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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Historic Milestones Present Opportunities and Challenges in Education

U.S. Dept. of Education – Meredith Bajgier

“As the school year gets into full swing, it’s worth reflecting on a couple of historic milestones that make this year unique…there are signs that change is under way, as shown in another vital statistic: the highest high school graduation rate in America’s history – 80 percent.” (more)

How To Communicate With Your Child’s Teacher Effectively

FOXCT – Doug Stewart

“Connecting with their teacher is the most important school related thing a parent can do for their child, especially early on in the school year. For a parent to establish a strong connection with a teacher early helps form a united front in which the child realizes both his parent and teacher are on the same nurturing team.” (more)

To Stop Picky Eaters From Tossing The Broccoli, Give Them Choices

NPR – LUKE RUNYON

“To keep students from tossing out the fruits and vegetables they’re served, researchers say it helps to give them a choice in what they put on their trays.” (more)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Could Civics Education Reduce Voter Apathy?

The Wall Street Journal – LINDA KILLIAN

“Will better civics education at an earlier age motivate more Americans to get involved in or pay attention to our political system? For the future of our democracy, one hopes the answer is yes.” (more)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It’s Time to Reimagine School Information

Education Next – John Bailey and Tom Vander Ark

“Federal law requires that all 50 states publish an annual report card for every public school in the state. But presenting complex student and school performance data in a format that meets federal and state requirements, is accessible across multiple platforms, and is user-friendly is an incredibly daunting task. Many state departments of education may not have the capacity to handle what is essentially a design issue, especially at a time when state resources are limited and the demands on departments are many.” (more)

Monday, September 22, 2014

More classroom technology isn’t the answer

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Over the past 35 years the world has changed radically. We moved from typewriters to computers, land lines to cell phones, handwritten communication to email and text messages, assembly line workers to robots, and libraries to the Internet.

 

With these technological changes came workplace changes. With the workplace changes came job changes. As jobs changed, employers’ expectations for workers changed.

 

For generations, high schools and universities prepared students for lifetime jobs. This meant schools offered hundreds of classes to provide students with specific skills. Since technology now changes about every 24 months, it is more important for employers to have workers who can quickly adapt than employees who know every nuance of Microsoft Word.

 

This means the entire education paradigm needs to shift away from specialization to a deep understanding of basic subjects – math, science, reading, writing, and speaking. In addition, we need to encourage our kids to be creative.

 

Education has been slow to meet the new workplace demands. There are several reasons for the sluggish response. First, education in the US is close to a monopoly. Monopolies are generally slow to respond to changes in market conditions. Second, many education leaders went to school when lifetime jobs were the norm. Third, only a few educators were encouraged to obtain a strong grounding in math and science, critical 21st Century skills.

 

So how do we move forward?

 

At first glimpse it seems like we need more options. Although it is counterintuitive, more class options will not solve the problem. Instead we need more depth in core subjects. This means we can reduce options, pay our teachers more to deliver the depth of understanding in basic subjects that employers demand, and refine our feedback systems so we can get students to higher academic levels.

 

Then, we need to allow students to move through the material at their own pace. Students should not be forced to take physical science if they are ready to take AP Physics or to take remedial writing if they are ready to analyze Greek literature.

 

Next, we need to think critically before we spend money on technology. By the time a technology is in the classroom it is already obsolete. For example, smart boards and iPads are nice, but without the necessary academic content they will not prepare our kids for 21st Century jobs.

 

In summary, we need to change our approach so our kids have the necessary skills for high quality jobs.

 

School Starts Too Early

Scientific American – Mark Fischetti

“Parents, students and teachers often argue, with little evidence, about whether U.S. high schools begin too early in the morning. In the past three years, however, scientific studies have piled up, and they all lead to the same conclusion: a later start time improves learning. And the later the start, the better.” (more)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

6 characteristics of 5 successful Milwaukee schools

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“The five schools have a range of approaches on how and what to teach. With such differences among them, the team, including four University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee education professors and a retired suburban principal, wanted to find out what the schools have in common that underlies their success.” (more)

Spending cuts to education and nutrition will hurt kids

CNN – Jeanne Sahadi

“While the debate over Common Core continues to bubble across Louisiana, the new approach to education already is part of the daily routine in Tonya Aaron’s kindergarten class at Bains Lower Elementary School.” (more)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How California Superintendents Can Bust Through Policies to Implement Blended Learning

Education Next – Michael B. Horn

“Over the past several years, I have presented at several meetings of California’s Santa Clara County superintendents about blended learning and its potential to create schools that can personalize learning for each student to help each succeed.” (more)