Our Own Personal Paris

We spent yesterday afternoon with Antoinette of Paris Personalized. If you find yourself fortunate enough to visit the city of light, make sure you take one of her tours. They range from food-based, to historical, to musical … Antoinette is a great story-teller and will introduce you to places in Paris that you never would have known about.

Antoinette and Cory sitting in the beautiful garden of the Expiatory Chapel. Never heard of it? That's why you need Antoinette!

Antoinette and Cory sitting in the beautiful garden of the Expiatory Chapel. Never heard of it? That’s why you need Antoinette!

College degree = higher level skills

According to PIAAC, 3/4 of US unemployed workers had either a high-school diploma or less; roughly 1/2 of those adults placed in the two lowest score levels for numeracy. Among unemployed college-educated adults, 13% scored in the two lowest levels.

The study is one of the first to show that a college degree confers core knowledge that adults without degrees are less likely to possess.

“This allows us for the first time to be able to compare what it is that someone knows with what sort of degree they have,” said Stephen Provasnik, a researcher for NCES and a technical advisor on PIAAC. “That allows us to make distinctions that we haven’t been able to make in the past. Economists have always used level of education as a proxy for the skills that one has. Now what PIAAC does is allows us to measure directly those skills, without having to use the education certification as a proxy.”

Read the article here.

The End of Average

Reading The End of Average by Todd Rose, a fascinating book that argues that standards and standardized assessments are radically outdated.

“Contemporary pundits, politicians, and activists continually suggest that our educational system is broken, when in reality the opposite is true. Over the past century, we have perfected our educational system so that it runs like a well-oiled Taylorist machine, squeezing out every possible drop of efficiency in the service of the goal its architecture was originally designed to fulfill: efficiently ranking students in order to assign them to their proper place in society… (p. 56)

How can a society predicated on the conviction that individuals can only be evaluated in reference to the average ever create the conditions for understanding and harnessing individuality? (p. 58)

… but once you free yourself from averagarian thinking, what previously seemed impossible will start to become intuitive, and then obvious.” (p. 72)

Leading in Complex Times

Spent the past three days overlooking Independence Hall in Philadelphia with an incredible group of leaders working on techniques to support change. What an appropriate site—a place where divergent thinkers gathered to imagine the possibility of self-governance.

The weather matched our agendas: on Monday, it snowed heavily, just as we were blanketed with new information and learning. On Tuesday, the snow gave way to torrential rain and high winds, as we wrestled to process techniques and approaches. For our final session today, the sun arrived and bathed our group with a warm glow, in time to send us out to do the important work of organizational and systemic change. 

Star Wars Guide to Professional Learning

How can we resist professional learning based on Star Wars philosophy? My favorite is lesson 3, Collaborate and Connect:

“The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi

Read the rest of Star Wars-based PL on Learning Forward’s site here.