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:
Category Archives: Assessment
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.
Six years ago, a funny Englishman gave a stirring speech about how schools were stifling the creativity of their students. Today, Sir Ken Robinson is a worldwide celebrity, and his TED talk has been seen by as many as 100 million people.
How did that happen, exactly? And what is the state of the learning revolution Robinson urged us to launch?
There’s a fascinating new story this morning, courtesy of NPR, in which a team of researchers pored over 25 years of murder data in Newark, New Jersey, and reached a surprising conclusion: murdering someone is not as individualized a decision as we might think. In fact, the researchers are suggesting we may need to adopt a different lens when viewing the problem, and start thinking of homicide less as an individual choice, and more as a reflection of a larger infectious disease like AIDS or the flu.
Now that five states are planning to add 300 hours of class time in an effort to close the achievement gap and re-imagine the school day, I can only come to one conclusion: Something’s got to give. Continue reading . . .
. . . is not the goal, as Seth Godin illustrates well in a recent blog post (and if you like it you can also check out his TEDx talk, which took place moments before mine). As Seth wrote:
Sometimes, we can’t measure what we need, so we invent a proxy, something that’s much easier to measure and stands in as an approximation.