Teaching & Learning Blog

Of, By, For: In Search of the Civic Mission of K-12 Schools

Education activist Sam Chaltain writes about the changing nature of public education and highlights where the K-12 learning revolution is already underway. (Of, By, For ceased publishing in May 2014.)

Education Opinion New Orleans Is An All-Charter City. Is That a Good Thing?
In his final column for Education Week, Sam Chaltain considers the news that New Orleans is now host to the first all-charter school district in the country, and wonders if that's a milestone we should be celebrating, mourning -- or both.
Sam Chaltain, May 30, 2014
7 min read
Education Opinion 60 Years After Brown, A Way for Schools to Fulfill Its Promise
Sixty years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared that education was "a right which must be made available to all on equal terms," American schools remain largely separate and unequal. Sam Chaltain has an idea about how we can change that.
Sam Chaltain, May 14, 2014
5 min read
Education Opinion The Quiet Revolution in D.C. Schools
Is it possible that Washington, D.C. -- the land of federal dysfunction, Michelle Rhee's scorched earth policies, and rampant school choice -- might actually become a national model for the ways we can reimagine public education for a changing world? Sam Chaltain considers the state of play.
Sam Chaltain, May 1, 2014
3 min read
Education Opinion Is School Choice Strengthening Our Communities, Or Tearing Them Apart?
At a recent groundbreaking for a new school in Washington, D.C., writer Sam Chaltain wonders what the arrival of a new charter school will mean for the neighborhood that surrounds it -- and what the loss of the building's previous school might have set in motion.
Sam Chaltain, April 23, 2014
6 min read
Education Opinion The Neuroscience of Democracy
Is it possible that there's a neuroscience of democracy -- and that most modern school reform efforts are ignoring the implications of its central tenets? Sam Chaltain explores.
Sam Chaltain, April 9, 2014
4 min read
Education Opinion How Do You Design a Great School (& A Great System)?
Too much of what passes for innovative thinking today is really just an effort to perfect our ability to succeed in a system that no longer serves our interests. But two recent articles light a different path -- on that might actually help us reimagine education for a changing world.
Sam Chaltain, April 2, 2014
2 min read
Education Opinion What Is So Special About #Educon?
In his second webisode for LearningMatters.tv, Sam Chaltain traveled to Philly for the 7th annual Educon, in search of answers to the conference's central question: What is the future of education? See for yourself what he discovered.
Sam Chaltain, March 7, 2014
1 min read
Education Opinion In Education, Bringing the Dark Matter Into the Light
In a new article for ESPN, celebrity statistician Nate Silver chronicles the rise of big data in professional sports -- and the considerable unknowns, or "Dark Matter," that remains. Sam Chaltain wonders about the implications his article has for public education -- and if it's possible for the opposing armies in the reform debates to find common ground over what should be measured in American schools, and why, and how.
Sam Chaltain, February 27, 2014
5 min read
Education Opinion Turning School Chance Into School Choice
Is what we have in cities across the country a high-functioning system of school choice, or a high-stakes game of school chance? Sam Chaltain considers the distinction, and suggests a way forward.
Sam Chaltain, January 30, 2014
3 min read
Education Opinion Teachers Feel Like They Have a Voice in Schools? Says Who?
A new report by the Center for American Progress says most teachers today feel content with the levels of authority they exercise in the schools in which they work. Oh really, says Kim Farris-Berg? Not so fast . . .
Sam Chaltain, January 27, 2014
6 min read
Education Opinion For NYC Schools, the Ultimate New Year's Resolution
What would be the biggest game-changer when it comes to American public education? And what if we tried it in New York City? Sam Chaltain has a New Year's resolution for the new mayor.
Sam Chaltain, January 3, 2014
4 min read
Education Opinion How to "Bake" Intrinsic Motivation: A Holiday Recipe for Your Classroom or School
This holiday season, after you're done baking your holiday sugar cookies, educator Kim Farris-Berg recommends you cook up some . . . intrinsic motivation? There's a recipe for that?
Sam Chaltain, December 16, 2013
5 min read
Education Opinion Is This New York City's Next Schools Chancellor?
As speculation abounds as to whom New York mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will choose to be his schools chancellor, PBS's Learning Matters launched a new web series profiling one of the leading contenders: Montgomery County (MD) superintendent Joshua Starr. Will he make a good choice? See for yourself.
Sam Chaltain, December 12, 2013
1 min read
Education Opinion High Performance Is Not a Function of Accountability Alone
When it comes to creating more high-performing school cultures, increasing accountability is all the rage. But what if there's a better, less traveled way to transform schools? Kim Farris-Berg suggests that there is, and that the research supporting its path is clear.
Sam Chaltain, December 3, 2013
6 min read