Sunday, September 15, 2019

MyNotes: Leading High-Performance School Systems

This headline from the Wall Street Journal is brutal. What's the headline?

Where Technology Rules, Grades Fall
Researchers at Rand Corp. and elsewhere say there is no clear evidence showing which new tech-related education offerings or approaches work in schools.
The WSJ article cites the example of Baltimore County, MD Public Schools that went digital five years ago. Unfortunately, academic results for 115,000 students have dipped. Parents are quoted as having had their children experimented on. Their latest results, according to the WSJ article, on state standardized tests are low.

What makes any educator ask is, "What effective instructional practices in use in Baltimore Public Schools were set aside in favor of technology?"

Leading High-Performance School Systems: Introduction

I started reading a new book on the same day I read the WSJ article (Sunday). It promises to be quite gripping. Check out the series to see what has come before.

When reading Marc Tucker's book, Leading High-Performance School Systems, I was struck by the following quotes from the Introduction. I was surfing Twitter this morning before breakfast on Sunday and the book jumped out at me from my feed. As you read them, ask yourself, how could we better setup schools to enhance teaching and learning?

  1. Parallel advances in cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, neural networks, natural language processing, sensors, robotics, and allied fields, combined with logarithmic advances in processing speed, memory capacity, and networking, have produced advances that could make a quarter to a half of the current workforce very vulnerable--unemployed, unemployable, or employable only at poverty wages--before today's 1st graders have been in the workforce for 10 years (Brynholfsson & McAffee, 2014; Ford, 2015).
  2. American educators must figure out how to provide to all a kind and quality of education that educators have provided up to now only to a small elite.
  3. They will have to raise average academic performance of students graduating high school two to three grade levels above the current average while substantially closing the gaps between the top performers and bottom performers, and they will need to do all of this for not much more money than schools are now spending.
  4. High school students in a growing number of countries-close to 30 now-are outperforming U.S. high school students, many of them by the kinds of margins we just described (OECD, 2016b).
  5. In fact, the most recent research shows that millennials in the U.S. workforce, once the best educated in the world, are now among the least well educated in the industrialized world (Goodman, Sands, & Coley, 2017).
  6. Remarkable things can be found in many schools and district...You can find a terrific example of almost everything somewhere in the U.S...but it is very hard to find places where those excellent things are strung together into systems that work for all students. Our peaks of excellence are world-class. Our systems are far from world-class.
As I read the book, I ask myself, what system did Baltimore Public Schools put in place that resulted in less than a world-class education for its 115,000 students? And, what can be done about it?

Professional Learning Policy Brief

Also in my Twitter feed Sunday morning, I saw this 2016 policy brief on professional learning from NCEE (@CtrEdEcon). It's definitely worth checking out. They have some powerful takeaways:

  • Teacher professional learning is continual and developmental.
  • Professional learning is collaborative. They meet regularly in groups to review student work, lesson plans, and research, and conduct action research and report back to the group on the results. They regularly visit other classrooms and schools to observe different approaches to instruction. And evaluation provides feedback to teachers on their practice.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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