Sure hope that Colbert’s move to network television won’t end brilliant insights like this:
I’ve been avidly following the White family’s round-the-world journey (6explorers.com). My latest favorite post is by teenage Alex, describing how she approaches bargaining in a Vietnamese market. It resonates with me as I reflect on work I’ve been doing with middle school teachers who insist their students just don’t understand measurement (a notoriously low score on PA’s state assessment).
Read Alex’s discussion of bargaining in which she describes the value of Vietnamese dong as compared to the US dollar and “tourist” vs “real” price (value) of the article she wants to purchase. If I were to align her experience to academic standards, I’d find connections in mathematics (measurement), social studies (economics), science (she describes the origin and quality of the silk), and language arts (communication, listening, speaking). Not only is she understanding the concepts, she’s applying them as well. (The know and do, the concepts and skills) She is gaining massive enduring understandings, not just in terms of economics, but in global cultural awareness.
And my analysis would be pretty “teachery” of me … rather, I like to think about the life skills she’s gaining: confidence, communication, worldliness. How well do you think she’ll do when she applies to college, to a job? Wouldn’t you want to hire hire someone with her confidence and skill?
What kind of price can you put on this form of education? Do yourself a favor and visit 6explorers.com.
(Full disclosure: I am affiliated with Small World Travel that planned the White family’s round-the-world journey)
An interesting new publication from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute on the National Common Core Standards (and the coming national assessments). The major question this paper hopes to address: How does the adoption of common core affect curriculum and instructional implementation?
In brief, the paper suggests the creation of a coordinating council (made up of governors, legislators, and school officials) to keep track of Common Core implementation as it goes forward and facilitate inter-state communication, as well as monitor and report on progress.
A short video explaining the paper:
“…one, federal control and direction of education policy have largely replaced state and local control, a decisive and historic change that can be credited to (or blamed on) President George W. Bush and NCLB; two, the models for Race to the Top—Chicago and New York City—indicate that our schools will see a great deal of change in the years ahead, but not much improvement in the quality of education, if any. To the contrary, the search for higher scores is likely to promote a significant narrowing of the curriculum, cheating, teaching to the test, and other negative outcomes. To the extent that our students learn less history, science, civics, geography, foreign languages, and the arts, their education will be far worse than it is today.”
Andreas Schleicher, Education Policy Advisor of the Secretary General, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Why learning outcomes matter and what it takes to deliver world class standards
-no longer about improvement by international standards … but the best performing systems
-pace of change as reflected by countries now passing us in terms of college graduates (remained stagnant while other countries have progressed)
-so far, increase in knowledge workers has not resulted in change to type of work
know what you are looking for …
-years of schooling no longer impacts country’s growth
-but what are we measuring by “years of schooling”?
-it’s not just quantity o education but what people learn to do
-steep decline in demand for routine cognitive skills … and those are the skills easiest to reach and assess
PISA tries to assess students with novel tasks – those they haven’t seen before
-sharp increase in demand for nonroutine interactive skills
PISA shows us way behind rest of world (measure 15 year olds in science extrapolate and apply)
-not just about poor kids; suburban schools do better, but not much
-many countries do well on both equity and performance (example, Finland) – all schools perform equally well despite huge income disparity – NOT the US
-student performance on PISA strong indicator of future success; what you do in school really matters and it’s hard to undo poor education
Poland raised 25 PISA points in 6 years … what impact would that have? major economic impact (trillions of dollars); getting to Finlands level: $260 trillion
improving outcomes …
-does spending $ on education result in better education? it’s important … but more important Is systems ability o get resources where they need to go
how to spend $?
-pay teachers well (Korea)
-keep class sizes small
other than $?
-high ambitious and universal standards
-rigor, focus and coherence
-clear standards but lots of local discretion at school level
-accountability and intervention in inverse proportion to success; schools with clear standards and local autonomy do better
-public schools often do better
-from prescribed forms of teaching to more personalized learning
-good performance is possible in short amount of time
is US poor performance due to so much local control?
-control at school level important, but must have clear standards – need a strong national framework
is new data (after 2006) showing same trend?
-Singapore and other countries will be included
-don’t know trend yet, but predict that better systems will get better
is public policy a factor?
-yes – coherent policies are a facet of strong systems
-data is similar, but US a bit better in reading
we don’t know what kids will need to know in the future
-that’s why PISA doesn’t test content as much as applications and extrapolations
-can students translate math an science into real world?
better systems allow teachers to develop their own curriculum based on a set of student outcomes
-national common core
-focus on low performing schools to get resource they need
-make teaching a more attractive career – not about money, but a career path (that’s the hard part)
-part of the PISA measurement – very important
-need to see learning opportunities
how do high performing countries’ assessments line up with PISA?
-northern Europe, very well
-US … not much difference between TIMMS and PISA
-other countries, highly disparate: Russia, Norway
role of teacher unions?
-in many countries, unions have become true professional organizations – makes teaching more of a career path
%age of students tested ?
-most countries the same
in US, students take less science …
-highly variable across countries
Dennis DeTurck (Penn)
-change in curriculum and outcomes beyond simple memorization -“abillity beyond the inclination to serve”
Pamela Brown (CAO of Phila SD)
-data reinforces what Dr. Ackerman has been reccommending for Philadelphia
-grad rate is under 60%; only 8% of Philly grads go on to graduate from 4 year institutions
-need higher rigor in non AP / IB classes
-pockets of excellence that need to be replicated across the system for all students
-have raised the bar beyond AYP by setting performance targets measures by multiple criteria; schools at high levels are “vanguard” schools and enjoy more autonomy
-professional development linked to appraisal system
-extanding school day, week, year for many schools
Philip Hopkins (Select Greater Phila)
-companies want collaborative and nonroutine workers who know how to learn – but also with a certain level of content knowledge
-create opportunities in urban centers
-applaud common core standards; high focus on modeling -support keystone exams – important to know via a criterion referenced test how students are doing
-must keep in mind appropriate testing
-need high quality teachers; appropriate staff development
-must deal with transition costs of moving to higher standards
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- Many Nations Passing U.S. In Education, Expert Says (nytimes.com)