Happy Birthday, Will

William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, England died on April 23, 1616. According to tradition, April 23 was also the date of his birth. Thou art a Monument, without a tomb, And art alive still, while thy Book doth live, And we have wits to read, and praise to give. When Ben Jonson wrote that, I don’t […]

How Educated are U.S. Eighth Graders?

I read an article in the Washington Post about an eighth-grader who designed a clever parody of a typical New York Reading Test exercise. Browsing the readers’ comments that followed the article, I was amazed and saddened to see several that expressed doubt that the parody could be the work of a 13 year old. […]

Do Multiple Choice Tests Measure Learning?

As a teacher, I have always objected to multiple choice answers because–like so many techniques used in the public schools–they train children to guess. Yet this type of testing is the most common in U.S. schools and on standard examinations. When I was required to use them, I always tried to provide choices that required […]

Does Your Child Belong to the Community?

An MSNBC promotional spot in which commentator Melissa Harris-Perry declares that children belong to the community has gone viral on YouTube. Viewers have responded with outrage to the idea that we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that […]

One Shakespeare Play, Whoop-de-do

A lot of controversy has been stirred up by the newly adopted Common Core (State) Standards (CCSS) for public schools K-12. One of the most discussed aspect of the CCSS is their stated reading requirements in terms of percentages. In elementary school, children are to read 50% literary and 50% informational texts. In high school […]