Friday, July 24, 2015

Testing, Testing, Testing...

Article: States Continue to Move away from Testing

States seem to be responding to the resistance against testing, but that movement seems to be slow and very focused on their parts.  More and more governors are opting out of the testing but continue to show their allegiance towards the Common Core and Accountability.  So my question is, are Governors making real evaluations or re-evaluations or is this just a political move to pacify protests?  I am inclined to the believe the latter because there's been few moves against the idea of testing and this strict evaluation of schools, students, and teachers.  I do not question the ability of testing to find meaning and evaluate the work of schools, I do however, question if we have a concept of that the meaning and work of schools should be?  Testing can really only be effective if we know why we are testing and what we are testing for?  Your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Common Core and Change

There seems to be a lot of ebb and flow to the power of Common Core.  States drop in, states drop out.  States sign up and refuse testing and where testing is being implemented, people opt out of testing.  In the latest move, NJ Gov has decided to pull New Jersey out of the Common Core.  While there are many questions that remain about the move, for instance when and how will it happen.  Christie also made it clear that standardized testing and teacher accountability would continue despite giving up the Common Core.  While many saw this as a victory for the opponents of the Common Core, I had many questions:

  • What would NJ use to replace the Common Core standards?
  • How would they make the transition to the next or old standards?
  • If Testing and Teacher accountability are to continue, how is that going to look and account for transition of standards?
As per usual, these are issues and considerations that don't seem to make it into the public but i am curious as to how we can get people to think about process, procedure, and protocol of how schools are governed and forced to change.  What do you all think?

Gov Chris Christie from Article - Link here

Friday, June 5, 2015

Current Events: Nonacademic Skills

How do we help our kids? What are the best ways to conceptualize the different ways that we try to cultivate skills and learning in our students.  Even when I worked as a teacher, I noticed that in my schools we, the teachers, often had similar goals but went about them in different ways and often used different techniques and different terminology around these topics.  While it is tempting to embrace unifying these terms and the efforts of this work, would doing so take away teacher autonomy and ignore students' needs?  The NPR Article does a good job laying out the different terms and what they mean so I will skip that.  What I am interested in is, how are teachers managing these different concepts and how are we expecting them to manage all of these terms?

Link to the Article - And Definitions of the terms and concepts

Teachers and schools will often not think about making ideologically consistent choices when they make decisions.  Teachers live in a pragmatic world and they make decisions about the students in front of them and for their classroom.  This isn't a fault of theirs, its a reality.  Teachers will use the terms and concepts that they feel comfortable with and they need to do to the best for their students.  Given the different concerns and challenges of the classroom, and teachers feeling overwhelmed, it isn't fair to impose ideological consistency when the academy and media can't be held to the same standards!

Is it fair to ask for ideological/philosophical consistency from our teachers given this reality of their job?  What do you think?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Mission Statement and Goal

In this blog, I want to spend some time thinking about the different forces and perspectives that exist in out nation and world about education.  I've decided to try find ways to discuss the different ideas and I even have some debates planned for this blog.  So to keep me on task, I am posting my mission statement and my goals to help keep me on track.

Mission Statement

To be an honest critic of what is going on in education.  I will endeavor to be honest to myself and the views that I am trying to understand and examine.  Being involved in Education, for me, means that we will have to pay attention to the variety of forces that can impact how our classrooms and schools are run. My hope is that by documenting my efforts, I will be able to build such a method.


Post every Friday: Its nice to have a schedule

Build a Rotation of posts: Right now I am thinking of article and book reviews, current events, debates, and op-eds, but we'll see how everything shapes out.

See you Friday!