Introducing IncitED: The Crowdfunding Community for Education
IncitED is the crowdfunding community for education where teachers and education supporters can fund, share, and replicate important education initiatives worldwide. Visit IncitED at…
The Alternatives to Compulsory Education
I’ve been meeting with people over the past two years trying to find ways to connect and expand our…
What is Authentic Assessment? What is the purpose of assessment, grades, tests?
It is not enough to just assess what students know or don’t know and mark it in a book or relay it to the parents, twice a year at conferences. I think assessment should be used solely for the the betterment and growth of student as they seek to make meaningful constructions of the knowledge of the world. It should help the child and teachers (parents) look at what and how they know the things they do, to further their learning.
I have never understood why the assessment is often so one-sided. The teacher is merely one voice in the conversation. When the student is not at the center of the assessment, then it is detached and fragmented lacking any power to lead to real authentic growth. Students might preform well, might score well on the state test, or complete all the assignments, but the minute the voice disappears there is no motivation or resources for the child to do their own work.
There is a deeper level of authentic praise and satisfaction that comes from active learning and excellence work. The natural power that comes from meaningful learning is an intrinsic feeling that is transferable for children for the rest of their life.
Letters to Michelle Obama (Guest Post by Christopher Chase)
If you’re a teacher, student or parent with children in American public schools then you probably have some first hand knowledge of the problems that have been caused by well-meaning but inflexible “No child left behind” policies and the new emphasis on “one-size-fits-all” common core standards. It’s not that all aspects of these initiatives are unwise, but certain parts definitely are.
Our idea is to encourage teachers, parents and students around the United States to write personal letters and mail them in May (not by e-mail) to Michelle Obama, telling her of your experiences and concerns with how high-stakes testing and other reforms are affecting those who actually spend their days on the front line, in our nation’s classrooms. As Nancy Carlsson-Paige described the current situation:
“As a professor of education, an educator of teachers, and someone who creates curriculum, I see the harm education reform is causing children — the disappearance of play, creativity, and the arts from our schools. Evaluation is now driving curriculum, and curriculum is being reduced to something mechanistic. This isn’t real learning.”
Educators like Dr. Carlsson-Page and Diane Ravitch have spoken out for years now, but for some reason their explanations have not been heard and understood by President Obama. He’s a very busy man, with a lot of issues on his plate. But he and Michelle are parents as well, with young daughters in school.
Which is why we thought an effective strategy might be for people from all over the Nation to write to Michelle Obama and let her know what is REALLY going on. As someone who spends time visiting schools, she should be able to quickly grasp these issues once she sits down, reads a few letters and really learns about the effect these policies have had.
Moreover, as First Lady she may be in the best position to help influence education policy. Once she “gets it” she can then explain the “uncomfortable” details of the issue to the President. One or two meaningful conversations between the two of them in the White House could lead to some big changes.
So, if you agree with this idea, we hope you will consider sharing your personal story with her. Let Michelle (and her staff) know what you’ve observed, as a parent, educator or student. Also, as parents and teachers, we can discuss this issue with our children and encourage them to write as well, expressing their unique point of view.
Isn’t this what “critical thinking skills” and participatory democracy are all about – finding a way for our leaders to hear (and be guided by) the voices and wisdom of the people, all the people, even the children?
Thanks for considering this idea and sharing it with others.
“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” ~Victor Hugo
Send your letter to:
Ms. Michelle Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Source (The Art of Learning)
Letters to Michelle Obama (Guest Post by Christopher Chase)
I’d like to float an idea for how to throw a compassionate wrench into the cog wheels of the…
The need for a change in education is evident. But what’s the practical solution? It is easy to point out the flaws of the current system, but it is much more difficult to come up with…
“..but this is what I teach my college students…” My mother, who is an English professor, is looking at the new 5th grade common core standards. I shake my head, sigh, and realize that I now have another mountain to climb when it comes to making school relevant, engaging, and exciting for students.
I have been hesistant to blog about the Common Core Standards, after all, this is my first year truly dealing with them and the prescribed curriculum that seems to come with them. And yet, something keeps nagging me whenever I stumble upon them. Something keeps bugging me at a deeper level than just the “Oh, it’s another change in education…” type of way.
Perhaps it is the curriculum that is now promising us to be even more rigorous in all of its alignment. It seems to say that I wasn’t rigorous before or that we just dallied around in previous years, not to be trusted when left to our own devices as teacher.
Perhaps it is the illusion that all schooling in the 45 states that have adopted them will now be an equal education. Never mind that the educational inequity continues to grow with less and less funding from states and that students are now poorer than they have even been.
Perhaps it is the illusion that my students are actually developmentally ready for the things I am now expected to have them do. Yes we infer in 5th grade, but to infer themes between two types of stories based on their text features and perspective is pretty crazy stuff. And indeed, as expressed by my mother, college level.
Perhaps it is not the standards that are to blame for my hesitance but rather the interpretation of them from textbook companies who have been so very quick in creating common core aligned curricula. More script, less creative thinking seems to be the standard. And districts are buying it, literally, hand over foot.
Whatever it is that is nagging me, I know it deserves more think time, more deep analysis, much like the standards themselves. I have yet to pass my full judgment, but I stand here hesitant wondering how this now will effect my students in the coming years. Will they continue to dislike writing in a more scripted curriculum or will they all of a sudden have such brain growth brought on by the right standards that I wont believe my own eyes? I don’t know but I wonder. Do you?
Are charter schools part of equitable educational choice? Do they and should they have a role in the educational landscape? There is a need for an honest, balanced discussion of charter schools. Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools, started by…