Sunday, November 21, 2010

Educational Reform ... Nov. 22 - EduBlogging across the Nation ...

Educational Reform - changing the way(s) in which we always do things in public schools...

After 18  years as a proud public educator (teacher, asst. principal, principal, asst. supt. and superintendent now), I have had many wonderful opportunities to see, support, create, help create, and sustain change initiatives in order that educational opportunities for children were made better. As early as in 1995, I experimented with U.S. History Workshop where students were given voice and choice - with guidance, support, and direction - as they learned about U.S. History. Ten years later when I was fortunate to publish my doctoral dissertation, I again discovered, through scientifically validated research methods, that student voice plays a statistically significant role in student learning. In every setting, my mission/vision/aim/guiding force/foundational philosophy is that students need their voice in order that their learning is maximized. Student voice in all grades, in all settings, in all environments. With guidance, structure, order, and facilitated learning environments, student learning and student satisfaction increases.

Educational Reform - start asking, listening, considering, embracing, and adapting to STUDENT VOICE.

A quick Top 10 list of what "needs to change":

1. school year calendar ...set for and aligned with "harvest" in many instances ... since 19th Century
2. school "bell schedule" - first of all, get rid of bells, second ... why so rigid with organization
3. school "grade/age" configuration
4. deficit grading and judging and behavioral grades
5. sage on stage concept
6. organizationally oriented toward adults ... the children are the main learners ... what about them?
7. one size fits all for schools/communities ... what about library-school partnerships?
8. pay to play ... if you're living in a wealthy area, good for you, your schools get more money ... fair? Nope
9. increased pay just for hanging around ... sorry - this concept never sat well with me ... let's revitalize the pay structure for adults
10. state or national standards? state or national assessment? - whatever it is ... let's get consistent so if we measure, we measure growth and learning, and if we are held accountable, let's make it apples to apples comparisons so "it" starts to make sense!

References mentioned:

Published in the 1996-97 issue of “The Councilor” (the official publication of the Illinois Council for the Social Studies), Volume 56, pages 11-25, title: “Planning Powerful and Engaging Social Studies: The U.S. History Workshop for Students”

Published in 2005, UMI, Effective Instruction in Middle School Social Studies (Doctoral Dissertation)

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