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We Cannot Thank Enough Our Hadworking Teachers

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It is Teacher Appreciation Week. During normal times, we are definitely and extremely grateful to all teachers who have committed their best hours for the development and growth of our children. In these very challenging times, our hardworking teachers have done so much more. They continue to help feed children from low income families. They turn their classrooms into something virtual on a moment's notice. And when in-person instruction returns, teachers are asked to do the impossible, concurrent teaching, where some students are inside the classroom, while others choose to stay home. This week is our opportunity to show how much we appreciate these public servants. We cannot thank enough our hardworking teachers. As a token of appreciation, my spouse, with the school's parents and teachers association, provided breakfast to the teachers in the middle school my daughter attends. It is a small token for the outstanding effort our teachers have been giving during these times.  T

Should We Raise Athletes Or Should We Raise Children?

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My son participates in a recreational soccer league and last week, his coach asked this question to the player's parents: "Do we want to win or do we just want to play and have fun?" Actually, if one strictly follows the rules of the recreational league, parents do not have such an option. Our recreational soccer league specifically states, "All players in good standing must play at least 50 percent of the game." Clearly, all players must be given the opportunity to play regardless of the player's skills. Yet, our team even bothers to ask whether it is acceptable to keep on the bench players deemed not to be at the level necessary to win a game. While some parents did express their desire to win, one parent says that we should treat this situation like how we treat children in their classrooms. We are teaching every child in a classroom regardless of what ability we perceive a child has. Every child deserves an education. The same should hold true in recreat

"Gifted Programs Provide Little to No Academic Boost"

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Five years ago, research has shown us convincingly that Black and Hispanic children are underrepresented in advanced academic programs. It has been long argued that schools need to respond to the needs of gifted children. Unfortunately, for such programs to succeed, it is required that students be properly identified. This area has always been challenging. Studies have pointed out time and again that selections have been disproportionate on the basis of race, ethnicity and family income.  Above copied from Grissom, Jason A., and Christopher Redding. 2016. “Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs.”  AERA Open  2(1): 1-25 Now, research has something else to say: Above copied from the Hechinger Report This new study is scheduled to be published in May 2021 in the journal of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, but authors of the study have provided us with a preview. The following summarizes the fi

What We Need to Learn from this Pandemic

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It is heartbreaking to see that cases of coronavirus are surging in the Philippines. Cases are likewise exploding in India. We are also clearly not out of the woods yet here in the United States. Nonetheless, there are signs and talks about returning to normal. One area that has witnessed a great impact from the pandemic is education. Yet, we still seemed to be obsessed with deadlines, tests, competitions and submissions. Schools remain a place where success simply means being able to jump through hoops. Children and their educators are only expected to satisfy requirements, requirements that have become eternal even amidst a pandemic. The coronavirus has changed our lives in so many ways, but what seems to be impervious is our "standards of learning", a set of rules that me must comply with, no matter what the circumstances are. If there is one good thing that this pandemic can teach us, it is the reality that our schools must be communities where we all grow to become more

Structured Literacy: The Teaching Approach to Reading that Science Recommends

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 A new spotlight from Education Week  is now available and it is about the Science of Reading . A registration form is required to access the above spotlight. It has been several decades yet schools are still not tuned to what science suggests regarding how we should teach reading to young children. Schools often exert effort on encouraging children to read books that they find interesting. Parents are asked to read to their children. Unfortunately, there is no focus on the method science tells us is most effective. Even here in Fairfax county, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) recently wrote to the school superintendent of the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS): "Literacy is a human right. Without it, we are condemned to a life of greater struggle and fewer opportunities. We have waited long enough, and we refuse to wait even one more day." The NAACP provided a litany that shows how FCPS has neglected black children for the past 14 ye

We Have Our Worries

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Ned was one little lucky boy. He had a friend named Lily who was there to stand by him. I was just reading a short story entitled " Nervous Ned " by educator Sarah Wysocki . Ned was a young boy who was constantly bombarded by anxious thoughts. His anxiety was so much that it took a lot of of his energy and time. Ned received plenty of encouraging and reassuring words from his parents, but it took another child, a young girl named Lily, for Ned to see that everything was indeed alright. These stories do help young minds gain hope and comfort in the scary world we live in. I wish we had something for everyone who feel hated and discriminated in our society. Unlike the little boy Ned, minority children do have real reasons to be anxious. And so do the parents of these children. Melinda Anderson at Mother Jones captures a sample of this "grounded on reality" anxiety in her recent piece, " Why Black Parents Aren’t Joining the Push to Reopen Schools ".  Anderson

We Are Asking So Much From Our Teachers

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Blended learning aims to combine the best of two worlds: face-to-face and online instruction. It is never about doing both at the same time. Doing face-to-face and distance education at the same time is hybrid learning, and this could easily be the worst of two worlds. Yet, here we are. We have teachers who meet face-to-face a group of students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a different set of students on Thursdays and Fridays, while at the same time, broadcasting the lesson to another class of students who have opted to stay virtual all week. It is true that a teacher has one pair of eyes to see and one pair of eyes to listen, but a teacher has only one heart. Back in September, Julie Mason at WeAreTeachers  described this predicament quite vividly, "She wears an earbud in one ear so she can hear her kids online and her face-to-face learners at the same time." Of course, there are some who claim they could help teachers with this dilemma: Above copied from Dyknow The challenges