Topics of Discussion

September 2011>Curriculum. What are the goals of education today in America? What do we wish to achieve as educators? If curriculum is the road map, what should our children know prior to them graduating? Once goals are set what should the curriculum be?

October 2011>

Standardized Testing. High stakes testing- is it distorting and undermining the learning process? Teachers and schools professional survival has become so dependent on test scores- is it giving powerful incentive to cut corners? Cities & states are frequently lowering standards to create the appearance of increased success, thoughts and feelings on this?

November 2011>

Unions & Collective Bargaining. From an educator’s standpoint, what are some of your opinions with the unions and how we can better support them or not?

December 2011>

Assessment. It’s clear there are many problems with our current assessment for accountability regime. How should we as educators approach the assessment of student learning in our schools? Have our standards been dumbed down?

January 2012>

Equitable Funding. What do you as educators envision? How do you feel about merit pay schemes? Competitive grants for federal dollars etc?

February 2012>

Technology. How is virtual schooling affecting education? Where are we going with technology and students? Pro’s & Con’s.

March 2012>

Teacher Evaluations. The current teacher evaluation systems are being questioned in a number of states. Tenure protections are changing from seniority to performance based, teacher observations may be conducted four times a year and independent observers or a “second opinion” may also be introduced. What are your thoughts on the possible changes to the system?

April 2012>

Parental Involvement. How important is parental involvement in a student’s education? Can a parent’s over involvement have a negative effect on their child, what are the boundaries? What is your opinion of “parent trigger laws”?

May 2012>

high school diploma vs. GED. Is the GED still comparable to a high school diploma and is it a valuable asset in this economy and job market?

June 2012>

What is the future of the teaching profession? With a lack of teaching jobs and a misdistribution of qualified teachers what can we expect for the future?

July 2012>

Recruitment, Retention, and Recognition. Corresponding with June’s topic ‘what is the future of the teaching profession?’ What do you think is the most effective way to recruit new teachers? How can we ensure that we retain effective teachers throughout our education system and what is the best way to recognize the unbelievable work of our nation’s educators?

August 2012>

The Decline of Teachers Unions and its Effect on Education.

September 2012>

The Presidential Election. How might the upcoming election affect our education system in the U.S.?

October 2012>

Public Charter Schools. Public charter schools have been both criticized and supported since their development 20 years ago. In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of charter schools?

November 2012>

Alternative Methods of Teaching. Alternative teaching methods, such as “blended learning” have been introduced in classrooms nationwide. Please share your thoughts on this particular teaching method and discuss other methods that are being used.

December 2012>

Education Reform. In your opinion, are there specific areas of our current public education system that require reform more than others? If so, describe these areas and potential changes.

January 2013>

Re-structuring vs. Closing. A considerable amount of school districts have discussed closing schools, with two of the most recent being DC and Philadelphia. Do you feel that schools should be closed or re-structured? In terms of re-structuring, what should be the role of the current principal, teachers, etc?

February 2013>

A day in the life… Please share your own personal teaching experience and comment on a typical day in the classroom including teaching strategies, lesson plans, goals, etc.

March 2013>

Common Core State Standards. Please explain your experience with the new CCSS. Has your school district accepted the new standards? If so, has the transition been challenging? Discuss the positive and negatives of the CCSS initiative.

April 2013>

Cheating. How can cheating be prevented? In your opinion, why do students cheat? Have you noticed an increase in cheating as new technology has been introduced?

May 2013>

School Choice and Vouchers. What are the present arguments for and against school vouchers? Please share your own opinions on this topic.

June 2013>

Teacher Challenges. Please share some of the challenges you faced this school year. Are these challenges faced every year or have new obstacles recently developed? How might these challenges be prevented or overcome in the future?

July 2013>

Teacher Preparation Programs. The National Council on Teacher Quality recently released a study that addressed the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs throughout America. Please share your own thoughts on teacher preparation programs.

August 2013>

Expectations for the 2013-2014 school year. With the start of the school year right around the corner, we would like you to share your expectations for the new year.

September 2013>

STEM Education (Science, Technology, Education, Mathematics) Please discuss your experience with STEM education programs in your own classroom or school district.

October 2013>

Differentiated Instruction. Is differentiated instruction an approach that you use in your own classroom? If so, what are some of the challenges that come with adjusting the curriculum to reach individual learners and ensure that they are taking in the information that is being taught? Please comment on this teaching framework.

November 2013>

Online Testing. Have there been issues in your school district regarding online testing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of online testing, compared to traditional pencil and paper testing?

December 2013>

Education Reform. In December of 2012, we discussed education reform and particular areas of our public education system that require reform more than others. How have these issues developed over the past year? In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues today and how might they be reformed?

January 2014>

Teaching to the Test. How does this practice affect student achievement, as well as curriculum?

February 2014> 

School Safety. How does your school district work to keep students, teachers, and community members safe? Do you have established procedures and guidelines if a crisis occurs?

March 2014 > 

Primary Sources Study. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Scholastic recently released results from a survey they conducted title Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change. The Survey revealed teachers’ views on the rewards and challenges of teaching, the Common Core, teacher evaluations, and parent involvement. Please comment on the results of this survey. Do you feel it will raise awareness for the issues that educators face? 

April 2014 >

Rallying for Education. Teachers, administrators, parents, and students in Oklahoma recently formed a rally at their State Capitol for more education funding. Do you think this is an effective way to demand more funding? Do you foresee other states taking similar action? How would more education funding affect your district?

May 2014 >

Teacher Appreciation. During the month of May, there is an entire week dedicated to teacher appreciation (not enough if you ask us). As an educator, do you feel appreciated by your students, students’ parents, district leaders, etc.? If so, please share a time when you felt truly appreciated as a teacher. If not, please share ways that teacher appreciation can be improved in our country. Please share any other thoughts on the topic.

June 2014 > 

Social Media in the Classroom. What are the pros and cons of using social media in the classroom? Do you feel it engages or distracts students? Have you personally used social media as a learning tool in your classroom?

July 2014 > 

A Day in the Life of a Teacher on Summer Break. As an educator, how do you usually spend your summer break? Do you have continued commitments in your school district? summer classes? or do you take time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate before the fast approaching school year? How do you continue to educate yourself and others over summer break?

August 2014 > 

Back to School Checklist. What is on your back to school checklist? Classroom preparation, lesson plan review, organizing school supplies? Please share your expectations for the upcoming school year.

September 2014 > 

Common Core Testing. The 2014-15 academic year is when nearly every state must have assessments in place to reflect the Common Core State Standards. What has been your experience with the CCSS?

October 2014 >

DPE Survey on Public Education. Democrats for Public Education (DPE) recently released the results of a national voter survey that shows voters back public education in large numbers and roughly 2/3 of Americans agree with traditionally Democratic positions when it comes to education. Please share your thoughts on these results.

November 2014 > 

School Choice. What are the different types of school choice? Please share your thoughts on this topic and what your own experience has been.

December 2014 >

Student Engagement. Please share tips and strategies that have helped you increase student engagement in the classroom.

February 2015 > 

Classroom Technology Trends. How do you utilize technology in your classroom? Which technology trends would you recommend to other educators?

March 2015 >

PARCC Testing. Has your state adopted the PARCC testing? What are your thoughts on the assessments?

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