Learning needs to improve. OK. How?

Mailing Date: 
September 9, 2010

It's suggested these days that with 'evidence' showing us 'what works' the debate about how-to-improve school and learning is basically over . . . that all that's needed now is the political will to do it.

Lots of what we think are problems in education are actually 'symptoms'.

What if we defined 'the problem' as what's causing those symptoms?

Yet others sense that new developments are throwing the conventional certainties up in the air; that the situation today is (to borrow a term from military strategy) "volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous".

At the annual retreat of the Knowledge Alliance August 3, in Albuquerque, Education|Evolving founding partner, Ted Kolderie, pointed out some serious and fundamental problems in the education-policy discussion and with the nation's effort at improvement.

  • There is an implication in the current discussion that once the new 'common standards' have set out what students should know and be able to do, that is what students will know and be able to do.
  • There is a popular notion today that even under existing arrangements schools and teachers can be "held accountable" for student learning.
  • People hope, believe, that 'technology' is about to revolutionize school -- without having any realistic strategy for introducing this technology into the K-12 institution.

In his Albuquerque talk Ted says that these changes cannot be accomplished with current strategies . . . explains why traditional school cannot generate from either students or teachers the motivation required, and why it will never be possible to hold schools and teachers accountable for student success until schools and teachers get the authority to control what matters for student success.

We hope it will provoke a searching discussion. We believe it should. As always, we'd be much interested in your reaction. You can do so by replying to this email.

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