Nelson Mandela passed away last week. The encomiums have been touching, plentiful, and, in a case like this, inevitably unequal to the task. There's nothing that I can usefully add on that front. It has struck me, though, that amidst all the touching reactions, there are a few instructive takeaways for those involved in schooling that haven't gotten the attention they deserve.
Bill de Blasio, New York's new mayor, is seeking a schools chancellor. Truth is, I'm pretty impressed by some of the names that have been popping up in the search. That said, today, I want to chat briefly about one of the more out-there names that's been surfaced for chancellor. Brewing behind the scenes is a small, quiet campaign to convince de Blasio to appoint Randi Weingarten.I think the Weingarten-for-chancellor idea is an intriguing one.
Yesterday, the triennial PISA results were announced, prompting a paroxysm of spastic pontificating. Hands were wrung, familiar talking points were rehashed, and PISA Overlord Andreas Schleicher once again took the results as his cue to lecture American educators and policymakers on the wonders of common standards and the perniciousness of school choice. The funny thing is that all this gnashing of teeth is, quite literally, for nothing. There are at least seven reasons I don't give a fig about the PISA results.
During the past couple months, newspapers and cable news have had a field day analyzing Obamacare's troubles. Firestorms over HealthCare.gov or President Obama's unfounded assurances seemingly sprung from out of the blue. This followed years during which these boiling issues received little media scrutiny, permitting problems to fester. There are important lessons here for K-12's current brouhaha over the Common Core. Introduced in 2010 and adopted by forty-plus states with little notice by the end of 2011, the Common Core has since rocketed into the popular imagination. Headlines are now filled with tales of angry public meetings and legislative ...
Say something smart once and there are huge rewards for spending a career saying it, in increasingly elaborate forms. Academics who own an idea get hired by prestigious universities, deliver keynotes, and get all kinds of attendant perks. Consultants who own an idea become must-haves for districts, foundations, and contractors. The result is a familiar kabuki of hyperspecialists airing their prebaked views.
Note: This Thanksgiving week, I'm giving RHSU readers a look at my essay in Richard Elmore's Harvard Education Press volume I Used to Think...And Now I Think. Elmore's book features a variety of K-12 thinkers--including Howard Gardner, Larry Cuban, Deb Meier, and Mike Smith--discussing how their thinking on schooling has changed over time. For day one, see here. Along my path through academia, I started to doubt whether I'd ever even be able to find a job. I'd ask myself, "Wow, I know so little and all these successful people know so much; how am I ever going to ...
For the past couple of years, come Thanksgiving week I've shared part of an essay I penned for Richard Elmore's intriguing volume: I Used to Think...And Now I Think. Since we've added a bunch of readers since I last ran the chapter in RHSU, and given that it's highly relevant to how I approach a host of questions--from teacher evaluation policy to professional learning communities--I thought it worth keeping up the tradition.
Neerav Kingsland writes: There is good reason to be skeptical of Relinquishment: most significantly, it has yet to be tried at scale. To change hearts and minds, we will need multiple proof points that Relinquishment works.
Neerav Kingsland writes: That Relinquishment is not yet inevitable is in some ways obvious. After all, only one city in the country, New Orleans, has adopted its core principles. But, surprisingly (I didn't expect this to be the case when I started formulating this piece), I believe Relinquishment could become inevitable over the coming decades. Here's why.
Neerav Kingsland writes: In part because of my heritage - my mother is Indian and my father is African-American - I've spent a lot of time thinking about social movements, both in India and the United States. The causes of societal change are of course complex, but in a recent conversation with my father, I (perhaps naively) asked him: when did you know that legal racial discrimination would come to an end? When did it become inevitable?