education

A Student Steps Up: Creative Impatience and the Willingness to Act

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As a High School Civics teacher, I am often and absolutely embarrassed by my own lack of civic activism. While I am encouraging and requiring and rewarding my students for getting involved in something – ANYTHING! – that they care about to protect or improve their communities, I nearly never practice what I preach. And it’s not simply that as a young, charter school teacher, my time and energy seem to disappear into an unending vortex of planning/grading/updating/bureaucracizing. OR the fact that as a perpetual presenter of the fair and balanced, I am daily forced to equivocate, moderate and pause…

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Valedictorian Speaks Out Against a Standardized Citizenry

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This speech suggests our students are no more satisfied than we are with the regime of standardized testing. In the classroom, I once discussed this kind of success with my 8th graders. The reports had come in and we had done “outstanding” on the History test. Best in the district and as high as anyone else in the state. The Principal came to congratulate us and we enjoyed our success that afternoon. The next day, however, we discussed how many questions students had to answer correctly to achieve this success. Less than 50%. They wanted to know why so little…

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A school based on Constitutional Citizenship

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Those of you at the second week of James Madison and Constitutional Citizenship at Montpelier may have heard about my school and our work with Professor Harris. Our charter high school was created by a group of parents in 1998 with a mission to teach citizenship. From the beginning we tried to fulfill this mission by incorportaing lots of civic education and community service into our curriculum as well as trying to think about the skills and dispositions of a good citizen that we wanted to foster in our students. However, our efforts felt disparate and we felt as if…

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