(I’m republishing my favorite posts from the second half of 2023. You can see them all here)


Parents Don’t Understand How Far Behind Their Kids Are in School by researchers Tom Kane and Sean Reardon appeared in The NY Times today.

I have a lot of respect for Sean Reardon’s work, much less so for the work of Tom Kane.

There’s a lot of interesting data in the piece.

However, as is typical in these kinds of pieces, their recommendations for actions to take in order to accelerate learning for students have next-to-zero chances of actually happening due to political, logistic, strong preferential feelings (from parents, students and educators alike).

Of course, I, too, keep on repeating my four suggestions for how to accelerate learning, and they don’t seem to gain much traction, either.

The difference, for what it’s worth, is that I think the barriers for schools to implement my three ideas is far, far, far lower than the usual list of recommendations by researchers.

Again, for those in the back, here are my four recommendations:

One, provide individual schools monies to hire local members of the community to reach out to families to help respond to the huge uptick in student absenteeism and to have conversations about individual student academic achievement.

Two, have schools create extra time for teachers to work with students on creating Student Personal Reports emphasizing assets, but also highlighting challenges. These can be shared with parents by students, teachers, and the parent outreach workers.

Instead of harping about “high-dose tutoring” from non-existent adults who are supposed to be hired by districts and schools, make a priority of recruiting older students as peer tutors (see THE BEST RESOURCES ON PEER TUTORS).

And, finally, have schools look towards their own long-time experts in accelerated learning – their English Language Learner teachers – to do professional development with their colleagues about how they can implement similar strategies in their classrooms (see my Washington Post piece, The kind of teaching kids need right now).

Alas, I’m not holding my breath that many, if any, of my suggestions get widely implemented.

But, there’s always hope…