1. Jal Mehta’s Deeper Learning Has a Race Problem in Edweek
Not only do you need to read this article, you need to read it twice. It explores a range of grappley issues like how we integrate core content and inquiry or balance accountability (especially for students who have been traditionally underserved by our education system) with teacher professionalism. Here’s a quick excerpt of one my favorite passages:
Civil rights advocates and teacher professionalization proponents need to have a hard talk about deeper learning. It’s on deeper learning proponents to argue the civil rights case for deeper learning–that joining the culture of power means doing one’s own experiments and not just reading about experiments that others have done; such deeper experiences gives disadvantaged students the same opportunities to participate in the real world of the disciplines that the most advantaged students have long had.
If they are able to convince civil rights proponents on this point, then there should be a way to work out the questions around accountability. As a design question, there should be a way to empower skilled teachers to be creative, assess individual students periodically, be able to fire the least-well-performing teachers, and yet for the most part treat teachers with the culture of respect that is needed for the profession to grow and thrive. Almost all of the parties could agree to each of these elements; there should be way to put them together that would be coherent.
Heck yes! Let’s make that happen.
2. David Kirp’s Make School a Democracy in the New York Times
In his compelling article, David Kirp discusses Colombia’s inspiring Escuela Nueva (New School) model which “turns the schoolhouse into a laboratory for democracy. Rather than being run as a mini-dictatorship, with the principal as its unquestioned leader, the school operates as a self-governing community, where teachers, parents and students have a real say in how it is run.”
What’s more – “A 1992 World Bank evaluation of Colombia’s schools concluded that poor youngsters educated this way — learning by doing, rather than being endlessly drilled for national exams — generally outperformed their better-off peers in traditional schools.”
So let’s make that happen too! As Kirp writes, “this is how children — not just poor children — ought to be educated.”