Essential Questions

This week, instead of a specific topic, I will provide some questions that I scripted after reading many of the articles from the sidebar. Many teachers provide their students with so-called "Essential Questions" that guide deeper thinking around the subject at hand. A good "Essential Question" should be a question that two or more people require three or more beers in order to get to the heart of the issue. So, if you are in search of a talking point or two for your date, or are just tired of watching "Arrested Development" reruns, I hope you will consider the following questions around school reform:

a) Can a white teacher in a Black/Latino school be as effective as a Black or Latino teacher?

b) Is there room in the school day for community organizing for social change in the age of NCLB?

c) Are the benefits of pushing the higher kids greater than the risk of inequality in a school?

d) What are the teacher’s responsibilities with respect to interaction between students regarding each other's skill level?

e) Is the promise of success for children at the expense of teacher liberty an effective way to recruit promising new teachers? In other words, are scripted curricula acceptable?

f) If education gets so good that people leave, should the education level be lowered to ensure parity in potentially drained communities?

g) Whose responsibility is it to ensure that brain-drains don’t become epidemic?

h) You are the leader of a new high-performing charter school. In the second year of operation, a group of 4 children are caught selling drugs at school. You know that if you kick them out, they will go back to their low-performing public school. The culture of your school may be strong enough to keep them, but you aren't sure. What would you do? Kick them out, or let them stay? Is that different than if you were the leader of a public school?

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