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Digressive Discourse

Sandy Merz

April 27, 2016

How Not to Shuffle Teachers, Part One

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This year at my school a powerful cohort of outside forces, trying to do the right thing, used a financial incentive to fix something that wasn't broken and in the process derailed a promising teacher's first year, denied over 100 seventh graders six weeks of science, and added 20% to the workload of four full time teachers.  

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Sandy Merz

January 29, 2016

Does Moving Money From Prisons to Schools Really Make Sense?

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Will we forever be stuck shaking our heads at the annual cost to lock up a prisoner compared to the annual cost to educate a child and saying that since we're going to pay the money anyway why don’t we pay it up front by better funding our schools and then maybe more students will graduate and become productive citizens instead of dropping out and becoming criminals?

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Sandy Merz

January 14, 2016

Picturing Fairness, Equity, and Access

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Which is more fair: grading on a curve or on a straight scale? Which is more equitable? Do all students in an open-enrollment district really have access to all schools if transportation isn't provided? From daily classroom practice to broad debates on policy, it's generally accepted that public education should be fair, equitable, and accessible. But what do fairness, equity, and access look like?

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Sandy Merz

January 1, 2016

Category: Teacher Evaluation - 1987 or 2015?

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The jumping off point for this post is the game show Remote Control that premiered in 1987 as MTV's first non-music show. Contestants, sitting in recliners, would point their remotes at a TV and name a channel. The host would name a corresponding category and ask a question. My favorite category was Dead or Canadian? for which the contestant would identify someone obscure to MTV fans as belonging to someone dead (like Allen Dulles) or Canadian (like Leonard Cohen).

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