Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On the Obsession with Outcomes | Save Maine Schools

On the Obsession with Outcomes | Save Maine Schools:

On the Obsession with Outcomes

According to Tom Vander Ark, Summit Public Schools have a “college and career readiness system will track growth trajectory of knowledge, skills, and success habits against college goals, and “students falling short of their planned growth trajectory, on any front, will see a big red warning system.”
Let that sink in.
“Students falling short of their planned growth trajectory, on any front, will see a big red warning system.”
Vander Ark describes the system with breathless admiration: “I don’t know of anyone else thinking about goal-focused tracking on these dimensions,” and at a White House summit on next-gen high schools, Isabelle Parker, CFO of Summit Public Schools, boasted: “We cultivate in our children the real-life habits and skills that lead to success in today’s world. And we ensure every minute of every day at school is supporting this type of student-centered learning.”
But I wonder: what kind of effect might an outcome-obsessed system like this have on a young person’s mind?  What happens to those transformative literary experiences like the one I had with Great Expectations?  Are students trapped into believing that the “outcomes” they are working toward are all there is?
If you’ve not yet read it, please take a moment to read this exceptional essay by Peter Greene called “One Wrong Move.”
Greene, who has taught for 30 years in the same town, describes an experience with a class of juniors who were “so paralyzed with fear they couldn’t do much of anything.”
“These were honor students,” Greene writes. “The top students that my rural/small town high school had to offer. And they couldn’t get past their On the Obsession with Outcomes | Save Maine Schools:

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