American School Board Journal

President’s Perspective: Is There Such a Thing As a Good Charter School?

It has been my experience that if you want to get a school board member riled up, just bring up charter schools in the conversation. There are few other education topics that get the heated attention and disdain that charter schools do. Words like “waste,” “fraud,” “abuse,” and “cherry picking” will soon enter the conversation, and at that point all hope of a pleasant dialogue is lost.

Tom On Point: Collaborating for Student Success

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) just celebrated its third anniversary, and a fair question to ask is: What has changed? After all, when Congress passed the legislation on a broad bipartisan vote, it sent a powerful message about the need for the federal role in education to be reduced in favor of leadership at the state and local levels. Those of us who argued that the U.S. Department of Education was being unduly prescriptive, even stifling, worked hard to secure enactment of ESSA, which not only acknowledged the concerns but made a concerted effort to remedy them.

From the Editor: Mirrors and windows

The first chapter book I ever read by myself was Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary. I loved everything about the book including, of course, the main character —Ramona, the rambunctious kindergarten heroine.

A couple of years later, I discovered the All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor. The books featured the adventures of a Jewish family in turn-of-the-century (the other century) New York City.

Start With The Babies

Micah Ali

“It is so hard when students come to us already behind academically,” is a lament often heard from educators, even in preschool. The comment is warranted. Many children enter the public education system at kindergarten unprepared or with unidentified developmental delays—with the gap usually being the largest among black students.

Trust Restored

A Nevada board and superintendent work to repair their governance relationship

Michelle Healy​

Fiscal Health

Keep tabs on your district’s financial condition

Joseph J. Tramontana

Living Laboratories

STEM subjects come alive in school gardens

Robin L. Flanigan

To teach sixth-graders about biotic and abiotic factors in the microclimate of an ecosystem, Dietrich Nebert, a science teacher at Riverdale Grade School in Portland, Oregon, leads them to the school’s outdoor classroom and garden space. The students then collect soil, leaves, flower petals, sand, and other small samples pinched between strips of clear tape.

History Lessons

The challenge of teaching history in volatile times

Glenn Cook​

Patrick Pyle’s love of history and teaching becomes clear within five minutes of meeting him, but when the subject turns to education politics, the social studies director for the San Antonio Independent School District shows that he’s mastered the Texas sidestep.


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