Like a lot of people who like to know what's going on in the world I spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks trying to understand what was going on in the UK, where finally, on Thursday, the British voted to leave the European Union. I'm no expert on British politics but I have to say the vote left me feeling uneasy, especially as I thought about it in the context of education policy.
People have been complaining that education hasn't been a more significant topic of conversation in the presidential race. Is this because the people running are ignoring it, or because they don't know what they're talking about?
I should probably stop short of saying this will be the last thing I have to say about grit—never say never—but I think this will be the last thing I have to say about grit. Maybe.
The problem with grit is that it privileges hard work over judgment; people with grit keep working even when they don't know why they're doing it. What if having grit is not as good for us as we thought it was?
Grit mania is serving up yet another in a long line of supposedly groundbreaking new insights that promise to change everything about the way we educate our kids. Should we be a little more skeptical?
Whether we want to admit it or not, the world is only going to be ours for a little while. Before long it will pass on to our children, and if all we've done to prepare them to take on that responsibility is remind them of how little they've accomplished and blame their teachers for not helping them do more, what reason do we have to think they'll be able to handle it?
After I shared some critical observations about the data collection and analysis techniques employed by the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recently, I got a surprise in my inbox: a response from someone at NCTQ. Here's my response.
You've all heard the stories about how difficult the first year of teaching can be, and many of you have probably endured it yourselves. When are we going to get serious about reforming teacher education in a way that actually addresses the problem?
I know I may be preaching to the choir here, but our collective failure to secure better funding for education is a national embarrassment. Until we get serious about overhauling how we pay for education we're going to have a hard time solving all the other problems on our plate.
Last month Las Vegas was desperate for teachers; now Hawaii is too. Is there anything we can do to address these chronic teacher shortages?