Thanks to Lori Jablonski and Tom Hoffman (I’ve embedded Lori’s tweets below), I learned about a report from the Carnegie Corporation that includes charts created by big-time consultants McKinsey & Company.
Our conclusion: after controlling for all other factors, student mindsets are twice as predictive of students’ PISA scores than even their home environment and demographics (Exhibit 1). This finding, and its magnitude, is consistent across all five regions, which amplifies its importance.
I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).
Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):
The work world our children inherit will be significantly different from the one we have known. Jobs in the 20th century were mostly algorithmic or routine. According to McKinsey & Co., most such jobs have already evaporated because of automation and outsourcing. Future work will be more complex, so we had better prepare students differently than through standardized tests.
As the nature of work changes, so too must motivators. Carrots and sticks, which worked with routine jobs, actually impede efforts when the work is more complex, Daniel Pink says. Instead, the rewards of learning and challenges of the work itself must now be the primary motivators. Adults learn best, experts say, if they feel competent, autonomous, and a sense of belonging.
Much in our current school systems works against these, and our new national focus on teacher evaluation will continue that trend. As a result of ignoring innate needs, our schools too often are not innovative hubs. Yet to meet the challenges of our future, we must cultivate a spirit of innovation and inspiration. We will only succeed in preparing for our future if we empower all in our schools to think through complex problems and processes and generate solutions. Rather than laboring over bureaucratic compliance problems, let’s engage students and teachers (even board members!) in solving problems of teaching and learning.
Our schools will never become great through threat or intimidation. Schools must be safe places to take risks, where staff members and students feel valued for their ideas and talents and empowered to fail so that they can grow. Students will learn what they see, experience, and enjoy.
We have the knowledge and experience to do this at the national, state, and local levels. However, the present narrow focus on accountability and trend of demonizing those in public education, arrogantly focusing on “failing schools,” is diametrically opposed to fostering excellence.
For the almost four years I’ve been writing blog, I’ve periodically shared my concerns about developing national standards. I’ve feared that people were over-estimating its impact on the classroom (where, in fact, I think it’s more like callers to talk radio feeling like they’re actually doing something about a problem). And I’ve been concerned that it was a boondoggle for publishers and testing services salivating at the prospect of selling new textbooks and tests.
But the Common Core Standards train has long left the station, and that fight is lost.
However, we can still try to minimize its negative impact. To that end, I thought I’d bring together a few resources that I’ve found helpful in gaining an understanding of what Common Core might mean.
Please feel free to additional suggestions.
Here are my choices for The Best Articles Concerns About Common Core Standards:
In listening to the trio of Gingrich, Sharpton and Duncan on Meet The Press today, one of the things that struck me was this videotaped piece from Bruce Stewart, formerly the head of the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.:
MR. BRUCE STEWART: When I began teaching in the ’60s, we had that population of people. And since then, because greater opportunities have opened up for young women and for minorities, there’s been a great brain drain from American schools. I think we want to get those people back. If you look at Singapore, look at Finland, the reason they consistently are testing their population of students in the top levels of international exams, it’s the quality of their teaching force. They all come from the top third of their colleges, universities. In the United States, our tendency today is to have that pool of teachers coming from the bottom third of college and universities and from the bottom third of those classes. That’s something we need to reverse and to change.
I’ve heard this kind of statistic about teachers coming from the bottom third of something or other before (though never about the bottom third of classes — I don’t know where he got that bizarre statistic from), and just ignored it. But hearing it on Meet The Press, from the director of a private school, got “my dander up” and I decided to look into where those numbers came from and how valid and reliable they were. It was quite a ride on a Sunday afternoon….
Here is what I found…
Tons of people use a McKinsey report as the reference for the statistic of teachers coming from the bottom third of colleges. That report just uses a quote saying that:
“We are now recruiting our teachers from the bottom third of high school students going to college…” (p. 19)
So I went there. The link in the preceding paragraph only leads to a downloadable summary, which just stated the same statistic with no citation of a source. So, I went to Amazon, downloaded a Kindle Reader for my PC, and purchased the whole report.
That report uses as its source a “Report From The Department Of Education, National Center For Education Statistics, The Condition Of Education 2002.” It quotes the report as saying:
“A report by the National Council on Teacher Quality in 2004 said that the profession attracts a ‘disproportionately high number of candidates from the lower end of the distribution of academic ability.’ And, college graduates whose SAT or ACT scores were in the bottom quartile were more than twice as likely as those in the top quartile to have majored in education.”
Well, I couldn’t find that exact quote (but admittedly, I was getting a bit punch drunk by that time and might just have missed it) in the Condition of Education 2002, though page 91 has a lot of mathematical discussions of this topic, little of which I could understand (perhaps a math teacher can take a look?). I also found it interesting that I couldn’t find any other Condition of Education reports (they’re issued every year) that examine that topic.