MyNotes: Leading High-Performance School Systems Part 3

This blog entry continues the sharing of my notes and takeaways from Marc Tucker's book, Leading High-Performance School SystemsCheck out the series to see what has come before.

My Notes on Chapters 1-2

  1. In Chapter 1, Tucker shares powerful story of Harriet Minor. The story is too long to recount here, but I found that it resonated in a strong way with my own observations of how school systems work.
    1. The main point is that there are many silver-bullet solutions being put into place in schools with no regard to what has gone before, or what will come.
    2. Marc Tucker calls this "a self-defeating "vicious circle" of reform that leads inexorably to steadily worsening performance.
    3. Estimates of the percentage of teachers who leave teaching within the first five years range from 17 to 50 percent. Graduates of professional prep programs for architects, nurses, attorneys and other professionals are more likely to stya in their chosen profession.
    4. Engineers are twice as likely as teachers to stay in their roles
    5. Most people who begin teaching never stay long enough to become experts (since it takes 10 years to get better at the work, or 10,000 hours)
    6. Research shows that teachers improve the most early in their careers
    7. Little evidence that teacher improvement continues after the first three years on the job
  2. In Chapter 2, Tucker provides an overview of "the architecture of high-performing education systems." 
    1. "The United States stands on the edge of a precipice, challenged by countries that used to be far behind and are now far ahead."
    2. In 2018, more than 100 countries are committed to participatin in PISA. PISA not only assesses students, but it also asks many questions of students, school administrators, and others, which make it possible to relate measures of student achievement and equity to other variables such as cost per student, teacher quality, student immigration status, and class size
    3. U.S. performance is mediocre--but it's not because we've gotten worse. Rather, others have gotten better.
    4. In 2015, out of 72 countries surveyed, the U.S. placed 24th in reading, 41st in mathematics and 25th in science
    5. Educational Testing Service (ETS) administered a survey to see how millennials in the U.S. workforce compared to millennials in the workforces of other countries.
    6. Millennials will be the core of our workforce for years to come, and the U.S. economy will depend on them.
    7. The ETS survey showed that Americans ages 16-34 in the PIAAC survey were at the bottom in every category:
      1. reading
      2. numeracy
      3. problem solving
    8. These results show that the U.S. now has one of the worst educated workforces in the industrialized world (Goodman, Sands, & Coley, 2017)
    9. In 40 years, the U.S. has gone from having the most equal distribution of income in the industrialized world to having the least equitable distribution of income in the industrialized world (Stiglitz, 2012)
    10. The income of the average nonsupervisory wage earner has declined over that period (Krugman, 2014)
    11. The U.S. has experienced a "wrenching shift from an economy in which all boats are rising to one in which a handful of books are rising, while most are slowly sinking."
    12. The average performance of American schools has held steady (USDOE, 2013)
    13. If our children cannot do the jobs that increasingly intelligent machines ca do, at lower cost, they will be unemployable. A large fraction of the jobs that were available to their parents will not be available to them, and few good jobs will be on offer to them unless they are far better educated than their parents (Tucker, 2017).
    14. The typical approach to research on innovations in the U.S. is to use statistical techniques to isolate the effects of a particular innovation on some variable of interest, usually student performance.
    15. The form of the innovation is narrowly specified and the researcher works to tell the potential adopter what the effect size is likely to be if th einnovation is adopted exactly as specified.
    16. That might work if we were talking about techniques for teaching students how to decode an English sentence, but officials who run whole education systems are not interested in copying any other system.
    17. A research model that is designed to specify a model an adopter is supposed to copy whole hog will not work.
    18. What are the top performers doing that the typical state and district in the United States is not?
    19. The Nine Building Blocks of High-Performance Education Systems
      1. Provide strong supports for children and their families before students arrive at school. For example, Singapore provides a one-time baby bonus of $5,737 for each of the first two children born and $7,172 for each additional child born, plus $2,141 for each child every year after that through childhood. Countries pay paid parental leave, universal access to health care for mother and child, parental education, home visits, infant and toddler education, etc. Salaries for child care workers are higher which results in higher quality child care. These services are available to all families, not just low-income families.
      2. Provide more resources for at-risk students than for others. Pupil-weighted funding variations. Top performing countries set up their systems so that schools serving mostly disadvantaged students have fewer students per teacher, and teachers have strong incentives to work in the schools that serve those students.
      3. Develop world-class, highly coherent instructional systems. These are systems that incorporate student performance standards, curriculum, and assessments, as well as the use of instructional methods appropriate to the goals and standards of instruction.
      4. Create clear gateways for students through the system, set to global standards, with no dead ends. Top performing systems do so by awarding students with qualifications, rather than certificates of attendance, that indicate to postsecondary institutions or employers that they have taken the course and gotten the grades needed to qualify them to take the next step in their education or career.
      5. Ensure an abundant supply of highly qualified teachers.
      6. Redesign schools to be places in which teachers will be treated as professionals with incentives and support to continuously improve their professional practice and student performance
      7. Create an effective system of career and technical education and training. In no advanced industrial nation do a majority of high school students go on to earn university degrees. That means the majority of the members of their workforces have less than a bachelor's degree (OECD, 2017a). The economies of the advanced industrial countries depend on having a highly trained, and a very large, core of technical workers who can do most of the work. Vocational education and training (VET) systems have been redesigned so that the curriculum for VET courses assumes a high level of academic mastery. All students are expected to master that high academic standards. 
        1. These VET programs, unlike typical American high school students enrolled in CATE, typically involve serious apprenticeships--not internships--in firms that must meet stringent requirements before they gain the right to offer an apprenticeship. Apprentices learn their trades or occupations on state-of-the-art equipment from instructors who complete regular tours of duty in state-of-the-art settings, to ensure that they are keeping up with advances in their respective fields
        2. Students train to demanding standards established by industry groups, and apprentices work for wages lower than the prevailing wage in a system established and monitored by the government
        3. Pieces of a system like this can be found in the U.S. but the system itself cannot. Singapore and Switzerland are the world leaders.
      8. Create a leadership development system that develops leaders at all levels to manage such systems effectively
      9. Institute a governance system that has the authority and legitimacy to develop coherent, powerful policies and is capable of implementing them at scale.
Wow, is this even possible? I'm going to respond to the only portion I can...notice the swipe at effect sizes and teaching effective instructional strategies in isolation? I highlighted it.

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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