Too often we talk about "education" as if students were faceless automatons and the body of knowledge were a single thing, a set of settled truths, a desirable accomplishment that promises an end to poverty and a happy life.
As much as I typically disagree with the Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, his description of Chicago as a "City of Tribes" is apt. I grew up in a small town, Woodstock, Ill., that was mostly homogenous and people had differences, but the commonalities ruled the day.
It is my strong belief that if we, as an educational community, are to succeed in taking full advantage of our ever-evolving "21st century" tools, we first need to commit ourselves to sharpening our understanding and usage of some "20th century" (or older) educational staples.
It's easy to get caught up in the headlines that paint the education world as a black and white battle field; 'for this,' 'against that,' a slew of divisive buzz words detracting from the work we can do best together. We're here to put an end to that paradigm.
Faculty need to be tech-savvy as new tools are introduced to the classroom. They have to be versed in assessing volumes of digitally-generated, real-time data on each student. And they must to be ready to change course fast to reinforce or reintroduce concepts, depending on what the data shows.
A recent article notes that the TFA program is "suddenly having recruitment problems." The article reveals that applications are down 10 percent, yet the demand for recruits from the program "is extremely high," according to the co-chief executive of Teach for America.
Since the beginnings of the current wave of test-driven accountability, reformsters have been excited about stack ranking -- the process of sorting out items from the very best to the very worst. But you know what we still aren't sorting? The big standardized tests.
Technology has become further integrated into the daily operations of most Australian schools. The entire teacher workforce can now collaborate nationally on innovations in practice that address the problems they encounter in implementing a new curriculum.
Who is teaching kids problem-solving, or entrepreneurism, or how to collaborate and appreciate diversity? Tests don't really assess that.
Today, I'm trying something new. I've gotten myself onto the PARCC sample item site and am going to look at the ELA sample items for high school. There appear to be 23 sample pages, and I have two hours to do this, so this could take a while. You've been warned.
The National Museum of Educational History located in Albany, New York has been a hotbed of public attention since its opening in January of 2035. The old timers still can't believe that they used to allow themselves to be pushed around like that back in the years of 2000-2020.
Malcolm X faced the kind of racial determinism that many students of color have become accustomed to today. Proponents of high stakes testing resurrect such determinism, presumably without the racial overtones, by reducing students, their hopes and dreams for the future, to test scores.
The new iteration of teacher serves not the broad public interest of education as an individual and national good, but the selfish motives of the few: those who profit and those bought by those profits -- the politicians. One chases the money, while the other pursues the power.
Most innovations fail. And like NPR Planet Money's Adam Davidson explains, "life span of innovations has never shorter, meaning that failure happens more quickly." So it is not too soon to start to contemplate of the obituaries of the contemporary school reform movement.
Even though the states with the high teacher union rates get better results than the states with the low rates, conservatives still pretend that unions are somehow ruining public education.
In his paper, "Is School Reform Working?", Professor Geoff Masters explores whether or not the policy settings for Australian schools are on track to ensure future improvements in that country's decade-long decline in the PISA test. I caught up with him recently to get some answers to the questions I had.