American Educator: Winter 2014-2015

  • Where We Stand: Worth Fighting For

    Randi Weingarten

    From Connecticut to Alaska, Florida to Pennsylvania, our union engaged in the midterm elections big-time. I was proud to stand with our members as we knocked on doors, made calls, talked to our friends and neighbors, and cast our ballots on behalf of our schools, our kids, our families, and our...

  • Restoring Shanker’s Vision for Charter Schools

    Richard D. Kahlenberg, Halley Potter

    In 1988, education reformer and American Federation of Teachers president Albert Shanker proposed a new kind of public school—“charter schools”—which would allow teachers to experiment with innovative approaches to educating students. Publicly funded but independently managed, these schools...

  • Why Teacher Voice Matters

    Richard D. Kahlenberg, Halley Potter

    Research shows that when teachers are engaged in school decisions and collaborate with administrators and each other, school climate improves. This promotes a better learning environment for students, which raises student achievement, and a better working environment for teachers, which reduces...

  • Want to Close the Achievement Gap?

    Close the Teaching Gap Linda Darling-Hammond

    For years now, educators have looked to international tests as a yardstick to measure how well students from the United States are learning compared with their peers. The answer has been: not so well. The United States has been falling further behind other nations and has struggled with a large...

  • The Professional Educator: Pushing Back Against High Stakes for Students with Disabilities

    Bianca Tanis

    I am a special education teacher in New York and a mother of two children on the autism spectrum. Sometimes it is difficult to separate these two roles. Being intimately involved in the education system has made navigating the world of special education for my children easier in some ways, but...

  • Help-Seekers and Silent Strugglers

    Student Problem-Solving in Elementary Classrooms Jessica Calarco

    One February morning, the students in Ms. Dunham’s fifth-grade class were taking a math test. Jesse, a student from a suburban working-class family, was bent over his desk, tapping his pencil, a deep frown on his face. Ms. Dunham weaved her way around the room, glancing over students’ shoulders...

  • Studying the Ways Students Get Help with Classwork

    Sarah D. Sparks

    If you need help, raise your hand.

    It’s one of the first lessons of school, but as students learn in an increasing variety of settings—in and out of classrooms, in person and online—educators and researchers are starting to take another look at how students learn to ask for help.


  • Beyond the Stacks

    How Librarians Support Students and Schools Joanna Freeman

    For years, whenever I met someone who asked me what I did for a living, I simply said, “I’m a librarian in an elementary school.” I had always thought of myself as a librarian first, and I also knew this was an answer people would immediately understand. Almost everyone has an idea of what the...

  • For Grown-Ups Too

    The Surprising Depth and Complexity of Children’s Literature Seth Lerer

    Ever since there were children, there has been children’s literature. Long before John Newbery established the first press devoted to children’s books, stories were told and written for the young, and books originally offered to mature readers were carefully recast or excerpted for youthful...