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Wrapping Up 2011: Best Guest Posts on InterACT

December 26, 2011

As 2011 winds down, I’ll be revisiting some of the best of InterACT in the past year.  Today, I focus on some of the most important guest posts we were able to run this year, thanks to our wonderful contributing members of the Accomplished California Teachers (ACT) network.  I certainly appreciate all of our guest posts and the teachers who authored them.  Looking back over the year, these posts stand out for me.

Stop Racing, Start Listening – Sandy Dean, associate director of ACT, started us off this year with her reactions to President Obama’s remarks about teachers and respect for the profession.  This guest post set a tone for the year, questioning the divide between rhetoric and policies.  Another ACT member, Anthony Cody, suggested in his own blog that perhaps this year marked an “awakening” – turning point in exposing the failures of currently favored “reform” strategies.

Teacher-Driven Education Reform That Works – Lynne Formigli wrote about the good work happening in schools that benefit from the Quality Education Investment Act.  For those married to the myth that teachers unions are the problem in public education, Lynne has a powerful rebuttal showing how the California Teachers Association has played a significant role in improving needy schools.

California Teacher Pensions: Are We Really Breaking the State? – one more guest post by Lynne Formigli, tackling another crucial issue in state education policy.  Though it may not have as much to do with classroom practice, it clearly was interesting to readers, and turned out to be the most visited guest post of the year.

Unrealistic Education Reform Goals: A Business Perspective – ACT member Dave Reid allowed us cross-post from his blog, in which he reacted to ambitious but highly specific quantitive goals for Los Angeles Unified School District.  As a teacher with decades of prior experience in business, Dave observes:

Reaching out to the community, involving parents, and motivating students are all critical and necessary to improve academic achievement, attendance and safety; they will yield significant advances in primary and secondary education.  However, the blind adoption of arbitrary, albeit just sounding, quantitative targets is foolish at best, and tremendously harmful at worst.

Getting Less From More – One of my favorite blog posts of the year brings us straight into the classroom of Jane Ching Fung, unpacking hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of curricular materials and wondering why.

Next Steps for LAUSD Teacher Evaluations: You, Me, and AGT – ACT member Lisa Alva Wood shared a number of posts with us this year, and provided us with this thoughtful perspective on teacher evaluation reforms in Los Angeles.  The post generated some interesting comments as well.

Later this week, I’ll post additional 2011 highlights from InterACT.  Stay tuned next week for a post on Common Core Standards implementation and assessment in California, following up on an event I attended a couple weeks ago that featured Linda Darling-Hammond, State Board of Education President Michael Kirst, State Assemblymember Julia Brownley, Deb Sigman of the California Department of Education, and other education leaders.

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Just a reminder: teacher evaluation is a topic of great interest to us here at ACT, and the subject of our policy report, “A Quality Teacher in Every Classroom: An Evaluation System That Works for California.”  We will be presenting this report in Sacramento on January 20, 2012, as part of a larger education policy summit on teacher quality.  Look at our website and use the Contact form there if you’d like more information on the event.


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