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December 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Articles, Posts & Videos On Education Policy In 2014 – Part Two


It’s time for another of my annual end-of-year “Best” lists (you can see all 1,400 “The Best…” lists here).

You might also be interested in:

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – So Far

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2013 — Part Two

All My 2013 “The Best…” Lists (So Far) On Education Policy In One Place

All My 2012 “The Best…” Lists On Education Policy In One Place

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part One

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Polcy In 2011 — Part One

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy — 2010

The “Best” Articles (And Blog Posts) About Education Policy — 2009

The “Best” Articles About Education — 2008

The “Best” Articles About Education — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – Part Two (let me know what you think I’m missing):

The Los Angeles Times just published a great article headlined, Can collaboration between schools, unions fix failing campuses?

I Used to Think … That Experts Understood the World is by Rick Hess at Ed Week and he followed that post up with Wait A Minute...

Returns to Teacher Experience: Student Achievement and Motivation in Middle School is the title of a new study at The National Center For Analysis Of Longitudinal Data In Education Research.

How to reframe the education reform debate appeared in The Washington Post.

Teachers Are Not Superhuman is by Walt Gardner at Ed Week.

Gates Scholar, Tom Kane, Continues the Fight to Prove He Is Right is by John Thompson.

Teacher Evaluations Need to ‘Support, Not Sort’ was one of my posts at Education Week Teacher.  In Part One of a three-part series, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, California Teachers Association President Dean Vogel, and 2012 National Teacher Of The Year Rebecca Mieliwocki shared their thoughts on teacher evaluations.

What Education “Reformers” Do Not Understand About Teaching and Learning is by Daniel Katz.

Here’s an excellent video of Dana Goldstein discussing “As if teachers’ jobs aren’t hard enough, they’re asked to fix poverty, too”:

‘The Teacher Wars’: An Interview With Dana Goldstein is another one of my posts at Education Week Teacher.

The Original Charter School Vision is an excellent Op-Ed in The New York Times, written by Richard D. Kahlenberg and Halley Potter.

Education Is Not ‘Moneyball’: Why Teachers Can’t Trust Value-Added Evaluations Yet is an excellent Ed Week piece by William Eger.

For Reformers: An Important Paper on Worker Compensation and Incentives is by Paul Bruno, and is a very important piece.

The Teach Like a Champion Paradigm is a very interesting post about Doug Lemov’s methods. It’s by Ben Spielberg.

Seven things teachers are sick of hearing from school reformers appeared in the Washington Post.

Teaching Is Not a Business is the title of David Kirp’s op-ed in The New York Times .

Educational Movements, Not Market Moments is an important post by Mike Rose.

Gary Ravani has written a great post that appeared in The Washington Post titled School reforms that actually work.

“Stupid, absurd, non-defensible”: New NEA president Lily Eskelsen García on the problem with Arne Duncan, standardized tests and the war on teachers is from Salon.

The New York Times published a column that highlights all of what is wrong about merit pay. However, they talk about it in the context of doctors and the medical profession and not teachers. It’s titled The Problem With ‘Pay for Performance’ in Medicine.

Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together? is an excellent post by Esther Quintero at The Shanker Blog.

The New Yorker, two months after publishing an excellent article on the school reform fiasco in Newark which made The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – So Far list)  published an extraordinary feature on the Atlanta testing scandal — Wrong Answer: In an era of high-stakes testing, a struggling school made a shocking choice — by Rachel Aviv.

Lily Eskelen Garcia, the National Education Association President spoke at the American Federation Of Teachers Convention.

It’s definitely worth watching:

Donna Brazile announced the formation of Democrats For Public Education at the American Federation of Teachers Convention in Los Angeles. It’s designed to support effective and teacher-supported education efforts.

You’ve got to watch this video of her speech at the Convention:

The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning”

Gates’ Excuse for Poor Results of Educational Technology: “Unmotivated Students” and A Question for Bill Gates: How Can We Motivate Students When Their Futures Are Bleak? are both by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

We Need Teachers of Color is from Education Week.

The Best Resources For Learning About Balanced Literacy & The “Reading Wars”

Ten Reform Claims That Teachers Should Know How to Challenge is by Jack Schneider at Ed Week.

America’s Unspoken Education Issue: Black Kids Need Black Teachers is by Melinda Anderson.

When Educators Understand Race and Racism is by Melinda D. Anderson.

Accountability vs. What We Want for Our Children is an excellent post at Education Week. It’s written by Marc Tucker at his Top Performers blog.

Pedro Noguera Defends Teacher Tenure in Wall Street Journal is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

There Is Probably No “Crisis” In American Education is by Paul Bruno.

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution is from The Washington Post.

The Best Posts & Articles About OECD’s Survey Of Teacher Working Conditions

September 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy

Here are recent useful posts and articles on education policy issues:

Why Don’t We Have Real Data on Charter Schools? is by Pedro Noguera in The Nation. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

Don’t Let Distractions Erase Genuine Critiques Of Rhee And Campbell is by Sabrina Joy Stevens.

Fixing the Best Schools in the World is a very interesting story about China’s schools that appeared in Business Week.

Informal + Formative = Informative Assessments is from Wag The Dog and has a good “take” on personalized learning. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning.”

Arne Duncan’s “staggering statement”: Why ed reformers are having second thoughts is an interesting interview with Dana Goldstein that appeared in Salon.

What You Need To Know About Misleading Education Graphs, In Two Graphs is from The Shanker Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

Student Course Evaluations Get An ‘F’ is from NPR. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

Venture Capitalists Are Poised to ‘Disrupt’ Everything About the Education Market is from The Nation. I’m adding it to A Beginning “The Best…” List On The Dangers Of Privatizing Public Education.

Rotten to the Core: How an Apple mega-deal cost Los Angeles classrooms $1 billion
is from Salon. I’m adding it to A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools.

June 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Posts & Articles On Education Policy

'Occupy the Schools Feb 1, 2012' photo (c) 2012, Michael Fleshman - license:

Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues:

Aren’t California tenure policies in fact unreasonable? Plus 4 more Vergara questions asked and answered is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to California Court Rules It’s All The Teachers’ Fault, which is where I’ve collected a number of thoughtful reactions to a terrible decision.

I’m also adding these three posts to the same list:

Vergara: The silver bullet that wasn’t is by Barnett Berry.

Even in Winning, Vergara Is Still a Loser is from Ed Week.

Is This The End of Teachers Unions is from Ebony.

Pedro Noguera Defends Teacher Tenure in Wall Street Journal is from Diane Ravitch’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Why Teacher Tenure Is Important.

How many bad teachers are there? is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

There Is Probably No “Crisis” In American Education is by Paul Bruno. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Pointing Out That Our Schools Are Not Failing.

March 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

‘Best Practices’ Are Practices That Work Best For Your Students

‘Best Practices’ Are Practices That Work Best For Your Students is the final post in my three-part Ed Week series on the five best practices teachers can use in the classroom.

Today’s post features contributions from Roxanna Elden, Barnett Berry and Pedro Noguera, along with comments from readers.

Here are some excerpts:




May 25, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: Closing Schools In Chicago

As Education Week put it this week:

“Chicago education officials …approved the largest-scale, single-year closure of public schools of any major school system in the nation, approving the shuttering of 49 elementary schools that are located mostly on the city’s impoverished south and west sides.”

Here’s a video interview
with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and NYU Professor Pedro Noguera. I’ve highlighted this quote from it:


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I’m adding this, and these other articles, to The Best Posts & Articles On The Impact Of School Closures:

Chicago Board Votes to Close 49 Elementary Schools is from Education Week.

Chicago Parents Prepare for New Reality After School Closures is also from Ed Week.

January 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2012

I put out a request, as I do every year, to readers to share the best education-related books that they had read over the past year. The books could have been published earlier and the only requirement was that you had read them sometime this year.

You might also be interested in these posts from previous years:

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2011

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2010

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2009

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2008

Thanks to all of you who took the time to contribute. Even if you didn’t, though, you can still share your recommendations in the comments section of this post.

My personal favorite was The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t by Nate Silver. It’s full of insights about the possibilities and, more importantly, the limitations of how data can be used. Much of what he writes can be applied to schools, and I’m looking forward to writing a post about it in the future.

Here are The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2012:


DRIVE by Daniel Pink-speaks volumes to non-educators, educators and definitely administrators!

Jim Homan:

“Why School” by Will Richardson. An ebook for sale on Amazon that takes about 90 minutes to read. One of the most important books of this year.

Leigh Ann:

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller is the best book I’ve read this year. Her voice jumps from the pages and inspires you to do more. Inspires you to give students the unique opportunity to find what types of literature they enjoy. You can feel the warmth and connections that she has made in her classroom. I don’t know how any teacher who reads this book wouldn’t be compelled to make a change. Love it.

Jeffrey Temple:

Stratosphere by Michael Fullen

Jane Bozarth:

Katz, “Designing Information”. My Amazon review: “Three pages in I wanted to stop and write this review but forced myself to read the rest of the book before writing. My opinion was unchanged. “Designing Information” is a delightful, delectable, informative, visually rich, entertaining exploration of the business of making information more accessible…..”


I’m choosing Why School? by Will Richardson, too. I think Will does a fantastic job of exploring the changing nature of education and offers up suggestions for how teachers and administrators can take steps to meet the changing needs of today’s students (for tomorrow).

Kurt Reynolds:

Don Tapscott’s “Grown Up Digital.” I reference it nearly every day in class. It gives me great hope for this generation. Check out his excellent TED Talk too. Tapscott uses startling examples and backs them up with research. A great counterpoint to a lot of what comes out denigrating this generation (Mark Bauerlein’s “The Dumbest Generation” or Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows” or Jeane Twenge’s “The Narcissist Epidemic”). A must read for every teacher entering the profession.

Jonathan Martin:

Net Smart by Howard Rheingold: Hugely informative and wise on the topic about how the thrive online. My review here.

Robert Ryshke:

Creating the Opportunity to Learn by Wade Boykin and Pedro Noguera. This is one of the best books on what we need to do in America to deal with the huge gap in accessibility to quality education in the US.

The Innovator’s DNA by Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen was also a wonderful book. It is very interesting to think about how to apply these principles to schools, to help teach our students to be creators or innovators.

Susie Highley:

Fall Down 7 Times, Get up 8: Teaching Kids to Succeed by Debbie Silver. I am so tired of all of the time and effort some educators put into devising elaborate reward systems, which, in my opinion, do little to change behaviors. I reviewed this book for Middle Web. Debbie does a great job of combining current research and practicies in an entertaining manner, filled with many examples. Here’s a link to my review.

Linda Aragoni:

A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives edited by Anderson and Krathwohl moves away from the multiple choice tests that were the focus of the original taxonomy. Since educational objectives are the foundation of the Common Core State Standards, this book is already more influential than the original. The revised taxonomy answers many of the questions teachers raise about how to teach under Common Core.

Bill Sterrett:

I recommend Doug Lemov’s “Teach Like a Champion” book (with accompanying DVD of video teaching clips) as a great illustration of numerous actual teaching tips, strategies, and approaches. Theory is important, but educational leaders need to always prioritize real-life examples, challenges, and solutions.

Carol Gardiner:

21st Century Skills Rethinking How Students Learn edited by James Bellanca & Ron Brandt This book is a culmination of research and expertise written by favorite authors of education. They provide a framework of learning that marries core knowledge and background knowledge with innovation, creative thinking, problem solving and technology.


“Teach Like A Pirate” by Dave Burgess. The cover tagline reads: “Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator.” This claim holds up! This book will inspire the tenured and new teacher to unleash their passions in the classroom. The book has three parts: 1. The PIRATE (acronym) philosophy and system 2. How to create engaging lessons 3. Final thoughts and guidance. The two things I like most about Dave Burgess’ approach is that he is tells classroom stories I can relate to and I feel challenged by his strategies for creating engaging curriculum.

Matt Renwick:

I have to go with Opening Minds by Peter Johnston. This resource, along with his previous book Choice Words, has helped me change the way I listen and speak with students. Opening Minds is the only book I can think of that I have personally shared with teachers, parents and my wife.


I really enjoyed “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough. I think Tough argues quite vividly and persuasively that the skills such as “curiosity, self-control, and social fluidity” (ability to get along); skills that today are often called “soft” or “non-cognitive.” The book focuses on the determinants of success or failure among developing children and argues clearly and persuasively, in non-technical plain English, that the current-day educational policy emphasis on cognitive development among young people is seriously off-base. Tough’s book is brief and right on point. I recommend it highly.

Brenda giourmetakis:

Carly’s Voice by Arthur an Carly Fleishmann. While it is not a how to education book, it offers a deep understanding of children with autism who are non verbal. Because I had a student starting at my school with this description, I knew this would give me insights. It has made it’s rounds through my staff and because they have read it, they understand our new little student. They have more compassion and less pity for his situation. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels that autism is a mystery. Carly helps you understand more of the “why’s” behind the actions and reactions of children with autism.


I will be using Eleanor Dougherty’s book, “Assignments Matter: Making the connections That Help Students Meet Standards” as a resource for my curriculum class this spring. I believe it is well written and extremely helpful for teachers trying to align standards with assessments.

Ellen Adolph:

Angela Maiers’ Passion Driven Classroom and Habitudes has been very enlightening to my teaching. Another book I’ve recommended to at least 2 dozen folks (parents, neighbors) anyone who is truly interested in education is Tony Wagner’s Global Achievement Gap; it will really get people thinking!

Christian Klaue:

Necessary Endings by Dr. Cloud. Once we find something that works, we don’t just stick with it forever after. We need to keep reevaluating if it is still the best way to go. Carol Dwecks Mindset and Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage are honourable mentions.

Blair Peterson:

As a parent and educator I love Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner. Wagner profiles real life innovators and their parents and the educators who influenced them. I’m seriously thinking about how our school can do a better job of developing innovators.

Jan Hamilton:

What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali. An inspiration for all teachers and reminder of the power we wield. The perfect book to read before heading back to school.


Pathways to the Common Core : Accelerated Achievement by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman was a very informative and motivational read in preparation for transitioning my staff into common core. It explains how the new standards will work and creates an easy to follow roadmap that helps a CCSS novice navigate through this new transition and movement.

John Berray:

My top read of 2012 for educators is Dave Burgess’ Teach Like a Pirate. Dave shows teachers how to develop energized lessons, the kind that make his classes among the most popular on campus. Teach Like a Pirate offers specific strategies on how to tap into and cultivate the wellspring of creativity educators already possess! This book is an empowering read, transcends disciplines, and is the type of book I wish had been included in my own teacher preparation program.

Joy Kirr:

Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers. Kids need to be told that they are geniuses! They need to keep that spunk and assertiveness well into high school, so they can truly show their geniuses as they mature, instead of being ashamed of what they do. Great lessons embedded, and resources any grade can use.

Rachel Amstutz:

Several of my favorites have already been listed here but I have to lend my support to them as well! Creating Innovators is a fantastic read as it tells an important story by spotlighting students and families. Pathways to the Common Core is also a great tool to support our transition. I’m only half way through it, but it’s impacting my work tremendously.

Other favorite that were not yet listed include:
Best practices, 4th edition as it reflects on what we know works and incorporates the new movements/initiatives thoughtfully.

Blackants and Buddhists for proving a concrete example of teaching perspective, tolerance, openmindedness, evaluating for biases, and for its usefulness as a tool for my equity team.

Jennifer Lawler:

Sensible Mathematics, 2nd Ed. by Steve Leinwand. There aren’t a ton of books written about teaching math, or leading the reform that math education needs in this country. Leinwand hits the nail on the head with this book, laying out exactly why and how math class needs to change if we are to realize the promise of the CCSS. His companion work, Accessible Mathematics, geared more towards classroom teachers, is equally as good.

Suzanne Porath:

I would agree with Matt Renwick on Opening Minds by Peter Johnston. This book has influenced my own work in the classroom and also my understanding of my dissertation work. As Johnston says, words create worlds, and each interaction I have with my students creates a particular type of world. Johnston has helped me become more conscious of what worlds I’m creating and be more intentional with my language. I believe that all teachers should read both Choice Words and Opening Minds several times during their careers as with experience and new circumstances, Johnston’s ideas become more relevant.


I share a strategy a week with our staff from Doug Lemov’s “Teach Like a Champion; 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College”

Thanks again to everybody who contributed! Feel free to leave additional recommendations in the comments section.

November 15, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s Round-Up Of Good Posts & Articles On Education Policy

Here are some recent good posts and article on educational policy issues:

Asking Students about Teaching is a report from the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

Bad Teaching Practice #1: “I am Only Going to Teach Those Who Are Ready To Learn” is by Anthony Cody at Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

The newest rhetoric on teacher evaluation — and why it is nonsense comes from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

Race to the Top District Competition Received 371 Applications is a very interesting piece from Education Week — some unusual stuff has been happening with the applications. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Race To The Top” (& On “Personalized Learning”).

Time to Put Forward a New Reform Agenda is by Pedro Noguera. I think the part about student performance-based assessments is particularly interesting. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

Promoting Quality Teaching: New Policy Report from Accomplished California Teachers has just been published. Here’s an excerpt from its description:

Currently, teacher pay is based primarily on years of service and continuing education, including advanced degrees. In recent years, pay-for-performance or merit-pay systems have been tried around the country—systems in which teachers are rewarded for student achievement, with achievement usually being measured by test scores.

The ACT report argues that neither system succeeds. And it offers a framework for professional growth and compensation that creates incentives for well-qualified individuals to enter the profession, continue to grow, and to share what they know so that the entire enterprise of education improves. This report can be used to inform policy at the state and district level to create thoughtful, research-based compensation systems that actually improve teaching.

For now, I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea.

Value-Added, For The Record is from The Shanker Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.