Schools today rely on the ability to improve the collective capacity of the entire teaching staff.
The amount of direction from experts and leaders should be inversely proportional to the degree of experience and skill of the teacher. Therefore, once the school has an agreed-upon instructional framework and an accompanying common language, more and more teacher learning should be self-directed.
A complete departure from Common Core standards could disengage teachers, who are already struggling to navigate the standards gauntlet, as well as embolden other states that are toying with the idea of rolling back their standards. Throughout the year, we'll be following this issue through the lens of its effects on Kingsport's teachers.
The backtracking puts teachers in a precarious position. Teaching to a new set of more difficult standards is tough enough. But in Tennessee, where an educator's evaluation, and in some cases compensation, is based on student test scores, teaching to Common Core while not aligning tests to those standards is problematic."
When it comes to garnering commitment and engagement from employees, there is one thing that leaders need to demonstrate: Respect. That’s what we saw in a study of nearly 20,000 employees around the world (conducted with HBR and Tony Schwartz).
In fact, no other leader behavior had a bigger effect on employees across the outcomes we measured. Being treated with respect was more important to employees than recognition and appreciation, communicating an inspiring vision, providing useful feedback — even opportunities for learning, growth, and development.
University and college graduation rates have declined since the beginning of the economic downturn, according to a new report, even as policymakers prod universities and colleges to turn out more people with degrees. While enrollment has gone up since 2008, the proportion of students who graduated has gone down, the report, by the National Student …
Two new surveys try to quantify the number of standardized tests students take in school — an estimated 113 by graduation.
Mel Riddile's insight:
In addition to the huge amount of testing and resources allocated to testing and re-testing, students receive little to no feedback on how they scored on the tests. In most states, test scores have no impact on students. By the time students are in high school, many do not take the tests seriously and proceed to "christmas-tree" the tests. However, teachers and administrators are fired and schools are closed on the basis of test scores.
Students “transfer” knowledge rather than just memorize it.
"The focus on memorization, fueled by standardized testing, has obstructed learning, according to Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University, who argues that students have been losing or squandering most of the information they acquire in school.
But if that information is applied or actually used to solve problems, students will leave school with a much richer education. Enter “deeper learning” – the process of fusing content knowledge with real-world situations. Students “transfer” knowledge rather than just memorize it. The benefits of deeper learning, says Darling-Hammond, can’t be overstated."
One solution I proposed was to help all teachers intentionally teach students to annotate texts before discussing/reading the text with the whole class. To facilitate this, I met with the math, science, and social studies department leads to share how to annotate texts to improve the school-wide literacy instructional program and our practice of literacy instruction. I asked my colleagues to model their annotation instruction in department meetings in order to improve literacy instruction and the overall attitude towards it throughout our school. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and student work and classroom observations showed students annotating in all content areas.
California high schools with high-poverty students lose nearly two weeks of learning time annually because of teacher absences, testing, emergency lockdowns and other disruptions compared with their more affluent peers in other schools, according to a new UCLA study.
Study: California Students In High-Poverty Schools Lose More Learning Time.
The Los Angeles Times (11/18, Watanabe) reports a new UCLA study found 30 minutes of daily learning time is lost in high-poverty California schools due to poor-quality substitutes, testing, tardiness from insufficient transportation, emergency lockdowns, and other demands on schedules (such as additional financial, college, healthcare, and career counseling) more pronounced in high-poverty schools. The study surveyed 793 teachers in 193 high schools last winter, assessing poverty by student eligibility rates for Federal school meal plan subsidies. The piece frames the issue of lost learning time in high-poverty Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, where a malfunctioning schedule system cost students days of lost instructional time. The piece also includes additional research for earlier decades evidencing unequal instruction time.
The backlash against no-excuses discipline in (charter) high schools
"Over the past two decades, hundreds of elementary and middle schools across the country have embraced an uncompromisingly stern approach to educating low-income students of color. But only more recently have some of the charter networks that helped popularize strictness, including the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), opened high schools—an expansion that has tested the model in new, and divisive, ways. There’s no official name for this type of school, and not all of the informal terms please the educators in charge: the ethos is often described as “no excuses,” “paternalistic,” or devoted to “sweating the small stuff.” The schools, most of them urban charters, share an aversion to even minor signs of disorder and a pressing need to meet the test-based achievement standards of the No Child Left Behind era or else find themselves shuttered. Front and center in their defense of intensive regimentation for their predominantly minority students is a stirring goal beyond that bottom line: to send all their graduates, many of them first-generation college aspirants, on to higher education."
Now on the outs, memorizing facts and passages and equations can have lifelong benefits to students.
Despite Being Disparaged, Rote Memorization Has Place In Education.
In a column in the Washington Post (11/16), Jay Mathews writes that though education “reformers” often “denounce memorization” as “drudgery,” but writes that the practice is nonetheless “hanging on.” Mathews writes that creating memories is an indelible part of humanity, and that while there are other valid pedagogical alternatives, “it is wrong to assume that going over the same fact or name several times until it sticks is bad teaching.”
Mel Riddile's insight:
Fluency is critical to learning.
Remembering is the only evidence of learning.
Automaticity and word recognition are critical to reading proficiency.
Remembering multiplication tables increases math achievement.
When you think about history, you probably think about dates, events, and other boring information you were forced to memorize in school. Instead, you should think of history as medicine that can be prescribed to your modern problems.