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American Educator
Winter 2009-2010


Table of Contents

Notebook (PDF)

Creating a Curriculum for the American People (PDF)
Our Democracy Depends on Shared Knowledge
By E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

America, "the last best hope of earth," is held together not by a national religion or shared ethnicity, but by our diverse citizens' devotion to freedom and democracy. From our founding to today, education scholars have been concerned with creating schools that would graduate civic-minded citizens dedicated to the common good. As the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln knew, the only way to create such schools would be to establish a common, core curriculum. Such a curriculum would not only strengthen our democracy, it would increase our commitment to equality by opening to all children the educational opportunities that today, sadly, are available mainly to our most privileged.

The Anti-Curriculum Movement (PDF)
Tragically and Unintentionally, It's Really an Anti-Equality Movement

Elevating the Teaching Profession (PDF)
By Arne Duncan

The U.S. Secretary of Education, believing that "teaching should be one of the nation's most revered professions," outlines a plan for teachers to receive the support, recognition, and rewards they deserve.

Ask the Cognitive Scientist (PDF)
Is It True That Some People Just Can't Do Math?
By Daniel T. Willingham

Students often say they are not good at math. While it's true that some people are better at math than others, the vast majority of people can master K–12 mathematics. Mathematics requires conceptual, procedural, and factual knowledge. Willingham has practical suggestions for helping students acquire all three.

Want to Improve Children's Writing? (PDF)
Don't Neglect Their Handwriting
By Steve Graham

When young students struggle with handwriting, the attention they must pay to forming letters interferes with the quality of their writing: they are unable to focus on generating and organizing ideas. The handwriting instruction described here can improve the quantity and quality of students' writing.

Scribble, Scribble, Eh, Mr. Toad?
By Lance Morrow

This article is available here.

Beyond Singapore's Mathematics Textbooks (PDF)
Focused and Flexible Supports for Teaching and Learning
By Patsy Wang-Iverson, Perla Myers, and Edmund Lim W.K.

With America's strong interest in Singapore's mathematics textbooks, these researchers caution against thinking that Singapore's high achievement comes from its books alone. In particular, they explore the preparation and support of mathematics teachers who, unlike their counterparts in the United States, are guided by a coherent national curriculum; benefit from comprehensive preparation programs that emphasize subject-matter knowledge, pedagogy, and classroom-based learning; and have several options to grow as educators.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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