Almost everyone agrees now that just focusing on math and English is way too narrow and has taken us into a sort of tragi-comic cul-de-sac in a lot of ways. There are some really interesting experiments underway about how you create broader measures of school quality that align more with what parents want, what students want, what teachers want, but also produce the achievement gains that everyone is so focused on.Continue reading
Lawrence is in the midst of a turnaround. There's a lot of emphasis on boosting academic achievement there. If you listen to the students, they envision the purpose of school as being about education through experience, with an eye toward helping them be leaders who can transform their own communities. The different schools of thought, I would say, are almost like different sizes of thought. How big your vision is of what's possible ends up determining your answer for what school is for.
You see in some communities a huge effort to tie schools to particular kinds of job training, where kids basically pick their occupation early on and get trained for it. Students who are being trained for a health career, for example, will attend a health academy. Or you might end up at a academy. Think about how much narrower that school of thought is, the school as a kind of vocational training center, versus what the kids in Lawrence are talking about, where they see school as broadening their horizons.Continue reading
The next generation science standards are calling for a new model of science instruction. As educators make the switch from traditional instruction to next generation, state-level standardized testing for science must make the same shift that the classroom environment is making.Continue reading