Friday, February 28, 2020

Four especially testy moments when Betsy DeVos testified on Capitol Hill - The Washington Post

Four especially testy moments when Betsy DeVos testified on Capitol Hill - The Washington Post

Four especially testy moments when Betsy DeVos testified on Capitol Hill




At a hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was asked a question: Should a charter school receiving federal funding be allowed to lease a jet? The Democratic legislator who posed the question — after a charter chain backed off plans to spend millions on a private jet — asked her for a “yes” or “no” answer. That’s not what he got.


It was one of a handful of testy moments during DeVos’s appearance before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee for Labor, Health, Human Services, Education and Related Agencies where she defended the Trump administration’s proposed 2021 Education Department budget.
She did make some news: During the hearing, DeVos announced she had set up a task force headed by Mitchell “Mick” Zais, her top deputy, to oversee the department’s response to the spreading coronavirus. And she said she had opened an investigation into a college that appears to have no faculty or students but was approved to operate by a controversial accrediting agency still in business after DeVos saved it in 2018. USA Today reported on the school, Reagan National University, and DeVos said Thursday she was “not happy to read the story” and had ordered a probe. “We’re on it,” she said.
Those announcements were not what sparked fireworks.
DeVos took questions about the proposed budget, which would cut the department’s discretionary spending by 7.8 percent. It would also lump nearly 30 elementary and secondary education programs — including support for homeless students, civics education and charter schools — into a single $19 billion block grant for states and local districts to use as they want.
The administration’s top education priority, which appears in the Treasury Department’s proposed budget as a line item, is $5 billion to give tax breaks for a program called the Education Freedom CONTINUE READING: Four especially testy moments when Betsy DeVos testified on Capitol Hill - The Washington Post

CURMUDGUCATION: 6 Things To Know About The Trump-DeVos Education Freedom Plan

CURMUDGUCATION: 6 Things To Know About The Trump-DeVos Education Freedom Plan

6 Things To Know About The Trump-DeVos Education Freedom Plan
As expected, Trump used a chunk of his State of the Union Address to plug a voucher-style program that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been pushing for months under the name “Education Freedom.” The Houston Chronicle reports that Ted Cruz pitched the plan to Trump; Cruz has taken the lead on trying to turn DeVos’s dream into actual legislation. In fact, the Trump budget proposal favors this approach over charter schools.
Say what now?
If you haven’t been following DeVos’s school choice initiative, or if you could use a quick explainer for a friend, here are a few basic takeaways to help follow what the fuss is about.
How Does It Work?
It’s a tax credit scholarship plan, and many states already have one.(Pennsylvania is one of those states. An unsuccessful attempt to expand the program was referenced by Trump in his speech.) Here’s how they work. Corporations or individuals can contribute to the plan instead of paying their taxes. They hand their money to a scholarship organization, which in turn issues scholarships to students. The money can be used to pay for transportation, remedial programs, homeschooling materials, or, most commonly, private school tuition. 
Isn’t This Another Kind Of Voucher? 
Yes, but “voucher” hasn’t worked out well politically for anyone, so Secretary DeVos would be CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: 6 Things To Know About The Trump-DeVos Education Freedom Plan

CURMUDGUCATION: Schools And Other Shared Public Spaces

CURMUDGUCATION: Schools And Other Shared Public Spaces

Schools And Other Shared Public Spaces


One of my first jobs in education was minding the cassette player.

The actual job was assistant marching band director, and my duties included chaperoning the freshman/sophomore bus to away games. It was the mid-80s, and the "good" schoolbuses in our district had built-in cassette players, and the students brought their favorite music, vying for control of the stereo that everyone had to listen to. My job was to arbitrate those arguments (I quickly learned that the big hammer of such conflict was, "If you guys can't work this out, I've got a cassette here in my pocket that I brought from home..."). It was actually cool to watch them negotiate and settle these arguments.

Of course, the really rich kids had Walkmans, and by the end of my tenure, the cassette debates were over, and the bus looked more like they look today-- several dozen students each wired into a personal musical universe. It was peaceful,  but it was also without any of the interaction and cooperative decision-making displays of the earlier era. The students had found the technological means to carve a public space into several dozen private places.

That process has, of course, been paralleled throughout many of what were our previous shared spaces. I grew up in a small town, with one radio station that everyone listened to because that was the choice; only folks in big cities had choices between different formats. Top 40 was a mix of many styles, all jammed together on one list.

You know the litany. Everyone used to choose from among the same three tv networks. Three! They CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Schools And Other Shared Public Spaces

2020 Medley #6: Public Schools Week | Live Long and Prosper

2020 Medley #6: Public Schools Week | Live Long and Prosper

2020 Medley #6: Public Schools Week


PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD
Public Schools Week ends today, though for ninety percent of American schoolchildren the celebration of public education takes place every day during their local school year.
Why do the vast majority of our K-12 students choose public schools? Because public schools don’t choose their students. Every child has a place in public schools. No child is turned away. All children are welcome: children with different gender preferences, children of any color, any or no religious affiliation, rich, poor, athletically or academically gifted, or physically or academically challenged.
We support public schools because it’s important for us to have a society in CONTINUE READING: 2020 Medley #6: Public Schools Week | Live Long and Prosper

CDE Currents: February 2020 - CDE Currents (CA Dept of Education)

CDE Currents: February 2020 - CDE Currents (CA Dept of Education)

CDE Currents: February 2020

The Monthly Newsletter for the California Department of Education.


Be Prepared (Emergency Info)

Preparedness carousel includes pictures of sandbags, electrical gridline, a person in a safety hard hat and a group working on creating a plan.


As the situation with the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) unfolds, the CDE would like to reinforce that LEA preparedness is essential for unforeseen circumstances and emergency situations. Many school districts have also recently experienced wildfires, Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) and violent campus incidents. Unfortunately, it’s not a question of “if” when considering such future incidents, but “when.”


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The CDE is monitoring the situation regarding the coronavirus and working closely with agency partners to determine best steps to be prepared.
Approximately two weeks ago CDE shared a guidance document from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)External link opens in new window or tab. with all County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals. The CDE strongly encourages all LEAs to follow the CDPH’s recommendations in this document.
The CDE also encourages LEAs to identify plans and protocols for communicating with families and to think about learning supports that could be provided during school closure, if necessary. More information can be found on the CDE’s Crisis Response page
Please note that there have been reports of students and others being stigmatized. We urge schools to ensure students’ and staffs’ privacy to help prevent discrimination.
The CDE will provide more information to LEAs as it becomes available.

School Safety Plans

All LEAs are required (EC 32280-32289) to have comprehensive school safety plans (CSSPs) revised, updated, and adopted by the school by March 1 and forwarded to the school district or county office of education for approval. If an LEA does not have an adopted CSSP, please do so as soon as possible.
It is critical that staff and students receive training related to the CSSP, and that each LEA maintains strong community partnerships with law enforcement, fire agencies, and first responders. School safety and preparedness resources, including a compliance tool, are available on the CDE Safe Schools Planning web page and the CDE Crisis Preparedness web page.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) provides valuable school safety and disaster preparedness resources and information that are available on the Cal OES for Schools and Educators web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab.. The CDE encourages everyone to become familiar with these resources.

Violence Prevention/Active Shooter Preparation

The CDE will be sponsoring two statewide trainings provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools, Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance (REMS TA) Center. A training session, School Behavioral Threat Assessments: An Introduction, will be hosted by the Sacramento County Office of Education on March 16, 2020; register online here: REMS TrainingExternal link opens in new window or tab.. The second training date and location in Southern California will be announced at a later date.
Additional information on violence prevention, including a template message for parents/guardians regarding the safe storage of firearms, can be found on the CDE Violence Prevention resource page

Power Shutoffs

It’s expected more Public Safety Power Shutoffs are on the way for California’s schools in order to help prevent wildfires. The CDE has provided a list of school closure considerations for LEAs in the event of an unexpected power shutdown, natural disaster or other unforeseen circumstances. Health and safety is the priority, followed by issues of equity and instructional time. Additional information can be found on the CDE’s Public Safety Power Shutoff FAQs.

Wildfires

There are multiple resources available to help LEAs prepare for a wildfire incident. The CDE has a resource page containing information on what to do before, during, and after a wildfire. Also, check the CDE FAQ page for more detailed information on wildfire response and recovery.

The Value of Art Education CONTINUE READING: 

CDE Currents: February 2020 - CDE Currents (CA Dept of Education)


Hechinger Report Criticized by Scholars for Bending to Trolls | Diane Ravitch's blog

Hechinger Report Criticized by Scholars for Bending to Trolls | Diane Ravitch's blog

Hechinger Report Criticized by Scholars for Bending to Trolls


The Hechinger Report invited two eminent scholars to write about how public schools might respond if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in the Espinoza v. Montana case. In this case, rightwing libertarians seek to eliminate Montana’s constitutional prohibition on spending public money for tuition in religious schools. In effect, they want to eliminate the line separating church and state. The Trump-enhanced Supreme Court has already ruled that it is permissible to discriminate on religious grounds against same-sex couples in a Colorado case where a baker refused to bake a cake for two men. Homophobia is okay if it is based on deep religious convictions.
The Hehinger Report asked Bruce Baker of Rutgers, an expert on school finance, Preston Green III of the University of Connecticut, a constitutional lawyer, to consider the ramifications of this case if the Court favors the plaintiffs.
They wrote the article, then discovered that Corey DeAngelis of the libertarian Reason Foundation and the CATO Foundation (founded by the Koch brothers) objected to their views, basing his objection on an entry in Wikipedia. He insisted that an earlier Supreme Court decision forbade private schools from discriminating on CONTINUE READING: Hechinger Report Criticized by Scholars for Bending to Trolls | Diane Ravitch's blog

Bloomberg Defends His NYC Education Legacy: Here is What He Neglects to Mention | janresseger

Bloomberg Defends His NYC Education Legacy: Here is What He Neglects to Mention | janresseger

Bloomberg Defends His NYC Education Legacy: Here is What He Neglects to Mention




In Tuesday night’s debate, Mike Bloomberg defended his education legacy in New York City.  He was the city’s mayor, and the state-appointed leader of the city’s schools for over a decade from 2002 until 2013.  In Tuesday’s debate, he repeated his support for charter schools—and by extension the imposition of universal high school choice across NYC’s enormous school district, serving 1.1 million students.
One of NYC’s best known public school advocates, Leonie Haimson explains, “When I heard that he was running for president, it felt like the return of a bad dream.” Haimson personally lived through the decade when Bloomberg brought technocratic, corporate style disruption and marketplace policy to the NYC schools. She watched the process from the inside.  But even from far away, I will never forget learning about Bloomberg’s radical experiment: Bloomberg obliterated the city’s institutional infrastructure of regional and neighborhood high schools. Although overall the high school graduation rate rose, the high school closures, intensifying racial and economic segregation, and the school choice disruption undermined the whole endeavor. And once such an experiment is launched there is no going back.
At a Children’s Defense Fund conference eight or nine years ago, I found myself eating lunch with several NYC middle school guidance counselors, who described the impossible task of trying to help dozens of eighth graders—middle school students without any experience outside of their immediate neighborhoods—sort through a telephone book-sized high school choice guidebook to look for the best high school fit. These counselors told me that they believed NYC high school choice had been, in reality, designed to favor the children of savvy parents who knew how to get their children on the right track beginning in Kindergarten. These counselors were exhausted, overwhelmed, and worried about the effect on vulnerable CONTINUE READING: Bloomberg Defends His NYC Education Legacy: Here is What He Neglects to Mention | janresseger

CURMUDGUCATION: How Do High Expectations Change A Classroom

CURMUDGUCATION: How Do High Expectations Change A Classroom

How Do High Expectations Change A Classroom


Teachers know that expectations matter. They know that having high expectations in a classroom can both support (“I know you can do this”) and spur (“I’m not going to accept your bare minimum effort”) students. The power of teacher expectations is part of every college’s Teacher 101.
But modern education reform has weaponized the term. “The soft bigotry of low expectations,” coined by Michael Gerson for use by Bush II, was a powerful phrase that combined a couple of ugly ideas. It suggested that it wasn’t poverty or underfunded crumbling school buildings or a lack of resources that was the major factor in the struggles of some students; it was their teachers’ failure to believe in them (and that was probably because those teachers were a least a little racist). Then under Obama’s ed secretary Arne Duncan, teachers found themselves subject to the hard tyranny of ridiculous expectations. Duncan believed that expectations were magical, going so far as to suggest that all students with special needs really required was to have teachers who expected them to achieve, and their special challenges just wouldn’t matter. 
This has led to some spectacularly bad policy. In a 2014 conference call, Duncan and then-ed head of Tennessee Kevin Huffman explained that all students with special needs required was more expectations and more tests. Two years later Duncan found himself being roasted in a budget hearing because he could not answer a question about what the department was doing to support students with dyslexia (and he knew that “expect harder and test more” was not a good answer). We’ve seen a rash of states with third grade retention rules—third graders who don’t pass a standardized reading test are forced to repeat third grade, on the theory that setting this high expectation will force eight-year-olds and their teachers to stop slacking off. 
Add to that mix the repeated assertion by Duncan and others that schools are systematically lying to students and parents in order to hide their lazy use of lower standards and rigorless expectations. 
For much of the last twenty years, “expectations” have been a cudgel for clobbering teachers, one CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: How Do High Expectations Change A Classroom

One-Time, Two-Year Teacher Jessica Baghian Wants to Be LA’s Next State Superintendent | deutsch29

One-Time, Two-Year Teacher Jessica Baghian Wants to Be LA’s Next State Superintendent | deutsch29

One-Time, Two-Year Teacher Jessica Baghian Wants to Be LA’s Next State Superintendent


Jessica Tucker Baghian wants to be Louisiana’s next state superintendent. No surprise here.
According to the February 27, 2020, Advocate, Baghian, who currently holds a state assistant superintendent position, officially applied for the state superintendent job being vacated by John White effective March 11, 2020. The application window closes on Friday, February 28, 2020.
Baghian’s resume is part of the Advocate article, and in true market-ed-reformer fashion, it is light on classroom experience: two years (2006-08). She holds two degrees: a bachelors in mass communication (LSU, 2006), and a juris doctorate (Harvard, 2011).
Louisiana native Baghian started teaching in 2006 under a one-year provisional certificate (2006-07). (To see Baghian’s teaching certificate, click here and search “Jessica Marie Tucker.”) Her highest teaching credential is an expired Level 1 teaching certificate that was issued for three years (2007-10). The note on her certificate indicates that “teacher assessment required for higher certificate,” which means in her top-heavy ed career, she has no experience in completing necessary requirements to renew a permanent teaching certificate.
Baghian holds no administrative certifications. She has no experience even as an assistant principal.
Baghain told the Advocate, “I have spent my career working on behalf of the CONTINUE READING: One-Time, Two-Year Teacher Jessica Baghian Wants to Be LA’s Next State Superintendent | deutsch29

Read Across America to “Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers”

Read Across America to “Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers”

Read Across America to “Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers”


What’s in a name? Everything, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela would tell you. At first the title character in the picture book Alma and How She Got Her Name thought six names was far too long. “It never fits,” she complains to her father. But when he explains how her entire name honors the family’s history, culture and aspirations, she realizes it tells her not only where she came from but who she may become.
Oregon kindergarten teacher Gloria Pereyra-Robertson learned about Alma and How She Got Her Name from the NEA’s rebranded Read Across America program and calendar. She now regularly reads it in her kindergarten classroom to celebrate the diversity of her students from Central and South America, Vietnam, Laos, Samoa and other parts of the world. Along with books like The Name Jar and Renee Has Two Names she introduces her students to the many different names children have and how learning to appreciate and pronounce them teaches children the unique value every name and every student brings to school.
“We’ll have a discussion about how it can feel to be in a new school and a new country where nobody can say your name the way they did back home,” she says. “We talk about how lonely it can be to not know the language and how hard it can be to make friends.”
Pereyra-Robertson, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, knows what it’s like to grow up surrounded by books about white children and not see herself in them. She also knows the pain of having an unfamiliar name. Even today, people call her by her married name, Robertson, instead of attempting Pereyra-Robertson. Growing up, her sister, Taide, would come home crying from the constant teasing about her name. Kids called her Tidal Wave or Tidy Bowl. She wants her students to have a different experience and see the beauty in each other’s names. Like Alma, CONTINUE READING: Read Across America to “Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers”

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Testing dust-up at CPS misses the point.

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Testing dust-up at CPS misses the point.

Testing dust-up at CPS misses the point.


SCHULER: “I think it would basically be naive to not mention the possibility of cheating or gaming,” Schuler said. “I think we’ve been pretty fair that it’s in the mix, we can’t quantify it. ... I think what we reported is very measured.”
BOARD MEMBER SOTELO:  “If you can’t [prove it], don’t make those assertions. Because now you are taking away the credit of all the hard work of all the teachers...”
Outgoing Chicago Public Schools IG Nicholas Schuler is probably well-intentioned as he hassles with the CPS board about possible test "cheating." He's sharp on issues of security but clueless about the real role of high-stakes, standardized testing. And like all teachers, principals, and CPS board members themselves, he's caught up in a toxic system that misuses tests as a weapon for tracking and sorting children and for penalizing schools and teachers for the students that they teach.

Testing madness has once again moved to center-stage in Chicago's school reform debate, driven in recent years by national policies like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Its corrosive and divisive effects are revealed in the current battle. The cost to cash-starved school systems like CPS, can't be measured in just payments to profit-hungry testing, security and textbook companies, but in teaching time wasted in test prep as well.

The Sun-Times reports:


Nearly every one of the board’s seven members peppered CPS Inspector General CONTINUE READING: Mike Klonsky's Blog: Testing dust-up at CPS misses the point.

Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for School Year 20–21 - School Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for School Year 20–21 - School Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for School Year 20–21

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Action Required, Beneficial Information
To: All School Nutrition Program Sponsors
Attention: Food Service Directors, School Business Officials
Number: SNP-10-2020
Date: February 2020
Reference: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Section 205; Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 210.14(e);  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2017 Eligibility Manual for School Meals; and USDA Policy Memorandum SP 07-2020.
Subject: Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for School Year 2020–21
This management bulletin provides school food authorities (SFA) with information from the USDA Policy Memorandum SP 07-2020 regarding guidance for the Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) requirements in Section 205 of the Healthy, Hunger‑Free Kids Act of 2010 for School Year (SY) 2020–21.
In Section 747 of Division B of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Public Law 116-94 [the Act]), Congress provides that only SFAs that had a negative balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of December 31, 2019, shall be required to establish prices for paid lunches according to PLE regulations.

This management bulletin provides notice that any SFA with a positive or zero balance in its nonprofit school food service account as of December 31, 2019, is exempt from PLE pricing requirements found at 7 CFR, Section 210.14(e), for SY 2020–21. However, SFAs must submit an exemption request to the California Department of Education (CDE) at the beginning of, or prior to, the start of SY 2020–21. Exemption requests must contain documentation that demonstrates the SFA had a positive or zero balance in its nonprofit school food service account as of December 31, 2019. SFAs that are exempt from PLE requirements in SY 2020–21 are able to set paid lunch prices at the price the SFA determines to be appropriate and may reduce their paid lunch prices. Since this exemption currently only applies to SY 2020–21, SFAs should consider the effect reducing prices might have if they are not exempt from PLE requirements in SY 2021–22.
Background
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service provides annual guidance and a PLE calculator tool to ensure compliance with PLE pricing requirements. Due to the complexity of PLE pricing requirements, the CDE strongly encourages SFAs to read the USDA PLE policy memos, use the USDA PLE calculation tools to comply with pricing requirements, and view the PLE training video. For further background information on PLE and to view the PLE training video, please refer to the CDE Cafeteria Fund Guidance web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/cafefundguide.asp.
USDA PLE policy memos are available on the USDA School Meals Policy Memos web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/policyExternal link opens in new window or tab..
Filing a Paid Lunch Equity Exemption for School Year 2020–21
To file a PLE exemption, an SFA must submit an email to snpcafefundquestions@cde.ca.gov at the beginning of, or prior to, the start of
SY 2020–21 with the subject line, PLE Exemption for SY 2020–21 and must include the following:
  1. SFA name and the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System identification number.
  2. record of a positive or zero balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of December 31, 2019.
    This documentation may include any financial statement or accounting report for the period ending December 31, 2019 (e.g., trial balance, income statement, or cash flow statement). Attach the document(s) and identify the balance on December 31, 2019. Provide a brief explanation describing the positive balance in the nonprofit food service account for the period ending December 31, 2019.
  3. Name, title, phone number, and email address of the person submitting the PLE exemption request.
  4. Statement from the SFA that they agree to cover costs with allowable nonfederal funds if the balance is in the negative for SY 2020–21.
Upon verification of a positive or zero account balance in the SFA’s nonprofit school food service account, the CDE will send a confirmation email to the SFA for the PLE exemption for SY 2020–21.
Contact Information
If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the CDE Nutrition Services Division Resource Management Unit by email at snpcafefundquestions@cde.ca.gov.
Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609


Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for School Year 20–21 - School Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Yong Zhao: What If Schools Are Closed for More than a Year Due to the New Coronavirus (COVID-19)? - Education in the Age of Globalization

Education in the Age of Globalization » Blog Archive » What If Schools Are Closed for More than a Year Due to the New Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

What If Schools Are Closed for More than a Year Due to the New Coronavirus (COVID-19)?


The outbreak of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) has already forced schools and universities to close in China. It has also resulted in increased difficulties for international students to travel to attend their educational institutions as well as stoppage of on the ground operations of supplementary education (tutoring) services. Korea, Japan, Iran, Iraq, Italy are closing schools in the infected area and more countries are considering or preparing the closure of schools. And the situation seems to worsen globally, likely to affect more people and more schools.
This unfortunate event gives us an unwelcome opportunity to rethink education. At the invitation of the ECNU Review of Education, a journal published by Sage, I am collecting thoughtful imaginations about what education would be like if all schools are closed for more than a year. The journal will publish a summary of the contributions with proper attribution.
Please share your thoughts using the comments box below. Make sure to include information about you and how you want to be referenced. Thank you.
What would happen to our global and local educational systems, if the Coronavirus outbreak lasted for a year?

Rep. Mark Pocan Questions Betsy DeVos on the Charter Schools Program - Network For Public Education

Rep. Mark Pocan Questions Betsy DeVos on the Charter Schools Program - Network For Public Education

Rep. Mark Pocan Questions Betsy DeVos on the Charter Schools Program





Rep. Mark Pocan Questions Betsy DeVos on the Charter Schools Program - Network For Public Education



Project-Based Learning, #4 | The Merrow Report

Project-Based Learning, #4 | The Merrow Report

Project-Based Learning, #4


I am convinced that the very best schools ask the right question, “How Is Each Child Intelligent?”  Moreover, the educators in these schools follow through by allowing students more control over what they are learning. 
Very often, this means project-based learning, where teams of students work together to create–not spit back–knowledge. You can find the first three parts of this series herehere, and here.
In these schools, it is the students–not the teachers–who are the workers, and the work they are doing is meaningful. What they actually do–their ‘product’–depends upon their ages and stages, but the concept doesn’t change. 
And what about the teachers?  In these schools, they are conductors, directors, supervisors, guides or docents. This observation flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which holds that teachers are workers whose job is to produce capable students. That antiquated thinking is further bastardized when ‘capable’ is defined by test scores, until we end up believing, “The work of teachers is to raise student test scores.”   No, no, and no!
Here are two examples of outstanding project-based teaching and learning that I came to know first-hand when I was reporting: A 12th grade science class in a public high school in Philadelphia, and a journalism class at Palo Alto (CA) High School.
The Philadelphia 12th graders were serious workers. Their 2-part assignment was CONTINUE READING: Project-Based Learning, #4 | The Merrow Report