Are American students still the most likely to succeed? New book raises concerns.

A few years ago, I attended a student-led curriculum night in which the teacher in front of the room was replaced by students demonstrating what they were learning.

Parents sat through disorganized student skits where kids hissed at each other for forgetting their lines. Students showed their social studies essays on a PowerPoint, replete with misspellings, grammatical errors and missing punctuation, causing parents to cringe.

That evening came to mind as I read the new book, “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era,” by Harvard educator Tony Wagner and venture capitalist Ted Dintersmith.

As with Wagner’s 2008 best-seller, “The Global Achievement Gap,” the new book deems American schools unequal to the task of training innovators, inventors and trailblazers for a 21st century where the only constant is change.

The book calls for an education system that doesn’t drill kids, but excites them; that doesn’t tell them the answers, but puts them on a journey of self discovery. The authors champion more wonder and initiative and less grind and rote learning. Wagner and Dintersmith assail the time devoted to the mechanics of writing “without giving students any reason whatsoever to write.”

higtech

The authors of a new book hold out High Tech High’s innovative schools in San Diego as models for the rest of the country.

But as my open house experience demonstrated, a failure to grasp the mechanics can undermine what a student is trying to say. I hate grind and rote memorization. But that’s how I slogged through grammar, spelling and math. A top mathematician once told me math is not fun; it’s hard even for those who love it and make it their life work.

The answer is providing balance — grounding kids in the basics without stifling their drive to create, invent and innovate. No one would disagree students prefer hands-on lessons to lectures. Or that the U.S. relies on tests to determine what students have learned without knowing if what they’ve learned matters. Most teachers would applaud the book’s contention education today is “a largely hollow process of temporarily retaining the information required to get acceptable grades on tests.”

In a supporting anecdote, the authors cite an elite New Jersey prep school that gave students returning after summer break a simplified version of the final science exam they’d taken three months earlier. While the average grade in June had been an 87, it was a 58 in September. This caused the school to narrow its science curriculum to critical concepts and build in more self-discovery.

(A dissenting voice: A friend who trains managers on new computer programs for a major Atlanta corporation said it is not surprising students scored lower. “You’re better at something when you practice it. If the school had given the kids a week to review the science, the scores would have been higher.”)

Most current reform models fail to impress the authors. Charter schools are declared no better than other public schools. About MOOCs, the massive open online courses attracting thousands of users, they write, “Kids who learn little from lectures in the classroom can learn just as little watching online lectures from their rooms.” While Common Core may require students to tackle more difficult content, the authors doubt the content will interest students. And AP courses, suffering from the tinkering of too many academic committees, are now 10 miles wide and 1/100 of an inch deep, according to the pair.

So what does hold promise? Wagner and Dintersmith cite individual schools, including the much-celebrated High Tech High network of schools in San Diego, the Riverdale Country School in New York and Malcolm X Shabazz High in Newark, which feature interdisciplinary courses, internships, a focus on content mastery, presentation and communication, and projects and portfolio over tests.

Such innovative programs offer an end to the educational treadmill, say the authors, in which schools are forced to do more and more “without identifying what to do less of. … We take every ounce of bold creativity out of the classroom, replacing it with a soulless march through dull curriculum and test prep decoupled from life skills. We prioritize standardization and accountability and don’t seem to notice or care that students lack engagement and purpose. We rob our kids of their futures.”

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Reader Comments 0

55 comments
MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Being well-educated means being wary of generalizations of any kind. 

We must rise in consciousness, as a society, to be able to work to improve, and to problem solve, rather than to spend energy and time in blaming, which is essentially negative in nature, and, therefore, becomes counter-productive for anyone.

Lynn43
Lynn43

Parents have one chance to get the education of their children right.  I'm very afraid that most of the "choice" options will prove to be a disaster for their children.  Even now, we are having to tutor students who are coming back to us from charter schools.  And what about these "on line" options especially for kindergarten and elementary children?  Some may be fine if parents do their job and basically do the tutoring and teaching, but what about the children whose parents expect the "on line" school to do the entire job?  Only time will tell, and I would not want my child's education to be the experiment.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@Lynn43

"...I would not want my child's education to be the experiment."

Unfortunately, in many cases, public education is using your child's education as an experiment.  They lurch from one "research based" program to the next, seeking the magic bullet that will produce the equal outcomes utopia they have been searching for 60 years now.

bu2
bu2

Agree that you do have to have the basics.  Its college where they train you, not in the answers, but in how to ask the right questions and how to research.

Kelly Greene
Kelly Greene

Honestly, the new Common Core is ridiculous. Have you seen the way subtraction is being taught? The new methods that schools are using to teach basic math skills are counterproductive, and most schools have done away with teaching multiplication tables altogether. Math is one area where the drilling method is absolutely essential to the learning process. We learn best by doing - that's been proven consistently over the years. So, in the areas of English and Math, both subjects that require drilling, schools need to focus on consistency. 


Someone mentioned spelling tests and how easily the words are forgotten. I remember doing those spelling tests in elementary school, and I never forgot how to spell a single word because my teacher held a spelling bee every month with words from all of the lists. There are ways to combine drilling proficiency with fun activities, and it's the fault of the schools that teach teachers how to teach that exacerbate the problems found in public schools. Innovation has to start with the teacher, and not all teachers are naturally innovative - but from what I know of most education majors, innovation in the classroom is an assumed skill rather than a taught one. 


I do think that public schools focus way too heavily on "teaching to the test," and that takes away from the fun of learning for the kids. Someone mentioned that a teacher had to cancel a week long science fair due to low scores on pre-tests, but that wasn't her only option. She could have chosen to go ahead with the fair and taught the kids some more specific science-related concepts. Instead, she chose to focus on the test. 


The real problem, in my opinion, isn't the testing itself, but the fear teachers have of losing their jobs based on the test scores of their students. Their jobs shouldn't be based on how well or how poorly their students do on standardized tests that don't measure anything except how well someone memorizes information. Most schools, at least in the county where I live, don't even require students to pass the tests to move on to the next grade. Yet the students still have to take the tests. Why? What purpose does a test serve when it's not even being used as a way to assess whether a student is ready to move on to the next grade? It boggles my mind. That's why, if I ever have children, I am going to find a way to home school. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Kelly Greene


"Someone mentioned that a teacher had to cancel a week long science fair due to low scores on pre-tests, but that wasn't her only option. "


I suspect she was TOLD by administration that she needed to cancel the fair and review via various practice websites.  It may well have been her only option, depending upon the character of her administrator.  The teacher may have been able to think of creative ways to cover the material, but may not have been given an option.  


"Yet the students still have to take the tests. Why?"


Because by law, our lovely new evaluation system implemented by the state bases 50% of our worth as a teacher on those test scores.



"The real problem, in my opinion, isn't the testing itself, but the fear teachers have of losing their jobs based on the test scores of their students. Their jobs shouldn't be based on how well or how poorly their students do on standardized tests that don't measure anything except how well someone memorizes information."



Totally agree with you, but teacher ARE in fear of losing their jobs because they have been told by administration that if their scores do not look good, there are plenty of other teachers out there who are looking for work and could easily take their job.  If 50% of your evaluation is based on test scores, and districts are starting to look not only your evaluation but you pay check being based on those scores, then you can bet teachers are going to fear what happens if their students do not score well.

readcritic
readcritic

@Kelly Greene

Teachers get zapped not only for test scores, but also for TEAKS evaluations. It is so easy to set a teacher up for failure with such a subjective system. Administrators/schedulers give the lower achieving, behavior problem students in large class sizes to those teachers they don't like. It gives an administrator the opportunity to rate the teacher as insufficient even though that teacher is dealing with large classes of students no other teacher wants. Administrators will not follow up on discipline reports and actually blame the teacher for issues of students who have parole offices, prison records, expulsions from other schools, histories of violent actions in other classes, and those who are repeating the class for the third time. Many teachers are unaware that not only are their jobs in jeopardy, but their paychecks are affected. Salaries are frozen in accordance with the State Certification Board. Teachers are on the short end of the education situation. It is so much easier to look good with small class sizes of IB and AP students who will score well on tests and perform with interest. Administrators only care about the high school graduation rate. Unfortunately, administrators, the parents, and especially the students are never responsible for performance issues and TEAKS does not allow teachers to evaluate their administrators. This is not a working system evaluation system. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

This is a nuanced issue, which means there are no easy answers. 


Yes, our current approach to education with the emphasis on "test prep" for tests with simple multiple choice format and trivia and rote repletion has taken a lot of the creativity and "fun" out of education....Kids are being "skill and drilled"to death - and the hate it!  No time to take that "teachable moment" to explore the shooting star phenomena that students are so excited about after having seen a meteor shower the night before because...well, got to get them ready for the testing which will determine the teacher and school's standing.


On the other hand, there are some skills that HAVE to be memorized in order for students to be most successful.  Multiplication facts are one example.  Spelling is another.  You can try to make this learning "fun" through a variety of approaches (interactive computer games or card games, etc.) but sometimes it comes down to old fashioned skill and drill.  The "discovery" approach really does not work well on those type skills - the avoidance of a rote approach tends to lead to 12 years olds spelling "was" as "wuz" and who are unable to tell time on an analog clock or efficiently do simple math problems like counting change.


There needs to be balance between making learning engaging and some old fashioned skill mastery.  We also need the public to instill in their children a understanding of the importance of education.  Across the board, my students who do best and learn the most are the ones who have guardians  (whether it be a single parent, a gay parent, a couple, a grandparent etc.) who value education and instill that value in their children.  Those children WANT to do well and seem to persevere even when the learning process is not necessarily entertaining.  


On the other hand we have children who expect everything to be "fun" all the time, and who refuse to put forth any effort when any task required them to do something they don't "like" - which generally means anything that requires work.  Everything is "too hard' and school is "no fun" regardless of the task because for them, life should consist of constant video games or movies on TV and anything else is not worth the effort.  Often, their parents will not enforce a work ethic at home either, so these children never do homework because, for the parents, it is too hard to make little Susie do her homework when she wants to play Candy Crush all evening.  And when teachers try to get the parents on board, the parents complain that teachers are making life too difficult for little Susie.   I don't know how many times I have heard, "Oh, I know.  He/she is just like his/her mom/dad.  I can't get him/her to do anything..." and that seems to be the end of the conversation.  Yet, if you talk to those children, they still seem to be allowed to watch TV, use the computer, or play videos all night.  What is so hard about making a rule that "Homework first" and enforcing it?  Something is terribly wrong when an nine year old tells you they need your "help" to button a jacket, or tie a shoe, or open a book bag, or open a juice box, or throw away a tissue because it is "too hard" for them to do... and I am not talking about special needs students or particularly tricky actions (I know some of those juice boxes can be difficult) - I am talking about an attitude of learned helplessness that seems to be growing among our youth.   You should hear the groans when I ask my elementary students to write more than one sentence on a piece of paper - as though picking up a pencil is pure torture.


I have heard many "experts" talk about how "all children want to learn" and if a child is not learning in school, then it is the teacher's fault.  And I would agree - YES all children do want to learn - however, not all of them want to learn what the NEED to learn to be successful.  They may want to learn how to protect against monsters in Minecraft, but they do not necessarily want to learn their math facts.  They may want to learn all about matching candies in Candy Crush, but they do not necessarily want to learn about using prepositions correctly.  So, as the experts would suggest, tie what they want to learn in with their lessons and  Viola!  A Win-win situation.  The problems being, it is not so easy to design a standards based curriculum around Minecraft, and even if you do manage that, once the students discover that "learning about  Minecraft" also happens to involve writing and reading and doing math around the theme of Minecraft, the reluctant learners soon refuse to do the work anyway.  Oh, they will be enthusiastic about TALKING about Minecraft, or sharing their stories and ideas, and would love to spend class playing Minecraft, but ask them to do any work they do not like, and they tend to revert to their previous apathy. 


Sometimes I wish I could just be blunt with these parents and tell them that the world is changing.  There are no longer any guarantees for those who do not strive to make the most of themselves.  Gone are the days of being able to support yourself (let alone a family) while doing a menial job that requires little education.  Even among those who are able to find work in our current economy, many are struggling.  People struggling to put food on the table are going to end up resenting those they see as "taking advantage of the system" and eventually things are doing to explode. Letting your child play video games all night while making excuses for them not practicing their skills or putting forth any effort on academics may save you the headache of putting your foot down now, but in the end, it will be your child and his/her future that suffers.  




heyteacher
heyteacher

@Quidocetdiscit " I am talking about an attitude of learned helplessness that seems to be growing among our youth." 


^^ This exactly. I offer tutoring to students every day but many of my students (and their parents who request the tutoring) want me to basically do the assignment for them. On a different note, I was happy when my 4 year old landed in the "old school" pre-k class because his teacher expects students to be able to do things like open all the items in their lunch box -- she won't do it for them and tells the parents to work on these skills at home. My friend with a child in that class was appalled and thought that kids would starve this way but my own son figured out how to get the yogurt open by the second day. At least one parent has moved their kid from this class because it was "too hard" to expect 4 year olds to be so self-sufficient. Sigh. 

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

@Quidocetdiscit  "And when teachers try to get the parents on board, the parents complain that teachers are making life too difficult for little Susie.   I don't know how many times I have heard, "Oh, I know.  He/she is just like his/her mom/dad.  I can't get him/her to do anything..." and that seems to be the end of the conversation. "


That (sluffing off and not doing homework) would've gotten you failing the grade and repeating when/where I attended public school.  Unfortunately, these students are making it into the working world, and it shows.

straker
straker

Some top notch private schools boast of a 100% rate of their graduates going to college.


You might want to see how they teach.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@straker In the case of the top privates, I think it is a matter of who they teach rather than how.

We also have to look carefully at these 100 percent claims. I attended a grad ceremony of a small high school that made that assertion, but when they announced the colleges, many of the kids were going to places with no admission standards, including the for-profit colleges that are now under fire for their single-digit completion rates and $100,000 costs.

Englewood5700
Englewood5700

@Wascatlady @MaureenDowney @straker  I gone to Catholic schools for all 12 years and the only thing they taught in an excellent way was catechism. This was in the 60s and 70s. It's still the same shape now but much more money, and the parents don't seem to care their kids don't want to go to a top rated university. Some parents see nothing wrong with them going to vocational school, after spending all of that money in the lower grades!

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@MaureenDowney

"In the case of the top privates, I think it is a matter of who they teach rather than how."  

Is is ALWAYS a matter of who they teach - which is why parents who give a crap do not want their child attending a 99% black APS school, nor do they want the social marxists busing the problem students to their school in order to create "diversity".


It's been 60+ years since Brown vs Board, and the politically correct, equal outcomes crowd still haven't learned that simple fact (or perhaps they do, they just want to drag everybody down to their level...)

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Lee_CPA2 @MaureenDowney


Why do you assume it is the black students who cause all the problems?  I have certainly had the 'pleasure' of teaching numerous "problem" students over the years - and they came in ALL colors. 


Actually, I know why you assume this...but it really is a sad statement about your biases.  In my experience, it is not "race" of a child that is the salient factor when it comes to school success, nor even income level (though it is harder to reach success if you are poor for a variety of reasons).  Rather it is the culture in the home and the attitude towards education in general.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

An observation I would like to open for discussion: Schools that get kids ready to learn -- their parents have done all the right things so students easily pass basic skills testing -- have far more creativity and hands-on instruction because teachers don't have to be concerned about whether the kids will pass the CRCT/Milestones. In visiting schools, I've seen the most "drill and kill" in schools with large numbers of kids who cannot pass these tests. In suburban schools, kids are out of their desks interacting in small groups; they are outside with notebooks for nature studies and learning language through drama; they are walking  to Main Street to map traffic patterns for math class.

A friend who taught at a school with persistently low scores was heartbroken when her plans for a weeklong science fair were canceled because pre-testing revealed her kids were way behind on the CRCT. So, the week was turned over to reteaching and retesting.

I don't know the answer. I spoke to a mother not long ago who pulled her son out of a public elementary school because of what she considered too much drill and too little thrill. She enrolled him in a k-12 private school noted for its innovative approaches and arts focus. Her son loved it, but still never mastered the basics in math and reading, floundered in high school and failed the GED. 

She wondered if she should have kept him in the public school because his teachers did zero in on his learning deficits -- albeit with a remedial approach she found overly structured.

Any answers?


An American Patriot
An American Patriot

Yeah, hire a former military first sergeant for the administrator and fire the old one and hire some competent teachers. You described a disciplinary problem and that should not be tolerated....period.

Gwinnetting
Gwinnetting

@MaureenDowney 

Answers? Give every mother the option to send her child to the school, public or private, that best fits for her child's needs. 

Tuition vouchers totally or at least substantially make that possible.

Gwinnetting
Gwinnetting

@Wascatlady 

The waiting list for charter schools alone is currently over one million. 

These are children of mothers trapped in traditional public schools failing to meet practically anyone's needs.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Gwinnetting @MaureenDowney How would that have helped?  The mother DID do that, and then found she had made a choice that did NOT meet her child's needs.  Are you willing to pay for countless children to be put in that situation, all in the name of choice?

gactzn2
gactzn2

@Wascatlady @Gwinnetting @MaureenDowney Exactly- if it does not "thrill" children in this day and age- it is not considered instruction.  We will not see the fault in these arguments until it is too late and there are not enough teachers to go around.  We are headed that way now. People should research the dip in education major enrollments.  It is already starting.

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/03/03/389282733/where-have-all-the-teachers-gone

http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2015/01/27/fewer-education-majors-and-worries-about-where-tomorrows-teachers-will-come-from/

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/10/22/09enroll.h34.html


This is the first year in my own school when we started the year short of content area teachers.  People are not interested in teacher education at the rates they once were- and money is not the issue (Ingersoll).

popacorn
popacorn

@MaureenDowney

Answer: Change their mother and father. This would work on several different levels. 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Gwinnetting @MaureenDowney I've noticed many of the "choice for me" crowd want to escape from "those" people in public school, or they are upset that their child "isn't challenged " even while making failing grades, or are concerned because their kids don't have enough fun, like this mother.  It is important to make good choices for your child, but you need to have a valid, thoughtful reason rather than searching for something your child "likes."

bu2
bu2

@MaureenDowney 

Don't do what feels good.  Do what works.  Use data.  That's one of the points about the IEP process for special needs kids.  They measure whether it is working for that particular student.  If it isn't, you do something different.


And you have to fill the gaps on reading and math.  If you failed to pickup Georgia history, that doesn't hurt too much when studying world history.  But reading and math are the basics for everything else.  If you don't get addition, you are going to really struggle with later math.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

Dr. Lee Jenkins, former teacher, superintendent, and college professor, begins chapter 1 of his 2005 book, “Permission to Forget: And Nine Other Root Causes of America’s Frustration with Education” (ASQ Quality Press), by illustrating “Root Cause #1, Granting students permission to forget:”

“Students learn in first grade that they have permission to forget much of what their teachers are teaching.  How do they learn this?  Six-year-olds learn they have permission to forget through Friday spelling tests.  The process is well known.  New spelling words are assigned on Monday, various learning activities transpire Tuesday through Thursday, cramming takes place on Thursday evening, and a test is given on Friday.  Numerous words spelled correctly on Friday are forgotten on Saturday.  In fact, one teacher told me she gave the same spelling test two hours later and was shocked to find out how much was already forgotten.

“Any educational institution that encourages cramming is unintentionally giving students permission to forget.  Likewise, any initiative that purports to significantly improve education must take cramming out of the equation.  This has been accomplished many times by implementing the strategies outlined in “Improving Student Learning: Applying Deming’s Quality Principles in Classrooms.”

Deming, of course, is Dr. W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993).  And “Deming’s Quality Principles” to which Dr. Jenkins refers are encapsulated in Dr. Deming’s famous “14 Points for Management” and his “A System of Profound Knowledge.”

Deming suggested that if we, the U.S., wanted to destroy a country, then we only had to export our business management practices to the country.  Likewise, if some want to destroy public education, as some so clearly do, then get public education to adopt prevailing business management practices – ranking, merit pay, pay for performance, management by objectives, competition, please the boss with “dog and pony” shows, etc

As has been said time and time again, the problem is not, and never has been, the children.  The problem is, and always has been, public education’s adoption of the prevailing Western style of business management.

Why is it taking so long and proving difficult to understand this?

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

Yeah, well the biggest problem in public education today is "the federal government and Arne Duncan's involvement". Return control to the states and you will see an immediate improvement.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@An American Patriot Such as sped kids locked in closets playing with playdoh.  Such as rich schools having every amenity while those in poor neighborhoods having little.  We have been there and done that.

Gwinnetting
Gwinnetting

Rote learning hasn't been a mainstay in American classrooms for decades. 

But it is apparently still useful as a bogey to "explain" systemic failures or ward off accountability and other necessary reforms.

ProHumanitate
ProHumanitate

@Gwinnetting

Where have you been for the past four years???  Rote learning has become much more so since sometime around 2011. Or maybe you don't still have kids in the system. I do, and I observe a huge difference between the experience of my now 2nd grader as compared to what her siblings experienced (who are now in middle school). 

Milhouse
Milhouse

@Gwinnetting 

What's beyond dispute is that those on either side of this (these) issue(s) will look at the same set of facts -- and reach entirely different conclusions, often based on their politics.

Give parents tuition vouchers and let the marketplace sort it out.

ProHumanitate
ProHumanitate

@Gwinnetting

And what's absolutely amazing is that those few things that ARE best learned through rote memorization are no longer taught that way. Think addition and subtraction facts, times tables, etc. They now come at it from a hundred different directions and the kids get ridiculously sidetracked.

bu2
bu2

@ProHumanitate @Gwinnetting 


And I and my kids found the multiplication tables fun.  Actually anything rote can be made fun for a certain period of time.  Its a case of seeing it as a challenge and tackling it the best you can.

readcritic
readcritic

The problem with education today is that the basics have been thrown out because administrators want to see the students entertained. When administrators come in to evaluate, they want the fun and games "dog and pony" show as students sit in groups with every student "magically" engrossed and on task. God forbid if a teacher has students in rows doing any real rote learning to help them master the material. Often it is a major accomplishment for the teacher to do anything when the students they are given have ankle bracelets, anger management counselors, parole officers, and prison records. Is it any wonder why spelling, grammar, and all other basics have suffered?!!!. Teachers are not allowed to teach. The idea of discovery learning is great if the students have the needed skill sets to perform; however, teachers are dealing with large class sizes and students who are unprepared and/or unwilling to do the level work. Since students with major behavior issues and a lack of prior knowledge are jammed into classrooms of 35+, it is the impossible dream for a teacher to perform miracles. When will teachers be given the respect they deserve for knowing their students and the autonomy to direct their classrooms with administrative support?  The new TEAKS evaluations have made it even more difficult for teachers of lower level regular education classes. It is so much easier to do the flashy entertainment with IB and AP classes. Most of those students have parents who provide a good home life, a solid educational base, and instill a strong sense of achievement. Teacher assassination is not the answer to correct societal problems. There are so many different aspects of classroom dynamics that are not accounted for in the current evaluation system thus allowing administrators free reign to be very subjective. Teachers have no recourse in these situations. The Dumbing Down of America is the result of lack of discipline and lack of administrative support.    

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@readcritic  "Teacher assassination is not the answer to correct societal problems.'  You are so right.  But assassination of administrators is not going to change things either.  Generalizations about teachers, teacher education programs, and administrators are an easy out for folks who do not have adequate information about the subject. 

Not all administrators refuse to handle discipline, fail to support their teachers, or make unreasonable demands on their teachers.  Many of us work many hours before and after school to do the paperwork and "business" side of our jobs so that we can be available to help with students and/or instruction during the day.  We monitor children in the cafeteria so teachers can have lunch away from the students.  We remove disruptive students from classrooms and work with them one-on-one so the other students have an opportunity to learn.  We make sure toilets flush and buildings run smoothly.  We look for ways to recognize the work of our teachers. We work with teachers to help them improve upon their craft. We do whatever needs to be done to ensure that teachers can teach and children can learn.  So please, quit throwing us all under the bus!

By the way, the evaluation system that you talk about is the TKES - Teacher Keys Effectiveness System.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@elementary-pal @readcritic 

"Generalizations about teachers, teacher education programs, and administrators are an easy out for folks who do not have adequate information about the subject."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So true. Being well-educated means being wary of generalizations of any kind.

We must rise in consciousness, as a society, to be able to work to improve, and to problem solve, rather than to spend energy and time in blaming, which is essentially negative in nature, and, therefore, becomes counter-productive for anyone.

gactzn2
gactzn2

The schools they cite are also "elite" in that they have leverage over the makeup of their student body (discipline, focus, committed students). They fail to look at the role learning acculturation plays in impacting a school culture. (Culture- not color)

gactzn2
gactzn2

I would disagree with the authors on one point- education has moved far away from rote memorization and drill and kill methods.  It currently embraces collaboration, creativity, and communication.  While drill and kill should not be the only method used to teach,neither should an overemphasis on "fun" learning and edutainment.  Let's just face it.  Sometimes, it will be boring- but it can still be productive.