Author: Mitchell Robinson

What you need to know about accountability, tests, and music

What you need to know about accountability, tests, and music

In the past couple of days I’ve seen a number of troubling statements about education and policy-related issues, like standardized testing, from a variety of political leaders. And I keep coming back to the same word to describe how I feel after reading their ideas about the state of public education. Disappointed. One of these statements was from a hopeful […]

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Photo credit: http://www.myballard.com/2011/08/31/seattle-public-schools-closed-today/

Closing schools is not an educational option

The suggestion that the solution to poorly performing students is simply closing schools is merely following what has become a common trope in the corporate education reform community–the notion that “the problems” in education can be solved simply by, variously, “getting rid of the bad teachers“, converting public schools to charter schools, continuously raising standards, or increasing the amount of […]

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When teacher silencing becomes dangerous…

When teacher silencing becomes dangerous…

Since publishing my post on teacher silencing yesterday, my mailbox has been inundated with stories from teachers about being harassed, threatened, and intimidated by school district administrators for posting their opinions about standardized tests, opting out, and other issues of education policy and practice. One teacher wrote: I was having a discussion this morning with a colleague and we weren’t […]

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The biggest loss in education is the loss of teachers’ voices

The biggest loss in education is the loss of teachers’ voices

I received the note below from a former student who is now a teacher. For obvious reasons, I won’t identify her or where she teaches, but–shockingly–her story is becoming all too common… We had a union meeting yesterday where they warned us that the governor is going after the certificates of teachers that opted out their kids (of the state […]

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https://markarmstrongillustration.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/forkroadschools.jpg

A tale of two schools…

Recently, I spent the day observing two student teachers. Both were teaching instrumental music in middle and high schools, and each was assigned to an experienced, master teacher. But that’s where the similarities end… One of the student teachers was placed in an urban school and the other in a rural school. The differences between these two schools were stark, […]

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Graphic credit: Gerd Leonhard

Are “Big Data” and “metrics” the new religion in education reform?

As anyone watching the corporate education reform movement can attest to, Big Data and metrics have become the coin of the realm to the reform community. Let any conversation between reformers and defenders of public education go on long enough and the reformer will eventually blurt out the magic words: “But…accountability!” This worldview seems informed by the belief that any […]

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What’s “choice” got to do with it, Paul Ryan?

What’s “choice” got to do with it, Paul Ryan?

Paul Ryan wants persons to have the “choice” to not purchase health insurance. Hey, why so timid, Paul? Let’s go Full Monty on this choice stuff, Mr. Speaker. Let’s give persons the “choice” to not purchase auto insurance; I’m sure there won’t be any issues with folks getting into car accidents and just refusing to pay for the damage they […]

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East Coast elites, intellectuals, and “smug liberals”: Oh My!

East Coast elites, intellectuals, and “smug liberals”: Oh My!

I’m tired. Specifically, I’m sick and tired of being made to feel that my fellow “East Coast elites” and I are somehow to blame for the continually unfolding and horrifying mess our country finds itself in these days. My phone tweets CNN “Breaking News” updates on the hour, alerting me to the new atrocities being introduced to our nation by […]

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Who knew it could be so complicated?: DeVos edition

Who knew it could be so complicated?: DeVos edition

Donald Trump, in a moment of rich irony, appears to have been caught just a bit off guard with just how complex the American health care system really was last week. “Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” he added. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” Notwithstanding the fact that nearly every American who […]

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Photo credit: http://www.myballard.com/2011/08/31/seattle-public-schools-closed-today/

Only in Betsy DeVos’ Michigan can schools be “reformed” by closing them

The news broke on January 20, 2017 that as many as 38 schools could be closed in Michigan, 24 of those in Detroit, due to “poor academic performance.” Parents in the city, and throughout the state, were understandably stunned, as this announcement represented an abrupt change in the state’s previous position on school closings: Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration has switched […]

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Private school vouchers: A solution in search of a problem

Private school vouchers: A solution in search of a problem

Private school vouchers are the zombies of the education reform agenda. No matter how many times they are defeated at the ballot box, they just won’t die. Vouchers are overwhelmingly unpopular with voters, contribute to school segregation, don’t help poor families attend the “school of their choice,” and the most recent research on vouchers suggests that the students who use […]

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