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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jul 28 2013

To Fight Poverty and Beyond

Last week, I finally returned to blogging after half of year of internet slumber. To be truthful, I haven’t lost track of the arguments on all sides, I simply choose to take a step back from the daily vitriol. Nonetheless, I’m a bit disheartened by the increasingly narrow focus on the interests of adults- either…

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Sep 23 2012

American Dream O.N.

Last week, I attended the second Opportunity Nation Summit in our nation’s capital, where many prominent movers and shakers gathered to reassess the challenges plaguing the legacy of social mobility evoked by the “American Dream.” We recognize that the challenges are immense, but I left the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and the…

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Sep 10 2012

Class Backwards

I don’t know enough about the back story to comment on the strike in Chicago; however, I’ve been skimming articles on both sides of the picket line to get a balanced perspective of the situation. One TFA corps members has an insightful post concerning one school. All I can say is that low income students…

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Sep 09 2012

Vote to Promote Literacy!

Click on the link here: https://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charity/view/ein/51-0518142?ref=e38906d989 to support Bess the Book Bus, a mobile literacy organization dedicated to providing books to under-resourced children across America! “Bess the Book Bus is a mobile literacy outreach dedicated to building home libraries for children and families that otherwise may not have the opportunity to own books.” Last school…

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Sep 04 2012

A (Middle School) Moment Like This

My blogging as of late has been very sporadic, but good things are happening up here in Boston. I’ve also been trying to keep up with education news, but there has been A LOT to keep up with recently. One exciting article I wanted to share is part of the PBS series focused on the…

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Two Weeks! Too Weak!! Wow, I haven’t blogged in two weeks!! Crazy! One of the reasons for this is that I’ve been enjoying my new job, which at some point I’ll blog more about. The other reason for my infrequent blogging is that there’s far too much going on in the country, not just in…

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Aug 08 2012

Money Trail: How Poverty Limits Opportunity

Certain segments of the population are fond of citing irresponsibility and poor choices as the primary driver behind the lack of opportunity for poor households. A few months ago, one article began claiming that people didn’t need welfare because they had microwaves and TVs! Often, the general public takes such claims at face value because…

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“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” -Olympic Creed The Olympics have been amazing to watch (or, rather,…

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May 28 2012

Red Badge of Service

“He suddenly lost concern for himself, and forgot to look at a menacing fate. He became not a man but a member. He felt that something of which he was a part—a regiment, an army, a cause, or a country—was in a crisis. He was welded into a common personality which was dominated by a…

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May 22 2012

Paid My Dues

It’s official! I’ve paid my dues! No, this is not my obligatory end-of-the-year post… that comes later. I’m just excited that I finally paid off my Teach For America loan. Right on time too with two days of school left! In my opinion, the TFA criticism that irritates me most is the assumption that corps…

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May 20 2012

My Biggest Lessons from TFA

In the process of completing my end-of-the-year survey for Teach for America, I came across the following question and wanted to share my answer: “What are the two or three biggest lessons you’re taking away from your corps experience? These could be lessons about your students, yourself, the community where you work, the achievement gap…

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May 13 2012

Mother’s Love and Motivation

The past few days have been a whirlwind. After a three days of standing for four hours straight due to state testing, I was able to sit down and do some grading and TFA work on Friday at school while my kids entertained themselves by playing cooperative games or making Teacher Appreciation Week cards. It…

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May 07 2012

The Wrong Race

It makes me so sick. To think no matter how quick. This race, we won’t win.   In my rest and relaxation following one of the last Monday’s of the school year, I sought to read some uplifting local news. I saw on Twitter a link to a track meet in Mississippi. As a former…

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May 06 2012

The Katch-22 of KIPP

Recently, a report came out claiming the KIPP charter network spends significantly more per pupil than comparable traditional district schools. The report is fairly straightforward but it’s conclusions highlight a disturbing paradox about the policy position a high-performing charter network such as  KIPP and Achievement First find themselves in: “These findings, coupled with evidence from…

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We all fail when we focus on blaming teachers on the one hand and blaming poor students and their families on the other. As reformers, “Rheeformers,” anti-reformers, unionists, etc continue to fight amongst ourselves, we neglect to answer one important question: who are we letting off the hook? The Law of the Excluded Middle states:…

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Apr 18 2012

“We Need To Get It Together”

Today involved some disturbing developments I can’t really write about; summary: a persistent trouble-maker who is a threat to the school community had to be handled by the authorities and, on the other hand, one of my mentees landed in trouble- again. It’s really sad when a kid is trying to do well and either…

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Apr 11 2012

Unlocking Potential

In the interim before my next post, which is a response to Education Radio, I thought I’d share more uplifting news via TIME magazine. One of my life goals is to unlock the potential of those I encounter or work with; I felt this article written by Jon Schnur, co-founder of New Leaders and chairman…

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Apr 07 2012

Second-Hand Sagging

In the wake of the tragic Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman saga, there has been a lot of debate over the role Trayvon’s hoodie played in the shooting. Most notably, Geraldo Rivera called Trayvon a “gangsta wannabe” for wearing a hoodie (he later apologized only after acknowledging that it was raining; therefore, Trayvon had a “right” to…

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Jan 17 2012

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round

Today was a great day! Today, we were blessed by Bess. My school was visited by Bess the Book Bus, a “mobile literacy outreach dedicated to getting books into the homes of underprivileged and underrepresented children and families.” The bus travels to schools across America, giving away free books to children and often conducting engaging…

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Jan 16 2012

MLK Musings

“It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life…we must remember that intelligence is not…

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Jan 06 2012

Airplane Analogies

A random thought occurred to me as I sat there waiting for my connecting flight to depart from Atlanta over break: on a bad day, teaching is a lot like what I’d guess is the least favorite part of an airline attendants job: reading and modeling safety guidelines. Hear me out on this one. As…

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Dec 31 2011

Resolving to Reconnect

I’m not the New Year’s resolution type, but in 2012, I want to revisit one of the reasons I started blogging on Teach For Us, which was to stay in touch with family, friends, and mentors from my life. Blogging has been very cathartic for me, as it relieves the pressure of having dozens of…

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Dec 21 2011

I Apologize…

I know what you’re thinking: “he missed his regular Sunday post- something’s up. He must be writing an apology for that post about TFA’s Master Plan!” And you would be half write…I mean right ;-P I am apologizing; however, this apology is for my students. Today, I did something perhaps slightly unprofessional and un-TFA. Today,…

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Dec 11 2011

TFA’s Master Plan?

TFA, do better. In many ways I love TFA. I love its ideals and its mission resonates with me. If TFA wants to promote best practices and truly work towards attacking root causes of education inequity, then sign me up for the long haul. However, if TFA is in the business of turning public schools into alternative schools no one wants to teach at while incubating charters, I want no part of that movement. I want to help, but what am I helping?

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Dec 04 2011

Bring It On!?

I struggled to write this post because I’m feeling a bit ambivalent about my role within Teach For America…again. My blog so far has been fairly positive regarding my experience but I’m starting to feel like I’m sugarcoating a lot. I’ll reflect on this one day soon. In the meantime, coaching, teaching, mentoring, planning, testing, blahblahblah-ing. Bring it on, because I can handle it! I hope…

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Remove Barriers, Raise the Bar

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