Gwen Mueller is an IT Professional, #dnd Gamer-girl, #coffee drinker, geek in Secondary Education, editor on tumblr #education, curating #science, and #tech resources to inspire lifelong learning with 1/4 cup of #fun.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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’.
If teachers are to transition to the kind of blended learning that has been found to work best for today’s kids, we need trust, time, and trained mentors to work out what what we need to do. We need parents to be our partners as we face the challenges in a changing educational landscape. We need room to fail (and to model failure as part if the learning process). We need help, not harangues.
“However, once we separate the passion from the profession, the actual profession lacks the sort of gratitude that would make it sustainable. America, let’s acknowledge teachers, both as caretakers and as professionals.”
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?
“Simply put, life is a series of ambiguous questions to be answered. The better we are at problem solving, the better chance we have at making a proper decision when the time comes and being successful in both our personal and career pursuits.”
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.
You follow administrators, teachers, and students at an alternative public high school in Washington DC. 50% of the students that register at the beginning of the year don’t attend. They need 300+ students to keep their budget at current levels but continue to lose students to transfers, the justice system, absence, and even death. These kids have had friends die before graduating from high school, have brothers and sisters that are incarcerated, parents that have recently died, teen pregnancy, and poverty to deal with every day.
It’s an honest portrayal of the how complicated education reform is in urban city (like NYC, Chicago, LA, etc) impoverished neighborhoods. Many times the students have experienced more stress, trauma, and mental health issues than the educators that teach them. You follow a passionate principal leading her dedicated staff to make it through CAS testing. CAS is a standardized test that decides more than a student’s ability; your school staying open, your budget, if your teachers or administration will be staying or moving on… The students have challenges that are heartbreaking (being pulled in the middle of learning gains, jail), and some successes that are truly awesome (college acceptance, scholarships, graduation!). If nothing else it illustrates the extent of the loss of cultural capital these students have in their experience; how a little thing like prom can be revelatory.
So what are we to do?
I wish I had an answer. If I did I’d be on a book tour.
Some of my thoughts I’m still working through:
There isn’t time for technology here. I can see how it could be a barrier to learning. But I can see ways it could be incredibly valuable - how does technology even function in a district like this?
Standardized testing illuminates the problem without solving it. How can you test 10th graders on reading comprehension when they can’t read? How do you provide the necessary remediation? When is there time in the day?
How do you go home everyday and create a lesson for students that don’t show up? How do you communicate the value of attendance? Moreover how do you communicate the value of education in a school that has no PTA? Accountability doesn’t end when the student leaves school, but legally (other than truancy) it does.
This system, and schools in DC, will burn anyone out. Quickly. This school is already doing more with less, but how is that sustainable?
Mayoral control and accountability is one of very few major education reforms that aim at governance coherence in our highly fragmented urban school systems. A primary feature of mayoral governance is that it holds the office of the mayor accountable for school performance. As an institutional redesign, mayoral governance integrates school-district accountability and the electoral process at the systemwide level. The so-called education mayor is ultimately held accountable for the school system’s performance on an academic, fiscal, operational, and managerial level. While school board members are elected by fewer than 10 percent of the eligible voters, mayoral races are often decided by more than half of the electorate. Under mayoral control, public education gets on the citywide agenda.
Given that school reformers are always talking about the importance of giving parents “school choice,” you’d think they’d listen to the people who want their neighborhood schools saved. One way is to actually start to address the real reasons that many kids don’t perform well in school: Their lives. Living in poverty has consequences. Living in an unstable family has consequences.
The push for the “parent trigger” option for turning around struggling schools continues, with new laws under consideration in 12 states’ legislative sessions, even as such laws already on the books remain unused in all but one of the seven states that have them.