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What Should Schools Teach When Students Are Being Murdered?

Shouldn't schools explicitly teach students how to get home safely with the same level of rigor and accountability as in a science lesson?


Last fall, Terrence Roberts became the fifth student from the same high school in New Orleans to be killed by gunfire in a six-month stretch. Just one murder in a school can dramatically alter its community, identity and academic trajectory, but what does school become after a sordid span of five murders? What lessons should be taught? What goals should the teachers and students work toward?

Philosopher John Dewey famously said, "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." Unfortunately, the deaths of students at NET Charter High School accentuate the point that schools and curricula should never be so focused on the abstract future that they ignore social contexts, economic forces and—unfortunately—the guns that students face in the here and now.

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We Need Education Standards, Not Standardized Learning

We don't mind emissions standards for cars, so why do we view education standards with skepticism?

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Yesterday, the National Governors Association unveiled its Common Core State Standards in math and English, designed to prepare America's children for college and their respective careers. Of the 50 states, 48 participated in the development of the common standards. Texas and Alaska sat the effort out; the former's governor, Rick Perry, protesting the nationalization of education. (As you've likely heard, Texas has its own ideas about what should and should not be taught in schools.)

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