Elementary and Secondary Education

Tracing Latino educational inequality

Tracing Latino educational inequality

In Massachusetts, Latino college graduation gap among widest in US

MASSACHUSETTS IS FALLING FAR SHORT when it comes to educating Latino students, with a four-year college graduation gap between white and Latino students that is the 37th worst in the country. The wide gulf in completion rates exists despite the fact that Massachusetts Latino students demonstrate higher achievement in K-12 education than Latinos nationally, according(...)

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Tufts officials explain their civics research

Tufts officials explain their civics research

Dispute Milford principal’s interpretation of their work

THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE is considering a bill (S. 2306) to enhance civic education. We are excited about its prospects and welcome the debate that the bill has provoked, including the critical comments of Milford High School principal Joshua Otlin, who is an experienced and dedicated civic educator. The bill is an opportunity for all citizens(...)

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In defense of recess

In defense of recess

Legislature should mandate 20 minutes of play each day

WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG, could you spend six or seven hours in a classroom without going outside? Could you sit still for hours at a time, without a chance to run around and get your energy out? Today, that scenario is far too common for kids in our elementary schools. If you’re not a teacher,(...)

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Pool teachers not unwanted, just underutilized

Pool teachers not unwanted, just underutilized

Any suggestion we don’t teach is blatantly false

I’VE BEEN AN EDUCATOR IN BOSTON public schools for more than 30 years. I am a high school biology teacher, who holds a graduate degree from Harvard. I spent three years as a new teacher developer, one of 12 chosen from across the school district to mentor first-year educators. What has kept me motivated over(...)

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Testing isn’t punishment, it’s a matter of social justice

Testing isn’t punishment, it’s a matter of social justice

Moratorium on high-stakes assessments would set back minority and low-income students

LAST YEAR WHILE CASUALLY asking my son about taking his first MCAS exam as a third grader, he responded with an adverse physical reaction at the mere mention of the word MCAS. He literally flinched with fear. Now, I did sign many forms at the beginning of the school year, but I don’t recall the(...)

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School start times zero sum game

One day after the Boston School Committee voted unanimously to change school start times next fall so teenaged students could get a little extra sleep, Boston Magazine published a story asking what took so long. “Why, in a state that is at the forefront of progressive policy and respects science quite a bit …, did(...)

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We cannot test and punish our way to better schools

We cannot test and punish our way to better schools

Time to pause on high-stakes exams and take different approach

THE CLOSER THEY ARE to actual public-school classrooms, the more Massachusetts residents understand it’s time to abandon the failed test-and-punish approach to school improvement. For two decades, we’ve seen how high-stakes standardized testing hurts students and fails to prepare them well for life. Now, there’s a growing realization that it’s time to pause, look at(...)

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Editor’s note: Tang vs. Kerr

Editor’s note: Tang vs. Kerr

How much editorial license should opinion writers be given?

HERE AT COMMONWEALTH we are great believers in open debate; that’s why we run so many opinion pieces. But sometimes the debate becomes so spirited that people want us to step in and become referees. One such instance was the recent back and forth between Jessica Tang, the president of the Boston Teachers Union, and Liam Kerr,(...)

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Eminent domain dust-ups

Brookline says it needs a new elementary school to accommodate its bulging population of school-age children. Waltham says it needs a new high school. Both seem like perfectly worthy pursuits. But both cases are casting a harsh spotlight on a government right enshrined in the Constitution, but one that frequently stirs disention and protest. In(...)

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