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William  Tolley

July 13, 2015

Grace and American Education: An Open Letter to President Barack Obama


It’s time for you, Mr. President, to remind Americans of the paramount significance of education; how schools concretely—and sublimely—affect our lives, the health of the nation and the greater good of a broader world. As your actions over the past month have shown, sometimes a leader needs to intervene, ignore the point/counterpoint analysis and inspire the efforts of opposing sides toward broader approaches and bolder solutions.

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William  Tolley

June 29, 2015

Summer Cleaning: Eliminating Bad Habits One at a Time


Due to the frenzy and fragmentation of the school day and year—after an appropriate, gentle and well-earned transition—summer is the best time to sweep the shed, clear the cobwebs and put your tools in order ahead of the imminent next semester. Here’s a simple—but thorough—step-by-step process for making it happen. 

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Ariel Sacks

May 22, 2015

Suggestions for Better Testing


"I'm vehemently against these standardized tests and all that they are used for," a veteran humanities teacher tells me. "But I'm willing to meet them half way if the test is at least reasonable." A lot of teachers I know feel this way. We know standardized tests don't measure the scope of our teaching or our students' learning in a meaningful way. We see them being used to scare, label and punish children and educators, and we oppose these practices on principle and for the sake of our students and profession.  However, we are not totally against giving a reasonable yearly standardized test in reading and writing. There are a few key changes that might make the tests themselves a bit more reasonable.

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