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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5346

PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Techno--thought you'd like it. There are, of course, a number of different things behind the problems with education in this country. The one alluded to here by Friedman is that we have become an entertainment nation. Kids often don't want to work. That is a separate issue from poverty--although they do sometimes co-vary. But the idea that we need to be entertained at all times, from electronic media, and advertising will pay for it all, is magical thinking at its worst.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1492

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from the Aspen Education Group:

Quote:
Narcissistic and Entitled to Everything! Does Gen Y Have Too Much Self-Esteem?

No one looks the way I do.
I have noticed that it’s true.
No one walks the way I walk.
No one talks the way I talk.
No one plays the way I play.
No one says the things I say.
I am special.
I am me.

Quote:
Gen Y – people born between 1978 and 1997 – grew up singing that nursery song. Today many parents and psychologists wonder if songs like that were not big mistakes.

In the 1980s world of child rearing, the catchword was “self-esteem.” Unconditional love and being valued “just because you’re you!” was the prevailing philosophy. In practice, it involved constantly praising children, not criticizing them under any circumstances, emphasizing feelings, and not recognizing one child’s achievements as superior to another’s. At the end of a season, every player “won” a trophy. Instead of just one “student of the month,” schools named dozens. Teachers inflated grades from kindergarten through college: “C” became the new “F.” No one ever had to
repeat a grade because staying behind caused poor self-esteem.


While technology has offered some fantastic elements to our world, I also think we are heading down a dangerous path with too many self absorbed individuals that have no clue as to how much their "games" and entitlement mentality are negatively effecting their relationships and opportunities.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5346

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in the proper thread. There is always room for innovation in education because different kids learn in different ways, and at different rates. From the Waldorf methods to the Montessori, and so forth. But then there is fakery. Here is only one of a number of readily available articles about the false promise--and failing math grades, that need to be given to George Bush's so-called Texas miracle in education. Too bad that most people who believe in markets as their gods won't bother to read it.

Quote:
By Jason Stanford

There’s a reason hundreds of parents and kids held a protest outside the New York City headquarters of the standardized testing company Pearson last year, and it wasn’t just because of the infamous “Pineapple” test question. There’s a reason that a Florida school board member with a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees made national news when he flunked his state’s 10th-grade math test. There’s a reason teachers in Seattle are refusing to administer the Washington state standardized test. Something is very amiss when standardized tests fail to make the grade, and as much as I’d love to, I can’t blame it on what George W. Bush did as president.

It’s actually what George W. Bush did as Texas governor.

Bush’s education adviser Sandy Kress, a Democratic lawyer from Dallas with some school board experience, convinced him that the “soft bigotry of low expectations” was holding back minority students in failing schools. His solution: if Texas made all schools give the same tests, the state could direct resources where they would do the most good, and eventually African-American and Hispanic kids would catch up to the white kids. It was a great theory, and initially the scores rose.

Bush called it the “Texas Miracle.” And once the Texas governor ascended to the Oval Office, Kress lobbied Sen. Ted Kennedy to add bipartisan legitimacy to the plan as Bush’s top Democratic supporter for the No Child Left Behind law, which promised to spread the Texas Miracle to the other 49 states. The law projected victory by 2014 in getting all students to “meet or exceed the state’s proficient level of academic achievement on the state assessments.”

Education researchers worried that making test scores the single indicator of success was about as smart as Enron making the stock price the only measure of prosperity. Education researchers saw parallels with the bankrupt energy corporation in how schools would “off-shore” the kids likely to fail tests by holding them back grade levels. Texas started to lose 70,000 kids a year, most dropping out before they had to take the 10th-grade tests that would count against the school. Almost a third of kids in Texas who started high school never finished.

Scores on the Texas test rose, but SAT scores for prospective college students dropped. Researchers discovered that the Texas tests designed by Pearson primarily measured test-taking ability. Apologists cherry-picked National Assessment of Educational Progress scores to show progress, but overall Texas lost ground to the rest of the country, found Dr. Julian V. Heilig, an education researcher at the University of Texas. But by then it was too late. The Texas Miracle, mirage or not, was the law of the land.

“The reason why we’re seeing, well, what we’re seeing, after ten years of No Child Left Behind is the fact that we didn’t close the gaps, the fact that our graduation rates haven’t gone anywhere, our dropout rates haven’t improved, because Texas never did that in the 1990s,” said Heilig. “Over the last ten years now that we have Texas-style accountability and policy in the whole United States, the reason why it didn’t deliver is because it never delivered in Texas.”

By the time Kress had become a lawyer-lobbyist for testing giant Pearson, Texas was seeing the beginnings of an uprising against the dogma of accountability-by-assessment. Parents complained about “teaching to the test.” Teachers began to complain openly about being forced to take time out of music or art to drill for the upcoming math test, and superintendents began to count up the days testing took out of the 180-day school year.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry made high-stakes testing an issue during his 2006 re-election, but the political class saw that accountability scored high in opinion polls. Perry appointed a committee to study the problem to death. He assigned Kress for the job to protect the status quo, but teachers and education researchers pushed the 2009 legislature to the brink of killing the standardized testing. When the state House and Senate passed a bill that would cut at the backbone of high-stakes testing, Perry threatened to veto unless the legislation doubled down on accountability. Kids in elementary school and middle school would be required to pass tests—or else. To get out of high school they’d have to pass not two, but 15 tests. Pearson got a new $468-million contract to write and administer all these new tests.

In a world of Astroturf politics and manufactured outrage, the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test, sparked a sincere grassroots rebellion. By the time Perry’s own education chief, Robert Scott, called high-stakes testing a “perversion” of accountability, Texas legislators knew they had to dial it back.

It’s too soon to say whether a near-unanimity of opposition to high-stakes testing from school boards, superintendents, parents and education researchers will succeed against Perry and Pearson, but there’s a better chance than ever that the false education doctrine that Bush started in Texas and then spread across the country will finally meet its end in the same building where it started.
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frederick23



Joined: 24 Dec 2013
Posts: 433

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"By imposing standards on students’ minds we are, in effect, depriving them of their fundamental intellectual freedom by applying one standard set of knowledge. Standardized tests oversimplify knowledge and do not test higher-order thinking skills. State standards are externally imposed on local teachers.
These mandatory assessments cannot work unless teachers understand and accept the philosophical underpinnings of standards. One-size-fits-all standards either dumb down instruction to the lowest common denominator or condemn low-ability students to frequent failure"

Focus on strengths says me.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5346

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frederick--I don't think that it is that simple. In fact, there is testing, or more properly evaluation, that goes on every day in a classroom. It is an obsession with testing, to the point where it determines teacher salary or even retention, that has led to a system that has narrowed curriculum and resulted in teaching to the test and cheating. Read Diane Ravitch, or spend time in a classroom.
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frederick23



Joined: 24 Dec 2013
Posts: 433

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imagine waking up one day and having everyone you encounter understand the ways in which you are unique and extraordinary. What if everyone viewed the things you did as needed contributions, and rather than looking for what is wrong with you, people pointed out what is right with you? If that happened, you would be supercharged. You would feel free and released from the burden of having to defend yourself. You would be psyched to jump out of bed and get to work. You would feel, well, strong. Wouldn't it be nice if just one day of your life could be like that?

The Strengths Movement in Schools is about just that. Developing strengths in kids is about getting everyone: the students, teachers and parents to change their thinking in order to
experience the sense of purpose and fulfillment that comes from living life from your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Teaching young people to focus on what interests, engages and energizes them is the best gift we can give children. It is what every child deserves.

Simply put, strengths are the things that we do that make us feel energized and alive when we do them. Every single person has strengths. Children's innate strengths are like live wires connecting their unique inner qualities to their promise as adults. Those wires have life's most potent energy flowing through them, and we as adults have the power to amp up or damper down the energy flow. When the energy is turned up and strengths are developed to their fullest, people's passions light up. Life becomes meaningful and enjoyable even in the face of conflict. Strengths are what push people to that place. They are the things that keep our curiosity engaged, that step out ahead of us and beg us to follow. They are what we would do if money, prestige, and responsibility were inconsequential. Our strengths speak to us with a persistent, urging voice that begs for us to take notice, to unleash them, and in doing so, we put our best selves forward -- not just in school, but on the job and in our relationships with others.

Jennifer Fox
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5346

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice post, but where does it fit into the religion of privatizing education so corporations can make money?
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frederick23



Joined: 24 Dec 2013
Posts: 433

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Nevermind".

Gilda Radner
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5346

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very interesting op ed piece from someone who was a "Teach for America" member, and is now studying at Harvard.
Jonathan Hasak

February 21, 2014 | Updated: February 21, 2014 4:46pm

Four minutes separate Oakland Technical High School from Children's Hospital. In the bustling Temescal District, high school students and hospital employees head out for lunch. As they brush past each other on Telegraph Avenue, in front of help-wanted signs and dilapidated storefronts, it may not occur to them, but together they could be a solution to a mutual problem: matching workers to available jobs.

Beyond the arguments typically dominating the education reform debate is the simple fact that students are not being set up to participate in today's changing economy. The 9 million jobs that have disappeared since the 2007-09 recession have given rise to a do-it-yourself economy that encourages entrepreneurship but also casts doubt on the value of a high school diploma. While 83 percent of Oakland Tech seniors graduated in 2012, less than half of all Oakland graduates enroll in college at a time when youth unemployment is already at a historical national high.


Rather than providing students skills that have real currency in today's labor market and preparing them for gainful employment, accountability provisions in the federal No Child Left Behind Act and Race to the Top funding program have focused on increasing short-term gains that measure success or failure of schools. With a hyper focus on basic reading and math skills that has yet to lead to high academic performance, isn't it time to purge these reforms?

The failure to connect the habits and attitudes valued by employers to what is taught in the classroom has led to an unsurprising result: Oakland Tech graduates enter a workforce lacking the essential skills and knowledge that employers require. Insisting on a one-size-fit-all expectation that students attend four-year colleges has only led to the frustration of 5.8 million young adults who are now neither in school nor working, according to a recent report by Opportunity Next. A better route would instead build on students' skills, interests and creativities.

Yet the solution to rebuilding the economy is right in front of these students - right there in neighborhoods such as Temescal and in cities like Oakland, where four minutes is apparently all it takes for an employer like Children's Hospital Oakland, which currently seeks 62 employees, and Oakland Tech, which graduated 341 students last year, to see past each other. Four minutes to see right past entry-level positions for nurses and EMTs - jobs that open the door to the middle class - and right past the thawing of student potential.

With 3.4 million jobs a year in the United States going unfilled because of a lack of qualified candidates, it is imperative that we align education reform with business interest. The widening job skills gap affecting Oakland Tech's student body not only produces inequality of opportunity but also slows economic growth - and prompted California to budget $250 million last summer for a Career Pathways Trust Fund. But why stop there?

Borrowing from successful international systems such as those in Finland and Germany, high schools could provide alternative pathways for students to acquire work and social skills - an "innovation path" that would compel students to take ownership of their learning. The business community could help by developing employability standards that would measure work readiness and embed them into the Common Core state standards the state's public schools have already embraced.

By exposing future employees to the skills valued in work environments through internships, summer jobs and apprenticeships, employers could also reduce job training and turnover costs. Local governments should further incentivize employers to hire or offer internships by allowing them to deduct the costs of employing recent graduates from their taxable gross receipts.

With economic mobility stagnating for all Americans, in part because of challenges public schools face, community partners and civic leaders need to begin demanding better integration from employers like Children's Hospital and public schools like Oakland Tech. And they must ultimately help an employer and a student see each other. At the intersection of education and business is a cost-effective solution to our job skills crisis, and the potential to build what President Obama has called ladders into the middle class - ladders that are indispensable for America regaining its competitive advantage in a knowledge-based, global economy.

What our country needs now is collaboration between business and education leaders to help make the pathway from school to career clearer and more efficient - more platforms, such as ConnectED, which is building successful partnerships in California high schools between students and industry professionals.

Oakland deserves similar cross-sector initiatives. Initiatives that make those four minutes a matter of distance and not a missed opportunity.

What you can do
Host job-shadow days for high school students.

Talk to your school board about increasing the number of employer partners in the school district to provide students with work-based opportunities.

Call your congressional representative and ask him or her to increase funding for community colleges.

Ask your boss to provide summer jobs or internships for high school students.

Invite business leaders to come into classrooms and share their stories.

Hold mock interviews in schools and give feedback to students.

Jonathan Hasak was a Teach For America corps member, taught in the Oakland Unified School District, and is studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he is focusing on resolving the jobs skills crisis. To comment, go to www.sfgate.com/chronicle/submissions/#1.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5346

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Insightful article in today's Chronicle:

Quote:
Can charity hurt public schools? That's the question raised by the $120 million donation to Bay Area schools from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife.

As we say thank you to the generous couple, their previous foray into public school philanthropy should also give San Francisco pause. According to an investigative report in the New Yorker magazine, most of Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to public schools in Newark, N.J., went to fad-peddling consultants, administration and union negotiations.

Four years later, the results are in: Test scores and graduation rates hardly have budged. The district is facing recriminations, deficits and layoffs, unable to support the programs and new schools it built with Zuckerberg's one-time gift.

His largesse is part of a larger trend: As taxpayer support for schools has declined, parents, corporations and wealthy individuals have stepped into the breach. San Francisco Unified School District will keep taking the gifts, from ordinary parents on up to big-dollar donors like Zuckerberg or Salesforce.com, which this year pitched in $1.5 million to buy tablet computers. The district would be crazy not to. But San Francisco educators and parents need to ask what policies should be in place to ensure the money is spent effectively and equitably.


Philanthropy skews education policies to reflect the untested agendas of big donors. While no one yet knows how the $120 million will be spent, Zuckerberg made charter schools and merit pay the centerpieces of his failed donation in Newark.

Among educators, these measures are very divisive. Studies show that charter schools are not out-performing traditional ones. Bonuses may incentivize Facebook engineers, but an authoritative 2012 study from the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University found that teachers offered bonuses did not improve test scores any more than teachers who just drew a salary. It seems teachers are not mainly motivated by money, a fact Silicon Valley investors may find bewildering.

Thus while wealthy capitalists like Zuckerberg talk a lot about getting measurable results, so far their pet education programs aren't producing any.

There are other problems with depending on philanthropy. My recent investigation for San Francisco Public Press found elementary school PTA budgets had jumped 800 percent over 10 years, with money concentrated at a small number of affluent schools that could stave off budget cuts. During a KQED Forum on our report, Carol Kocivar - immediate past president of the California State PTA - pointed out that when parents fund basics like teachers, it creates an expectation that they will continue to do so - and lets the state get away with avoiding its responsibilities, especially to poor kids.

What are the solutions? San Francisco Unified needs to establish a degree of accountability, transparency and equity for private money in public schools.

Over the long run, California taxpayers - including high-bracket ones like Zuckerberg - need to collectively renew their commitment to public education, which could start with the repeal of Proposition 13, the property tax cap that undermined what used to be one of the best public school systems in the country. This will make donations less necessary - and limit the power of the wealthy to shape education policy.

Jeremy Adam Smith is the author of "Rad Dad: Dispatches From the Frontiers of Fatherhood."


It seems to escape the ken of retired petroleum executives as well. Some people are motivated by things other than money. Who knew?
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