An unintended and tragic consequence of our metrics for schools …

Fascinating interview with Linda Stone on maintaining focus in a maddeningly distractive world. An excerpt related to schools:

I interviewed a handful of Nobel laureates about their childhood play patterns. They talked about how they expressed their curiosity through experimentation. They enthusiastically described things they built, and how one play experience naturally led into another. In most cases, by the end of the interview, the scientist would say, “This is exactly what I do in my lab today! I’m still playing!”

An unintended and tragic consequence of our metrics for schools is that what we measure causes us to remove self-directed play from the school day. Children’s lives are completely programmed, filled with homework, lessons, and other activities. There is less and less space for the kind of self-directed play that can be a fantastically fertile way for us to develop resilience and a broad set of attention strategies, not to mention a sense of who we are, and what questions captivate us. We have narrowed ourselves in service to the gods of productivity, a type of productivity that is about output and not about results.

Read the interview here.

A strange case for literacy instruction … seriously, you can’t make this up:

In Oregon:

A man brought a pressure cooker he claimed was a bomb into the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission office and told employees he tried to blow up their sign because it was misspelled on Wednesday morning.

“He walked quite confidently into our office as though he had a mission, and I think that was what alarmed me right off the bat,” Executive Director Vickie Chamberlain said.

The man, dressed in a button-up winter coat and stocking cap, placed the pressure cooker with wires sticking out on the counter in front of the receptionist around 9 a.m.

Leonard Burdek, 50, of Salem, told Chamberlain and the receptionist that he tried to blow up the agency’s outside sign, but the bomb didn’t work.

The sign spells out the agency’s name in blue letters and sits at the end of its parking lot at 250 Division Street NE. One side is missing the letter “D” in the word “and” so it reads: “Teacher Standards an Practices Commission.”

She didn’t know what happened to the sign, but Chamberlain said it’s possible that someone scraped the letter off or it wore off over time.

After discussing his failed attempt to detonate his bomb, the man complained that the instructions he downloaded to make the bomb also had misspellings.

Burdek implied that Chamberlain and her employees should be concerned about the level of education children receive given that his instructions were rife with errors.

Full article here.