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Education-Related Predictions for 2011

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Last week, I posted my choices for The Best (and Worst) Education News of 2010 and invited readers to share their own.

Now, I'd like to post my own education-related predictions for 2011, and invite you to comment on them if you'd like and to share what you think will happen over the next twelve months. At the end of the year, I'll revisit them and we'll all see who among us has good powers of prognostication.

If some of you wonder what the point is to making predictions, you can go to The New York Times, which recently published a piece on Why Do We Need Predictions? Here are a few of the reasons commentators there gave: it's fun, we need "positive illusions," it helps us gain a "sense of control," the human identity is based in story and predictions enhance them, it's a way to express hope, it demonstrates a "search for simplicity."

Here are my Education-Related Predictions For 2011 (I suspect some are based in genuine reality, and others might fall under the category of "wishful thinking"):

  1. As the 2012 election comes closer (and politicos are reminded about the importance of teacher "ground troops"), the Obama Administration will dramatically reduce its rhetoric in support of "school reformers" and make changes in its proposed revamping of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It will not push for reauthorization, however, and just make the changes in the proposal -- it will put off getting Congressional approval until after the 2012 elections. The changes they'll propose will include adding multiple measurements (not just test scores) to assess schools and districts, and eliminate their ideas to change many funding streams from formulas based on student numbers to using some kind of competition.
  2. The push by mayors to gain control of school districts will come to a screeching halt. Mayors will look at its impact in cities where mayoral control has been implemented and conclude that -- patronage aside -- the political benefits are a net negative.
  3. The fiasco of appointing magazine publisher Cathie Black to be head of New York City schools will halt the momentum of placing people with no education experience as School District Superintendents. Notwithstanding last month's appointment of a general to be superintendent in Wake County, North Carolina, no non-educator will be named Superintendent of a major school district in 2011.
  4. Efforts to implement the so-called "parent-trigger" will fail miserably, and the idea will fade from memory...
  5. This one is specifically related to my work teaching English Language Learners: Somebody will develop an effective online program that will help English Language Learners improve their writing abilities. Many sites have already figured out how to do just that with reading, listening and speaking skills, but an accessible writing support site eludes the Web. In 2011, this will finally change.
  6. Michelle Rhee's new Students First organization will turn into a "talk show radio" kind of site -- people will sign-up there to feel like they're doing something, but it won't really accomplish anything other than helping get Ms. Rhee on television as a commentator. She'll raise a few million dollars, but it will mostly be from the usual funders who support her kind of "school reform" ideas.
  7. One of the two state groups that are preparing the "next generation" of assessments will make a strong effort to get teachers involved in their development.
  8. Newly-elected California Governor Jerry Brown will make major cuts to the state's education budget. At the same time, in an effort to save money and to make the cuts more palatable to educators, he will propose scrapping state tests for second graders and/or the California High School Exit Exam.
  9. The number of document cameras (the latest evolution of the overhead projector and allows anything placed on it -- student work, book pages, etc. to be projected on to a screen) sold will take a huge leap upward as more and more schools see it as an extremely cost-effective way to use technology so that it benefits students. Teachers will love it because even those who are most resistant to tech can see its benefits and learn how to use it in less than a minute.
  10. Teaching 2030, the new book from The Center For Teaching Quality, will become the most discussed and useful education-related book this year.
  11. This last one is borrowed from Bill Ivey, a colleague in the Teacher Leaders Network. He predicts that "Each and every school day will bring tens of thousands of reasons to celebrate in schools across the country." That sure sounds good to me...

What do you think of my predictions? And what are your own?