Teaching the Common Core Requires Fine-Tuning School Policies

Let me begin with three scenarios from my school that I think exemplify successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards: • A principal walks into a math department meeting to find the whiteboard filled with ideas for courses and performance assessments, and scribbled with words like “problem-solving,” “precision,” and “reasoning.” Four teachers and two […]

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Keep high standards alive

In my experience as a math teacher for 15 years at Basalt Middle School, I have taught many different students and can probably tell you 42 different ways that someone might use the Pythagorean theorem. I can also tell you that parents who are involved in their students’ education and have high expectations for learning […]

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Taming big government by proxy

For the six years of the Obama presidency, or perhaps the last 35 years since Ronald Reagan’s election, American politics has been dominated by a debate on the size and role of the federal government. This argument, while intense and consequential, has often lacked one element: actual knowledge about the size and role of the […]

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Washington, we can do this

By now, everyone has heard of the story of baseball’s Oakland Athletics and their 2002 season, immortalized by Michael Lewis in the book (and the movie) Moneyball. Recognizing his team’s limitations and scarce resources, Oakland general manager Billy Beane pioneered the use of performance data, rather than unscientific scouting reports, to drive his player draft […]

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In politics, does evidence matter?

One of the lovely formulations in John F. Kennedy’s inaugural addressexpressed his hope that “a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion.” Kennedy was talking about the Cold War, but we could use a little of this in the partisan and ideological warfare that engulfs our nation’s capital. And so let us […]

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Test lets Wisconsin schools see how they stack up internationally

It’s been known for a while that U.S. students trail their counterparts in some other countries on academic performance measures. But some Wisconsin high schools are actually performing above the level of the highest-performing “economy” in the world — Shanghai, China — according to results from an international exam. Last spring, almost 300 high schools, […]

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