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Education-Related Predictions For 2011

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Earlier this week, I asked readers to contribute their education-related predictions for 2011. I received some great responses, and I’ll share them all in this post.

If you didn’t get a chance to contribute earlier, though, I’d encourage you to leave one-to-three of them in the comments section. At the end of the year, I’ll revisit them and we’ll all see who among us has good powers of prognostication.

And, if some of you wonder what the point is in making predictions, you can go to The New York Times which recently published a piece on Why Do We Need Predictions? Here are a few of the reasons commentators there gave: it’s fun, we need “positive illusions,” it helps us gain a “sense of control,” the human identity is based in story and predictions enhance them, it’s a way to express hope, it demonstrates a “search for simplicity.”

I’d like to first share some of my own predictions (since it’s my blog, I get to make more than three predictions :) ) I wonder how many are genuine predictions based in reality, and how many will fall under the category of “wishful thinking”?

1. As the 2012 election comes closer (and politicos are reminded about the importance of teacher “ground troops”) , the Obama Administration will dramatically reduce its rhetoric in support of “school reformers” and make changes in its proposed revamping of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It will not push for reauthorization, however, and just make the changes in the proposal — it will put off getting Congressional approval until after the 2012 elections. The changes they’ll propose will include adding multiple measurements (not just test scores) to assess schools and districts, and eliminate their ideas to change many funding streams from formulas based on student numbers to using some kind of competition.

2. The push by mayors to gain control of school districts will come to a screeching halt. Mayors will look at its impact in cities where mayoral control has been implemented and conclude that — patronage aside — the political benefits are a net negative.

3. The fiasco of appointing magazine publisher Cathie Black to be head of New York City schools will halt the momentum of placing people with no education experience as School District Superintendents. Notwithstanding last month’s appointment of a general to be superintendent in Wake County, North Carolina, no non-educator will become a Superintendent of a major school district in 2011.

4. Efforts to implement the so-called “parent-trigger” will fail miserably, and the idea will fade from memory…

5. Somebody will develop an effective online program that will help English Language Learners improve their writing skills. Many sites have already figured out how to do just that with reading, listening and speaking skills, but an accessible writing support site eludes the Web. In 2011, this will finally change.

6. Michelle Rhee’s new StudentsFirst organization will turn into a “talk show radio” kind of site — people will sign-up there to feel like they’re doing something, but it won’t really accomplish anything other than helping get Ms. Rhee on television as a commentator. She’ll raise a few million dollars, but it will mostly be from the usual funders who support her kind of “school reform” ideas.

7. One of the two state groups that are preparing the “next generation” of assessments will make a strong effort to get teachers involved in their development.

8. Newly-elected California Governor Jerry Brown will make major cuts to the state’s education budget. At the same time, in an effort to save money and to make the cuts more palatable to educators, he will propose scrapping state tests for second graders and/or the California High School Exit Exam.

9. The number of document cameras sold will take a huge leap upward as more and more schools see it as an extremely cost-effective way to use technology so that it benefits students. Teachers will love it because even those who are most resistant to tech can see its benefits and learn how to use it in less than a minute.

10. Teaching 2030, the new book from The Center For Teaching Quality, will become the most discussed and useful education-related book this year.

Now, for the predictions from readers:

Vytheeshwaran Vedagiri

1. M-learning will make significant inroads into academics.
2. Rise of ebook readers over traditional textbooks.
3. A user-friendly, open source whiteboard from Google (?!?!?)

Mary Ann Zehr

–More states will require all teachers to have some training to work with English-language learners.
–More charter schools and regular public schools will cooperate on issues such as sharing buildings and professional development.
–More states or school districts will provide bonuses for teachers who have proven to be effective to work in low-performing schools.

Ric Murry

It is a non-election year – Test scores will decline throughout the country.
More schools (not enough for critical mass) will allow student-owned technology on their networks. Issues of student privacy on school networks will become a talking point.

Dorothy Fox

Excellence in global practices will be explored and the conversation will begin about implementing them in the United States. (just sayin!)

Audrey Watters

1. open educational resources — more schools will embrace open content
2. mobile learning — folks are predicting 2011 will be the year of the tablet (errrr, iPad). i would add to this, an increasing acceptance of cellphones in the classroom
3. data analysis — “big data” will be huge in technology in the coming year, and I predict there will be an explosion in companies that offer education-related analytics.

Sheryl

1. More initiatives for Career Technical Education (CTE).
2. California’s High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) will be suspended due to budget constrains.
3. Funding shifts from hardcopy to digital instructional materials & textbooks.

Bill Ivey

1. The “Save our Schools and Call to Action” event that Anthony Cody and others are organizing for Washington, DC on July 28-31 will come off successfully.
2. ESEA will be redone, giving cause both for optimism and pessimism whatever any given person hopes will happen.
3. Each and every school day will bring tens of thousands of reasons to celebrate in schools across the country.

I can’t think of a better way to end this post than with Bill Ivey’s last prediction.  Share your own in the comments section!

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

5 Comments

  1. I love your predictions, Larry. I want a little of whatever it is you’re smoking. Re. prediction #3 “no non-educator will become a Superintendent of a major school district in 2011,” you can’t be serious. The first crack in your crystal ball will occur shortly after Rahm Emanuel takes his seat as Chicago’s new mayor. He will continue the same policies he helped shape in Washington, including the appointment of a corporate type as schools chief. No educators need apply.
    Wanna bet?

  2. Great insight, Larry. I’ve got one to add: the debate over teacher merit pay will come to an end, but at the expense of deeply dividing the education world. I predict feelings will be hurt and resentments will exist, as one side will win the argument.

  3. As a retired newspaper journalist, I wonder where the notion that newspaper reporters and editors should be pronouncing judgment on teachers will go. Probably there are cushy jobs in the bountifully funded charter school industry awaiting the L.A. Times journalists who worked on that project, as there have been for a number of their former colleagues who fled the failing newspaper industry.

    Here’s my question about Gov. Brown.

    Schwarzenegger and his predecessors to Californians: Of course we’ll never touch your sacred tax cuts, and we can make the state work, but we’re slashing schools, health care, services for children, the disabled and the elderly, etc., because they’re pampered and spoiled. Now, Brown to Californians: If you want to keep your sacred tax cuts, time to face reality, and it’s gonna HURT. Good thing or bad thing?

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