Educational Readings June 14th

By Allan Alach

There’s increasing evidence that the forces of educational darkness are being repelled in many countries. The tipping point will come, seemingly out of nowhere and the neoliberal standardised education nightmare will rapidly collapse. Keep fighting!

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Schooling Beyond Measure

Alfie Kohn is another educational commentator who is always worth reading. This article examines the current focus on measuring school and pupil progress through numbers, that underpins GERM.

‘The reason that standardized test results tend to be so uninformative and misleading is closely related to the reason that these tests are so popular in the first place.  That, in turn, is connected to our attraction to — and the trouble with — grades, rubrics, and various practices commended to us as “data-based.”

Why Common Core standards will fail

This article about the USA standards does provide some useful insights into the future of New Zealand’s national standards.

Education and Consumerism

‘Has the ideal of school as a place to become a critical thinker, an engaged citizen, given way to the ideal of school as Alma Mater to corporate America, giving birth to the educated consumer? Are schools creating citizens or consumers? What do you think?’

The Animal School (via Bruce Hammonds)

Bruce’s comment: An old but still relevant fable – the problem with standardisation. One size fits no one!

A new ‘Education Declaration’ for genuine school reform

‘A coalition of (USA) educators, researchers, parents, activists and elected officials issued what signees are calling an “Education Declaration” on Tuesday that lists seven key principles on which genuine school reform should be guided for the 21st century and starts from the premise that public education is “a public good.”

The document offers a progressive approach to school reform that includes ensuring that teachers are properly trained and respected, that opportunities to learn for all students are paramount and that  learning must be “engaging and relevant.”’

What do you think?

 Why two reform movements — choice and accountability — have fallen short

While we rush in, others are finding that it doesn’t work. Hey politicians – save the stress and avoid the same mistakes. Just read this.

A big unexplored idea in school reform

A second article from the Washington Post, this time by Marion Brady – another name for your must read list. Does this seem familiar to you?

‘The big new thing in education reform is the Common Core State Standards initiative. Not everyone is a fan. Gene Glass, former president of the American Educational Research Association, calls the standards an “idiots’ solution to a misunderstood problem. That problem: an archaic curriculum that will prepare no child for life in 2040 and beyond.”

I’m with Dr. Glass. I oppose the standards because they reinforce rather than rethink a curriculum that can’t do the job.’

Supporting Self-Directed Learners: Five Forms of Feedback (via Bruce Hammonds)

Arthur L. Costa and Robert J. Garmston

Educational researcher John Hattie (described by an Australian newspaper as ‘the rock star of educational research’ – actually he’s just a comprehensive number cruncher) has made a big issue about the importance of feedback. His evidential claim is poor; however he does have a point. Here’s a much more authoritative article.


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