Anthony Muhammad

Anthony Muhammad, PhD, is a much sought-after consultant. A practitioner for nearly 20 years, he has served as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, and principal, and as a high school principal.

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What Next? COVID-19 and the Uncertainty of the Future

Categories: Authors, Guest Posts, Pandemic Response and Educational Practices, PLC, PLC at Work

The month of March in the year 2020 will always have a prominent place in my personal history. I recall listening to the prognosticators on cable news in January of 2020 as they predicted an imminent global cataclysmic event. The news reported that this new virus that had shut down daily life in Wuhan, China, was heading to a country, town, and neighborhood near you! I was personally skeptical, because I had heard this type of prediction before. We were warned in the past about the apocalyptic danger of swine flu, SARS, and ebola, which turned out to be no more than contained regional phenomena.

But my experience on March 13, 2020, made it clear that COVID-19 was real and different. I was in Los Angeles preparing to fly back home to Detroit, and everyone at the restaurant where I ate looked petrified. People watched as the news reported cities declaring shelter-in-place orders, and the Los Angeles International Airport was nearly empty. Upon arriving home, I learned that my own state had ordered us to shelter in place, schools closed, businesses closed, and, like many others, I found myself confined to my home with my family for months. Life had changed forever, and I was not prepared.

Pandemics are very interesting phenomena, and they are not new to humanity. The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was even deadlier than COVID-19, and the disruptions to daily life were equally or more significant. As we prepare for this new, post-COVID reality, wouldn’t it be wise to learn from the past so that we can plan for a brighter future? Read more

Beyond Conversations About Race

Beyond Conversations About Race

Categories: Authors

What’s wrong with conversation? Certainly, communication is important, but action is far more important. Although the nation has been involved in conversations about race, especially since the murder of George Floyd, we have seen too many schools and districts focusing only on the conversation and not on essential changes in behavior. It doesn’t matter, for example, if educators and administrators are suddenly using more sensitive language and express genuine contrition for bias and racism, if they persist in practices and policies that continue to work to the dissaving of black and brown students. Consider just three examples of practices and policies that must change: Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and grading practices. These programs are often as segregated now as they were 50 years ago, with white students in Gifted and Talented programs, enrolled in AP classes, and featured prominently on the honor roll, while black and brown students receive perpetual remediation. Read more

image with the words practicing what we preach

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Practicing What We Preach: Continuous Improvement and the PLC at Work Process

Categories: Authors

An essential characteristic of a true professional learning community is continuous improvement—a “persistent disquiet with the status quo” and a constant search for better practice (DuFour et al. 2016). Until every student is learning at high levels, there is a pressing need—an intrinsic desire—to identify and more deeply implement practices, policies, and dispositions that will improve both student and adult learning.

This focus on collective inquiry and continuous improvement is how the PLC at Work® framework was first created. In the 1980s when Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker and the educators at Adlai Stevenson High School began their focus on collaboration, there were not “Three Big Ideas” or “Four Critical Questions” to guide their efforts. Instead, they began by asking this question: “If we have limited time and resources to collaborate, then what are actions we can take that are proven to best increase student learning and build our staff’s capacity to work in high-performing teams?” They did not guess at what these actions would be, but instead committed to collective inquiry—learning together about research-based best practices. Then they applied what they learned, gathered targeted evidence to determine if their actions were actually helping more students learn, and used that information to determine their next topics of study. The goal was not simply to learn a new strategy, but to create the conditions for job-embedded learning and continuous improvement. Read more

Equity, responsibility, and advocacy can help close the achievement gap.

How to Close the Achievement Gap—The Liberation Mindset

Categories: School Improvement

It is clear that the paths taken in the past to close the achievement disparities in American public schools, also known as the Achievement Gap, have not been effective. Despite billions of dollars dedicated to achieving the goal of academic equality in every public school, the gap still remains, and it is as large as it has ever been. We should not be able to predict student success in school based upon factors like race, income, and home language. So, what will it take to close this stubborn gap? Read more

Truth, Assumptions, Lies about the American Education System

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Truth, Assumptions, and Lies

Categories: PLC

This post is part of a series on In Praise of American Educators (And How They Can Become Even Better).


Education systems are a vital part of any high functioning society. They cultivate the future citizens of a nation and prepare them be to responsible citizens and skilled contributors to the future of a nation. The rise of the United States as a world power can be greatly attributed to its investment in the education of its citizens. Michael Fullan wrote in his book, The Moral Imperative of School Leadership (Fullan 2003)

“The best case for public education has always been that it is a common good. Everyone ultimately has a stake in the caliber of schools, and education is everyone’s business.”

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