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Lisa C. Hurst

Inside the School Silicon Valley Thinks Will Save Education | WIRED - 9 views

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    "AUTHOR: ISSIE LAPOWSKY. ISSIE LAPOWSKY DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05.04.15. 05.04.15 TIME OF PUBLICATION: 7:00 AM. 7:00 AM INSIDE THE SCHOOL SILICON VALLEY THINKS WILL SAVE EDUCATION Click to Open Overlay Gallery Students in the youngest class at the Fort Mason AltSchool help their teacher, Jennifer Aguilar, compile a list of what they know and what they want to know about butterflies. CHRISTIE HEMM KLOK/WIRED SO YOU'RE A parent, thinking about sending your 7-year-old to this rogue startup of a school you heard about from your friend's neighbor's sister. It's prospective parent information day, and you make the trek to San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. You walk up to the second floor of the school, file into a glass-walled conference room overlooking a classroom, and take a seat alongside dozens of other parents who, like you, feel that public schools-with their endless bubble-filled tests, 38-kid classrooms, and antiquated approach to learning-just aren't cutting it. At the same time, you're thinking: this school is kind of weird. On one side of the glass is a cheery little scene, with two teachers leading two different middle school lessons on opposite ends of the room. But on the other side is something altogether unusual: an airy and open office with vaulted ceilings, sunlight streaming onto low-slung couches, and rows of hoodie-wearing employees typing away on their computers while munching on free snacks from the kitchen. And while you can't quite be sure, you think that might be a robot on wheels roaming about. Then there's the guy who's standing at the front of the conference room, the school's founder. Dressed in the San Francisco standard issue t-shirt and jeans, he's unlike any school administrator you've ever met. But the more he talks about how this school uses technology to enhance and individualize education, the more you start to like what he has to say. And so, if you are truly fed up with the school stat
Steve Ransom

The fantasies driving school reform: A primer for education graduates - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 5 views

  • Richard Rothstein
  • In truth, this conventional view relies upon imaginary facts.
  • Let me repeat: black elementary school students today have better math skills than white students did only twenty years ago.
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  • As a result, we’ve wasted 15 years avoiding incremental improvement, and instead trying to upend a reasonably successful school system.
  • But the reason it hasn’t narrowed is that your profession has done too good a job — you’ve improved white children’s performance as well, so the score gap persists, but at a higher level for all.
  • Policymakers, pundits, and politicians ignore these gains; they conclude that you, educators, have been incompetent because the test score gap hasn’t much narrowed.
  • If you believe public education deserves greater support, as I do, you will have to boast about your accomplishments, because voters are more likely to aid a successful institution than a collapsing one.
  • Because education has become so politicized, with policy made by those with preconceptions of failure and little understanding of the educational process, you are entering a field that has become obsessed with evaluating only results that are easy to measure, rather than those that are most important. But as Albert Einstein once said, not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.
  • equally important educational goals — citizenship, character, appreciation of the arts and music, physical fitness and health, and knowledge of history, the sciences, and literature.
  • If you have high expectations, your students can succeed regardless of parents’ economic circumstances. That is nonsense.
  • health insurance; children are less likely to get routine and preventive care that middle class children take for granted
  • If they can’t see because they don’t get glasses to correct vision difficulties, high expectations can’t teach them to read.
  • In short, underemployment of parents is not only an economic crisis — it is an educational crisis. You cannot ignore it and be good educators.
  • To be good educators, you must step up your activity not only in the classroom, but as citizens. You must speak up in the public arena, challenging those policymakers who will accuse you only of making excuses when you speak the truth that children who are hungry, mobile, and stressed, cannot learn as easily as those who are comfortable.
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    An important read for anyone who truly wants to understand what's really important in education and the false reform strategies of our current (and past) administration.
Brianna Crowley

Education Week: It's Time for a New Kind of High School - 29 views

  • We need to tear apart the school day, the high school timetable, the school year, the four-year diploma. We need to rethink credit- and diploma-awarding authority, which need not be the sole purview of the high school.
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    Food for thought on Educational Reform, however, not a great amount of practical first steps. Similarly, I am skeptical of some of the suggestions that private industry can do education better than public-provided. 
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    I am currently in private education, although I have taught in both. I believe that the school I am at is highly effective in their schooling, but could benefit from these reforms. That being said, I am not sold on the idea that private is better than public, especially as a universal idea ( ie All private education is better than public education). On th other hand I do see it being easier for private education to take on some of these challenges for reform.
Tanya Windham

Dissent Magazine - Winter 2011 Issue - Got Dough? Public Scho... - 59 views

  • To justify their campaign, ed reformers repeat, mantra-like, that U.S. students are trailing far behind their peers in other nations, that U.S. public schools are failing. The claims are specious. Two of the three major international tests—the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and the Trends in International Math and Science Study—break down student scores according to the poverty rate in each school. The tests are given every five years. The most recent results (2006) showed the following: students in U.S. schools where the poverty rate was less than 10 percent ranked first in reading, first in science, and third in math. When the poverty rate was 10 percent to 25 percent, U.S. students still ranked first in reading and science. But as the poverty rate rose still higher, students ranked lower and lower. Twenty percent of all U.S. schools have poverty rates over 75 percent. The average ranking of American students reflects this. The problem is not public schools; it is poverty. And as dozens of studies have shown, the gap in cognitive, physical, and social development between children in poverty and middle-class children is set by age three.
  • Drilling students on sample questions for weeks before a state test will not improve their education. The truly excellent charter schools depend on foundation money and their prerogative to send low-performing students back to traditional public schools. They cannot be replicated to serve millions of low-income children. Yet the reform movement, led by Gates, Broad, and Walton, has convinced most Americans who have an opinion about education (including most liberals) that their agenda deserves support.
  • THE COST of K–12 public schooling in the United States comes to well over $500 billion per year. So, how much influence could anyone in the private sector exert by controlling just a few billion dollars of that immense sum? Decisive influence, it turns out. A few billion dollars in private foundation money, strategically invested every year
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  • Hundreds of private philanthropies together spend almost $4 billion annually to support or transform K–12 education, most of it directed to schools that serve low-income children (only religious organizations receive more money). But three funders—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad (rhymes
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    A great analysis of the problems with financial giants supporting educational reform.
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    This is one juicy article which may change your view of the big picture of ed reform or help you get others to see it more clearly. Pass it on.
Andrew Sias

Schools Incorporated?: Real Reform vs. Corporate Reform - 2 views

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    Quotes from reformers on both ends of the spectrum.
ron houtman

Engaging Schools: Fostering High School Students' Motivation to Learn - 59 views

  • When it comes to motivating people to learn, disadvantaged urban adolescents are usually perceived as a hard sell. Yet, in a recent MetLife survey, 89 percent of the low-income students claimed I really want to learn applied to them. What is it about the school environment pedagogy, curriculum, climate, organization that encourages or discourages engagement in school activities? How do peers, family, and community affect adolescents attitudes towards learning? Engaging Schools reviews current research on what shapes adolescents school engagement and motivation to learn including new findings on students sense of belonging and looks at ways these can be used to reform urban high schools. This book discusses what changes hold the greatest promise for increasing students motivation to learn in these schools. It looks at various approaches to reform through different methods of instruction and assessment, adjustments in school size, vocational teaching, and other key areas. Examples of innovative schools, classrooms, and out-of-school programs that have proved successful in getting high school kids excited about learning are also included.
Sigrid Murphy

Five U.S. innovations that helped Finland's schools improve but that American reformers now ignore - 64 views

    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Interesting Top Five
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Answer explanation is almost as important as mathematic problem solving.  If we really want to know if a student understands ANY concept, we need to ask him/her to write their explanation.  Sometimes the understanding comes from the thinking required to do the writing - writing to make it make sense!
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Why don't we consider relating almost every lesson to everyday life?  Seems like an obvious thing to do to me!
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    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Wow!  I think the concept of doing less of something in order to make time for experimentation is a fabulous idea!  Do you mean there are different aspects of student assessment and testing beyond a bubble sheet?  :)
  • Most of them have studied psychology, teaching methods, curriculum theories, assessment models, and classroom management researched and designed in the United States
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Finland's successful practices are something they learned here in the U.S.  So, why aren't our teachers here in the U.S. employing those same practices successfully?
  • Professional development and school improvement courses and programs often include visitors from the U.S. universities to teach and work with Finnish teachers and leaders.
  • in an ideal classroom, pupils speak more than the teacher
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Hooray!
  • the entire Finnish school system looks like John Dewey’s laboratory school in the U.S.
  • cooperative learning has become a pedagogical approach that is widely practiced throughout Finnish education system
  • Finnish teachers believe that over 90 percent of students can learn successfully in their own classrooms if given the opportunity to evolve in a holistic manner.
  • After abolishing all streaming and tracking of students in the mid-1980s, both education policies and school practices adopted the principle that all children have different kinds of intelligences and that schools must find ways how to cultivate these different individual aspects in balanced ways.
  • it is ironic that many of these methods were developed at U.S. universities and are yet far more popular in Finland than in the United States. These include portfolio assessment, performance assessment, self-assessment and self-reflection, and assessment for learning methods.
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Alternative assessments!  Performance, portfolio, self-assessment, self-reflection, and assessment of learning methods...
  • Peer coaching—that is, a confidential process through which teachers work together to reflect on current practices, expand, improve, and learn new skills, exchange ideas, conduct classroom research and solve problems together in school
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Working together and reflecting on current practices - Reflection helps to expand, improve, and provides an opportunity to learn and exchange ideas to solve problems
  • the work of the school in the United States is so much steered by bureaucracies, test-based accountability and competition that schools are simply doing what they must do
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Sadness Abounds!  We are teaching folks what works best.  Then, they enter the classroom and get wrapped up in bureaucracies and test-based accountability to the point that teachers are just going through the motions instead of facilitating quality learning
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    Pasi Sahlberg Blog Finnish education reform Originally published in Washington Post, 24 July 2014 An intriguing question whether innovation in education can be measured has an answer now. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in its recent report "Measuring Innovation in Education: A New Perspective, Educational Research and Innovation" measures Innovation in Education in 22 countries and 6 jurisdictions, among them the U.S.
Steve Ransom

Prof. Stephen Krashen 12-08-2011 on Vimeo - 51 views

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    Primary conditions that impact achievement: ---------- 1. poverty 2. access to school library/books at school/books at home ---------- Suggestions: 1. ramp up school meal programs 2. more/better healthcare for kids at school/school nurses 3. better access to books & libraries at school, community, and home. ----------- How to pay for it? - cut testing and divert those funds to the above :-)
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    Thank you for sharing.
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    Most welcome! Glad you found it.
smilex3md

Four decades of failed school reform - The Washington Post - 54 views

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    A history of teaching/learning initiatives from a retiring teacher. "I saw countless reforms come and go; some even returned years later disguised in new education lingo. Some that were touted as "best practices" couldn't work, given Alexandria's demographics. Others were nothing but common-sense bromides hyped as revolutionary epiphanies. All of them failed to do what I believe to be key to teaching: to make students care about what they're studying and understand how it's relevant to their lives."
pseudandry

NJEA has it WRONG for NJ school librarians! - 36 views

On December 7, 2010, NJEA President Barbara Keshishian announced "research-based education reform." One of the aspects of the proposed plan involves Educational Technology Coaches. [ http://www.nj...

NJEA librarians professional development technology

started by pseudandry on 08 Dec 10 no follow-up yet
Melissa Middleton

http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Advocacy/Top_Ten_in_10.htm - 87 views

  • Establish technology in education as the backbone of school improvement
  • Leverage education technology as a gateway for college and career readiness
  • Ensure technology expertise is infused throughout our schools and classrooms.
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  • Continuously upgrade educators' classroom technology skills as a pre-requisite of "highly effective" teaching
  • Home Advocacy Top Ten in '10: ISTE's Education Technology Priorities for 2010 Through a common focus on boosting student achievement and closing the achievement gap, policymakers and educators alike are now reiterating their commitment to the sorts of programs and instructional efforts that can have maximum effect on instruction and student outcomes. This commitment requires a keen understanding of both past accomplishment and strategies for future success. Regardless of the specific improvement paths a state or school district may chart, the use of technology in teaching and learning is non-negotiable if we are to make real and lasting change.  With growing anticipation for Race to the Top (RttT) and Investing in Innovation (i3) awards in 2010, states and school districts are seeing increased attention on educational improvement, backed by financial support through these grants. As we think about plans for the future, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has identified 10 priorities essential for making good on this commitment in 2010: 1. Establish technology in education as the backbone of school improvement . To truly improve our schools for the long term and ensure that all students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve in the 21st century, education technology must permeate every corner of the learning process. From years of research, we know that technology can serve as a primary driver for systemic school improvement, including school leadership, an improved learning culture and excellence in professional practice. We must ensure that technology is at the foundation of current education reform efforts, and is explicit and clear in its role, mission, and expected impact. 2. Leverage education technology as a gateway for college and career readiness . Last year, President Obama established a national goal of producing the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by the year 2020. To achieve this goal in the next 10 years, we must embrace new instructional approaches that both increase the college-going rates and the high school graduation rates. By effectively engaging learning through technology, teachers can demonstrate the relevance of 21st century education, keeping more children in the pipeline as they pursue a rigorous, interesting and pertinent PK-12 public education. 3. Ensure technology expertise is infused throughout our schools and classrooms.  In addition to providing all teachers with digital tools and content we must ensure technology experts are integrated throughout all schools, particularly as we increase focus and priority on STEM (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) instruction and expand distance and online learning opportunities for students. Just as we prioritize reading and math experts, so too must we place a premium on technology experts who can help the entire school maximize its resources and opportunities. To support these experts, as well as all educators who integrate technology into the overall curriculum, we must substantially increase our support for the federal Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program.  EETT provides critical support for on-going professional development, implementation of data-driven decision-making, personalized learning opportunities, and increased parental involvement. EETT should be increased to $500 million in FY2011. 4. Continuously upgrade educators' classroom technology skills as a pre-requisite of "highly effective" teaching . As part of our nation's continued push to ensure every classroom is led by a qualified, highly effective teacher, we must commit that all P-12 educators have the skills to use modern information tools and digital content to support student learning in content areas and for student assessment. Effective teachers in the 21st Century should be, by definition, technologically savvy teachers. 5. Invest in pre-service education technology
Jason Schmidt

School Would Be Great If It Weren't for the Damn Kids - 95 views

  • It simply doesn’t make sense to try to “purge ‘ineffective’ teachers and principals.”  His listener, almost giddy with gratitude now, prepares to chime in, as Samuelson, without pausing, delivers the punch line:  That’s right, it’s time to stop blaming teachers and start . . . blaming students!
  • His focus is not on students’ achievements (the intellectual accomplishments of individual kids) but only on “student achievement” (the aggregate results of standardized tests)
  • As I’ve noted elsewhere, we have reason to worry when schooling is discussed primarily in the context of “global competitiveness” rather than in terms of what children need or what contributes to a democratic culture
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  • Upon hearing someone castigate students for being insufficiently motivated, a noneconomist might be inclined to ask two questions.  The first is:  “Motivated to do what, exactly”?  Anything they’re told, no matter how unengaging, inappropriate, or, well, demotivating? 
  • Whenever I see students made to cram facts into their short-term memories for a test, practice a series of decontextualized skills on yet another worksheet, listen passively to a lecture, or inch their way through the insipid prose of a corporate-produced textbook, I find myself thinking of a comment made by Frederick Herzberg, a critic of traditional workplace management:  “Idleness, indifference, and irresponsibility,” he said, “are healthy responses to absurd work.”
  • The more you reward people for doing something, or for doing it well, the less interest they typically come to have in whatever they had to do to get the reward. 
  • People who blame students for not being “motivated” tend to think educational success mean little more than higher scores on bad tests and they’re apt to see education itself as a means to making sure our corporations will beat their corporations.  The sort of schooling that results is the type almost guaranteed to . . . kill students’ motivation.
  • one thing that’s happened is a concatenation of rewards and punishments, including grades, which teach students that learning is just a means to an end.
  • Another thing that’s happened is teaching that’s meant primarily to raise test scores.
  • inner-city kids get the worst of the sort of schooling that’s not about exploring and discovering and questioning but only about working hard (often at rote tasks) and being nice (read: obedient).
  • “Motivation is weak because more students…don't like school, don't work hard and don't do well.”  But why don’t they like school (which is the key to understanding why, assuming his premise is correct, they don’t succeed)?  What has happened to their desire to figure out how things work, the hunger to make sense of things, with which all children start out? 
  • if you want to see (intrinsically) motivated kids, you need to visit classrooms or schools that take a nontraditional approach to education, places where students are more likely to be absorbed and frequently delighted, where what they’re doing is not merely “rigorous” (a word often applied to very difficult busywork) but meaningful.
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    Alfie Kohn's commentary on an article written by Robert J. Samuelson. Samuelson argues in his article that the problem with education reform is not the usual suspects like ineffective teachers, but kids who are lazy and unmotivated. Interesting read with thoughtful information about student motivation.
Marianne Hart

The Creativity Crisis - Newsweek - 48 views

  • there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
  • “Creativity can be taught,”
  • it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Students are labeled as "creative" if they display a knack for art or music, and sometimes in writing, however, they are rarely recognized as creative in math or science where a lot of creativity is not only needed, but excellent for learning within those very two disciplines.
    • Bill Genereux
       
      This is precisely why creativity education is important. It is needed everywhere, not just in the arts. Those teaching outside of arts education need to start recognizing the importance of creative thinking as well.
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  • When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” Plucker says. “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’ ”
  • The argument that we can’t teach creativity because kids already have too much to learn is a false trade-off. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process.
  • When you try to solve a problem, you begin by concentrating on obvious facts and familiar solutions, to see if the answer lies there. This is a mostly left-brain stage of attack. If the answer doesn’t come, the right and left hemispheres of the brain activate together. Neural networks on the right side scan remote memories that could be vaguely relevant. A wide range of distant information that is normally tuned out becomes available to the left hemisphere, which searches for unseen patterns, alternative meanings, and high-level abstractions. Having glimpsed such a connection, the left brain must quickly lock in on it before it escapes. The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with. Now the brain must evaluate the idea it just generated. Is it worth pursuing? Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas. Highly creative people are very good at marshaling their brains into bilateral mode, and the more creative they are, the more they dual-activate.
  • those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better
    • Ed Webb
       
      Surely, "more quickly"?
  • Creativity has always been prized in American society, but it’s never really been understood. While our creativity scores decline unchecked, the current national strategy for creativity consists of little more than praying for a Greek muse to drop by our houses. The problems we face now, and in the future, simply demand that we do more than just hope for inspiration to strike. Fortunately, the science can help: we know the steps to lead that elusive muse right to our doors.
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Likely because it was out of necessity and the hardships of life. Not that we don't have hardships and necessities, but innovation has solved a lot of problems and automation has made skills and tasks easy.
  • What’s common about successful programs is they alternate maximum divergent thinking with bouts of intense convergent thinking, through several stages. Real improvement doesn’t happen in a weekend workshop. But when applied to the everyday process of work or school, brain function improves.
    • Brian C. Smith
       
      Everyday process of work or school... over time, consistent and non-prescriptive.
  • kids demonstrated the very definition of creativity: alternating between divergent and convergent thinking, they arrived at original and useful ideas. And they’d unwittingly mastered Ohio’s required fifth-grade curriculum—from understanding sound waves to per-unit cost calculations to the art of persuasive writing. “You never see our kids saying, ‘I’ll never use this so I don’t need to learn it,’ ” says school administrator Maryann Wolowiec. “Instead, kids ask, ‘Do we have to leave school now?’ ” Two weeks ago, when the school received its results on the state’s achievement test, principal Traci Buckner was moved to tears. The raw scores indicate that, in its first year, the school has already become one of the top three schools in Akron, despite having open enrollment by lottery and 42 percent of its students living in poverty.
  • project-based learning
  • highly creative adults frequently grew up with hardship. Hardship by itself doesn’t lead to creativity, but it does force kids to become more flexible—and flexibility helps with creativity.
  • When creative children have a supportive teacher—someone tolerant of unconventional answers, occasional disruptions, or detours of curiosity—they tend to excel. When they don’t, they tend to underperform and drop out of high school or don’t finish college at high rates. They’re quitting because they’re discouraged and bored, not because they’re dark, depressed, anxious, or neurotic. It’s a myth that creative people have these traits. (Those traits actually shut down creativity; they make people less open to experience and less interested in novelty.) Rather, creative people, for the most part, exhibit active moods and positive affect. They’re not particularly happy—contentment is a kind of complacency creative people rarely have. But they’re engaged, motivated, and open to the world.
  • solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others
  • The age-old belief that the arts have a special claim to creativity is unfounded.
  • When scholars gave creativity tasks to both engineering majors and music majors, their scores laid down on an identical spectrum, with the same high averages and standard deviations. Inside their brains, the same thing was happening—ideas were being generated and evaluated on the fly.
  • The lore of pop psychology is that creativity occurs on the right side of the brain. But we now know that if you tried to be creative using only the right side of your brain, it’d be like living with ideas perpetually at the tip of your tongue, just beyond reach
  • those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better. A lifetime of consistent habits gradually changes the neurological pattern.
  • The home-game version of this means no longer encouraging kids to spring straight ahead to the right answer
  • The new view is that creativity is part of normal brain function.
  • “As a child, I never had an identity as a ‘creative person,’ ” Schwarzrock recalls. “But now that I know, it helps explain a lot of what I felt and went through.”
  • In China there has been widespread education reform to extinguish the drill-and-kill teaching style. Instead, Chinese schools are also adopting a problem-based learning approach.
  • fact-finding
  • problem-finding
  • Next, idea-finding
  • there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
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    For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong-and how we can fix it.
Steve Ransom

AASA :: Public School Bashing: A Dangerous Game - 58 views

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    One of the best articles that I have read on change, reform, school bashing, Waiting for Superman,...
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    Really liked this! I sent it to all my teacher friends. She does a good job addressing a much better way to enact change in our districts than the method used by media and Hollywood. I think Waiting for Superman is a cop-out. A bonafide cop-out. It's so easy for the media and entertainment industry to just throw sticky-bombs at public schools. The ironic thing is there are so many privileged individuals in the media industries that were taught in elitist environments. When is someone going to make a movie bashing parents who do nothing to help their children succeed? Lastly, I loved her comment about the decision being dumber the further the person making is from a real classroom. Classic. Thanks again for sharing.
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    Glad you found it helpful. I thought it was very clear, well written, and offers some solutions... solutions that require social and moral change, not just political and hegemonic change.
Tony Baldasaro

Weblogg-ed » "Tinkering Toward Utopia" - 1 views

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    During Boot Camp last week, Sheryl turned me on to Phillip Schlechty's newish book "Leading for Learning: How to Transform Schools into Learning Organizations" and I had a chance to get through a chunk of it on the cramped, smelly plane(s) to Melbourne. In it, he makes a pretty compelling case that "reform" is really not going to cut it in the face of the disruptions social Web technologies are creating and that we really do have to think more about "transform" when it comes to talking about schools. There are echoes of Sir Ken Robinson here, and I've still got Scott McLeod's NECC presentation riff on Christensen's "Disrupting Class" on my brain as well, especially the "the disruption isn't online learning; it's personalized learning" quote. And while there are others who I could cite here who are trumpeting the idea that this isn't business as usual, I think Schlechty does as good a job as I've seen of breaking down why schools in their current form as "bureaucratic" structures will end up on the "ash heap of history" if we don't get our brains around what's happening.
Maggie Verster

Revolutionizing Education: What We're Learning from Technology-Transformed Schools - 67 views

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    "In this eBook, Project RED - a national research and advocacy effort - shares preliminary results from a survey of technology-rich schools and takes a look at what past research and current observation tells us about the keys to successful technology implementation. What do we know about curriculum reform or the leadership, funding and legislation changes that will allow technology to transform learning and schools, just as it has transformed homes and offices in almost every other segment of our society? "
Roland Gesthuizen

Ravitch: No Child Left Behind and the damage done - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 59 views

  • with the active support of the Obama administration, the NCLB wrecking ball has become a means of promoting privatization and community fragmentation
  • NCLB cannot be fixed. It has failed. It has imposed a sterile and mean-spirited regime on the schools. It represents the dead hand of conformity and regulation from afar. It is time to abandon the status quo of test-based accountability and seek fresh and innovative thinking to support and strengthen our nation's schools.
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    "This was written by education historian Diane Ravitch for her Bridging Differences blog, which she co-authors with Deborah Meier on the Education Week website. Ravitch and Meier exchange letters about what matters most in education. Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is the author of the bestselling "The Death and Life of the Great American School System," an important critique of the flaws in the modern school reform movement that she just updated."
Peter Beens

7 Habits of Highly Effective Tech-leading Principals -- THE Journal - 96 views

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    The conventional wisdom in education is that any school reform--be it curriculum, instruction, assessment, or teacher professionalism--is most likely to take hold in schools that have strong leadership. The same holds true for technology. Any educator will tell you the most successful implementation of technology programs takes place in schools where the principal sees him or herself as a technology leader. 
Andrew McCluskey

Occupy Your Brain - 111 views

  • One of the most profound changes that occurs when modern schooling is introduced into traditional societies around the world is a radical shift in the locus of power and control over learning from children, families, and communities to ever more centralized systems of authority.
  • Once learning is institutionalized under a central authority, both freedom for the individual and respect for the local are radically curtailed.  The child in a classroom generally finds herself in a situation where she may not move, speak, laugh, sing, eat, drink, read, think her own thoughts, or even  use the toilet without explicit permission from an authority figure.
  • In what should be considered a chilling development, there are murmurings of the idea of creating global standards for education – in other words, the creation of a single centralized authority dictating what every child on the planet must learn.
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  • In “developed” societies, we are so accustomed to centralized control over learning that it has become functionally invisible to us, and most people accept it as natural, inevitable, and consistent with the principles of freedom and democracy.   We assume that this central authority, because it is associated with something that seems like an unequivocal good – “education” – must itself be fundamentally good, a sort of benevolent dictatorship of the intellect. 
  • We endorse strict legal codes which render this process compulsory, and in a truly Orwellian twist, many of us now view it as a fundamental human right to be legally compelled to learn what a higher authority tells us to learn.
  • And yet the idea of centrally-controlled education is as problematic as the idea of centrally-controlled media – and for exactly the same reasons.
  • The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was designed to protect all forms of communication, information-sharing, knowledge, opinion and belief – what the Supreme Court has termed “the sphere of intellect and spirit” – from government control.
  • by the mid-19th century, with Indians still to conquer and waves of immigrants to assimilate, the temptation to find a way to manage the minds of an increasingly diverse and independent-minded population became too great to resist, and the idea of the Common School was born.
  • We would keep our freedom of speech and press, but first we would all be well-schooled by those in power.
  • A deeply democratic idea — the free and equal education of every child — was wedded to a deeply anti-democratic idea — that this education would be controlled from the top down by state-appointed educrats.
  • The fundamental point of the Occupy Wall Street movement is that the apparatus of democratic government has been completely bought and paid for by a tiny number of grotesquely wealthy individuals, corporations, and lobbying groups.  Our votes no longer matter.  Our wishes no longer count.  Our power as citizens has been sold to the highest bidder.
  • Our kids are so drowned in disconnected information that it becomes quite random what they do and don’t remember, and they’re so overburdened with endless homework and tests that they have little time or energy to pay attention to what’s happening in the world around them.
  • If in ten years we can create Wikipedia out of thin air, what could we create if we trusted our children, our teachers, our parents, our neighbors, to generate community learning webs that are open, alive, and responsive to individual needs and aspirations?  What could we create if instead of trying to “scale up” every innovation into a monolithic bureaucracy we “scaled down” to allow local and individual control, freedom, experimentation, and diversity?
  • The most academically “gifted” students excel at obedience, instinctively shaping their thinking to the prescribed curriculum and unconsciously framing out of their awareness ideas that won’t earn the praise of their superiors.  Those who resist sitting still for this process are marginalized, labeled as less intelligent or even as mildly brain-damaged, and, increasingly, drugged into compliance.
  • the very root, the very essence, of any theory of democratic liberty is a basic trust in the fundamental intelligence of the ordinary person.   Democracy rests on the premise that the ordinary person — the waitress, the carpenter, the shopkeeper — is competent to make her own judgments about matters of domestic policy, international affairs, taxes, justice, peace, and war, and that the government must abide by the decisions of ordinary people, not vice versa.  Of course that’s not the way our system really works, and never has been.   But most of us recall at some deep level of our beings that any vision of a just world relies on this fundamental respect for the common sense of the ordinary human being.
  • This is what we spend our childhood in school unlearning. 
  • If before we reach the age of majority we must submit our brains for twelve years of evaluation and control by government experts, are we then truly free to exercise our vote according to the dictates of our own common sense and conscience?  Do we even know what our own common sense is anymore?
  • We live in a country where a serious candidate for the Presidency is unaware that China has nuclear weapons, where half the population does not understand that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, where nobody pays attention as Congress dismantles the securities regulations that limit the power of the banks, where 45% of American high school students graduate without knowing that the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press.   At what point do we begin to ask ourselves if we are trying to control quality in the wrong way?
  • Human beings, collaborating with one another in voluntary relationships, communicating and checking and counter-checking and elaborating and expanding on one another’s knowledge and intelligence, have created a collective public resource more vast and more alive than anything that has ever existed on the planet.
  • But this is not a paeon to technology; this is about what human intelligence is capable of when people are free to interact in open, horizontal, non-hierarchical networks of communication and collaboration.
  • Positive social change has occurred not through top-down, hierarchically controlled organizations, but through what the Berkana Institute calls “emergence,” where people begin networking and forming voluntary communities of practice. When the goal is to maximize the functioning of human intelligence, you need to activate the unique skills, talents, and knowledge bases of diverse individuals, not put everybody through a uniform mill to produce uniform results. 
  • You need a non-punitive structure that encourages collaboration rather than competition, risk-taking rather than mistake-avoidance, and innovation rather than repetition of known quantities.
  • if we really want to return power to the 99% in a lasting, stable, sustainable way, we need to begin the work of creating open, egalitarian, horizontal networks of learning in our communities.
  • They are taught to focus on competing with each other and gaming the system rather than on gaining a deep understanding of the way power flows through their world.
  • And what could we create, what ecological problems could we solve, what despair might we alleviate, if instead of imposing our rigid curriculum and the destructive economy it serves on the entire world, we embraced as part of our vast collective intelligence the wisdom and knowledge of the world’s thousands of sustainable indigenous cultures?
  • They knew this about their situation: nobody was on their side.  Certainly not the moneyed classes and the economic system, and not the government, either.  So if they were going to change anything, it had to come out of themselves.
  • As our climate heats up, as mountaintops are removed from Orissa to West Virginia, as the oceans fill with plastic and soils become too contaminated to grow food, as the economy crumbles and children go hungry and the 0.001% grows so concentrated, so powerful, so wealthy that democracy becomes impossible, it’s time to ask ourselves; who’s educating us?  To what end?  The Adivasis are occupying their forests and mountains as our children are occupying our cities and parks.  But they understand that the first thing they must take back is their common sense. 
  • They must occupy their brains.
  • Isn’t it time for us to do the same?
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    Carol Black, creator of the documentary, "Schooling the World" discusses the conflicting ideas of centralized control of education and standardization against the so-called freedom to think independently--"what the Supreme Court has termed 'the sphere of intellect and spirit" (Black, 2012). Root questions: "who's educating us? to what end?" (Black, 2012).
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    This is a must read. Carol Black echoes here many of the ideas of Paulo Freire, John Taylor Gatto and the like.
Bruce Fryer

National School Reform Faculty - 20 views

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    Using protocols
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    The National School Reform Faculty® (NSRF®) is a professional development initiative that focuses on increasing student achievement through skillful use of collaborative professional learning communities called Critical Friends Groups use protocols and activities that result in meaningful and efficient communication, problem solving and learning.
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