"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2011 Medley #9:

Poverty, iPads, Honoring Teachers, Standardized Tests, SAT, Common Core Standards

Public education's biggest problem gets worse
*22 percent of American children live in poverty
*39 percent of black children live in poverty
*35 percent of Hispanic children live in poverty
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What the iPad (and other technology) can’t replace in education
We’re focused so much on the device that we’re ignoring what’s on it...We need to stop pretending that technology can fix problems that aren’t technological in nature. Kids are bored. They don’t know why they’re learning what they’re learning. The solution isn’t asking the question better. The solution is asking a better question.
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In Honor of Teachers
...how do we expect to entice the best and brightest to become teachers when we keep tearing the profession down? We take the people who so desperately want to make a difference that they enter a field where they know that they’ll be overworked and underpaid, and we scapegoat them as the cause of a societywide failure.
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Why More Standardized Tests Won’t Improve Education (with references)
The scholarly consensus that documents the limits of standardized testing is quite clear. For example, a comprehensive, nine-year study of testing and evaluation commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences recently concluded that: “available evidence does not give strong support for the use of test-based incentives to improve education.”

A second National Academy report questions the use of test scores to evaluate teachers, noting that such scores “have not yet been adequately studied for the purposes of evaluating teachers and principals,” and “face substantial practical barriers to being successfully deployed in a personnel system that is fair, reliable, and valid.”
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What the decline in SAT scores really means
At some point, all of the evidence will start to convince policy-makers that the punitive test-driven reforms won’t improve academic achievement, especially among the growing numbers of first-generation students and English language-learners.

We can only hope that it will be soon, before more damage is heaped on the harm already done to public education.
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Jeffrey N. Golub: Common Core Standards Leave Teachers Out of the Equation
Common Core Standards...are not 'well-grounded,'...because the authors of the standards have failed to factor in some crucial elements or aspects of instruction. This failure of foresight and insight will surely cause the standards to 'sink' - to become ineffective, inappropriate, and intolerable. The biggest problem with this 'sinking' that is sure to happen is that the students, teachers, and indeed, whole school systems that will labor under these burdensome 'goals and expectations' will sink right along with them.

Teachers do not have a problem with accountability. They are responsible for making learning happen for their students, after all, so they welcome authentic assessments of the progress that they, and their students, have made. But they do object, and rightly so, to a situation in which they are being held accountable for a curriculum over which they have no control.

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