November 2013 Archives

One thing is for sure though -- we can expend change to classroom management and discipline strategies in public education classrooms. We may not have the full story yet on what is likely to happen five to ten years down the road, but we have some signs of change, some definite evidence of the types of shifts. How exactly these individual shifts play out? Only time will tell.


The test for public school libraries will be the maintaining of a balance between access to resources - innovative access where possible - and managing associated costs. The good news, long-term, is that the future trends look set to help this balance, not hinder it. In the end, though, only time will really tell which trends stick among those that we are already noticing, and what new technologies will do for school libraries in the longer-term.


The achievement gap will likely always exist in some capacity, much in the way that the U.S. high school dropout rate will likely never make it down to zero. This doesn't mean it is a lost cause, of course. Every student who succeeds, from every demographic, is another victory in K-12 education and it benefits society as a whole. Better recognition by every educator, parent and citizen of the true problem that exists is a start; actionable programs are the next step.


This week I have been writing about different facets of the year-round schooling debate. First I looked at the effects on students and then moved to the impact on teachers. As I researched both groups, I found no distinct disadvantages to either (and some advantages) when placed on a year-round academic calendar.


Research has not found any large negative effects on teachers who teach on year-round schedules instead of traditional ones. Like any profession, the preferable schedule depends on the individual. For veteran teachers who have been teaching in a traditional setup for years, a switch to year-round schooling may be more jarring than a newly-licensed teacher. Overall, though, the job and time off are comparable - just different.


Overall, year-round schooling seems to show a slight advantage academically to students enrolled, but the numbers of students are not high enough to really get a good read on it at this point. What does seem clear, however, is that at-risk students do fare better without a long summer break, and other students are not harmed by the year-round schedule.


This week I've been blogging about the bleak numbers that surround the national high school dropout rate and examining more closely the underlying causes. Many of society's other problems - like unemployment, poverty and overcrowded prisons - can all be linked back to the individual decision to quit high school.


I wonder what these numbers would look like if we took the nearly $300K that taxpayers put in over the course of a dropout's lifetime and deposited it into their K-12 learning upfront.


Based on these numbers, it may seem that the high school dropout problem has seen significant improvement in a few, short decades. While that may be true, the numbers are still too high to stomach, especially with all of the alternative options high school students now have to finish their diplomas outside traditional classroom settings. At this juncture in U.S. K-12 progress, the dropout rate should be barely worth mentioning.


Instead of making it harder to become a teacher, why not spend money on making classroom size smaller and more manageable when those teachers start their careers? Or on technology programs and training that give teachers an advantage when it comes to educational gaming?


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