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Hundreds of Teachers Agree: Budget Cuts Are Gutting American Education

At a town hall event, teachers were honest about how budget cuts make it harder to close the achievement gap.


Put 350 Los Angeles teachers in one room and the conversation is guaranteed to get heated. It certainly did at Sunday's taping of Education Nation, the four-part NBC news special focused on figuring out how to improve schools in America. Veteran NBC reporter Raheema Ellis moderated, and although she did her best to steer three sets of panelists and the audience toward hot-button ed reform issues—teacher tenure, using test scores to evaluate educators, training students for the jobs of the future, and closing the achievement gap—it was clear that the crowd was fired up about the implications of making long-term policy decisions about those issues at a time when education budgets are being gutted.

Ellis set the tone by sharing dismal statistics about how California has defunded education—$20 billion slashed from schools and 30,000 educators laid off over the past three years. Ninety-six percent of the teachers in the audience said more cuts will have have a "huge" impact on their ability to succeed with their students and will keep America from being globally competitive.

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Can We Teach Creative and Critical Thinking?

What are the elements of a lesson plan to teach students how to think creatively and critically? And how do we measure what they've learned?


When a teacher gives a test, he or she is trying to measure students' ability to recall and apply information learned over a particular period of time. The exams make it relatively straightforward: Did the student get an answer right or wrong? Was mastery of skills demonstrated?

But how is creative or critical thought defined and taught? And by what assessment can we measure it, if at all?

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Over at The Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog, guest blogger and University of Virginia cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham unfurled, over the course of three weeks and three meaty posts, a proposal for how we might ascertain if the Common Core Standards, which have been adopted by 33 states, are improving student outcomes in the future.

In order to do so, he had to confront one truth about education policy:

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