Common Core Math is Not the Enemy

https://medium.com/i-math/common-core-math-is-not-the-enemy-c05b68f46b3e#.44eh522te
This is a nice short post promoting flexibility in our thinking about how computation should be taught. The truth is, whether we teach for flexibility or not, this kind of flexibility is present in people who are numerically and computationally fluent, and that this is a skill that can be learned when it is part of a well-designed curriculum. Of course, not all are convinced that mathematics education should look this way, and it's easy to pit algorithm vs. discovery in a false dichotomy. But that's unnecessary, just as making Common Core the enemy is unnecessary.

Evidence at the Crossroads Pt. 1: What Works, Tiered Evidence, and the Future of Evidence-based Policy

http://blog.wtgrantfoundation.org/post/132023099542/evidence-at-the-crossroads-pt-1-what-works
This looks like the start of a nice series of blog posts about research evidence use in schools from the William T. Grant Foundation. I like the setup here: about 10 years ago we made a big push for using "what works" and set high standards for high-quality research, mostly in the form of randomized controlled trials. Now we're seeing that research use in schools is more complex than that, and local school leaders need more information not about the average effects of a treatment, but how that treatment can be expected to work under their local conditions and the resources needed for quality implementation.

Remember Your Old Graphing Calculator? It Still Costs a Fortune — Here's Why

http://mic.com/articles/125829/your-old-texas-instruments-graphing-calculator-still-costs-a-fortune-heres-why
As a math teacher, it was frustrating to tell high school students they needed to spend $100 or more on an outdated piece of technology that I knew was overpriced. That was more than 5 years ago, and math teachers are still telling their students this. Now, working on building digital curriculum, I have the frustration of knowing that the $100+ students spend on a calculator is probably better spent on a Chromebook or a cheap tablet, either of which is far more powerful than the calculator. However, these calculators fill a certain niche and their lack of power and connectivity makes them allowable during testing, a "feature" TI is happy to preserve as long as they can.

The Logic of Stupid Poor People

http://tressiemc.com/2013/10/29/the-logic-of-stupid-poor-people/
This is a great essay by Tressie MC explaining why poor people (particularly those from marginalized communities) buy status symbols seemingly beyond their means. Some accuse the poor of being stupid and wasteful, but that's almost certainly not the case. Too often, status symbols are purchased by the poor because there are so few ways for them to gain status, and when other avenues are denied, spending money to make ones' self look or live nicer can bring respect that, although not necessarily earned, is needed to either get by or get ahead.

The Heinemann Fellows: Michael Pershan on a Year of Feedback

http://www.heinemann.com/blog/mp-yearoffeedback/
This post is a great example of a teacher who is willing to be very reflective and self-critical in order to push his students to think more deeply about mathematics. Here, Michael Pershan carefully reviews the kinds of feedback he's given students and dissects the nuances and how they might have elicited different kinds of student thinking.

Colorado Springs mayor 'shocked' to learn that voter information pamphlet claims don't have to be true

http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-mayor-shocked-to-learn-that-voter-information-pamphlet-claims-dont-have-to-be-true/article/1560829
I occasionally guest teach about Colorado school finance to some of our School and Society classes. While not essential for understanding how schools are funded, I tell students about Douglas Bruce, how he championed Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), and how when I say he doesn't like taxes, he really, really doesn't like taxes.