The Case Against Grades (##)

EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP November 2011 The Case Against Grades By Alfie Kohn [This is a slightly expanded version of the published article.] "I remember the first time that a grading rubric was attached to a piece of my writing….Suddenly all the joy was taken away.  I was writing for a grade -- I was no longer exploring for me.  I want ... Read More

Poor Teaching for Poor Children … in the Name of Reform (##)

EDUCATION WEEK April 27, 2011 Poor Teaching for Poor Children … in the Name of Reform By Alfie Kohn [This is a slightly expanded version of the published article.] Love them or hate them, the proposals collectively known as “school reform” are mostly top-down policies:  divert public money to quasi-private charter schools, pit states against one another in a race ... Read More

“Well, Duh!” — 10 Obvious Truths That We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring

AMERICAN SCHOOL BOARD JOURNAL April 2011 “Well, Duh!” -- Ten Obvious Truths That We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring By Alfie Kohn The field of education bubbles over with controversies. It’s not unusual for intelligent people of good will to disagree passionately about what should happen in schools. But there are certain precepts that aren’t debatable, that just about anyone would have ... Read More

“But I Need to Assign Homework! Look at All I Have to Cover!”

A parent wrote me today to express her frustration not only with homework but with the response she hears from teachers when she complains about homework. Even those teachers who are sufficiently knowledgeable and brave to admit that research fails to show any meaningful benefit from making kids do homework — particularly in elementary school — tend . . . (Read More)

STEM Sell: Do Math and Science Matter More Than Other Subjects? (##)

What’s the single most alarming educational crisis today? That’s easy. It’s our failure to pay more attention to the academic field of whichever educator happens to be speaking at the moment.
Just listen, then, and learn that while there may be other problems, too, the truly urgent issue these days is that we’re just not investing . . . (Read More)

Remember When We Had High Standards? Neither Do I (##)

 “In recent years, parents have cried in dismay that their children could not read out loud, could not spell, could not write clearly,” while “employers have said that mechanics could not read simple directions. Many a college has blamed high schools for passing on students…who could not read adequately to study college subjects; high schools . . . (Read More)

“Ready to Learn” = Easier to Educate (##)

The phrase “ready to learn,” frequently applied to young children, is rather odd when you stop to think about it, because the implication is that some kids aren’t. Have you ever met a child who wasn’t ready to learn — or, for that matter, already learning like crazy? The term must mean something much more . . . (Read More)

Operation Discourage Bright People from Wanting to Teach (##)

Education “reformers” have discovered the source of our schools’ problems. It’s not poverty or social inequities. It’s not enforced student passivity or a standardized curriculum that consists of lists of facts and skills likely to appear on standardized tests. No — it’s… teachers.
Fortunately, there’s a two-pronged solution: First, identify the really bad teachers (on the . . . (Read More)

How to Sell Conservatism: Lesson 1 — Pretend You’re a Reformer (##)

If you somehow neglected to renew your subscription to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, you may have missed a couple of interesting articles last year. A series of studies conducted by two independent groups of researchers (published in the September and November 2009 issues, respectively) added to an already substantial collection of evidence showing that “people are motivated . . . (Read More)