As the curtains close on 2011, take a moment to remember the year that was on Flypaper by revisiting the most-read posts:

1.  The Obama Administration’s war on Stuyvesant and Thomas Jefferson

Mike explained how ED’s crusade for racial diversity may have some
unintended and unfortunate effects on America’s best magnet schools.

2. Osama bin Laden: What our children need to know

Checker took a moment to reflect on Osama bin Laden’s death and the lessons we should draw from the post-9/11 decade.

3. The qualities of a good teacher: A student’s perspective

Penelope Placide, a ninth-grade student at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School
who worked at Fordham last spring as part of her school’s Corporate
Work Study Program, explained what she found when she surveyed her
classmates on what it takes to be a good teacher.

4. K12 Inc. CEO Ron Packard responds to NYTimes’ criticism

The final months of 2011 witnessed a flurry of scathing articles on the merits of online learning from The Nation, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and others. In this post, the head of the nation’s largest online learning company made his defense.

5. The ends of education reform

Mike tried to bring a sense of realism to what we might expect in
terms of improved student achievement for the 1 million poor students
entering Kindergarten this fall.

6. Fordham responds to the Common Core “counter-manifesto”

Mike and Checker teamed up to defend the Common Core and counter the counter-manifesto published by Jay Greene and Bill Evers, among others, in response to May’s Shanker Institute manifesto on a common curriculum. (Confused? Read on.)

7. Understanding upper-middle-class parents

Mike wondered what it would take to get all parents fired up for
education reform…and whether leaving NCLB alone might be the surest

8. Dealing with disingenuous teachers unions: There are no shortcuts

Asking if teachers unions’ political influence has made local control
untenable earned Mike plenty of feedback from across the political

9. Alfie Kohn: Read your Lisa Delpit

Mike argued that, despite what Alfie Kohn
may say, what works for affluent kids may not be right for students
growing up in poverty—a point Lisa Delpit made 25 years ago.

10. What Kevin Carey didn’t say about Diane Ravitch, but should have

Disagreeing on policy is one thing, but Mike explained that Kevin
Carey crossed a line when he questioned Diane Ravitch’s personal

…and, to make it an even (odd?) 11 for 2011, the most tweeted post of the year:

11. A Pedagogy of Practice

Kathleen followed up Mike’s take on Alfie Kohn’s “pedagogy of
poverty” commentary by arguing the achievement gap is “really little
more than a practice gap.” But most critically, she included the
following factoid, which quickly went viral on Twitter: “By the time
s/he starts Kindergarten, the average middle class student has been
exposed to 1,700 hours of one-on-one reading. Do you know how many hours
of reading the average disadvantaged student has been exposed to by
Kindergarten? 25. That’s 1.4 percent of their middle class peers.”

Get ready for more insightful and entertaining commentary in 2012...and a new look for the blog. Happy New Year!

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