Thursday, July 24, 2014

Charter School Marketing

Apparently, charter school leaders got together to talk about how to hone the message about what they are and do.

Read it...included is a list of what not to say and what to say instead.
Say Charter community, not sector.  Say Responsive to student needs, not experiments.

They left off lots of other stuff--to say or not to say, I can't decide.

Best Practice
What Works
Research-based Evidence
What's Best for Kids
Teach the Whole Child

I'm sure I've missed some, but you get the point.  Never consider attending a charter school that doesn't do heavy trade in this language!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another installment of my 15 minutes (of fame, that is)

TVW--the public service civic engagement TV of Washington--broadcast my recent book talk at the University of Washington, Tacoma.  Now, you too can watch! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Problem with Teachers

Reading the sometimes interesting Intelligence and How to Get It, by Richard Nisbett.  Among many other statistically confirmed findings, teachers with experience add more to a student's learning.  But, he notes (without providing the statistical results in this case) most of the experience boost comes from the first year of teaching.

In other words, the big gain--for students--from teacher experience is in the difference between 0 and 1 year of teacher experience.

"So," Nisbett concludes, "it is definitely worth trying to avoid having your child put in a class with a rookie teacher."

Not, it would be worth figuring out how schools could create support arrangements to help rookie teachers do better.  (I know more than one quite good teacher who almost quit in his/her first year.)

Instead, make sure your own child avoids the bad situation.

Not, when you know you have a rookie teacher, work with your principal--and your student--to address some of the experiential difficulties that will arise.

Instead, do the socially destructive thing--maximize your student's (but not others') prospects by getting out of that class.  Don't forget, not everyone can get out.

Not, contribute to some long-term resolution of this difficulty.  Instead, maximize your private needs and move on.

Every teacher was a rookie teacher once, after all.  So, this is a persistent "problem."

The book went downhill after least for me.  I'm tired of the game we play where we talk about how we're in this (education) collectively, doing what's best for kids, striving for harmony within diversity, to create an environment where every student can learn.  (Have I got enough of the cliches in?)  We talk about it, but in reality, of course, each individual (parent) wants the best for their child, with much less regard for what's good for all the other children.

There's something of a conflict or at least a tradeoff in this.  Most of us don't mind if the other kids don't get the very best, as long as our children do (as far as we perceive).  Oh, it's not expressed so bleakly and bluntly.  No, it's more like an enormous drop-off in attention, interest and concern for anything once one's own child is well-situated.

We all do it, and it makes the job of producing and distributing "education" (widely, to the broader audience) more difficult.

Here's to you, rookie teachers.