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Education-Related Predictions For 2012


I recently posted The Best (and Worst) Education News of 2011, and thought I’d take a stab at some prognostication for 2012.

I think I batted close to 50% in last year’s predictions — that can’t be that much worse than those made by professional pundits.

Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments section — and don’t hesitate to include “wishful thinking!”

Here are my Education-Related Predictions For 2012:

1. Proponents of what is typically called “school reform” — expansion of charter schools and teacher merit pay, primarily evaluating teachers by student test scores, erosion of seniority rights — will emphasize expanding their agenda through three major avenues: Teach For America will use their new $50 million grant from the federal government to enter multiple new districts, KIPP Charter Schools will do the same with their new $25.5 million grant from The Walton Family Foundation, and, in California at least, charter operators will build on their recent push to have county Boards of Education’s approve charter applications over school district objections.

2. Notwithstanding recent court decisions in New York City, efforts to publish teacher ratings by test scores in local newspapers will “peter out.” Newspapers will shy away from publicizing this misleading data after seeing the backlash received by The Los Angeles Times after they pioneered this ethically questionable practice. In addition, since more districts are unfortunately including student test scores in teacher evaluations, the practice of making “job reviews” public will becoming increasingly questionable legally.

3. There will be a surge of interest in the concept of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), the idea of explicitly helping students learn about and develop character traits like self-control and perseverance. Unfortunately, that interest will be combined with a strong desire to test and grade, and much of its potential effectiveness will be lost.

4. Here in California, Governor Brown and his allies will be successful in convincing proponents of other tax initiatives to focus on supporting his ballot drive. His plan to increase taxes would result in billions more for schools, and will pass handily. That success will inspire similar efforts in other states during following years.

5. As the 2012 President election nears, and the polls show a Romney/Obama contest as a nail-biter, the Obama Administration will offer a “fall surprise” to teachers by offering states waivers to No Child Left Behind requirements that don’t have the “poison pills” of rules and costs that their present waiver hold. The tactic will work, and larger numbers of educators will actively campaign for the President in the election’s final months.

6. The awful and inaccurate teacher evaluations in New York, Tennessee and Florida will force states to go much more slowly in implementing ones that include student test scores as a sizable percentage of the ranking. Unfortunately, the momentum for these types of evaluations will only be slowed, not stopped.

7. At the same time the momentum for awful teacher evaluations is slowed, there will be a renewed interest in using Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) as an evaluation and professional development strategy. Districts that expand the use of this process, which treats educators as professionals, will find increasing success for students, their families, and educators alike.

8. Michelle Rhee will continue her decline in public credibility and relevance. Her work with some of the most conservative, and anti-teacher, Republicans has made her a contagion among many Democrats. And, as her Republican allies falter in their own success and popularity across the country, she is incredibly trying to build a base here in California — unsuccessfully.

9. Strategies to use technology as a transformative tool in education will take a backseat as for-profit online learning charlatans and the Khan Academy take up the tech money and the media space.

10. As I did last year, I’m borrowing this last one from Bill Ivey, a colleague in the Teacher Leaders Network. He predicts that “Each and every school day will bring tens of thousands of reasons to celebrate in schools across the country.” That sure sounds good to me…

Please share your reactions, and your own predictions!

Also, check out predictions from these other bloggers:

How Teachers Will Rock the News in 2012 by Barnett Berry

Ten Edu-Stories We’ll Be Reading in 2012 by Rick Hess

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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


  1. Pingback: Education-Related Predictions For 2012 | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… « juandon. Innovación y conocimiento

  2. The other thing about posting teacher ratings by test scores that will discourage newspapers from this malevolent practice: charter school educators and Teach for America hate it too.

    In case it hasn’t been made clear enough, the Los Angeles Times outrageously violated journalistic professional standards and ethics with this project. Heads aren’t likely to roll, but they absolutely should; everyone involved in the project should have a big red “LEAST EFFECTIVE” published next to their name in the paper. The Times shamed its profession.

  3. As retired educators from Michigan, we offer not our prognostications for 2012 but our wish list for America’s education systems: Year around schools (we are not an agrarian culture); in elementary classrooms, two adults, a teacher and an aide (so many students need to see two adults working harmoniously together and tutoring needy students by the aide is so important); using all communication resources between school and home, therein involving the parents more throughly in the process; revisiting the programmed learning process, which can be so beneficial and insightful to how some students learn; emphasize character training in the schools–too many parents fail in this area of life; teach adolescent psychology to adolescents so they know what we know about the joys and problems of adolescents; promote vocational/job training–all students do not need a four-year degree; encourage job-shadowing to help students determine appropraite careers; to get and keep good teachers, put the public support, monetary reward and joy of teaching back in the educational process! Enough for now; thanks for the opportunity to share.

  4. Larry, tanks for the list of predictions. We took a similar stab at 2012 predictions, but specifically for Educational Technology. You can see the video and the list here:

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