Analysis: Just what does Caputo-Pearl’s first-round victory mean?

Caputo-Pearl at the podium; Fletcher, on the right

Caputo-Pearl at the podium; Fletcher, on the right

The first round of the UTLA elections produced two stunning results.

One: For the first time in recent memory, a political faction within the union — Union Power – has gained near total control of the union. In a field of 10 candidates for president, Alex Caputo-Pearl out-polled his nearest competitor, incumbent Warren Fletcher, by a 2-to-1 margin — a runoff is now underway — and Union Power candidates won outright nearly every other union leadership position.

Two: Not that many people cared. In a turning-point election, barely a quarter of UTLA’s 31,000 members bothered to vote.

The combination is a real head scratcher because it makes entirely ambiguous just what members were saying if they were saying anything at all. Even Fletcher bowed to the inevitable, announcing he would no longer actively campaign for another term.

On the one hand, the true believers lined up behind a change agent and his deep bench of compatriots with a lengthy platform that included a focus on raises and the end of teacher jails.

On the other, a silent majority declared they have enough on their hands, with crowded classrooms, curriculum changes and the challenge of providing the best for kids with the least.

It’s as if most teachers, feeling beaten down and demoralized over so many years, considered the options — more of the same under Fletcher or new activism under Union Power — and decided, “Yeah, whatever.”

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Commentary: Best gift of more money is gift of more time

images-2Under the new Local Control Funding Formula, LA Unified schools in underserved communities will be given $837 million to meet the needs of students in poverty, English learners and children in foster care. It’s not yet clear exactly how that money will be allocated, and it’s still less than what we’ve thrown at iPads. But it’s desperately needed.

As a teacher who worked in a high-poverty high school and is now spending a year observing classrooms across the socioeconomic spectrum in L.A., here’s how that funding could help:

Giving teachers time to plan multi-level lessons for each class.

One of the biggest differences I’ve seen between classrooms in affluent communities and in high-poverty communities is the range of skill levels. In affluent communities, students generally read at or near grade level and have a history of positive or neutral experience with school, as well as at least one parent at home always available for help.

In high-poverty communities, in any given class, you’ll probably have a handful of kids who fit that description and who need and deserve all the challenge and stimulation of a fast-paced class to compete for spaces at top colleges alongside more affluent students.

But right next to them, you’ll have kids who are still learning English.  Those kids need “scaffolded” lessons with shortened readings; they also need writing assignments with fill-in-the-blanks support so that they can learn academic phrasing.

Right next to them, you’ll have kids with serious behavior issues, sometimes from growing up in multiple foster homes.  All over the classroom you’ll have kids who, in the absence of libraries, bookstores or books at home, have never read a book. And you’ll have several empty seats because of the kids who, despite your pleas and phone calls home, are truant for large chunks of time.

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Commentary: Mayor Garcetti’s elephant in the room



In his first State of the City speech, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti laid out a plan to boost job creation, safety and the city’s ability to compete in a global economy.

Noticeably absent, however, was any mention of the vast education challenges facing the city.

The Mayor’s vision of Los Angeles was notable for its optimism and his passion. And the half-hour speech (transcript here) was heavy on specifics — including a focus on neighborhood improvements, DWP rates and carpool lanes. He cited how he “pushed and prodded” the feds to open a lane on the 405 earlier than expected, and he pledged to “pave more streets and fix more sidewalks.”

But wait, is he talking . . . potholes?

I couldn’t help but flash back to my home town, Chicago, where the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, ran the city with an iron fist for more than 20 years in the 60s and 70s. Boss Daley knew how to fill a pothole, but sadly, at the same time he presided over a disastrous decline in the city’s pubic education system.

Mayor Garcetti’s goal, of “building a better city,” while admirable, is ultimately not achievable without addressing the elephant in the room — education — and his hands-off approach is bad for students, parents and ultimately the economy. The recent departure of Thelma Melendez, who carried the title of education deputy but in practice was almost invisible makes matters worse. And, so far, he hasn’t named a replacement.

Granted, the mayor’s office in Los Angeles officially exerts very little control over the vast LA Unified School District, run by an often fractured seven-member elected board. But that didn’t stop Garcetti’s predecessors from using the bully pulpit to try and enhance the educational opportunities for city students. The outgoing Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who considered improving public education his mission, devoted a large portion of his 2013 State of the City address to education and saw it as vitally linked to job-growth and the economy.

The district is slowly improving, but challenges like high dropout rates and low student achievement are so profound that it’s hard to argue that all hands should not be on deck, especially those of the mayor.

And the excuse of not having mayoral control? Well, the last time I looked, the mayor doesn’t have much influence on the 405 federal highway project, either.

Commentary: An extraordinary effort for extraordinary need

Ben Austin

Ben Austin

LAUSD School Board Member Steve Zimmer’s recent commentary “Standing with Beatriz” hit the nail on the head on one key issue: for our children, the stakes are high.

Let me acknowledge first that Mr. Zimmer is a good person who is doing what he feels is best for the children of LAUSD. On this issue, however, we have a principled disagreement about what that is.

Mr. Zimmer portrays himself as a grassroots underdog taking on a phalanx of nefarious billionaires who aim to “privatize” public education. What he fails to mention, is that he was also supported by over one million dollars in campaign contributions from the biggest and most powerful special interest group in the state. That fact doesn’t make him right or wrong, but it does make him part of the system. It isn’t a coincidence that the same adult special interests that bankrolled his campaign are now bankrolling the opposition to Vergara.

Mr. Zimmer wrote about the “Vergara fiction,” that the status quo is broken. But this harsh reality is unfortunately not fiction for the children who lose their talented, dedicated and loving teachers to layoffs each year just because they were hired last. And it’s not fiction for the children who have been molested and for those who were literally forced to eat semen by a teacher who was paid $40,000 to retire, with full benefits!

Vergara shifts the focus from the interests of adults to where it should have been all along: children.

Putting children first must be the “north star” by which all decisions are made in our public education system. Ninety one percent of likely California voters support a children-first agenda, but far too often the interests of powerful adults trump the interests of children.

This is not a coincidence.

It’s because kids don’t have a political action committee, and kids don’t have lobbyists.

Beatriz Vergara and the millions of children attending California public schools can’t vote.

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Commentary: The years when learning matters the most

imagesThe architects are huddled in an intense meeting. Problems have arisen: the supports for the tower appear insufficient, causing balance issues. Should they proceed with the plans they’ve envisioned or make modifications for a less ambitious approach?

The leader is unequivocal: the vision will be executed. His team shrugs, then proceeds in accordance with the original plans. There will be no compromise on the dream.

Moments later, the tower of wooden blocks teeters, then comes crashing down on their heads. “I told you so,” yells one girl accusingly. But there’s no time for argument; they need to start over. They decide what went wrong and begin again, more carefully this time. It’s clear that the base needs to be broader and the blocks need to be stacked more carefully, with less airspace in between.

It’s 9 am in the Woodpecker Room at the Harry Pregerson Day Care Center and these three year olds are hard at work. In the last five minutes, they’ve learned about gravity and balance, set a goal, collaborated, discussed expectations, learned from failure and demonstrated persistence.

Throughout, their teacher asks them gentle questions, coaching them to analyze the situation and understand what might have gone wrong. Are they sure they need to build their structure on top of a wagon? If it didn’t have to roll across the room, wouldn’t that make the project easier? Or is motion important for their vision? Are everyone’s ideas being heard?

I’m sitting in a corner, blown away by the amount of learning that’s going on here every minute. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent time with a group of toddlers, and I’ve forgotten how eagerly and relentlessly they learn. Every waking moment, these toddlers are negotiating with each other and with themselves as they come to find words for their emotions and learn to control their bodies.

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Analysis: Vergara approaching time for Treu judgement

Judge Rolf Treu

Judge Rolf Treu

Closing arguments are scheduled for tomorrow in Vergara v California. Lawyers for the nine public school children who are the plaintiffs will speak from 10 to noon, followed by their defense counterparts, from 1:30 to 3:30.

The plaintiffs have the option to get in a last word after that, but, really, is there much new to say by now?

The positions are clear. For two months, the opposing sides have put on AM/FM cases as they try to persuade Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu of their superior wisdom.

Plaintiffs have taken a systemic approach, using the experiences of nine students as a motif for showing why California needs to legislate a more efficient way to get ineffective teachers out of the classroom. The fact that one child’s education could be compromised means all children are at risk.

No, say the defendants — the state, with the California Federation of Teachers and California Teachers Association, as “intervenors.” Their case has been more granular. These kids might have had problems with their teachers, but is that enough to blow up state laws that offer employment protections for public school teachers, whose effectiveness in the classroom is dependent on so many factors outside of it?

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Commentary: Listen adults, it’s time for a student on the board

Cindy FigueroaDo you know how many students attended the LAUSD school board meetings last month? In my circle of friends, you’d be lucky if a single person could name a school board member or tell you what the school board does.

As an active LAUSD student who cares about my community, I wonder how the second-largest district in the nation can make decisions about the futures of thousands of students without hearing our perspective on issues that matter. Most importantly, aren’t we the ones most affected by decisions on issues like the Common Core curriculum, school spending, iPads and new schools?

How can a school district that prides itself on leadership and preparing future citizens not have a seat for a student to exercise that leadership on the District level?

California Education Code states that governing boards have student representation. Also, students have the right to petition the board for that student representative to have an advisory vote if they collect more than 500 signatures.

LAUSD would not be alone in choosing a student representative. Over 200 districts in California have a student sitting on their schools board, including Oakland and San Francisco. There are hundreds more throughout the United States that have given students a seat at the table. Even our own State Board of Education has a high school student who participates on its board.

It’s time for LAUSD to come around.

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Commentary: With an API delay, a step toward real accountability

Photo: Take Part

Photo: Take Part

California has just suspended the calculation of API scores until 2016—and that’s cause for celebration by those of us who believe in meaningful accountability. I know, many people are freaking out because they believe this suspension of scores will leave schools in low-income communities free to go down the toilet for two full years while corrupt administrators and bad teachers merrily cash paychecks, accountable to no one.

Here’s why I think that logic is wrong—and why I believe this temporary suspension is a great opportunity to create a better system.

First of all, over a decade of API scores doesn’t seem to have done much to stop corrupt administrators and bad teachers. Schools that were terrible before we started testing are still terrible. Where schools were declared failing and taken over by the Partnership for L.A. Schools or other charter management systems, results have been underwhelming no matter who is in charge.

I have heard not a single story of a miracle takeover, but have heard many stories of schools that are as bad as before. In any case, test scores are not the best measure of whether these takeovers have been successful; the first measure is safety, followed by attendance and student attrition rates. Very high teacher turnover rates or large numbers of long-term subs are also serious red flags. We don’t need test scores to measure dysfunction. I wish it were that hard.

Test-driven education may have significant negative consequences for students even in success. Schools in underserved communities with impressive test scores often need to use extremely authoritarian, compliance-driven educational models to produce those scores.

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Commentary: Where I would spend the ‘Local Control’ money

imagesWant to play the least fun game in the world?

It’s called “Principal for a Day.” I know, back when you were five, it used to sound so fun to follow the principal around, issuing commands—Extra recess for everyone! Free donuts in the cafeteria!—but thanks to years of budget cuts, the game is no longer any fun, unless you really love crying over a pile of spreadsheets.

After the passage of Prop 30, though, some people are saying the game might regain its original luster. With the Local Control Funding Formula channeling fresh funds into the district budget, maybe we won’t have to stock up on Kleenex as we plan how to keep our doors open next year.

So let’s pretend we’re the principal of All-American High, an imaginary but typical school of about 550 students—a “small learning community” formed by dividing up a large public high school in south Los Angeles. Let’s say 95 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, 65 percent are English Language Learners, 15 percent are in Special Ed and 10 percent are in foster care. The school is in a high-crime area with significant gang activity. Many of our families are seeing food stamps cut this year, which means kids sometimes come to school hungry.

Whew! It’s exhausting being a principal. But now comes the fun part.

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Analysis: Legal positions in Vergara trial a universe apart

images-1With Vergara v California at the halfway point, and court in recess until next week, it’s a good time to see where things stand and where they might be going, if they’re going anywhere at all.

The trial has enormous consequences for the state, and maybe beyond, calling into account five California laws that govern tenure, dismissal and layoffs. The plaintiffs — Elizabeth Vergara and eight other students — are asking Judge Rolf Treu of the State Superior Court to strike them down, saying they combine to deny California students the fundamental right to a quality education.

As defendants, the state and its two largest teachers unions filed a motion last week, arguing that that it’s not the laws that should be dumped; it’s the case. They are urging Judge Treu to throw out the case out because of insufficient evidence. The plaintiffs are expected to respond to the motion in a day or so.

Maybe Judge Treu will toss the case. Maybe not.

It all depends on the prism through which he interprets the matter before him.

It boils down to this: Both sides agree that there are ineffective teachers in California public schools whose incompetence undermines student academic achievement. But one side (plaintiffs) thinks that it’s a systemic problem and, therefore, a constitutional issue while the other side (defendants) says the problems of a handful of students may be sad and unfortunate but don’t rise to the level of blowing up state law.

For Judge Treu, the challenge is deciding whether these particular laws represent the government’s best approach to guaranteeing every California kid a quality public education.

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Commentary: When our students are living in a book desert

imgres-1He was beefy and laconic, rumored to be gang-affiliated. Kids whispered that he stood outside of school in the early mornings selling weed, though we could never catch him at it.

He was also brilliant. If you define “intellectual” as a person who takes delight in the process of abstract thinking, Xavier was one of the most purely intellectual young person I’ve ever met. Faced with a complex question that would leave other kids stumped or bored, he would stare at the ceiling, a slow grin moving over his face as he contemplated the various possible answers he could give. Watching Xavier think was like watching him listen to music only he could hear.

Despite his brilliance, he did homework only sporadically, was absent a great deal of the time and was barely passing his classes. I met Xavier my first year teaching in South L.A. and, like many new teachers, was determined that I would be the one to reach him. The day he approached me after class to ask for a reading list, my heart leapt. He wanted to read more, but he had no books in his home. His parents, who started working as children and did not have much education, worked 12-hour shifts at factory jobs. But Xavier wanted a different life; he wanted to be a doctor. He wanted to write about his experiences. What should he read?

I compiled a list of my favorite books, making sure to include teen favorites, books about the medical profession and topics that might speak to a kid growing up in a high-poverty neighborhood. When I gave him the list, he contemplated it with his usual care, made a small check mark next to the books that looked interesting, and looked up. “Where can I get them?” he asked.

And that’s where our story stalls out. Because that’s when I realized that Xavier was living in a book desert.

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Commentary: Vergara case is chance to break impasse in 3 steps

problems-solutions-blackboard-300x199By Mike Stryer and Arielle Zurzolo

While the judge’s ruling in the Vergara vs. California case about educational equity remains weeks away, one verdict is already in: California suffers from a toxic polarization on educational issues that harms both students and the teaching profession. Ironically, though, the case may provide a unique window for unprecedented collaboration around teacher quality issues.

While parents and community members seek real solutions to the challenge of ensuring an effective teacher in every classroom, all too many “reformers” and “teacher unions” have used the Vergara case to launch unproductive, divisive attacks.

Reformers often portray unions as essentially dedicated to protecting “bad” teachers through restrictive legislation and byzantine dismissal processes. In its extreme, reformers view teacher unions as serving only teachers, while ignoring students. At the same time, teacher unions often view reformers as union-busters, seeking to both eliminate hard-earned due process rights and silencing the voice of teachers through intimidation. In its extreme, teacher unions view reformers as focusing exclusively on students, while ignoring teachers.

This inflammatory rhetoric has prevented meaningful dialogue around issues of equity, teacher quality and elevation of the teaching profession. The good news is that the Vergara case may provide the perfect opportunity to identify convergent interests that would benefit both students and teachers.

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Commentary: Why Vergara won’t solve the real teacher problem

bad teachersBad teachers need to leave. And it is a gross injustice that they are disproportionately congregated in low-income communities. Right now, because of Vergara vs. California, the lawsuit waged against education laws alleged to protect bad teachers, there is a tremendous amount of public anger directed at those teachers.

But to fire grossly incompetent teachers is not the same thing as to guarantee every child a quality education, which is at the core of this lawsuit. If it’s true that our failure to do that is unconstitutional, then even if this lawsuit is successful, we can’t just breathe a sigh of relief and relax. Even if we fire all grossly ineffective teachers tomorrow and hand out effective teachers like Oprah giving out cars, the far more serious problem is that schools in underserved communities struggle to retain effective teachers for very long.

That’s the deeper inequality we should be addressing.

Teacher turnover in low-income communities is high whether those teachers work at district schools or charters. It is naïve to think that eliminating seniority-based layoffs will solve this issue; a 2011 Berkeley study showed that turnover at Los Angeles charters in high-poverty communities was almost 50 percent per year. Some people now claim that this high turnover is not in itself a problem, as if the notion of effectiveness can be disassociated from a teacher’s relationship to the community.

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Commentary: An effective teacher in every California classroom

effective teacherBy Marshall Tuck

Every day, in classrooms throughout California, teachers inspire students. Despite inadequate pay and difficult working conditions, teachers are changing children’s lives and preparing them for the road ahead. Within a school, there is nothing more important to a child’s success than an effective teacher.

Yet I’ve seen firsthand how the state’s education law and a lack of political will from Sacramento make it almost impossible for public schools to place an effective teacher in every classroom. In 2008, I led the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools as we took over management of Markham Middle School and 16 other historically low-performing public schools. Just eight months later, we received notices that approximately half of the teachers at Markham would be laid off, including some of our best and most promising educators. At the same time, public schools in wealthier neighborhoods were facing far fewer layoffs.

That’s because, like most schools in low-income neighborhoods, ours had a majority of teachers who were younger – and, according to the state education code, seniority was the only criteria for layoffs. Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) was the law, regardless of the consequences for students. Continue reading

Report: Teachers in U.S. staying in the job longer

Center for American Progress logoVia The Center for American Progress

Five years ago, U.S. teachers were asked in a survey how many years of experience they had; their most common answer was one year. Policymakers feared an impending crisis because, if past trends held, about half of these teachers would leave in their first five years.

But the latest results from the Schools and Staffing Survey, or SASS—a nationally representative study of teachers by the U.S. Department of Education released just weeks ago—show that 70 percent of teachers in their first year stayed in the profession. In the new SASS, most teachers said that they had taught for five years. These new survey results reveal that the teacher retention concerns were unfounded. Since most new teachers stayed in the profession, it’s time to turn attention to these mid-career teachers to ensure policies support their professional growth.

One could imagine all sorts of potential reasons why these novice teachers stayed in the profession. The economy was deeply uncertain during this time period. The Great Recession started in 2009, and the resulting financial uncertainly may have kept more teachers in the teaching profession. The latest survey evidence suggests that this dynamic may have largely not played out: About the same proportion of teachers agreed—before and after 2009—with the statement that “If I could get a higher paying job, I’d leave teaching as soon as possible.” With many experienced teachers retiring over the past few years, these beginning teachers may have stayed longer because they expected more opportunities to take on more professional responsibilities.

Read the full report here.

Commentary: If iPads are the answer, what’s the question?

devices“I don’t have to stress that a billion dollars is an insane amount of money,” Jacques assures me right away.

I feel much better. I was starting to think I was the one who was insane.

To understand how LAUSD’s billion dollar commitment to Apple iPads makes any sense, I’ve consulted a panel of experts: seven tech-whiz high school students from an after-school program called UrbanTxt, along with the program’s founder, Oscar Menjivar.

The highly competitive after-school program, whose mission is to teach coding and entrepreneurship to male high school students of color in South L.A. and Watts, is home to some of the sharpest young minds in the city. In addition to their tech expertise, they also happen to be the target audience of LAUSD’s massive purchase. Over pizza and soda, these brilliant teenagers patiently explain the complexities of the problem at hand.

“The thing is, these iPads are probably gonna be obsolete in three years,” says Amir. “Haven’t these LAUSD guys ever heard of Moore’s law?”

Gordon Moore of Intel advanced a theory in 1965 that the capacity and speed of semiconductors will double every year and a half or so, causing gadgets to become exponentially smaller, faster and cheaper, a prediction that has held true for nearly 50 years. It’s why your iPhone 3, which you used to think was so awesome, is now something even a toddler would throw away in disgust.

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Analysis: Zimmer takes center stage in LAUSD drama

zimmerfourEmerging as something of a Shakespearean figure, LA Unified School Board trustee Steve Zimmer took central stage earlier this week at a long board meeting complete with its share of sound and fury.

Zimmer, facing one of the most challenging moments in his political career, had been publicly cryptic about his position on the evening’s big decision: whether the vacant seat on the board left by the sudden death of Marguerite LaMotte should be filled by a board appointment or special election.

Ever since an election last spring created a board more sympathetic with positions of the teachers union, Zimmer has played an increasingly pivotal role on the fractured board, leaving him somewhat stuck in the middle. While he was re-elected last year with big support from the union’s super PAC, Zimmer nonetheless recently stepped in to help save Superintendent John Deasy’s job- a move that couldn’t have gone down well with union leadership that has made no secret of wanting Deasy’s head.

This week, as a critical vote on a split board, Zimmer appeared sympathetic and earnest, repeating multiple times that he came to listen to the packed room — filled with members of the South Los Angeles community who made impassioned pleas both in favor of an appointment and an election. Continue reading

Commentary: New Year’s Resolutions for LAUSD

images-1Happy New Year! 2014 is going to be an amazing year; I know it because I found LA Unified’s list of New Year’s Resolutions scribbled on a napkin at Philippe’s French Dip. Okay, I didn’t. But wouldn’t it be great if I did? I mean, if anyone needs to change, isn’t it LAUSD? Here’s what I’d like to imagine those resolutions would be: 1. Just admit it was a gigantic mistake to spent a billion dollars on iPads. Come on. Everyone knows it. Yes, we need to provide district students access to technology. Giving each one a laptop is a great idea and should happen as soon as is reasonable. But buying each one a $700 gadget (above retail? Is that even possible?) loaded with software that nobody seems to understand or think is very good? That’s a bunch of middle-aged people who don’t know much about technology going into a panic and buying a bunch of shiny stuff because it looks cool. So, LAUSD, just admit you made a mistake. Pop $200 or so on Chromebooks and acknowledge that it may take a little time to find the right software, if we even need any. If you need tech advice, ask some teenagers. They know this stuff. We’ll all forgive you when we get back the hundreds of millions you haven’t yet poured into above-retail gadgets. And you’ll be a role model for every child who’s ever made a mistake but is afraid to admit it. Re-brand the whole fiasco a “learning opportunity,” claim you meant it all along as an experiment in Common Core-style creative thinking, and you’ll go from national laughingstocks to education rock stars overnight. Continue reading

Commentary: The Idiot’s Guide to the Common Core Standards

images-1How much do you know about the Common Core Standards? Choose all that apply. The Common Core is:

a) a new set of nationwide standards that will encourage deep thinking instead of rote memorization

b) a new round of edu-crap, like No Child Left Behind

c) replacing state standards in 45 states including California

d) causing surprisingly large numbers of students to freak out and start weeping uncontrollably during initial tests all across the East Coast

e) causing Arne Duncan to infuriate opponents by dismissing them as “white suburban moms”

f) going to push fiction out of English classrooms

g) going to have no effect on the teaching of fiction

h) going to change everything

i) going to change nothing

j) going to make testing companies billions of dollars

If you picked any number of the above, congratulations! Whether you know anything about Common Core or not, you’ve grasped one of the central notions of this new set of national standards: the embrace of ambiguity and the possibility of multiple, contradictory correct answers.

Reality is, after all, a shape-shifting beast whose very existence is a matter of opinion. In other words, if you are an idiot, you may be onto something.

Which is an idea I wholeheartedly support. Still, I would say that at this point, I would check all of the above on my mini-quiz. I have extremely mixed feelings about Common Core for a variety of reasons.

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Commentary: 10 Steps (Give or Take) to Avoid Teacher Burnout

10 StepsRecently, a reader commented on one of my posts, asking me to offer some concrete goals and steps to avoid burnout.

First of all, thank you for asking my advice. I am no expert on burnout except that I personally experienced it. For truly professional advice, I highly recommend a book by Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter, “The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It.” It’s filled with concrete steps for individuals and organizations.

But since you asked, I’m going to give my personal, unscientific recommendation. I call this piece “10 Steps to Avoid Teacher Burnout” because that’s what I wish I had had. Ten easy steps: do one a week, and by March you’re back in action, frisky and clear-eyed and filled with purpose. Amazing! Next stop: rock-hard abs!

The thing is, “10 steps” is an illusion. Teacher burnout is enormously complex and probably different in every case. I think a huge problem in education these days is the belief that we can come up with simple 10-step solutions, or rubrics, or accountability systems for anything. We are human beings trying to pass on all that we know to the next generation. There are no easy answers, only messy human answers.

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