Policy & Politics Blog

The K-12 Contrarian

A former high school teacher, Dave Powell is an associate professor of education at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. In this blog, Powell examined efforts to fix education, including whom you should trust and why. This blog is no longer being updated.

Teaching Profession Opinion Farewell (and Cheerio) From the K-12 Contrarian
It's been three years and 111 posts. It's time to say goodbye to the K-12 Contrarian.
Dave Powell, August 11, 2017
6 min read
Social Studies Opinion Teach Your Students Well: This Land Is Their Land
July 4 is a great time to reflect on what our democratic experiment has accomplished so far. It's an even better time to think about what we have left to accomplish.
Dave Powell, July 4, 2017
5 min read
Education Opinion Looking for a Cure for Educational Exhaustion
Is anyone else exhausted? I know I am. But we had an ideologue on our campus this week and, oddly enough, I think he has helped point a way forward.
Dave Powell, May 5, 2017
7 min read
Education Opinion Students at Kansas Newspaper Prove Democracy Isn't Dead Yet
Investigative reporting done by students at the Booster Redux in Pittsburg, Kansas uncovered serious inconsistencies in the resume of their principal and forced her to resign. They might have uncovered something even more important inthe process.
Dave Powell, April 9, 2017
5 min read
Assessment Opinion These Testing Obsessions Are Getting a Little Weird
Did you hear the one about the school that made the kid turn his t-shirt inside out during testing because it had words on it? Read on.
Dave Powell, April 4, 2017
5 min read
Early Childhood Opinion Why Is Mulvaney Opposed to Feeding Poor Kids at School?
Mick Mulvaney, the reverse Robin Hood, thinks after school programs that provide food to kids are a waste of money and an insult to hard working Americans. What world does he live in?
Dave Powell, March 18, 2017
7 min read
Education Opinion Should We Give Betsy DeVos a Chance? I Don't Think So
Jennifer Steele has made a heroic attempt to convince us that Betsy DeVos actually deserves a lot more credit than she's been getting for her performance as secretary of education since she took the job. Is she right? I don't think so.
Dave Powell, March 10, 2017
6 min read
School & District Management Opinion Some Things You Can Do to Support Public Education Now
Yesterday a group of students here at Gettysburg College, where I teach, organized a Solidarity Rally. I was invited to speak at this rally and I'm glad I did. I also thought it might be helpful to share those ideas here. Maybe we can start a conversation ourselves about what to do next.
Dave Powell, March 2, 2017
6 min read
Education Opinion Maybe It's Time to Put Betsy DeVos in 'Receive Mode'
Betsy DeVos took a field trip to a middle school last week and came out asserting that the teachers she met were in "receive mode," a condition that keeps them from meeting the needs of kids. Maybe DeVos is the one who needs to be put in receive mode.
Dave Powell, February 20, 2017
6 min read
Education Opinion Betsy DeVos Is No Ruby Bridges
Let's get something straight right here, right now: Betsy DeVos is not Ruby Bridges, and attempts to frame the brand of school choice she supports as "the civil rights issue of our time" ring hollow in almost every way imaginable.
Dave Powell, February 15, 2017
7 min read
School & District Management Opinion And What If DeVos Is Confirmed?
I think Betsy DeVos will be confirmed when the Senate votes on her nomination later today. Is there any silver lining in this at all?
Dave Powell, February 7, 2017
6 min read
Education Opinion What If Betsy DeVos Is Not Confirmed?
Betsy DeVos had a rocky trip to Capitol Hill last week, and now has seen the vote on her nomination postponed. We have a pretty good sense of what might happen if she is confirmed. What happens if she isn't?
Dave Powell, January 22, 2017
5 min read
School & District Management Opinion Betsy DeVos Fails the Test
Betsy DeVos endured her confirmation hearing yesterday, as you probably know. It doesn't look, to me, like she earned a passing grade.
Dave Powell, January 18, 2017
7 min read
School & District Management Opinion Obama's Legacy for Education Policy
Barack Obama leaves office with a decidedly mixed legacy when it comes to education policy. But he also leaves behind a legacy of integrity and honesty that we're going to miss.
Dave Powell, January 11, 2017
6 min read