There are plenty of students who have coped with failure and adversity from the outset. What's motivating to them is a little honest success. Not more stress.
The sticking point in utilizing research findings to make grand pronouncemnts about how schools should operate, or how teachers should teach? We leave out the most important voice, that of the people doing the actual work, and the ideas they find useful.
Teachers often come away from their tour of Ed Policy World dismayed by the things policy "experts" are saying. Frustrated at being left out of a dialogue where their hard-won practice expertise is undervalued, even scorned. Good news. Diane Ravitch has written a book for them.
Somebody's got to get angry and speak passionately about what's happening in education "reform."
It is an unexpected relief to move past this level of work--scavenging--on to the big questions--who are my students, how do they learn best, what can we do to engage them meaningfully in building a classroom community?
I did appreciate the film's efforts to highlight the intellectual complexity and intense humanity of teaching. But the subtext is troublesome.
Character matters. A lot. Here's where I get off the bandwagon, however: grading students on character as a means of highlighting and developing these critical qualities.
What students want most is to know that they belong somewhere, that they'll be accepted and valued by their classmates. Consistency? The last refuge of the unimaginative.
Improve the quality of our public schools by applying various management strategies used in the business world? Model business lessons, heralded as tough, effective reform, don't always look like the strategies being seen in business-to-business advice about managing systems and working effectively with people.
If test scores improve as a result of the imposition of CCSS, it will be because teachers decide--one at a time, school by school--to reshape their own instruction, conforming to these national standards and the aligned tests. Not the standards themselves.