reform

Showing 59 posts tagged reform

A Simple Idea to Reform Standardized Testing

What if we tested students in the beginning of the school year, rather than the end? I could see this accomplishing a few things:

  1. The test could be used much more like a diagnostic, and if teachers received an item-by-item analysis in the first month of school, that would help them decide how to spend the rest of the year with their students.
  2. Test results could still be used as one way to assess the quality of schools. We’ll get to how this would work in a second.
  3. By testing at the beginning of the year, schools would probably cut down on test prep, and might even do more to prevent summer learning loss.
  4. This would blur the lines that directly tie teacher performance to high stakes test scores, in a productive way.

A new ‘Education Declaration’ for genuine school reform

As a nation, we’re failing to provide the basics our children need for an opportunity to learn. Instead, we have substituted a punitive high-stakes testing regime that seeks to force progress on the cheap. But there is no shortcut to success. We must change course before we further undermine schools and drive away the teachers our children need.

All who envision a more just, progressive, and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

Education Will Break Your Heart

People often ask me how they can stand working on education issues. “It’s so depressing,” they tell me. “Nothing ever seems to work.” Reading through Franzen’s remarks helped me understand a bit more about my own on-again, off-again fascination with public education, the cynical and silly ways I sometimes write about school reform, and — even more importantly — the struggle so many of my friends and loved ones (and the general public) have talking about education. The topic is so conflictual, so overwhelming, so depressing and (still) not particularly cool. Most of the time it devolves into a simplistic discussion of news headlines or individual experiences. As a result I generally don’t bring education up outside work hours. Or maybe I just need a break.

image via flickr:CC | Grim Santo High-res

Education Will Break Your Heart

People often ask me how they can stand working on education issues. “It’s so depressing,” they tell me. “Nothing ever seems to work.” Reading through Franzen’s remarks helped me understand a bit more about my own on-again, off-again fascination with public education, the cynical and silly ways I sometimes write about school reform, and — even more importantly — the struggle so many of my friends and loved ones (and the general public) have talking about education. The topic is so conflictual, so overwhelming, so depressing and (still) not particularly cool. Most of the time it devolves into a simplistic discussion of news headlines or individual experiences. As a result I generally don’t bring education up outside work hours. Or maybe I just need a break.

image via flickr:CC | Grim Santo

Instead of robust public education, we have Mr. Zuckerberg’s “rescue” of Newark’s schools. Instead of a vibrant literary culture, we have Oprah’s book club. Instead of investments in public health, we have the Gates Foundation. Celebrities either buy institutions, or “disrupt” them.

Celebrating Inequality

Ed. Funders Giving More to Same Few, Studies Show

As more and more foundation money floods into K-12 education, it is being channeled to fewer and fewer groups, according to new research presented at the American Educational Research Association meeting here last week.
Researchers also found that foundation money is moving away from traditional public schools and toward “challengers to the system”—primarily charter schools—and that the funders in general are becoming much more active in shaping how those challengers develop.

image via flickr:CC | opensourceway High-res

Ed. Funders Giving More to Same Few, Studies Show

As more and more foundation money floods into K-12 education, it is being channeled to fewer and fewer groups, according to new research presented at the American Educational Research Association meeting here last week.

Researchers also found that foundation money is moving away from traditional public schools and toward “challengers to the system”—primarily charter schools—and that the funders in general are becoming much more active in shaping how those challengers develop.

image via flickr:CC | opensourceway


What is the most important problem facing American children today? According to the Academic Pediatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is the effects of poverty on the health and well being of young people. 
The role of poverty on student achievement has been one of the flashpoints between supporters and critics of modern school reform. Supporters insist that citing poverty as a reason for lack of student achievement is “an excuse” made by people who want to support the status quo. Critics of reform say that the major reform efforts ignore the effects that living in poverty have on children and their ability to do schoolwork and perform on standardized tests.

What is the most important problem facing American children today? According to the Academic Pediatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is the effects of poverty on the health and well being of young people.

The role of poverty on student achievement has been one of the flashpoints between supporters and critics of modern school reform. Supporters insist that citing poverty as a reason for lack of student achievement is “an excuse” made by people who want to support the status quo. Critics of reform say that the major reform efforts ignore the effects that living in poverty have on children and their ability to do schoolwork and perform on standardized tests.

Indiana halts Common Core implementation

Indiana, one of the most education reform-minded states in recent years, is postponing implementation of the Common Core initiative so that there can be more discussion on the quality and impact of the standards.
Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill Saturday that halts implementation as of Wednesday, a compromise between forces that want the Common Core to go forward because they say they will raise academic achievement, and forces who believe the standards are not as good as Indiana’s old ones and want education decisions to be local.

image via flickr:CC | J. Stephen Conn

Indiana halts Common Core implementation

Indiana, one of the most education reform-minded states in recent years, is postponing implementation of the Common Core initiative so that there can be more discussion on the quality and impact of the standards.

Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill Saturday that halts implementation as of Wednesday, a compromise between forces that want the Common Core to go forward because they say they will raise academic achievement, and forces who believe the standards are not as good as Indiana’s old ones and want education decisions to be local.

image via flickr:CC | J. Stephen Conn

Why Every Educator Should Applaud That Viral Video of a Teen Going Off on His Teacher

If you haven’t seen this by now, high school sophomore Jeff Bliss goes off on his world history teacher, set off by standardized testing times. Why should we care?

Bliss is demanding change—more power to him and all the other students who are fed up with a system that’s broken. Every teacher worth her salt should applaud what he’s clamoring for. And then we need Ms. Phung and all the other fed-up teachers out there to rise up, speak up, and demand change, too.

An even better opinion from a Principal:

I was questioned, both publicly and privately for even sharing this video in the first place and was asked, “If this was one of our teachers, would I share the video?”, and that made me think a lot about this messy world that we live in.  Personally, I wouldn’t but I believe in my heart that it would be addressed to some extent with the teacher. 

The other thing that I thought about was how easily I would have shared something like this regarding other professions. This voice by the “consumer” is happening in every profession, not just teaching.  In no way am I saying that pepper-spraying someone in the face unlawfully compares to having students do packets in the classroom, but our profession is and should be held accountable on how we do our work.

What I encourage others to do is to focus on what the student said, and share their stories about how you do much more than “teach with a packet’.

What Teachers Really Want

Leaders, be careful what you reward

Leaders, be careful what you reward. Examine your recognition and incentive programs to see if they might be driving undesired behaviors. Add incentives that validate desired ways for people to interact with bosses, peers and customers. Doing so creates a foundation of shared values and behaviors that inhibit unethical plans, decisions and actions.

What is your experience with financial incentives? Have you seen undesirable effects or have you seen mostly desirable behaviors occur?

The new kindergarten: Kids write ‘informative’ reports

Remember back in the olden days when kindergarteners used to be allowed to learn from playing? Now, in the age of the Common Core State Standards, 4 and 5 year olds are being required to do things such as write “Informative/Explanatory Reports” and identify topic sentences.

It’s happening across the country as part of the school reform movement that has pushed down academics to the kindergarten level, entirely ignoring the fact that many young kids aren’t developmentally ready for this kind of activity.