Monday, March 14, 2011

Staying on Message

What's your message about public education?

How can we continuously engage the public without sounding like a broken record?

The short list:
1) Refer to investments in public education as an expression of patriotism.  Divestment in funding of education is unpatriotic.
2)  Describe smart spending at college (pre-service teaching), district and/or school level so that the ideas get out there.  What programs need to be in place to foster love of learning (or "engagement" or "sustained learning")?  Inform as you advocate.

The longer list:
1)  Stay on message.  Public education is about love of life-long learning and civil democratic engagement.  Even though it is exhausting, we've got to have everyone rehearse, investigate and explore this #1 assumption.
2) RTTT emphasizes student preparation to  "... succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy."  RTTT and other federal, state and local programs should also promote democratic engagement.  Public education is an opportunity for students to learn about the infrastructure of democracy.
3)  America's economic, political and social prowess depends on creative and critical thinking.  Standardized tests do an incomplete job of assessing either.  Invest in professional development so that teachers can develop engaging and rigorous curricula that foster both critical and creative thinking.
4)  Assess students' growth using a variety of measures, including 8-9 multiple intelligences (MI).  Standardized tests incompletely assess verbal & mathematical.  Creative and critical thinking has to rely on other domains such as collaboration (interpersonal), time management (temporal -- I think I just invented that MI), and analysis of mistakes/course correction.  Failure is an essential ingredient of learning.  On this count, high stakes testing measures the wrong things.

We can also assess (K-12 and beyond):
-student attendance
-parent participation
-graduation rates
-employment rates
-sense of civic engagement
-health statistics
-student post-secondary employability
-students growth towards stable home ownership or renting
-students access to libraries, parks and safe neighborhoods
5)  Develop a rubric with schools, parents, students for "school readiness."  What do students need to benefit from a rigorous, engaging (and therefore joyful) curriculum?
6)  Assess teachers growth in collaborative "aims" [not "goals"-pet peeve] that are aligned to everything above -- or parts of above because we are not gods -- and bench-marked progress (1/4ly, yearly).

No comments:

Post a Comment