logo
Community Members: Log In / Join Us
      

What If Learning — Not Fighting — Were the Focus?

As accusations fly back and forth over the reported DC cheating scandal – the latest in a series of battles between America’s two dominant Edu-Tribes – I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we stopped spending so much time focusing on what is broken or who is to blame, and started focusing instead on how people learn, and how we can create better learning environments for everyone. This week, as part of an effort to spur such a conversation, a coalition of individuals and organizations is doing just that — envisioning a movement of adults and young people in search of better places to work and learn, and highlighting powerful learning experiences to make a larger statement about how and when transformational learning occurs. I am proud to be a part of the campaign, which is called Faces of Learning, and which aspires to help people understand we are all effective learners, with differing strengths and challenges. Kim Carter, executive director of the Q.E.D. Foundation, a non-profit organization that is a member of the coalition, explains: “We want to elevate four essential questions that are, alarmingly, almost completely absent from the current national conversation about school improvement: How

Read More...

What’s the Deal with Smaller Classrooms?

There’s an Op-Ed in today’s Washington Post by Eva Moskowitz, the successful edu-preneur of the Success Charter Network in New York City, about the overall value of having smaller or larger classrooms. And, true to type, it’s a piece with numerous useful insights about the bottom-line business of crafting successful schools — and precious little about the foundational human element that undergirds any truly transformational place to work and learn. Moskowitz is right to urge our collective caution in rushing to assume that small classrooms, by themselves, lead to better learning conditions for kids — and she has a wealth of vivid examples to share.  “Add just one more student per class schoolwide,” she writes, “and Harlem Success Academy gets another $300,000 in total. With that, we can afford headhunters to find the best principals in the country, business managers to handle the non-instructional administration that would otherwise distract these great principals from driving high-quality instruction, ample professional development for teachers, museum trips for students, etc.” These are significant investments — and denying them because of an inherent fundamental allegiance to class size is foolish from a big-picture perspective. As we all know, size matters — but only to a

Read More...

What Joel Klein Doesn’t Understand About Teaching — and What We Should Do Instead

In case you missed it, former NYC Schools Chief Joel Klein had an Op-Ed in this weekend’s Washington Post in which he, rightly, urges us to do what it takes to establish a true long-term teaching profession. His recipe for doing so, however, reveals the extent to which he has misdiagnosed both the problem and its potential solutions. Klein begins by noting the ways teachers have become “unfairly vilified” in the current conversations about education reform, and then, after celebrating the heroic few in the profession who are “America’s heroes,” dedicates equal space to calling out the teachers who “work by the clock.” According to Klein, “the problem is that our discussion too often fails to distinguish between these very different types of teachers, treating them all the same.” I would counter that the bigger problem is when we speak of any profession in such binary terms — are you a hero or a laggard? — and expect that such rhetoric will do anything other than alienate the core constituency we are trying to support and celebrate. Let me be clear: there are teachers who work by the clock, and who need to be in a different line of work.

Read More...

NYC Learners — Go On a School Innovation Tour!

Those of you living in the NYC area have a cool opportunity worth taking advantage of this coming April. IDEA, aka the Institute for Democratic Education in America, is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that all young people can engaged meaningfully with their education and gain the tools to build a just, democratic, and sustainable world. IDEA helps transform education by showcasing what works in education and equipping others to learn from it. And this April 3rd-5th, IDEA will shepherd a group of people through an “innovation tour,” during which participants will explore four exemplary NYC schools, with opportunities to see and experience classroom and school culture, discuss instruction, and meet with school leaders. IDEA’s Innovation Tours offer an in-depth opportunity to really see and engage with the most innovative schools in the U.S.  The NYC tour will take participants through the NYC iSchool, Urban Academy, Calhoun School, and The Green School. Tours are designed to offer participants a chance to see dynamic schools in action, to learn from school leaders about the challenges and evolution of their culture and instructional program, and finally, to discuss ideas and applications with other teachers, students, parents, school board

Read More...

Let’s End the Battle of the Edu-Tribes

There’s a revolution underway – and no, I don’t mean in Egypt or Tunisia.

I mean the growing, hopeful, tech-savvy, solution-oriented tribe of educators who attended last weekend’s EduCon 2.3 in Philadelphia, an annual event that bills itself as “both a conversation and a conference, ” and a place where people come together, “both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools.”

Read More...
© 2017 Faces of Learning
Website by AndiSites.   |  Go back to top ↑