September 14, 2022

Cheryl Gibbs Binkley: Let Teachers Fix this. They Know How

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The “learning loss’ crisis is being used as a sales pitch for a hundred different education-flavored programs, as well as a multitude of policy leaders wringing hands and wondering what can possibly done.

Cheryl Gibbs Binkley offers another possible solution–let the professionals who know how to deal with this sort of problem deal with this problem. Binkley regularly works with students who are “behind” and has a successful track record of bringing them forward, and in her recent blog post, she offers advice on how it can be done.

Class, she says, is centered around six key practices, including

1. We set classroom rules together as a mutual agreement about how we would act and be together and posted them for all to see. The rules often leaned heavily on mutual safety within the space. I agreed to treat them the way we all agreed to treat one another. We included in that agreement how we would treat our space and materials.


6. Assessments were based on the work we did, not on commercially designed standardized tests, except for beginning of year, locally developed grade level mid-terms, and final reading assessments. We did not orient daily work as specific test prep.

She offers some other pieces of advice for schools and teachers, noting that “for over twenty years, policy makers have increasingly insisted teachers follow administrative not instructional protocols. Instead, she suggests

2. Suspend new purchase of statewide, and district wide tests, materials, and apps. Instead utilize pandemic, training, and assessment dollars to fulfill the recommendations of those local Faculty Councils for what they need for their students, and stop telling teachers what they can’t teach. Each class will have a wide spectrum of needs. Teachers will need the flexibility to differentiate.

And this excellent piece of advice:

7.  Quit sending in businessmen to take over and loot the public schools. It creates constant stress and distracts from the major project at hand to bring our students and communities back into academic and personal equilibrium.

It’s a great collection of practical ideas to help deal with this current lag. Read here to see her full list of suggestions.


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