The battle over standards-based grading, mastery learning and other progressive grading and assessment practices continues to be waged in classrooms, OpEd pages and PTA meetings across the country. Voices of those who miss the “way things used to be” argue with those who say it’s broken and we need to fix it.
From the moment that I brought a new grading system into my own classroom, I faced many questions: Why isn’t homework and participation affecting students’ grades? Why are you accepting late work? Why are you letting students retake tests and quizzes? It seemed like madness to some, and coddling to others.
The argument against these practices most often comes down to the idea that the real world is a harsh place and it is naive and counter-productive to shield students from failure. We need to toughen them up, traditionalists say, so that they will not expect success at every turn as adults.…
Something insidious is happening in the cubicles and hallways of America’s big and midsized companies.
Employees who have attained a chunk of the America dream — a steady paycheck, benefits and a rung on the upwardly mobile ladder — are risking an uncertain job market and quitting their jobs in astonishing numbers (more than 2 million a month). Why?
On the surface, they will tell you that they are in search of personal and professional fulfillment they can’t find in their current positions. Underneath this trend, however, is a deeper motivation. Employees are discovering that their values are misaligned with the companies they work for and that one of their highest values, a deepening appreciation for themselves as integrated human beings, has almost no value to their employers.
A collection of stories from SmartBrief publications and around the web…
Buffett’s special investing sauce revealed: This paper from Yale University dissects the winning investment strategy that transformed regular ol’ Warren Buffett into the Oracle of Omaha. The paper is fascinating in that it reveals a strategy that isn’t really all that complex. Buffett has utilized leverage of around 1.6-to-1 to purchase undervalued stocks that he then holds through market volatility. The “secret” comes in choosing the right stocks to buy and when. But when you consider Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio, it’s not like Buffett picks firms unknown to everyone else in the market.
Gensler walks out the saloon doors: Tuesday’s CFTC vote on the Volcker rule reminds me of some old Western movie. Chairman Gary Gensler appears happy to cast one last dramatic vote before exiting through the swinging saloon double-doors.
Leaders need to inspire the trust of those they lead. When the heat is on, leaders need to radiate calmness, clarity and most of all confidence.
Belief in yourself is essential to leadership that must be communicated through words and example to others whom you are asked to lead. They are looking to their leader for direction as well as for hope and often inspiration.
A leader who shakes in his boots is not someone that others want to follow.…
When I attend an IEP meeting, I have the distinction of sitting on all sides of the table. I am a parent of a child with special needs, so I understand the feelings a parent brings to the meeting. I also taught special education for many years so I can understand the special-education teacher’s frame of mind. Finally, I am a middle-school building principal so my lens is very wide when it comes to working with students with special needs.
Amid the push towards more inclusive settings — now more than ever — a building principal needs to develop staff members’ capacity to successfully meet these needs. Also, since high-stakes test scores are disaggregated, and in some instances, being attached to teacher performance, educational leaders need to have a wide lens when looking at achievement. The only way this can happen is to be in the classrooms and give feedback.
As more and more students are being given the opportunity to be in supported classrooms, more emphasis needs to be placed on working with general-education teachers and their role in supporting special-education students.…