Monday, May 19, 2014

5-19-14 The Whole Child Blog — Meaningful Professional Learning: One School’s Story + A Matter of Choice

A Matter of Choice — Whole Child Education:

Meaningful Professional Learning: One School’s Story
Post written by Linda Ashida and Kim Miklusak The most important aspect of professional learning is its relevance to the classroom: authentic topics and immediate usefulness to every teacher. The clearest way to make sure this is accomplished is to hand over some of the structure to the teachers themselves who can then learn from each other. At Elk Grove High School in Illinois, professional learn

Whole Child Symposium

A Matter of Choice

Post written by Walter McKenzie
Perfect Choice Logo CircuitWhat if I told you the answer to all that ails public education is choice? Not dollars. Not standardization. Not test scores. Choice. Surprisingly effective in its simplicity.
The current education equation is not simple by any stretch of the imagination and it doesn't reference choice nor children:
  • Education is a public enterprise funded by taxpayers.
  • Government reports to taxpayers on its performance.
  • Elected officials craft policy and practice in the name of accountability.
This equation shows how far we have strayed from public education's original focus: to prepare children to be responsible, contributing citizens to our democracy. Instead of modeling democratic principles, our schools have become authoritarian, prescribing standards and outcomes with one small range of right answers and one summary definition of success. We are literally training our next generation to think and lead by principles that are antithetical to the intellectual, emotional, and social skills and values essential to our democracy. If students do not embrace diversity, equity, and respect for differences, they will not be prepared to meet the challenges of our country's future.
Yet right now, as we observe the 60th anniversary of Brown v. The Board of Education, our schools are becoming resegregated. The haves continue to account for their own, and the have-nots continue to subsist on their own without access to the same resources and opportunities. We are so embedded in the current culture of accountability, we cannot get out of our own way to address the true value proposition of education:
Children receiving equal access to the resources and opportunities that help them realize their full potential and become responsible, contributing citizens to our democratic society: college, career, and citizenship ready.
apple-no-equal-orangeThe current culture of accountability completely politicizes public education. Administrators and teachers work in a climate of fear. Students are under incredible pressure to pass do-or-die assessments. And politicians keep banging the drum. Why wouldn't they? Continually calling for educational outcomes measured by business metrics is cunning. This no-win comparison of apples and oranges creates false expectations that cannot be attained. Calling for education reform because apples don't give us oranges has the feel of a cynical political ploy. As a collective citizenry, we must be smarter than to fall for this. The future apples and oranges our democracy depends on us. Because students who learn in an authoritarian education system become adults who practice authoritarian politics.
At the conclusion of ASCD's Whole Child Symposium Live event, Karen Pittman of the Forum for Youth Investment, Yong Zhao of the University of Oregon, Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center, David Osher of the Health and Social Development Program at the American Institutes for Research, and ASCD CEO and Executive Director Dr. Gene R. Carter were asked to summarize their discussion on the challenges facing public education. The solution? Instead of holding schools accountable, hold the communities in which they exist accountable. Expect citizens to take responsibility for the performance of their schools at the local level, instead of blaming politicians and bureaucrats. Everyone is pointing fingers and passing the buck, when in reality, government officials have no power except that which we give them. Communities must exercise their will to provide equitable education to all students, and the support to local schools to make it happen. In A Matter of Choice — Whole Child Education:
5-17-14 THE WHOLE WEEK @ The Whole Child Blog — Whole Child Education
The Whole Child Blog — Whole Child Education:THE WHOLE WEEK @ The Whole Child Blog Whole Child Snapshots Provide State and National Pictures of Child Well-BeingTo thrive in today's global society, children need personalized support, safe environments, good health, and challenging learning opportunities. Adequately preparing students for their future requires a more comprehensive approach to educat