For decades, policymakers have pursued a sustained program of education reform, recognizing that positive results require long-term commitment. It is even more impressive when the context -- one of near-constant guerrilla warfare and drug-related violence -- is taken into account.
A myopic focus on reading and math has turned kindergarten into a place where unique beings go for standardization, followed by 12 more years of it. This standardized approach to learning supposedly prepares them for placement in an economy that no longer exists.
I can understand why some Americans have flirted with high-stakes testing. The authoritarianism of a single, test-driven ladder to economic success has an enduring power. But I don't understand reformers who gamble that they can grab the benefits of a single, controlled path to improving education outputs without losing our creativity, individuality, diversity, and innovative talents.
I became an educator because I believe in the power of schools to change people's lives and to ensure a more equitable society for all. Yet high stakes tests have only furthered the inequity by punishing schools and communities that are already struggling.
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.