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Smagorinsky's columns featured in AJC

  |   Kathryn Kao   |   Permalink   |   Media Mention

Peter Smagorinsky, a distinguished research professor of English education in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, recently authored two guest columns, one published in the Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal- Constitution and one in the newspaper's "Get Schooled" blog.

His op-ed piece, "Compete or cooperate: Why not both?," analyzes the great divide in public opinion over whether or not schools should be competitive. Smagorinsky uses a basketball metaphor to explain how competition can foster growth and talent development—the better the competition, the better an average player can get at the game.

While many people view schools as a "training ground for the life beyond"where students compete academically for good grades and later for job promotions, others note how competition can lead to corruption. According to Smagorinsky, this is clearly evidenced by AP test-score changes, the development of plagiarism software programs and administrator awards for bogus scores.

Instead of choosing between competition and cooperation, he argues that educators should focus on where in the system each produces the most desirable results. In the end, teachers who know their students well should be able to make informed judgments on how to promote growth.

"Just don't expect them to decide it's either one or the other, with no middle ground," he wrote.

His second column, "Taking it to the street: A modest proposal to apply education reforms in police work," published inGet Schooled, takes a Jonathan Swift-inspired look at how current education trends can be applied to law enforcement. In the wake of several police misconduct incidents, Smagorinsky highlights the appeal of creating a "charter" for local police forces, exposing recent graduates to a five-week boot camp in which they can learn the entire profession of law enforcement, and making the people who train police officers accountable for their performance once they are on duty.

Smagorinsky's work is unified by a sociocultural approach to understanding literary teaching. A major component of his research is the study of written and artistic compositions as well as group discussions oriented to literary interpretation and interpretive texts.

Read ["Compete or cooperate: Why not both?"]( both/nmZwH/)

Read ["Taking it to the street: A modest proposal to apply education reforms in police work."]( street-a-modest-proposal-to-apply-education-reforms-to-police-work/)

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