Tanesha Dixon vividly remembers the first summer she spent as a teacher – as part of a service program in Uganda, just before her senior year at Notre Dame.
Category Archives: Assessment
If you had six months, little to no resources, and a clear mandate to solve a chronic country-wide problem – knowing that, if you failed, you would be asked to leave that country altogether – what would you do?
I ask because this was precisely the challenge Save the Children was faced with, in Vietnam, in the early 1990s. And the way they succeeded has great relevance for those of us who continue to struggle with other intractable problems (like, say, comprehensive school reform).
Imagine, for a second, that you are in charge of more than $600 million in taxpayer money. You live in a city that has made deep investments in early education, and that aspires to provide universal preschool by 2014. You have a thriving network of public charter schools, and you want to help parents make […]
As DC grapples with whether or not to adopt an accountability framework that would assign between 60-80% of a charter preschool’s overall rank to its students’ reading and math scores, it’s worth asking: What’s at the root of the problem here — the tests, or the stakes attached to those tests?
Last month, I gave a keynote address at the annual conference of the New Tech Network, and suggested that this seemingly innocuous question is one we might need to think more deeply about, and start to answer differently. The video was just released, so see for yourself:
There’s an anecdote the Calhoun School’s Steve Nelson likes to share when he speaks to teachers and parents about the purpose of education. “We should think of our children as wildflower seeds in an unmarked package,” he says. “We can’t know what will emerge. All we can do is plant them in fertile soil, give them plenty of water and sunlight, and wait patiently to see the uniqueness of their beauty.”
At a time when too many students are still being planted in highly cultivated gardens – trimmed and pruned to resemble each other closely – it is incumbent upon all of us to stand on the side of the unmarked package. And at a time when we stray further and further from our democratic roots – from Chicago to DC – it is essential we heed the words of Mission Hill founder Deborah Meier, who reminds us that “democracy rests on having respect for the judgment of ordinary people.”
For years now, I’ve been asking everybody I meet the same question: “When and where were you when you learned best?”
I’ve asked this question because so many of our national school reform efforts are not about learning at all; they’re about achievement, which has come to mean something quite apart from the stories people tell when you ask them to recall one of the most powerful experiences of their lives.
There was a good conversation last night on the new prime time MSNBC Chris Hayes show about the Atlanta Cheating scandal. Still waiting to see if the investigation in DC ever gets as extensive as this — and, if it does, to what extent it exposes similar willful ignorance: Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world […]
There are two seemingly unrelated columns in today’s Opinion page of the New York Times that provide a crisp summary of where we stand in our current thinking about school reform — and where we need to go.
It wasn’t that long ago that suggesting America’s schools had become test-obsessed was a lonely endeavor. Although organizations like FairTest and campaigns like Time Out From Testinghave been decrying the flawed logic behind high-stakes tests for years, the reality is that for the past decade, many of us kept our complaints reserved for the privacy of the parking lot
People vented. Policymakers nodded. And absent any real noise, the tests continued.