Valerie Strauss -- Former teacher Mark Phillips takes us on a scary trip through the Wonderland of Educational Reform. Phillips is a former high school teacher and a former teacher educator at the University of California at Santa Barbara and at San Francisco State.
Mark Phillips -- The film “Won’t Back Down” just opened in wide release, yet for weeks there has been a deluge of extremely strong emotional and critical
responses.Both the film and the responses deserve our attention because they are each symptomatic of the polarization that is plaguing both public education and national politics in this country.
Mark Phillips -- When I first began teaching high school I had two students who sat near the front of the room and quietly laughed each day at the beginning of class. An “informer” told me that they were making bets regarding how often I’d nervously straighten my tie as class began. I could have admonished them for their laughter, but I thought this was very funny.
Mark Phillips -- There is a very important controversy related to children that is flying under the radar of most educators and parents that affects schoolchildren nationwide. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. There have been a number of revisions since it was first published in 1952, and each revision has added to the number of conditions labeled as mental disorders.
Mark Phillips -- Don’t you get bored repeatedly reading about variations on the same topics? Standardized testing, useful or harmful? Charter schools, the answer or the new problem? Teachers maligned, teachers defended, teachers resistant to change. No Child Left Behind, revise or eliminate?
Mark Phillips -- Ravitch, Darling-Hammond, American Teacher, and now Sahlberg, have sold me. There’s something happening there and what it is is exactly clear. The Finnish approach to education has something to teach us.
Mark Phillips -- Media responses to educational reports have become predictably semi-hysterical, simplistic, and taken to invalid conclusions. So it was with the recent report from the Department of Education: The Nation’s Report Card, Civics 2010.
This satirical post was written by Mark Phillips, professor emeritus of secondary education at San Francisco State University and author of a monthly column on education for the Marin Independent Journal.