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David B. Cohen
Works at Palo Alto High School
Attended Stanford University School of Education
Lives in Palo Alto, CA
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David B. Cohen

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While useful for understanding the current context of the teaching profession, the discussion was short on details about how the profession itself might change in the future. Also worth noting - it was another event talking about teachers, without a…
While useful for understanding the current context of the teaching profession, the discussion was short on details about how the profession itself might change in the future. Also worth noting - it...
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David B. Cohen

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Interesting post, Karl. A few thoughts in response to the post and the comments...
• There is certainly much that can be improved in most schools when it comes to teacher training, induction, evaluation, professional development, compensation, and the granting permanent status ("tenure"). I don't know anyone who truly "defends the status quo" - except in the sense that some proposed solutions are worse than the status quo.
• I would hope to see a broad consensus among educators that the Vergara ruling is off base. The ruling mainly cited economists' studies and superintendents' (limited) personal experiences. The plaintiffs were almost irrelevant to the case. Some of them were in charter schools not covered by these ed. code statutes; the others never proved that ed. code had denied them a constitutional right, nor did the judge cite any individual plaintiff's testimony or experiences in his ruling (if I recall correctly). The plaintiffs did testify about some bad teaching, but there was no proof that able administrators tried and failed to address the problem only to be undercut by ed. code. Bottom line - bad teaching is not caused by or perpetuate by teachers' due process or seniority rights. Otherwise, we'd expect school systems that lack these rights to show evidence of better teaching. The main problem is under-resourced, over-stressed systems; when teachers and administrators have what they need to do a better job, they typically... do a better job. 
• The reasons anyone might have to cheer the end of "tenure" deserve some scrutiny. Weak teaching persists in places without job protections, if there aren't a host of other reforms and resources in place, but all teachers in such settings are more vulnerable to pressures and politics that we are better able to withstand in systems that do have "tenure."
• This one relates to one of the comments: seniority and permanent status are not the same thing. A "tenured" teacher can get a pink-slip too, so linking these issues confuses the issues a bit.
Read this. Push back on it. My thoughts on teacher job security are definitely evolving. I’m hoping that getting some of these thoughts down will both solidify my thoughts and get some pushback to make them better. Though...
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+Karl Lindgren-Streicher Karl - I love the way you think: "holds teachers accountable for growing and taking risks in the classroom to make school better for our students" is a different and welcome way of thinking about accountability. Your pronoun - "it" - needs to be replaced in the long run. If "they" hold "us" accountable I think it's going to be a long wait for something truly transformative. If the new model is "we" hold teachers accountable - meaning teachers being accountable to each other - then we're on to something. But in my thinking about this, districts, administrators, unions, and the community must share the sense of urgency and accountability to students – and to teachers.
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David B. Cohen

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Raymond doesn't sound like a leader here: no recognition of the complexity of the issues, just lots of emotive trigger words and an apparent lack of power or vision to do anything going forward.
What if we did something radical and based every decision on what was best for children? What would change if our mantra was “Putting Children First”? What if more than just a catchy phrase, these words were used to deliberately and intentionally guide our actions? Would those of us in positions ...
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After tonight, it will be 2 events down and 3 to go. Check out information for remaining events at Stanford, Occidental College, and Cal St. Northridge.
 Video clip from Diane Ravitch's talk in Sacramento, 1/20/12. For readers in California, there are several upcoming opportunities to hear Diane Ravitch at public events. Friday, 9/27 - Sacramento S...
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I'll be at the CSUN event!
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David B. Cohen

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These California districts and teachers associations are working together on CCSS implementation, and hopefully, establishing productive relationships that will help with every aspect of their ongoing work - CCSS-related or not.
The headlines concerning teachers unions and policymakers usually concern some kind of conflict, ranging from divergent positions on bills and ballot measures, to lawsuits and strikes. These storie...
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Thanks for posting +David B. Cohen . 
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David B. Cohen
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"If past is prologue, things that aren’t being tested won’t end up being taught. It’s not just kids who ask, 'Is this going to be on the test?'  These days, when test scores determine which adults get fired, they’re probably the first ones to ask, 'Is this going to be on the test?'”
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David B. Cohen
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It’s time to retire the cliché “defend the status quo.”  Just. Stop. Now.
It’s misleading, insulting, and worst of all… it’s such an overused cliché, which makes for dull writing and dumbed-down debates.  We need an intervention to help people who can’t help themselves when it comes to repeating this worn-out  phrase.
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Have them in circles
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David B. Cohen
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I'm traveling all over California this year to visit and write about great teachers and schools. Please check out this video and consider supporting my Kickstarter campaign - not just because you (hopefully) like the idea, but because if you pledge $16 or more, you get the book. (See reward details for different pledge levels on the Kickstarter page).
I'm spending the school year on the road, writing about what it takes to support great teaching and schools throughout California!
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David B. Cohen

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Right on, Mary - the higher the stakes and the larger the enterprise, the more these assessments should concern us. Last fall I wrote about some of the flaws in the CA tests - using publicly available practice items. http://accomplishedcaliforniateachers.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/teaching-to-the-wrong-tests/
Corporate Oligarchy, according to Wikipedia: Corporate oligarchy is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small gro...
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Just had the chance to read this David.  Thanks for the link.  We have fallen down the rabbit hole for sure.
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David B. Cohen

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Good post, Josh! I definitely look for a balance here, depending on what aspect of life and school we're talking about. I do not "prepare" my 9th and 10th grade students for standardized tests, (though I think if they are working hard on the skills we're learning, they will also do well on much of what's tested). I do not "prepare" them for a fictitious real world in which all deadlines are absolute and nothing late is acceptable. With my advisees, I do have some responsibilities to help them understand their post-high school options, and to see the connection between their choices/actions in high school and what will follow. But I do try to balance the forward-looking advice with a sense of the now. Students want to sign up for a certain class because they think it will help "prepare" them for college, and I sometimes respond that college is not the end. Every stage in life involves some preparation for the future, and we're never entirely prepared. It's okay to reach college without having done everything you possibly could have done in high school. It's okay to make choices that are all about enjoying the present time for its own sake, because life should be manageable, even enjoyable, even if you're in high school!
Are my students being adequately prepared? This seems to be one of those questions and conversations that always come up in school. How are you preparing your students? When they are in elementary school we are trying to ...
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If teacher leadership makes sense, what's the appropriate role, if any, for the state, counties, or districts to certify teacher leaders?
In my last blog post, I wrote about the Teacher Leader Certification Academy in Riverside County, California. Their approach to teacher leadership has much in common with the 2012 ACT report on tea...
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David B. Cohen
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Interesting program in Riverside County - the Teacher Leader Certification Academy. Their first cohort finishes a two-year process tonight.
Note: In 2012, Accomplished California Teachers published Quality Teaching in Every Classroom: New Approaches to Compensation and Career Pathways. Our team of teacher leaders from diverse regions a...
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This is quite an endeavor.  I hope that it spreads to Orange County
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Have them in circles
703 people
Nid Exploring (Nid eXploring)'s profile photo
Aly Hirji's profile photo
Heldi Heoh's profile photo
Jan Dietzgen's profile photo
Chanchal Rana's profile photo
Divina Geist's profile photo
Hagit “Vickie” Katzenelson's profile photo
Anneke Schreuder's profile photo
Joan Young's profile photo
Education
  • Stanford University School of Education
    Education, 1994 - 1995
  • U.C. Berkeley
    English, 1987 - 1991
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High school English teacher (on leave 2014-15); blogger, writer, consultant (social media and networking for education)
Introduction
Currently living and teaching in Palo Alto, CA, by way of Los Angeles, Berkeley, Chicago, and a few other stops along the way.
Work
Occupation
HS English teacher (on leave 2014-15); blogger, consultant (social media and networking for education); working on a book about California teachers and schools.
Skills
NBCT
Employment
  • Palo Alto High School
    Teacher, Advisor, 2002 - present
  • Accomplished California Teachers
    Assoc. Director, 2009 - 2014
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Palo Alto, CA
Previously
Los Angeles, CA - Berkeley, CA - Chicago, IL - Tel Aviv, Israel - Arad, Israel - Colorado Springs, CO - Wiesbaden, Germany
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