Apparently it’s not bad teachers in the eductation programs dragging schools down, but more a culture that is not conducive to progressive and participatory education.
It seems it is the administrators who seek to move education away from learning and toward training who are making things worse.
After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform, a 2018 book by Andrea Gabor, documents these success stories and outlines their commonalities: in Massachusetts’ Brockton High, the state’s largest, poorest school now outperforms the state average, with a well-funded faculty that teach speaking skills, fine arts, drama, sports, and provide extracurricular activities.
In Leander, Texas, strict hierarchy and standardized tests were replaced by “a culture devoted to grassroots-driven quality and experimentation” as well as “long-term thinking” and “meaningful teacher training,” inspired by the production systems of Toyota, turning the school into a magnet for the best teachers in the state and reversing its education outcomes.
The commonalities in all of Gabor’s success stories are “a respect for democratic processes and participatory improvement, a high regard for teachers, clear strategies with buy-in from all stake-holders, and accountability frameworks that include room to innovate. They also feature robust leadership and strong teacher voice. Their success underscores the importance of equitable funding and suggests that problems like income inequality are far more detrimental to education that the usual suspects, like bad teachers.”
Shouldn’t schools be a place to encourage achievement and growth in our children, instead of indoctrinating them in class-specific roles?
Critics like Gordon Lafer are now warning that if antidemocratic forces and deep-pocketed elites continue to set the agenda for what children should learn, American schools will turn into places where inequality is not only exacerbated, but actually inculcated — something quite different from what most of us grew up understanding as their purpose. Instead of being prepared for lives as healthy and productive citizens, most will be groomed for a life of lowered expetations and servitude.
Thanks for the link.
Such a huge topic! Just a few random thoughts:
- Montessori style schools have been being awesome for decades.
- It’s not a surprise that oligarch-driven school systems are hurting education.
- Of course we need to value our teachers, doh! (And shame on us that we don’t.)
- Just a random note: Yes, yes, yes! If kids have time for recess and the arts, they will do better!
The first paragraph of the article:
Rich “education philanthropists” (Bill Gates, the Waltons, the DeVoses, the Sacklers) have had a lot of business-world ideas for “fixing education” over the years, centered on a system of carrots (bonuses for high-testing schools and schools whose students get admitted to top universitites) and sticks (funding cuts for “underperforming” schools), all backed by high-stakes tests and standardized teaching materials.
There is something about the topic of education that makes everyone think they are experts. Perhaps because a person went to school for so long, they think they know how to teach? Kind of like: “Sure, I can operate on your knee. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve had knee surgery..”
It’s behind a pay wall, but it’s a very good article. One of the things it talks about is how much more time teachers in places like Finland and Singapore spend on professional development; two places who usually rank as having some of the best primary and secondary schools in the world.
In the US, some states only mandate one hour of professional development time per year for each teacher.
Happy to see a local Texas school in the article.
Maybe we can just bring all of Finland’s teachers here.