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Professional Opinion

Philip A. Streifer has served as superintendent of three Connecticut school districts.

Educators generally agree that we are testing too much. Congress’ latest action puts more authority back with the states, but this risks swinging the pendulum back too far in the other direction. To get accountability right, we need to decide which tests to keep and which to discard.

Cathy Boshamer is the director of special services for Spartanburg District 5 in South Carolina.

The Office of Special Education Programs revised its accountability operation in 2014 to shift the balance from a system focused on compliance to one that emphasizes results. The new framework has been a breath of fresh air, especially for those of us working in special education.

John Albert is the principal of California Elementary School in the Orange Unified School District.

You’ve no doubt heard of the teaching approach in which students spend part of the day learning online at their own pace and part of the day receiving instruction from a classroom teacher. But there are still a number of misconceptions about what blended learning entails and how it works.

Elena Aguilar has been a teacher, coach and leader in education for over 20 years. She is the author of the forthcoming "The Art of Coaching Teams."

If you are a team leader—a department head, grade-level lead, coach or an administrator—chances are high that conflict makes you nervous. It makes most of us nervous, and when we’re in a position of leadership, there’s an implicit understanding that we’re supposed to do something about conflict.

Until his retirement, Mel Hawkins was a consultant specializing in leadership development, human resources, and strategic planning. He is the author of Re-Inventing Education, Hope, and the American Dream: The Challenge for Twenty-first Century America.

The federal government, corporate reformers and state governments are engaged in a relentless attack against public schools. And our professional educators have not stepped up to acknowledge the deficiencies in our education process, deficiencies that only they are qualified to address.

Today’s climate of budget cuts and shortfalls has increased the importance of risk management in school districts. In the past, school safety has primarily focused on disaster preparation and security issues, but it has come to mean much more.

 Nancy Willard is director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age and author of several books on bullying.

Schools are encouraged—or required by law—to approach bullying as an act of defiance against authority. But such an approach focuses solely on bullying—at the exclusion of other forms of hurtful behavior.

Gregory Firn has been a superintendent and a deputy superintendent, and has had educational leadership roles in Texas, North Carolina, Connecticut, Washington and Nevada, and overseas.

Leadership is never more critical than when creating and sustaining a data-centric learning culture, as Lane Mills advises in a white paper on how districts can access and integrate data to make informed, proactive decisions.

Paula Love, the “Funding Doctor,” brings decades of experience to developing grant strategies for state and local educational agencies, schools and institutions. She writes DA's monthly School Funding Report.

More than 50 percent of curriculum directors anticipate a significant conversion from print to digital materials within the next three years. And it appears this shift is about to get a big boost from the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Allison Stephens is a high school assistant principal near Philadelphia.

Teachers and administrators face tough challenges in education. Politicians are constantly trying to micromanage our practices, while accountability measures are abundant and budgets are tight. Coming to work isn’t always pleasant when it feels like the odds are stacked against us.

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