The Odessa Record -

Articles written by Duane Pitts

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Will a minimum wage of $15 an hour lift a full-time worker of a family of four out of poverty? Yes and No. Yes, it will; $15 an hour equals $25,923 yearly income. The poverty threshold for 2017 was $24,257. No, it won’t, because the threshold will...

 

Guest editorial

It’s that time of year again to make a New Year’s resolution. Like the Roman god Janus, we look to our past to see what didn’t work as we hoped and then to the future with a new promise, which we probably will not keep. But we can take comfort...

 

On MLK, Jr. Day

Dissatisfaction with government has a long history in this country. Henry David Thoreau noted this in his 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience,” where he claimed that to achieve “at once a better government,” individuals first have to become more...

 

Honoring King for efforts on behalf of working poor

In 1967, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. proposed his vision for America in his book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? He challenged those in political and religious power to eliminate poverty once and for all. That gauntlet has yet to...

 

Remembering our service men and women

As Veterans’ Day approaches, I begin reminiscing. When I was about eight or nine years old, my father introduced me to Sgt. Wilburn Ross at Fort Lewis. All the non-coms and officers looked up to Sgt. Ross in total awe and reverence. We were in the...

 

Guest Editorial

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar….it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Today’s TV commentaries about economic justice may seem new to many of the...

 

Common Core, Part 12

Ever since Sputnik ascended the heavens in 1957, education reforms have consistently failed to improve schools. Why has there been no improvement? David Berliner offers an answer: Failure does not reside inside the schools. He states: “The sources...

 

Common Core, Part 11

Decades of research indicate that poverty has a huge impact on student learning. According to professor emeritus Stephen Krashen of the University of Southern California, studies show that “more poverty means lower scores on all measures of school...

 
 By DUANE PITTS    Opinion    August 29, 2013

Common Core, Part 10

In 1943, Professor Abraham Maslow of Brooklyn College proposed that human behavior is guided by five basic needs (in this order): 1) physiological, 2) safety, 3) belongingness, 4) esteem, and 5) self-actualization. People, children included, are...

 

Common Core, Part 9

Many students in high-poverty schools perform poorly on state tests already. With Congress’s plan to cut food stamps for the poor, elderly, and disabled, schools nationwide will face much greater difficulties in educating hungry children. Then add...

 
 By DUANE PITTS    Opinion    August 15, 2013

Common Core, Part 8

In Part 7, we saw Common Core curriculum being used with second-graders in New York. For K-12, the standards, readings, and suggested curriculum remain about the same – developmentally inappropriate for learners, especially in elementary school. Ho...

 

Common Core, part 6

Many teachers are concerned about the Common Core State Standards. Compounding their anxieties, Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, has noted that the CCSS establishes national standards for the country, as though they had never existed...

 

Common Core's model ignored teacher input

Marianne Iksic and I realized that though the state standards were superior, the new national standards were here to stay. About 90-95% of our English program matched the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). At Common Core English workshops, we both...

 
 By DR DUANE PITTS    School    July 18, 2013

"Common Core" explained

As noted last week, the backlash against Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has begun. A look back to two years ago may provide some insight into the current groundswell against the CCSS. In 2010-2011, Marianne Iksic and I examined the English...

 
 By DR DUANE PITTS    School    July 18, 2013

Summer reading series

As we learn from home and research, the most important influence on a child is the parent. Next, we learn that daily support in reading from parents and other adults contributes greatly to the child’s success in reading. Then comes the inevitable...

 

"Common Core" Explained - Part Three

Common Core is the most recent version of a five-decade long reform movement, which has stressed over and over that public schools are failing. It all started with Sputnik. In 2012, McDonnell and Weatherford, professors at UC-Santa Barbara, examined...

 

Helping children learn to read

Research into early reading shows numerous elements that help children become readers. Teachers know these factors; and if parents know also, they can support their children at home with some of the same information. I comment on some of them in no...

 
 By Duane Pitts    School    July 4, 2013

Tips for parents reading books aloud to their children

When parents read aloud to their young children, they can also do any of the following, which teachers do all the time. As I noted before, when parents and teachers share some of the common methods in helping children understand books, the child...

 
 By Duane Pitts    School    July 4, 2013

"Common Core" explained

Last week we discovered that President Eisenhower’s decision to let the Russians launch a satellite first was a military-political decision; it had nothing to do with the education system in the United States, which he deemed as successful. Since...

 
 By Duane Pitts    Opinion    June 13, 2013

The desire to know more

"People cannot learn by having information pressed into their brains. Knowledge has to be sucked into the brain, not pushed in. First, one must create a state of mind that craves interest and wonder. "You can teach only by creating an urge to know."...

 

Contemplating two very different Americas

On Monday, January 21, we celebrate both Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and the inauguration of Barack Obama. Much has happened between the Civil Rights Movement, which began in 1954 with Brown vs. Board of Education, to the election of America’s...

 
 By Duane Pitts    School    December 6, 2012

How to become a SuperStar student, part 13 (final article)

In this last column on how to become a superstar student, Michael Geisen emphasizes balance. You need balance for yourself as well. Having a fulfilling community life and personal life will make you a healthier, happier and more interesting person....

 

How to become a superstar student, Part 12

Last week, we looked at Michael Geisen’s suggestions about how to prepare for a test. This week, we will examine what to do during the test and after the test. Instead of diving into the test when the teacher hands it to you, you need a strategy...

 

How to become a superstar student, Part 11

Getting control of tests is sometimes a major challenge for students. Michael Geisen offers some ideas about how to take advantage of a test as a vehicle for learning and success. First, cramming does not work. What does work much better is...

 

How to be a superstar student, part 10

Sometimes when the research is done and the paper turned in, you have a speech to give about the research. Michael Geisen offers advice about good presentations. Here are his major points. Your speech opening needs to convince the audience that you...

 

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