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American Educator
Fall 1994


Table of Contents

School Reform: Getting It Right

Making Standards Count
By Albert Shanker

No matter how good and well-intentioned our new curriculum and assessment reforms are, they won't make a difference unless there are real-world consequences that motivate students to work hard in school.

Making Standards Good
Prepared by the AFT's Educational Issues Department

Because so much else will flow from the standards states adopt, it is critical that they be of very high quality. Here are ten criteria we consider essential.

And Bringing Them to the Classroom
By Paul Gagnon

The author takes the mystery out of terms like "content standard" and "curriculum framework" by giving us concrete—and inspiring—examples of what those might look like in two subject areas, World History and English, and how an imaginative teacher might translate them into engaging lessons.

Learning by Doing What
By Drew H. Gitomer

Hands-on science, manipulatives in math, writing workshop, and an emphasis on production in the arts are now firmly established in the mainstream of educational practice. But to really experience a discipline in its full sense, one must go a lot deeper than these surface activities.

The South African Election: Making Democracy Visible
By Foster Sringer

South Africa could have chosen the high-tech route to conduct its election, with machines tallying votes electronically. It didn't and the result was not only a fair election but also a democratic process that people could see and touch—and trust.

A Teacher and His Creatures
By Joseph Berger

Richard Plass of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan has helped produce more than 200 Westinghouse semifinalists, nurturing more successful science research projects than probably any other teacher in the United States. Here's a look at how he does it.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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