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Mark Sass’ Blog

Mark Sass

March 26, 2013

Teachers, know thine impact

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The great divide in education reform today, in my view, exists between those who believe that teachers have the greatest influence on student achievement and those who believe that outside influences drive academic achievement. I believe both. I realize that my impact in the classroom as a teacher should be my first and foremost focus, but to simply say that “teachers matter” is to trivialize the role that teachers play in education. My purpose is to narrow the impact of teachers down to a more exacting statement: “The mindset of teachers matter.”

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Mark Sass

January 29, 2013

Wanted: A "society of experts" to implement the Common Core

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Stuck in a professional rut

My new favorite cartoon that deals with education: A man sits atop a camel and has turned to his family of three who are sitting atop a camel that follows. The man says, “Stop asking me when we’re going to get there. We’re nomads for crying out loud!”

I use this cartoon when I communicate with colleagues about the fact that we are in a profession that needs to constantly find time to look to innovate and try new ideas, while continuing to improve on what we already know and do.

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Mark Sass

December 9, 2012

What went wrong with NCLB

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Originally posted on EdNews Colorado: http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/12/09/53536-voices-what-went-wrong-wi...

Sir Ken Robinson, the internationally known education thinker, says that the problem with taking things for granted in education is that we do not realize that we take them for granted – because we take them for granted. We took something for granted and never questioned its impact a decade or so ago.

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Mark Sass

October 30, 2012

Go ahead. Survey my students.

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I have never been a fan of student surveys of their teachers. I always looked at the surveys as a way for teens to complain about their teachers. My assumption was that students always wanted the easy way out, that if pushed to challenge themselves, students would resist--and use surveys to blame me, the teacher. I figured students wanted “caring” teachers (read: nice adults who let students do what they want).

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Mark Sass

September 19, 2012

Constructive conversations, or how to make sound (or even sensible) decisions about school reform

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This school year I have a .6 release to work in my district as we implement standards-based grading (SBG). I teach from 7:15 to 9:00 a.m., do a short stint with hall duty, conduct any necessary phone calls home, make copies, finish up lesson plans, and score assignments. By 10:30 a.m., I am usually on my way to my school district’s headquarters. For the rest of my day, I am facilitating the district’s move to SBG. The experience has been very enlightening and a great challenge.

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Mark Sass

August 19, 2012

Do unions benefit education?

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This piece was originally published on EdNews Colorado.

I’ve been on strike twice in my life, both times when I was a truck mechanic and a member of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers. Each time I hit the picket lines, I knew what we were fighting for – wages and working conditions.

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