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

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)

Competitiveness vs. Excellence: The Education Crisis That Isn’t (##)

“What’s the matter with us?” demands Bob Herbert in his August 7 New York Times column. “The latest dismal news on the leadership front” proving that we’ve become “a nation of nitwits” comes courtesy of a report from the College Board, he says. “At a time when a college education is needed more than ever to establish . . . (Read More)

On Teaching Reading, Spelling, and Related Subjects

Excerpts from The Schools Our Children Deserve (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999) On Teaching Reading, Spelling, and Related Subjects Half Truths About Whole Language By Alfie Kohn “Kids aren’t learning how to read these days because ivory-tower ideologues have eliminated the teaching of necessary basic skills in favor of feel-good, PC fads like Whole Language.  We’d do a lot better if we ... Read More

Moving Beyond Facts, Skills, and Right Answers

From Chapter 3: "Getting Teaching and Learning Wrong" in The Schools Our Children Deserve (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999) Moving Beyond Facts, Skills, and Right Answers By Alfie Kohn The trouble with the Tougher Standards movement isn’t limited to its failure to understand the costs of overemphasizing achievement.  The movement is also vulnerable by virtue of the way it defines achievement.  The vast majority of policy ... Read More

What to Look for in a Classroom (*)

 EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP September 1996 What to Look for in a Classroom By Alfie Kohn An earlier version of this chart was published in the September 1996 issue of Educational Leadership, and reprinted as the title essay in the anthology What to Look for in a Classroom...And Other Essays. This revised version appeared as Appendix B of The Schools Our Children Deserve. Copyright ... Read More