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First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our
submission guidelines here
May 8, 2018
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, 8 essays from educators who raised their voices this year
Teachers are often on the front lines of national conversations, kickstarting discussions that their students or communities need to have.
May 4, 2018
I moved 18 times as a child. ‘Why did you move?’ is now a question I don’t ask my students.
Like any other child, I just wanted to be normal, and talking about why we moved did not feel normal. I try to remember that now as a teacher.
May 1, 2018
I taught at a nonselective New York City school. Your assumptions about low-scoring students are wrong.
What is it that children of wealthy parents have earned that kids who score a level 2 on the state exam with no extra help have not?
April 30, 2018
My students were ready. Tennessee’s tests weren’t.
I do not want to wonder why the screen says “0 questions answered of 0 possible questions.” What does that even mean?
April 17, 2018
I’m an Oklahoma educator who had become complacent about funding cuts. Our students will be different.
Over the long term, this walkout will hopefully lead to more funding for our schools. But it will definitely lead to a more engaged youth population in Oklahoma.
April 16, 2018
Let’s solve the right problems for Detroit’s students with disabilities — not recycle old ones
I’ve spent 25 years both studying and actively trying to improve schools for students with disabilities. Segregated settings aren't the answer.
April 16, 2018
‘So there I was, figuring it out myself’: A Brooklyn teen on why the city’s specialized high school prep wasn’t enough
The prep course offered by the city wasn't impressive, senior Hiba Hanoune writes.
March 21, 2018
I’ve been mistaken for the other black male leader at my charter network. Let’s talk about it.
A recent reunion pushed this charter leader to reflect again on the power dynamics that determine who gets to make decisions in so-called education reform.
March 5, 2018
I’m a Bronx teacher, and I see up close what we all lose when undocumented students live with uncertainty
Because of their undocumented status, two of our top students did not qualify for financial aid, and without it, they could not afford college.
February 22, 2018
I was an attorney representing school districts in contract talks. Here’s why I hope the Supreme Court doesn’t weaken teachers unions.
Based on my experience, I have this to say to those hoping the Court will strike down these "agency fees" and weaken unions: be careful what you wish for.
February 20, 2018
I’m a Florida teacher in the era of school shootings. This is the terrifying reality of my classroom during a lockdown drill.
A Broward County teacher on the struggle to keep wearing the mask of bravery for his students.
February 12, 2018
What we’ve learned from leading schools in Denver’s Luminary network — and how we’ve used our financial freedom
At Denver Green School, we hired a full-time psychologist. At Cole Arts & Science, we boosted trauma training. Both of us have executive coaches. We think it's working.
January 22, 2018
Let’s be careful with using ‘grading floors.’ They may lead to lifelong ceilings for our students
If we use grade floors without acknowledging why we feel compelled to do so, we perpetuate the very problem we seek to address.
January 16, 2018
A Chalkbeat roundtable: The promise and perils of charter networks like Success Academy
When we published an essay about the promise and perils of charter schools by our CEO and editor in chief Elizabeth Green last…
January 11, 2018
I’m a teacher in Memphis, and I know ‘grading floors’ aren’t a cheat — they’re a key motivator
If we can’t give hope to our kids, what are we here for?
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