Author

Robert Pondiscio

    Author Website: http://citizenshipfirst.us/blog/


    Author Bio:
    Robert Pondiscio is senior fellow and vice president for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He is also a senior advisor to Democracy Prep Public Schools, a network of high-performing charter schools based in Harlem, New York. He writes and speaks extensively on education and education-reform issues, with an emphasis on literacy, curriculum, teaching, and urban education. After twenty years in journalism, including senior positions at TIME and BusinessWeek, Robert became a fifth-grade teacher at a struggling South Bronx public school in 2002. He subsequently served as vice president for the Core Knowledge Foundation. Robert’s articles and op-ed columns on education have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the New York Daily News, Education Next, and many other publications. A frequent speaker and expert guest on education issues, he has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, and elsewhere.


Articles

‘No Excuses’ Kids Go to College

Will high-flying charters see their low-income students graduate?

SPRING 2013 / VOL. 13, NO. 2

Tools for Teachers

Review of Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion

Spring 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 2

Edutopian Vision

George Lucas reimagines the American classroom

Summer 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 3

Blog Posts/Multimedia

The Myth of Today’s Exhausted, Overscheduled Superkids

If American childhood has become a hothouse of overscheduling and stress, it’s not showing up in the data.

08/06/2015

The Hard Work Has Just Begun

Getting low-income “first-generation” kids into college is hard. Getting them to graduate from college is harder.

07/22/2015

A Peek Inside the Classroom Black Box

Why is so little information available about which textbooks and curricula are being used?

06/16/2015

Common Core’s First Breakout Hit?

Schools and teachers anywhere can download free materials from EngageNY, a comprehensive, Common Core-aligned curriculum developed by New York State.

06/10/2015

To Boost Reading Skills, Restore the Liberal Arts to Elementary School

To be a good reader you need an understanding of literature, art, music, history, and the sciences — that is, you need a liberal arts education.

05/20/2015

Four Lessons from the Opt-Out Debate

It’s still too soon to gauge whether the opt-out movement is a true groundswell of opposition, a union-driven blip on the radar, or something in between.

05/18/2015

Trust, But Verify

The draft School Quality Snapshot says clearly and unambiguously that the days of measuring a school by academic performance in New York City are over.

05/08/2015

Charter Schools and Backfill: The Debate We’re Not Having

The backfilling debate is something of a proxy fight between two very different visions for charters. Are they a replacement strategy for disappointing schools and districts? Or are they closer to a poor man’s private school?

04/21/2015

A Troubling Verdict

I found myself caught up short by the Atlanta verdict this week and eleven educators found guilty of racketeering in a widespread cheating scandal.

04/06/2015

Don’t Know Much About History

Some fret that states that make the U.S. citizenship test a graduation requirement may be tacitly encouraging schools to abandon semester-long classes in civics. I’m skeptical.

03/23/2015

Showing Parents What Grade-Level Work Looks Like

Milestones seeks to demystify the Common Core standards with a free and engaging collection of short videos showing what grade-level work looks like

03/12/2015

No Time to Lose on Early Reading

I share critics concerns that early childhood learning is leading schools to take all the joy out of kindergarten, but I see no reason to blame Common Core for that.

03/06/2015

America’s Millennials: Overeducated and Unprepared

More time in school is not producing Americans with more or better skills.

03/02/2015

Is Common Core Too Hard for Kindergarten?

We can have kindergarten that is both play-based and language-rich. It’s what the best kindergarten teachers have always done.

02/12/2015

Model Citizens

Arizona became the first state to make passing the U.S. Citizenship Test a high school graduation requirement.

01/29/2015

Don’t Confuse Jargon with Rigor

Elementary school English language arts classrooms have long been in the thrall of nonsensical jargon.

01/23/2015

2015: The Year of Curriculum- Based Reform?

Curriculum and content matter—and for no one more than poor kids who get too little of that knowledge and vocabulary at home.

01/20/2015

Carmen Fariña’s War on Evidence

While running the nation’s largest school system, Carmen Farina has made a growing list of decisions based not on empirical evidence, but on the chancellor’s personal preference.

01/15/2015

Why Didn’t I Think Of That?

Here are some of the pieces—about Common Core and education at large—I wish I’d written in 2014.

12/31/2014

It Pays to Increase Your Word Power

To grow up as the child of well-educated parents in an affluent American home is to hit the verbal lottery.

12/12/2014

A Response to Carol Burris and Rick Hess on Common Core Math in the Elementary Grades

Common Core has the potential to shift and drastically improve math instruction in American schools,

11/16/2014

Let’s Tell the Truth: High-Stakes Tests Damage Reading Instruction

It’s long past time to recognize that reading tests don’t measure what we think they do.

10/17/2014

What’s Right About Common Core

The overheated rhetoric around Common Core elides the fact that it incorporates several fundamentally sound and long-overdue ideas that have gone missing from our schools for decades.

10/14/2014

How To Kill Reading Achievement

Complaints about close reading bother me less than its potential overuse, or the creeping notion that close reading is what all reading instruction should look like under Common Core. That would be bad for the standards, and even worse for reading achievement in the U.S.

10/06/2014

Leveled Reading: The Making of a Literacy Myth

Opponents of the Common Core question the idea of improving literacy by introducing higher levels of textual complexity into the instructional mix.

09/29/2014

Where Common Core Is Not Controversial

Those who see Common Core as a curricular monoculture, a boondoggle for publishers, or a violation of local control would do well to come to Reno.

09/18/2014

Connecting the Dots: E. D. Hirsch, Jr., and Common Core

On Politico’s list of fifty “thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter,” sharing the number eight spot are E.D. Hirsch and David Coleman, the principal author of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts.

09/09/2014

Thanks, Bobby Jindal!

When the court decides, as it almost certainly has to that, in fact, no one forced Louisiana or any other state to adopt Common Core, the most effective anti-Common Core argument goes, “Poof!”

08/29/2014

Holding a Wolf by the Ears

Secretary Duncan’s reflective take on testing can delay, but cannot resolve, the reckoning that seems to be at hand.

08/26/2014

What Is Going On at Success Academy?

New York’s latest round of state test results were released last week and the biggest news is the scores posted by Success Academy.

08/21/2014

Can You Be an Ed Reformer and a Conservative?

The real challenge for conservatives has less to do with the nature of school reform than ensuring that the public and private functions served by education are brought into proper balance.

08/18/2014

New York’s Common Core Tests: Tough Questions, Curious Choices

The bottom line: the tests are hard, as expected, but the choice of texts needs work.

08/12/2014

Not Teacher Quality, but Quality Teaching

Any pedagogy, curriculum, approach, or technology has to be within the skills of ordinary teachers to implement well and effectively. If it takes a superstar teacher it’s a nonstarter.

07/28/2014

Why Johnny Won’t Learn to Read

We know for a fact that “balanced literacy” has had little effect on closing stubborn achievement gaps. So why is New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina bringing it back?

07/09/2014

A Missed Opportunity for Common Core

Common Core supporters should be showcasing lessons that represent a sharp break with the skills-driven, all-texts-are-created-equal approach that has come to dominate too many classrooms.

07/03/2014

Conscious Incompetence: New Ed-School Grads are Unprepared to Teach — and We Seem Fine With That

Ask a teacher about his or her first year in the classroom and you’ll hear, either with a smile or a shudder, how “nothing prepared me for my first year as a teacher.”

06/30/2014

GPAs, SATs, and TMI?

Our elite universities, should they wish, could end epic oversharing, help student writing, and improve college readiness in one fell swoop.

06/18/2014

Relentless Relentlessness

Steve Farr’s Teaching as Leadership lives in the shadow of Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion

02/15/2011
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