Blogs on Education Reform

Blogs on Education ReformRSS
Bob LenzJanuary 9, 2014

From where will the next generation of outstanding school leaders emerge? According to Building Pathways, a new report by Chris Bierly and Eileen Shay, school systems need to move from leaving great leadership to chance to strategically building an internal pipeline of new leaders.

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Can you predict academic success or whether a child will graduate? You can, but not how you might think.

When psychologist Angela Duckworth studied people in various challenging situations, including National Spelling Bee participants, rookie teachers in tough neighborhoods, and West Point cadets, she found:

One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn't social intelligence. It wasn't good looks, physical health, and it wasn't IQ. It was grit.
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Andrew MillerJanuary 7, 2014

The word "grit" suggests toughness and determination. The question is how do we get students to value struggle, failure and perseverance in our classrooms? ASCD recently published Thomas Hoerr's short but great book on this subject, Fostering Grit. The subtitle "How do I prepare my students for the real world?" reflects the fact that our students will encounter challenging work and problems to solve. If this is the case, our classrooms should mirror that process and prepare our students to be successful in meeting these challenges. You might consider this a critical 21st century skill, which means that we need to scaffold the related skills we're teaching our students.

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Matt LevinsonJanuary 2, 2014

As part of the Marin Speaker Series in San Rafael, California, legendary Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was asked what advice he would give a middle school math student. His answer: learn programming and get off the page in the textbook, don't let school hold you back, and learn at your own pace with tools like Khan Academy. In other words, break free from the linear path of math instruction that starts with pre-algebra and culminates with calculus, as The New York Times Editorial Board highlights in its piece "Who Says Math Has To Be Boring?"

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Elena AguilarJanuary 2, 2014

In order to work for change in our schools, we must visualize the changes we want to see. In 2014, the change I'd like to see is in how we talk and listen to each other, how all of us -- teachers, administrators, students, parents, staff -- talk and listen to each other. This single change, I do believe, would be transformational.

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Betty RayDecember 20, 2013

We're always hearing about how education is so messed up -- so often, the conversation focuses on all the negatives. But there are also plenty of "EduWins," too -- awesome ideas, videos, people, programs, practices, products, Tweeters, teachers, and technologies that are making a difference and changing the lives of real students on a global scale.

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Shira LoewensteinDecember 19, 2013

"Does spelling count?"

This is one of my favorite and least favorite questions all rolled into one.

As a science teacher, I gave an assignment to my students to create a children's book. "In your book, I want you to explain everything your readers have learned about the different types of clouds and how they relate to weather patterns." Before I even have the chance to hand out a rubric, no less than five children call out, "Does spelling count?!?" I am sure they're hoping for a simple "yes" or "no" (and more specifically a "no"), but this seems to be a teachable moment if I have ever met one. I'm going to seize it . . .

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Susan RileyDecember 18, 2013

As debate rages on about Common Core and its implementation across the nation, students are sitting in classrooms waiting for things to change. Many are still locked into traditional courses with teachers who are overwhelmed, nervous and frustrated. Teachers everywhere are facing challenges in finding time to unpack these new standards, discover best practices for their implementation, and still provide innovative instruction for their students. Meanwhile, as we read more reports stating that other countries are outpacing the United States in education, fear mounts that our students will no longer be able to compete in a global economy. We are all, for better or worse, riding on a shift.

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Mark PhillipsDecember 9, 2013

That's the title of a lecture I attended as a graduate student, given by Ken Blanchard, the noted author of The One Minute Manager. I wish I'd taken it a little more to heart -- or brain -- at the time. Two years later, in my new position as a first-year faculty member at UC Santa Barbara, I wrote a letter to the editor of the school paper chastising the chancellor for his sexist opposition to the formation of a women's center. I was right. I was also stupid. A first-year, untenured faculty member publicly criticizing the chancellor is stupid. The next day, I was called on the carpet by my dean, who said, "How the hell could you do that?!" I learned -- the hard way.

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José VilsonDecember 2, 2013

Approximately 20 years ago, one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time was released upon the world, and those of us who listened to it haven't been the same since. The gritty, hardcore sounds of the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album left an indelible mark on hip-hop and music as a whole. Along with showcasing the works of artists who would go on to have individual success, such as Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) melded the unfiltered underground sounds of the early 1990s with soul and funk samples for commercial appeal. With nine members in the original Wu-Tang Clan, one can only wonder how this conglomerate of rapping styles could come together and create a sound rarely, if ever, replicated since.

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