Paul L. Thomas, Ed.D.

Another Disaster of the Accountability Era? State Takeovers of High-Poverty, Majority-Minority Schools

Louisiana and my home state of South Carolina both share a historical struggle with high-poverty, racial minority public schools. In recent years, however, New Orleans has become a model for a drastic form of education reform, in which the state takes over schools and entire districts from local control.

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10 Questions All Racism-Denying Politicians Must Answer

While both major political parties in the U.S. historically have failed to address racism honestly and fully, the current slate of Republican candidates for president offers an object lesson in the persistent denial of systemic racial inequality by the power elite.

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Why 'Grit' Will Never Be the Key to Overcoming Poverty and Racism

Despite decades of educational research and high-stakes accountability legislation at the state and federal levels, the achievement gap continues to plague impoverished students, black and Latino/a students, English language learners, and special needs students. These children and young adults remain over-represented in low standardized test scores, high drop-out rates and low college completion statistics.

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5 Questions Every Presidential Candidate Needs to Answer About Education

Since the early 1980s, education platforms have been essential to political campaigns for governorships and the presidency, with education policy increasingly defining elected officials’ political legacies. With the passing of No Child Left Behind in 2001, education legislation shifted even further to national prominence, as NCLB came to represent the “power” of bi-partisan commitments to education reform.


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What, Exactly, Are We Celebrating About Charter Schools?

In his proclamation for National Charter Schools Week, President Barack Obama asks us to accept a truth as yet unproven. He writes: “Today, our nation's very best charter schools are gateways to higher education and endless possibilities, lifting upstudents of all backgrounds and empowering them to achieve a brighter future.”

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Publishing Giant Pearson Hauls in Billions in Education Dollars, But Do Students Benefit?

Leave it to Oscar Wilde to get things right. Writing about late-19th-century British attitudes regarding the poor, the Irish writer and social critic concluded, “Their remedies are part of the disease.”

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How Our System Creates Criminals to Justify Deadly Force

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That's a truth I learned (more than once) while teaching high school. This maxim was particularly driven home in the early 1990s, when I supported a new school policy designed to encourage our students to come to class each day prepared; specifically, by having done their homework.

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Enough Talk About Grit; It's Time to Talk About Privilege

When it comes to academic success, what matters most: effort – or something altogether different? 

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It's Time to Stop Treating Black and Brown Kids Like 'Other People's Children'

Optimism, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel—these are not my natural proclivities. While I often wallow in the delusion that I am a skeptic, the truth is that I long ago slipped into the abyss of cynicism.

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Illinois School Bans Discussions of Michael Brown's Death

When faced with tragedies like the shooting of Michael Brown and the community unrest that followed, there are many hard questions to be asked. Why did this happen again? Who should be held accountable? How do we prevent such injustices?

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