Category: education

Why There are Fewer School Volunteers and Why it Matters

Why There are Fewer School Volunteers and Why it Matters
The early childhood program I founded, Cherry Preschool,  relied on an army of volunteers. We thought of ourselves as the Amish barn raisers from the 1985 movie Witness, sadly minus Harrison Ford. Volunteers painted every room in the school, scrounged yard sales for toys, drove a borrowed pickup truck to bring donated furniture and appliances, built... Read more »

Quality, Not Kindergarten Redshirting, is the Problem

Quality, Not Kindergarten Redshirting, is the Problem
In my long career as an early childhood program director, I have given many talks to parents of children about to start kindergarten. While these parents were sometimes worried, over the past decade they became more anxious about how well their children would handle entry into a formal education system. Now, a proposed Illinois law... Read more »

As Parent-Teacher Conferences Vanish: When No News is Just No News

As Parent-Teacher Conferences Vanish: When No News is Just No News
There is a trend in education to dispense with the traditional biannual parent-teacher conferences. Now that every test and homework score can be accessed by parents online, the thinking goes that these conferences are meaningless and time-wasters. Parents who want conferences may request them. Otherwise, they should assume no news is good news. I would... Read more »
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How Cheating Hurts Those Who Really Need Help

How Cheating Hurts Those Who Really Need Help
Granted, it is very unfair that rich and famous parents could bribe college officials, cheat on their children’s test scores, and create fake sports credentials to get their kids into elite colleges. The college admissions scam, Operation Varsity Blues, has dominated the news, probably because some celebrities (Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman) were caught in its... Read more »

Really Dumb Homework

Really Dumb Homework
Here’s an algebra assignment for a twelve-year-old. Go online to find a car to buy. Explain why you selected this car. Now research insurance for the car. Get several quotes for a student driver, including one with no accidents, one with a traffic ticket, and one who had an accident. Now, figure out what your... Read more »

Concerns About Evanston High School’s New Therapeutic Special Education School

Concerns About Evanston High School’s New Therapeutic Special Education School
I was going through old photos when I made a sad discovery. In third and fourth grade, my granddaughter lost her smile. She also lost two years of her education because her school was unable to adapt materials and methods so she could learn. These were her final years in public school, as it was... Read more »
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Middle School: Still the Neglected Middle Child of Education

Middle School: Still the Neglected Middle Child of Education
They passed notes, threw spit balls, popped their gum, and seemed far more interested in their hair than in the hair-raising poem I was trying to teach them. It was 1967 and student teaching sixth grade English was my first encounter with middle school. Luckily for me, there was no such institution when I was... Read more »

E-Learning at Home and Why it’s a Fail

E-Learning at Home and Why it’s a Fail
My grandkids who live in another state had an e-learning day last week when their school was closed for staff in-service. I guess this counts as a learning day. It was also a trial for doing the same thing on snow closing days, thus avoiding having to make these days up at the end of... Read more »

Finding my Voice

Finding my Voice
I loved my fifth-grade teacher, Martin Hollander. He told us our class was a democracy in which all of us had a voice and a vote. For the first time in my school career, my opinion counted and my voice was heard. That all ended when he had to leave class for a meeting and... Read more »
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When 47% of the Entering Kindergarten Class is Deemed Not Ready, Something is Very Wrong

When 47% of the Entering Kindergarten Class is Deemed Not Ready, Something is Very Wrong
Another of my grandkids started just kindergarten. My daughter experienced the expected emotions of a mother whose “baby” is entering public school. But there was an added worry. Was he ready for the demands of kindergarten at his school? As his grandmother, I think he is a terrific boy, full of curiosity, caring, imagination, and... Read more »