Monday, September 27, 2010

The Real Purpose of Schooling

Are schools out-of-touch?  I believe most are.  

And the culprit?  Much of it comes from education being institutionalized - the 'one size, fits all' approach which has taken a lot out of both teachers and students.

And the solution? Not to sure about it but doubtful that 'Superman' will provide the answers than Kung-fu Panda.

Podcast: Standardized testing is not about better performance but about higher test scores.
1. Parent incomes and socio-economic status - 80-90% determinant that produces significant advantage!  Why?  - Think poverty, child health and school.

2. Time taken away from real learning preparing for test.  Taking away teacher's time to pump up test scores is ridiculous. And so is dangling better compensation for teachers to perform and get better test scores. [Not about test scores but about thinking/ learning orientation vs grade orientation]

Assess quality of learning not metrics for measuring rank which is about competitiveness and economic considerations.

“Idleness, indifference, and irresponsibility,” he said, “are healthy responses to absurd work.” 

... But expediency should not be our main priority when it comes to schools.

Instead, we should come up with assessments that truly measure the qualities of well-educated children: the ability to understand what they read; an interest in using books to gain knowledge; the capacity to know when a problem calls for mathematics and quantification; the agility to move from concrete examples to abstract principles and back again; the ability to think about a situation in several different ways; and a dynamic working knowledge of the society in which they live. 

Tragically, evaluating and rewarding teachers primarily on the basis of state test score gains creates disincentives for teachers to take on struggling students, just as accountability systems that rate doctors on their patients’ mortality rates have caused surgeons to turn away patients who are very ill. While scores may play a role in teacher evaluation, they need to be viewed in context, along with other evidence of the teacher’s practice.

It is not that we “good teachers” want to protect supposedly “bad teachers.” It is that we fear a witchhunt based on test scores will have disastrous consequences for ourselves, our peers, and the students we care about.

"In terms of how we evaluate schooling, everything is about working by yourself. If you work with someone else, it's called cheating. Once you get out in the real world, everything you do involves working with other people."

The state says to the educators, "We’re giving you tax money. In return, we’re holding you accountable. Your students have to take the state’s annual standardized test."

And the educators say, "WHAT!? What’s your definition of accountable? Didn’t you give us a charter to help students become critical thinkers, curious, creative, self-aware, empathetic, confident, courageous, resourceful, in love with learning, and capable of wonder?"


"And now you’re telling us that a standardized, one-shot, paper-and-pencil, multiple choice, bubble-in-the-oval, machine-scored test of short-term memory of the contents of a few school subjects - you’re telling us that a computer is going to spit out a number that tells us whether or not we’re succeeding!? You've gotta be kidding!"

Posted via email from friarminor's posterous