When I started A Total Ed Case two years ago, I had no idea where it was going or what I wanted it to be. I knew I’d long appreciated blogs like Robert Pondiscio’s — and later Lisa Hansel’s — at Core Knowledge, Dan Willingham’s, and those housed by ed-thought orgs like Fordham and publications like Education Week, so aiming in their general directions seemed like a good idea. I hadn’t yet found ed practitioner-bloggers like ‘Harry Webb’ (Greg Ashman‘s then nom de ed) or those in the UK I’ve been introduced to via researchED, though, so I had only vague ideas of topics I’d cover, quality standards to maintain, etc. I was so clueless, in fact, that I wrote something in my inaugural post about updating this 1-2 times per week. 1-2 times per week! HA!
At bottom, I was a guy with a book coming out in a few months and who wished to keep writing about education in ways that would reflect, reinforce, and/or refresh the ideas in said book as new information emerged, and some blog space seemed like a good place to put it all.
Despite these lacks of definition/direction, I’d strolled about the education blogosphere enough to know what I didn’t want this blog to be. Specifically, I never wanted it to be an e-prose version of a reality TV show’s ‘confession cam’ — a space for offloading general reflections on the education enterprise, treacly reminders for myself/the world why it’s important that I/we keep doing our best, why teachers need more love/appreciation/respect, etc., etc., all with no opportunities for readers to learn further via hyperlink. As so much flawed educational practice can be traced back to evidence-weak ideals of individuals, after all, I didn’t want to add to all the philosophizing with just more evidence-free philosophy or counter-philosophy. For while such writing has its place, that place is…well, that place is not one I get much out of visiting.
All that said (and inspired/liberated by this recent, very generous post by Canadian professor of math education Bryan Penfound), this post will be all those things I’d always wanted to avoid.
For flatly, Ed Cases, I’m feeling a little stuck. With so many salient ed-enterprise issues, prep for my next book ramping up, and various professional pursuits (including co-planning another US researchED conference for the fall of 2016 — watch this space!) currently competing for attention, the partially completed posts are piling up. Also, I’ve hit the ‘heart’ button on Twitter dozens — hundreds, maybe — of times in recent weeks to bookmark pieces I can barely find the right time and space to read. It’s like every day presents 3-4 new matters I’d love to learn more about, reflect upon, and write some kind of Education Is Upside-Down-aligned response, replete with references for readers to expand their understanding, but, alas: the prolific Learning Spy I am not.
In order to spur myself a bit, then, the bullets below contain some ed matters I’m interested in tackling substantively, but that always get interrupted by various shiny things entering the frame. I’m figuring that leaving them here will act as a personal accountability marker, providing a bit more push toward making good on them. Plus, if I’m lucky, generous readers will see these and help ‘unstick’ me by sharing what’s most interesting to them. For at the moment — confessing, now — I’m finding far too many things on the ed horizon too interesting/maddening to properly focus. It’s like my prioritization circuits have been overloaded or something. (NOTE: Make no mistake, this is not an outright request for audience participation. This post and this post taught me that such is better avoided.)
In no particular order, then, here is a quick list of posts that are in progress or almost in progress. Any help you can lend would be appreciated.
- Recent changes to school behavior policies, fallout across the US
- The US’s testing opt-out movement: impacts on teachers’ professional standing, pros/cons, etc.
- Teacher tenure lawsuits (Vergara reversal, latest from MN, et al)
- Various math- and reading-instructional issues, missteps, and their effects on learners (especially low-SES learners); likely a series of posts
- Frustrations with short-sighted attempts to ‘disrupt’ current operations and/or achieve ‘quick wins’
- Issues rising from a number of great ed books I’ve read of late. Some titles that just won’t leave me alone include Urban Myths About Learning and Education, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, Teach For America Counter-Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out, Trivium 21c: Preparing People for the Future with Lessons from the Past, and The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of ‘Proper’ English, from Shakespeare to South Park, but they’re so rich that each has induced a bit of analysis-paralysis.
- There are others, of course, but this should do for now.
Ah. That all felt very good to put out there. I won’t do this kind of thing often, though, I promise. Time to head back into the real world and hope that things will soon come into sharper focus. Thanks for reading this indulgent confession-rant — and thanks for sharing my interest in this crucial, uniquely complex enterprise.