Education Essays

Jesse has written extensively for newspapers, magazines,websites, and books about education reform and the struggle for quality schools.


Yes! Magazine: “My Greatest Teaching Moment”

Mar 14, 2012
As a teacher, you never know when your greatest teaching moment will present itself. For high school history teacher Jesse Hagopian that moment came after he was arrested at the state capitol and his students made their own history. This is Jesse’s story.

The Seattle TimesEditorials / Opinion

Jesse Hagopian’s op-eds to the Seattle Times on Education:

Op-ed: Why Garfield teachers boycotted the MAP test

Garfield teachers believe students should be evaluated based on what they are learning in the classroom, writes guest columnist Jesse Hagopian.

If my name were Chrysler, would you give me a bailout?

While we bail out the Big Three U.S. automakers, no one’s coming to the rescue of our financially strapped public schools.

Washington lawmakers absent on school support

Washington state lawmakers failed their responsibility to the state’s students by eroding support for education, writes Seattle teacher Jesse Hagopian. He proposes an income tax on people earning more than $250,000 — an idea recent polls say Americans largely support.

Don’t hang a closed sign on Seattle Public Schools

Shuttering a school is more than mothballing a brick-and-mortar edifice — it is hanging a closed sign on the hopes of a community, argue Jesse D. Hagopian and Andre Helmstetter of the Educators, Students and Parents for a Better Vision of the Seattle Schools. Instead of closing schools, Seattle Public Schools needs a plan for delivering the kind quality education that will woo families back to the public schools along with per-pupil state funding.

Seattle Public Schools should avoid ‘Teach for Awhile’ program

The Seattle School Board is considering whether to bring the Teach for America program to Seattle. Guest columnist Jesse Hagopian, a former TFA teacher, cautions the board to invest in experienced teachers rather than recruits from a program that has become known as “Teach for Awhile.”

Private firm gets failing grade

POP quiz: (We hope you’ve been paying attention because this is a high-stakes test; wrong answers may lead to the dismantling of our schools…


Jesse Hagopian’s Education essays published on Common Dreams:

Global Day of Action for MAP Test Boycott: Many Thanks From a Garfield Teacher

February 7, 2013

February 6, was a national day of action to support Seattle teachers’ boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. The response was astounding. We received messages of solidarity from across the country and across the world.

November 26, 2011
May 24, 2010
September 7, 2009
October 10, 2008

Community & Editorial                                                         Education not incarceration: a primer

by: Jesse D. Hagopian , Guest Writer


One thought on “Education Essays

  1. Bob Barkley

    Here is a recent letter I had printed in the Columbus Dispatch. I thought you might find it useful.

    I believe that cheating by educational professionals is unacceptable behavior. However, it is completely understandable given the intrusion of the corporate inspired amateurish standardized test mania overwhelming our schools. And neither major political party seems to have a clue about their contribution to this mess – including the embarrassingly inept Arne Duncan.

    Those who have cheated have in almost all cases done so because their positions were either threatened if scores did not improve or driven by extrinsic rewards such as equally foolish and ineffective merit pay schemes.

    So much of the current attacks on public education have been framed inside a concept called the “business model.” As it turns out, many uninformed elected officials, and even many education-bashing business leaders themselves, apparently don’t understand at all the fundamentals of effective businesses.
    The centerpiece of effective organizational practice, whether in the private or public sector, is clarity as to purpose. And it’s precisely there that those many critics don’t get it. Ask them what the purpose of education is, and you’ll likely get answers such as, “master the basics…prepare students for work…raise test scores…improve graduation rates…encourage life long learning…get more into college,” and the list goes on. While commendable, these are all desired outcomes but not the central purpose of education. A well-conceived purpose will achieve all such outcomes and more.

    As I have come to realize, the fundamental purpose of education is “Engendering increasingly enthusiast learners who continuously seek and achieve the skills necessary to advance their learning, satisfy their natural curiosities, and become contributing citizens.”

    Skilled professional educators know this instinctively. And those who do and have measured it, are struck by the level at which we miss this purpose and how devastatingly misplaced and detrimental is our emphasis on standardized testing and all that it represents.

    Bob Barkley, 490 Evening Street, Worthington, OH 43085 – Phone: 614-844-4788 — Email:


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