April 2011 Archives

The system in which professional development sits drives teachers' engagement, and it is only with engagement that even the best designed PD can penetrate.

If you believe, as I do, that the field is way too steeped in ivory tower theory, and not enough research from the best schoolteachers, research on teaching methods will advance if we can get past the "whole school" level and think more deeply about the individual teacher level, in part because the transaction costs will be lower to find teachers who, based on imperfect data, at least seem to be unusually effective.

I would submit the Parent-Teacher Berlin Wall can be significantly dissolved with proactive teacher phone calls to each parent.

A future is where individual teachers who are proven to be successful have five types of choice they don't currently have: 1) 100% control of his/her share of the professional development budget; 2) super-easy to move from state to state; 3) easy to choose a workplace based on its "true" working conditions; 4) option to reject certain tasks in customizing the job; and 5) option to run one's own micro-school, getting rid of the b.s. and keeping the stuff teachers love.

The bottom line is professional development is likely to be a lot better if teachers are driving the details around what they receive based on a good understanding of their own weaknesses and a desire to address them.

This article makes a case why even those on the left should see a role for educational markets.

The challenge is for districts and states to somehow escape from their institutional pasts and to move toward centrist solutions that strike a better, more reasonable, more productive balance between government and markets.

As we move toward a more mixed or market-oriented and customized school system policymakers must be intentional and thoughtful about how policies governing our public schools are constructed.

Public education wants and needs new ideas, but it blocks their implementation and prevents their getting a real test. Some market elements are essential preconditions for innovation in public education.

K-12 education can't afford to be an institution apart from all others and can't hope to reach its goals without using market forces.

Unless we place in the foreground the individuals and society that we long for, all the rest will be in vain.

There are multiple 21st century frameworks addressing the broad skills or competencies important to engaging our small/big world; however, there is an "elephant in the room," a big conspicuous but largely undiscussed problem: What should we do with tired content?

The author offers three ways to transform the education system from the inside-out--a committed superintendent who 'gets it'; a 'dream team' support network; and community design and implementation.

New media are at the heart of innovative models for education; empowering new forms of learning and teaching while simultaneously contributing to the obsolescence of traditional schools/universities as educational vehicles.

This week we introduce a complementary initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Future of Learning, designed to explore what needs to change about how and what students learn to be confident 21st century citizens? Contributions will come from Jennifer Thomson, Christopher Dede, David Perkins, Julie Wilson, and Howard Gardner.

The blog this week will feature contributions from Harvard's Future of Learning initiative.

Ability grouping is problematic because it does not boost productivity in the school as a whole, but it does tend to magnify inequality.

Other countries offer examples that can help us design assessments that are richer and deeper and require students not just to memorize concepts, but to solve problems and demonstrate their readiness for college and careers. In Scotland, implementation guidelines for this policy stress the importance of assessing students in varied ways and across multiple domains, including breadth as well as depth of knowledge and testing students' abilities to apply knowledge to new situations.

The underlying belief that explains our refusal to pay attention to what other countries do is that we are different. But, why bother participating in international assessments of student learning if we are not going to make a serious attempt to study the policies and processes that seem to produce consistently better and more equitable results than we are able to get from our schools?

OECD PISA has ranked Canada among the best performing education systems in the world. There are some importance differences between the Canadian and the U.S. education systems, including better trained teachers, strong commitment to equity, better basic services, smaller funding level differences, and curricula and teaching methods consistency across schools and districts.

The isolationism about education policy is changing in the U.S., and there are important implications for U.S. education policy from the experience of other countries.

This post responds to queries across the week, and highlights a promising model from the field.


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