The Education Evolving Blog

December 13, 2010

After comparing four years of semester grades with standardized state exams, teachers at Ellis Middle School in Austin, Minnesota noticed a discrepancy. A small but significant portion of student that got good grades in class did not score well on the tests; while another portion that received high scores on the year-end state tests were C or D students during regular coursework.

This...

December 10, 2010

In this guest post Nick Dennis, assistant headmaster at Felsted School, an independent school in Essex, England, describes their experience in the first year of a two-year commitment as a regional training center for innovative use of Apple products. He describes how the school has come to see that technology need not be a distraction; should not be considered a panacea itself; yet has capacity to help teachers rethink ways technology can improve learning.

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December 8, 2010

With the release of PISA scores yesterday, anxiety rose in face of middling US results, and strong Chinese performance—particularly Shanghai. The references to Russia are back, with the President saying that, “Fifty years later, our generation’s Sputnik moment is back.”

The United States scored in the 20’s on most subjects measures. The image of China as rising power: “The(ir) work ethic is amazingly strong,” a...

December 6, 2010

This past summer Apple senior vice president for retail Ron Johnson spoke to the Civic Caucus policy group, and this blog commented on Apple’s One-to-One education program that he described. In designing the stores, he said, they first went to auditorium seating for teaching lessons to customers.

Immediately they began experiencing fewer questions during the sessions, and...

December 3, 2010

Yesterday the New York Times ran an article about changes that have gone on in the Baltimore Public Schools district since Andres Alonso took over three years ago.

It describes how the superintendent managed to enable change in the culture of BCPS schools, moving away from compliance and punishment and toward empowerment - of both students and adults. Principals used to spend more time filling out directives from the central office, the article says. Now they have full...

December 1, 2010

Recently we commented on an interesting study by Charles Kerchner and Laura Mulfinger that provided keen insights into teacher-run schools.

One of the observations of the paper was that while school and instructional models vary, the behavior of teacher-run schools—the way students and teachers work, the ways that the schools function—tend to differ from traditionally-managed...

November 29, 2010

Ken Futernick, director of the School Turnaround Center for the California-based organization WestEd, recently had a keen insight in this article in Kappan Magazine on why teachers behave as they do—bargain collectively, resist accepting certain frameworks of accountability, become frustrated with management. He turns attention from the people, to the structures in which they work.

Regarding the performance of teachers...

November 26, 2010

The weekly guest post is on hiatus this Friday, for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In this video for Ed Week’s forum Unleashing Technology to Personalize Learning, Chris Lehmann, principal of Science Leadership Academy high school in Philadelphia, describes the need to expand technology use beyond teaching so that it serves students and the processes of learning. Otherwise, he says, you end up with a smart board and Power Point slides: Merely a ‘digitalized...

November 24, 2010

Bill Gates gave a speech in Louisville last week to the Council of Chief State Schools Officers (CCSSO), where he argued a need to address school financing problems by rethinking teacher pay. In particular, the steps and lanes approach that increases compensation based on seniority and degrees, without regard for performance. He urged moving focus from reducing class sizes to paying teachers more if they successfully take on larger class sizes and work at more difficult schools.

Instead of seniority and education...

November 22, 2010

A small Wisconsin village recently experienced the challenge of trying to manage budget difficulties within the confines of existing processes.

This article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describes how the district began offering Chinese classes in 2005; a reflection of the town’s history having the oldest trading ties with China in the state. Marathon County’s relationship with the country goes back a century, built around their ginseng crop.

“In an abrupt change, however, Marathon City this year...

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