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Tori Mazur

November 12, 2014

High-Stakes, Not Hostage


I survived Testober.  My first October as a high school Testing Coordinator was spent eyeballs deep in spreadsheets of students and their schedule data.  It was challenging enough to coordinate the movement - and test security - of several hundred students, displace teachers and their untested students so I could have their rooms, and find places every class period to put all the bodies. Now it seems as though our state and district want to up the ante by adding technological challenges as we move to high-stakes testing online.  

Before we go all in, there are some things that teachers need. 

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Justin Minkel

October 23, 2014

The Data Dagger: Why Policymakers Need Student Stories


Test scores are a means to an end. For many power players in education, test scores have become the end in themselves, with devastating results.

Part of our job as teachers is to remind policymakers that children are far more than the sum of their data.



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Justin Minkel

October 11, 2014

Shanghai Surprise


The best teachers I know share two qualities: humility and curiosity. They worry less about looking good than becoming better. I saw these same qualities in the educators I met a few weeks ago in Shanghai. Despite their top PISA rankings, these teachers see plenty of value in what American teachers have to offer. I wish we took more time in this country to figure out what they can offer us.

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Barnett Berry

August 21, 2014

Is doing less harm enough for Duncan?


​Earlier today Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a slight—yet potentially significant—shift in his stance on teacher evaluation. Duncan extended an offer of flexibility to states, a one-year delay in implementing evaluation systems that would tie teacher performance to test results.

This is a good thing. And it could be the beginning of a great thing.

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Rod Powell

June 26, 2014

Teachers vs. Policy makers: From Showdown to Rapprochement


I love the French language. It has so many phrases and words that seem to capture moments in ways that English can’t. C’est l’avie, Je varrais, L’etat c’est moi (Louis XIV references—forgive me, I’m a history teacher). They all have deeper meanings than my North Carolina dialect can conjure up.

But there’s one French word in particular that captures my recent experience at the National Conference of State Legislatures' “Leading the Way to Student Success” conference: rapprochement.

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