practice of punishing schools which serve the poor:  New A-F grades make low income schools look worse .

The problem of adult-generated unrealistic goals was brought home to me when I checked my daughter’s high school’s Federal report card.   It would seem that currently, 42% of all STAAR tests were passed by Texas students at Final Level II or 70%.  That means that 58% of students failed to get 70%.  What is going on here!  What would happen to teachers if they failed 6 our of 10 kids in the class?  I know from being an urban teacher that  at many schools they allow you to pass the STAAR at 52%, but still — shouldn’t the test just be easier?


This next story took me back to my days of teaching kindergarten, when a brave colleague, when she was informed that objectives previously taught in first grade would now be moved down to kindergarten, told our administrator: “These objectives are not developmentally appropriate to where the students are academically!” And she refused to teach them in kinder.

No, she did not get fired.  And how did this moving down of objectives happen?  It seems to have some basis in the lack of knowledge of the behavior, potentialities and development of real children.  As David Ayers of Toronto,  Ontario writes, most “ teaching college graduates are purposely left untrained in the basics of how to teach kids to read.”  He continues, that for some unexplained reason, teacher’s colleges continue, even many decades on, to purposely and invariably ignore input from related fields which study cognitive development…

Then there’s news–or old news–on the education funding front.   Touching on the issue of teacher pay, and the burning question to those who know about it of “Why private school teachers get paid less.” is this story from the Atlantic.    The article is old, but the reasons have remained the same.

In a more current offering, from Inside Higher Ed, despite savings from digital learning, university costs more than ever.  This is depressing in the extreme and has been going on apace for the last dozen or so years since we sent our oldest to college.

Teaching Practice:

Emotional needs are real needs: here’s Robert Ward writing on The Four Indespensible Aspects of Education. If the kid is not emotionally ready, the academic instruction is just not going to sink in!

@EducationRickshaw discussed 5 books to start a book club for teachers … including Clever Lands, about what successful foreign schools are doing that we don’t, and Trivium, a new work which concerns the classical education method.

This was my most retweeted post from Twitter this month:  “so there is a limit to how much clutter you should put in a primary classroom it appears … “Yes it does.  This post is via @TeacherToolkit.

A refreshing article on teacher collaboration from EduTopia discussed how  “A principal must do what it takes to remove the obstacle of ‘too much to do’ and ‘not enough time,'” according to Mary Beth Cunat, administrator at Wildwood IB Magnet School.  Cunat  vows to create blocks of time to allow grade level teams to help each other.  Hear, Hear!

Literacy Resources

I found a better chart of reading fluency at Reading Rockets. This one reflects actual student performance norms, unlike the original one I posted in “What is a struggling reader” which more reflects teacher goals or expectations.

For classical home schoolers, here’s A chronological format for teaching history  based on Charlotte Mason from Plumfield and Paideia.

And finally, If you’re in need of ideas for middle grade novels:    Best books for 5th and 6th graders.  from Intentional Homeschooling Blog.  I’ve read 8 of the 11, how about you?





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