What makes a mind come alive?
How can one community impact every child?
What do schools need to be changing from, and to?
And how can states set the conditions for lasting change?
In theory, these questions have always mattered. In reality, they are about to matter a lot more now that the United States Congress is poised to reauthorize its central education policy for the first time in thirteen years – and usher in an era of state authority on everything from school accountability to teacher education policies.
Now that the balance of power is shifting back towards the states, what should they do with it?
, Teacher Quality
Tags: colorado, education policy, ESEA, ESSA, good video, Maine, New Hampshire, next state of learning, Wisconsin
It comes courtesy of my friends at the Teacher Salary Project (on whose advisory board I sit). And it should break your heart.
I’m a big fan of the New York Times’ Room for Debate series, in which a central question is asked of five different folks.
Today, the question was about how to ensure and improve teacher quality. And although they didn’t ask me, here’s how I would have answered the question:
Are smaller class sizes the key to breathing new life into today’s public schools, or a misguided effort to solve the problems of a dying era?
I am surprised to say I have come to believe it’s the latter.
(albeit in a different narrative package . . .)
(not to mention why arts integration is such a good idea . . .)
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.”
, Organizational Change
, Teacher Quality
Tags: A Year at Mission Hill, accountability, Calhoun, Deborah Meier, Democracy, good video, Kahlil Gibran, Learning, Mission Hill, Steve Nelson
I spent the other morning in my son’s Montessori classroom. It’s a beautiful, old-school room with high ceilings, large windows and plenty of space, which is good because it’s filled each day with twenty-eight 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. No small task.
I’ve been in Montessori classrooms before, yet I was still surprised when the day was never officially called to order. Instead the children took off their shoes, found some work (or not), and began their day in twenty-eight different ways while their two teachers, Ms. Luz and Ms. Allison, surfed in between them to check in and gauge where each child was at on that particular morning – hungry, happy, angry, sleepy.