Education Readings July 24th

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

*I Am Not Tom Brady*

Just when I thought we’d reached peak madness, this arrived. Warning – you’ll need a strong stomach before reading this.

“What kind of message does this send to students? I wondered. That their teachers are so incompetent that they need an ear piece and 3 people sharing a walkie talkie in the corner to tell them what to say?”

http://bit.ly/1gPfWBX

How Can Parental Involvement In Schools Improve?

“You don’t have to be an accomplished educator or a Nobel-prize winning economist to understand the benefits of familial engagement in education. Imagine the dollars saved if more families volunteered for projects involving our schools, the benefits of having more people to read, tutor and mentor and the positive long-term economic boost from smarter, more successful students which, in turn, would strengthen public education.”

http://bit.ly/1Rx7hkG

Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out

Surprised?

“When parents have tended to do the stuff of life for kids—the waking up, the transporting, the reminding about deadlines and obligations, the bill-paying, the question-asking, the decision-making, the responsibility-taking, the talking to strangers, and the confronting of authorities, kids may be in for quite a shock when parents turn them loose in the world of college or work. They will experience setbacks, which will feel to them like failure. Lurking beneath the problem of whatever thing needs to be handled is the student’s inability to differentiate the self from the parent.”

http://slate.me/1HMr6l4

Second-Hand Helicopter Parenting

Following on:

“Parents, I urge you to let your kids create and learn as kids. As hard as it can be to step back and watch it happen, it is SO important to the learning process and as it turns out, to mental health. Kids need to experience safe failures in order to learn that they are resilient. Kids need to see what they alone are capable of. They need to have the opportunity to learn independently. They need to know that they can improve because they want to.”

http://bit.ly/1eElYE4

Philosophy sessions ‘boost primary school results’

This is rather interesting. First link is to a BBC report and the second link is to the official website.

“Weekly philosophy sessions in class can boost primary school pupils’ ability in maths and literacy, a study says.

More than 3,000 nine and 10-year-olds in 48 UK schools took part in hour-long sessions aimed at raising their ability to question, reason and form arguments.”

http://bbc.in/1J7AU5C

http://bit.ly/1NXL0KE

My wife is a lazy liar

Teachers and their partners will relate to this…

I”t’s the last day of school for my lazy, lying wife. She says teachers still have to go to work, but that can’t be right. Teachers only work when the kids are at school. I wish she would come clean and admit she is not really a teacher.  School starts around 9:00 and dismisses at 3:45.  She leaves the house before seven each morning, and it’s only a fifteen or twenty minute drive to the “school” where she “teaches.” She comes home around six or six-thirty in the evening. Sometimes later. What is she doing with all the extra time?”

http://bit.ly/1Lv63Gg

What Bill Gates Doesn’t Understand About Education

Marian Brady:

“Mr. Gates, you swing a lot of weight in political circles. If you told policymakers that the current thrust of reform was blocking alternative ways of improving learner performance, and educators should have enough autonomy to explore those alternatives, those of us who have been working on them for decades might have a chance to show what’s possible.”

http://bit.ly/1JglTTB

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Real Education Still Matters: Exposing the Limits and Myths of ‘Market Forces’ Education.

Bruce’s latest posting, referencing an article by Peter W. Cookson Jr “The rise of instrumentalism in education.”

“Like those imprisoned in Plato’s Cave, learners who do not have the opportunity to experience free inquiry are vulnerable to the one-dimensional images and stereotypes produced by much of the media and publishing world. The learner is hobbled, even crippled, as she or he travels the developmental path of self-discovery and critical consciousness. This disempowering of mind produces tunnel social vision.”

http://bit.ly/1Mh2pPB

12 Must Read Books on Education for 2015

Twelve must read books on education for 2015.  Worth reading the information about each book to give you a sense of future directions. First in the list is a new book by Sir Ken Robinson. What books are you aware of that could be added to the list?

http://bit.ly/1IfdcUl

Design Is Eating The World

The industrial age placed efficiency number one. As Henry Ford, inventor of the assembly line, famously said ‘ you can have your car painted in any colour as long as it is black.’ Today  aesthetic design is an important factor. Would seem to apply to schools as well – a need to move from ‘one size fits’ all standardisation to the personalisation of learning. Schools need to teach and implement design skills.

“Yet our generation’s greatest entrepreneur, Steve Jobs, considered design so important that he cited a calligraphy course as his most important influence.  For him, design wasn’t just a product’s look and feel, but its function. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen a radical shift toward design as a fundamental source of value.  It used to be that design was a relatively narrow field, but today it’s become central to product performance and everybody needs to be design literate.”

http://bit.ly/1gPm25f

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What’s your ‘mental model’ about teaching?

What’s your ‘mind-set’ about teaching?

“Over the years I have become increasingly aware of the different ideas people hold about teaching( in today’s terminology ‘mind-sets’)

It is also obvious that many teachers hold these ‘mind-sets’ unconsciously – it is just the way they have learnt to do things. When asked about the beliefs that underpin their teaching many such teachers find it hard to move beyond platitudes or clichés. And when they can, all too often, their actions do not match their words.”

http://bit.ly/1MbuQ2g

On Knowing – Jerome Bruner

Wise words from the past – as relevant as ever. This old blog features  ideas about creativity by Jerome Bruner from a little known book of his I picked up years ago called Essays for the Left Hand. It has become one of my favourite books although a number of his essays are a little beyond me. His ideas on creativity are spot on.

“Conditions for creativity require that the learner stand back from reality and to be ‘prepared to take his journey without maps’ driven by a deep need, or passion, to understand something. The ‘wild flood of ideas’ need to be tamed, and in the process, the thing being created takes over and compels the learner to finish. The learner, Bruner writes, is ‘dominated’ to complete the task.”

http://bit.ly/Vn6Str

Developing a democratic curriculum.

The ideas of James Beane:

“Relating back to the ideas of John Dewey he believes that if people are to live democratic lives they must have the opportunity to learn what that way of life means. His ideas are based on the ability of students to participate in their own education. Democratic schools share a child centred approach but their larger goal is to change the undemocratic conditions of school themselves and in turn to reach out to the wider community.”

http://bit.ly/1JglCA9

Robert Fried on Seymour Sarason

Seymour Sarason is seen by educationalist Robert Fried as a ‘cautious radical’ and a pragmatic idealist who staunchly defends classroom teachers in one breathe and scolds them in another for their failure to make schools interesting places for teachers and children. Fried believes we should take him seriously. For sixty years Sarasan has agonized about why our institutions and social systems so rarely succeeded in achieving the visions of those who created them despite the hard work and sincere efforts of all involved. Sarason has relentlessly challenged conventional thinking about why schools seem so resistant to change.  Sarason has interesting ideas about school culture – well worth a read.

 http://bit.ly/1JglCA9

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Told You So

A History of Blanket Testing

“The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn for history.”

Did I hear you say that things are different these days? Well. This is a personal account from back when. .
In 1980, I visited the USA and the UK for the express purpose of studying the Minimum Competency Movement in the USA and the Assessment of Performance Unit in the UK, both politically-produced ordurous reactions to the Back to Basics meme of the 1970s. The 70’s “standards debate” had been a vicious attack on schooling that was lasting far too long. In Australia, it was led by “The Bulletin” and one or two conspicuous non-teaching attention-grabbers in each state. It died in Australia as it deserved to do before the the educational dementia of national blanket testing set in. Not so in USA. Sad consequences there as reported below. [ Australia made up for it in 2008. ….in spades.]

Minimum Competency Testing  – 1980

Fresh from my trip, I was asked to write an article for The Canberra Times. It was printed on 4 August, 1980 and headlined : Minimum Competency Testing: A Spreading Educational Malignancy in the United States. An extract from the article was repeated and highlighted : “Since the future of a country depends on the attention that it gives to its greatest resources, spare some tears for 21st century USA. Its destiny is clear and the news is not good. For Australian children’s sake now and for our country’s sake in the future – pray that the malady does not spread across the Pacific.”

CANBERRA TIMES 04-08-80

“I don’t like the Minimal Competency movement. It’s bad psychology; it’s bad measurement; it’s bad thinking. It’s rooted in the fiction that we know what skills in school ensure success in life”.
These are the words of Professor Gene Glass, meta-analyst, who is well known for his research into class size. He is one of many who are reacting to the spreading educational malignancy in the United States. It is called Minimal Competency Testing.

The movement was spawned by the “decline theorists” of the 1970s who were enormously successful in perpetuating their myths of a decline in standards in most Western countries.

Their calls were based on a simple nostalgia for an unknown golden age, when each student was supposed to have been as competent as Greg Chappell is with his cricket. Their credo was taken up by legislators who called for proper surveillance of the school system. Laws have been introduced in many US States that have called for testing of students, especially those graduating from high schools. In most States, if a student does not pass the test, a graduation certificate is not issued.

What have been the consequences?

Where the minimal competencies are listed as basic survival skills [e.g. changing a tyre, knowledge of first aid], the curriculum becomes a farce and students are not extended. Where the list includes higher-order skills [e.g. a good knowledge of calculus], teachers concentrate on the most difficult aspects; and the important aspects of the curriculum are neglected.
Test-publishing firms are having a field day. A contract for a State or school district represents big business and lobbying is intense. Whether a contract is won or lost, publishers move in on schools hawking audio-tape presentations that promote “beating the test”. Current prices are around the $200 mark.

When a state or district issues its list of competencies, it makes promises. These can be tested in court and the American notion of democracy encourages such litigation. Civil-rights lawyers are having a field day ….”for that same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks. That’s where the money is”, Professor Glass says. Within the courts, judges make decisions about the activities of schools. They tend to direct school districts as to what they must do.

Educationists, many retired from schools, establish private firms selling seminars, workshops. lecture tours and packaged kits on how to cope with the achievement of basic competencies.

A Mess

All in all, it means that the test publishers, the legislators, the judiciary and a host of middlemen take control of the school curriculum. Parents and teachers are left out in the cold. It’s a mess.

Patriotic American are most concerned, for the future of their country is seen to be at risk. The essential aspects of education that are required for the citizens of the new century are seen to be in jeopardy. Children are seen to be basically lazy and a loose confederation of “back-to-basics” pressure groups are jealous of the freedom to learn, that society in the 60s and 70s had extended to its young. Children need to be smartened up, threatened with failure and reminded of their incompetence to fill today’s jobs.

Actually, one needs a strong will to suggest that schools and children are growing worse. Some groups, businesses and individuals have that twisted will. They seek to ensure that public school systems break down and given to free enterprise. They are determined; and assume a divine right to claim ownership of a centralised curriculum which is easy to control and peddle.

Blanket testing of competencies doesn’t solve anything. Testing of any kind , when necessary, needs to have a human, encouraging tone that disposes children to upgrade their learning styles with confidence.

The children of the United States are compelled by law to endure great stress for some years, as this innovation works itself to death. Currently, the love for learning is being converted to the drudgery of work and punishment for failure.

Since the future of a country depends on the attention that it gives to its greatest natural resource, spare some tears for 21st century USA. Its destiny is clear and the news is not good. For Australian children’s sake and for our country’s sake in the future, pray that the malady does not spread across the Pacific.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This was 34 years ago! It is difficult to understand how anyone who had anything to do with schooling, with an E.Q. ‘above room temperature’ would allow the same conditions to re-emerge or to spread anywhere south of the equator. MCT, using blanket testing devices, has been shown to be an abomination. That was 30 years ago!

In Australia, serious educators, with a reasonable E.Q., of course, have known about its foul intent for decades. They just have no power.

But then in 2008, twenty-eight years after this warning, low E.Q. scatophagic politicians, middlemen testucators and money-hungry child-molesters took control.

[E.Q.: Education Quotient is a measurement of educationism determined on the same sort of scale as I.Q.]

___________________________________________________________

APPENDIX I have been most fortunate with my experiences as a primary education freak. This 1980 trip was dedicated to trying to find out as much information as possible about minimum competency testing and large scale assessment of pupil performance. I started by re-visiting UCLA and I/D/E/A in Los Angeles where I had spent some time ten years earlier.

I caught up with an old pal from that period, who had just resigned from the superintendency of a school district where there was a large weapons research facility. Scientists controlled the school board and had decreed that no child would be given a graduation certificate who had failed to pass a calculus test. Sol Spears argued through the media that the notion was crazy. He had a doctorate, but did not know the first thing about calculus. He was forced out. It was an extreme [one hopes] example of what can happen when child-molesting testucating sciolists take over the curriculum.

I visited other groups and people who were pursuing an interest in MCT : North West Lab. in Portland, Oregon; Gene Glass at the University of Colorado, whom Barry McGaw of ACARA was also visiting in an academic measurement capacity; and AASA [Bill Spady] at Washington DC.

I left the US sharing the abhorrence of many, many high-octane educators there of the notion of blanket testing being used as a fearsome weapon of much destruction. As a weapon of accountability, it was entirely useless. As a diagnostic tool it set individual progress back many years. It was a gung-ho, crazed approach, carelessly conceived. As Gene Glass summarised : blanket testing is based on a minimum lethal dose attitude, on payment by results, on making pupils feel inadequate. “…nothing to do with science and technology; not with psychology; not with measurement. It has to do with politics.”

I then headed for the Assessment of Performance Unit – APU – established by Margaret Thatcher, Minister for Education in England. This unit was divided into sub-units, each independent and removed from each other; each employing methods of assessment that varied. I visited each sub-unit – Mathematics, Literacy and Science. Each ,it seemed to me, was trying to avoid, as much as possible, the pen-and-paper mode of testing even though the assignment of a value to each testing exercise was tricky.

There were some innovative ideas, but I gathered that there was a general feeling of despair and frustration at trying to find the magic formula for mass testing….already conscious of the futility of the same-moment-in-time blanket mass pen-and-paper mode. Tests were random, but each sample involved endless techniques and modes of scoring. As one testor asked, “How do you test the efficiency of each component of a space rocket when its hal-way to the moon?”

The units saw the futility of treating school subjects in isolation.The only conclusion that was common to each unit was: that primary school classrooms were such complicated operations, so intense, and so different from each other that any mass testing debauched individual intellect, was a serious threat to each person’s cognitive development and an enormous waste of time….especially for those who needed more closer and warmer support than the average.

I was especially disappointed with the deterioration in the level of enthusiasm shown by England’s teachers for the spirit of teaching itself, that had been the key feature of my observations in 1970. It had been a child-focussed, busy, achievement-centred, exciting place of learning then. No more.

The only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.

___________________________________________
Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443 cphilcullen@bigpond.com
http://primaryschooling.net     http://kellyandcullen.net     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com

Let’s be blunt.

The Treehorn Express

{Available to schools in Queensland [Australia] schools by email only through the good graces of concerned educators}

Let’s be blunt about Eichmannism

In their dealings with children, most adults will undertake destructive activities or remain silent about them, against their better nature, when instructed by superior authorities

“to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality. Relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”

said Stanley Milgram whose startling experiments in 1963 reached the following conclusion:-

“Ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being. Obedience to authority is ingrained in us all from the way we are brought up. People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and/or legally based.”

This response to legitimate authority is learned in a variety of situations….. in the family, school and workplace.
Milgram summed it all up in the article “The Perils of Obedience” (Milgram 1974), writing: “The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ [participants’] strongest moral imperatives, against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ [participants’] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.”

Milgram undertook the experiments because he had wondered if ordinary American folk would be capable of undertaking the kind of activities that ordinary German folk had performed during the Nazi regime under the authority of Adolf Eichmann, who claimed that he, in turn, just ‘did as he was bid’; and whose conscience didn’t bother him.

Of course, Australians would never [ like those Americans and Germans] do anything against their ethical principles no matter who bossed them around! Never! Huh?

But then “ Times, they are achangin’…”

It is clear that there has been an enormous change in the political climate in western countries since the days we all believed in and adhered tenaciously to the Rights of the Child. Remember 1979, The Year of the Child when the catchy tune ‘Care for Kids‘ led the charts? Despite our many failings, we once protected kids from dangerous extraneous influences. Personal codes of conduct were not a sham that merely represented authority’s code of control.

Now. During this present extraordinary period of our history, controlled as it is by corporate neoliberalism – conservatism on steroids –, eichmannism has seeped into and become a feature of the teaching trade. Having allowed managerialism to infect its institutions, the former great profession no longer represents its clients adequately nor protects them from the sneaky, shady influences of politicisation and corporate greed.

The Stockholm syndrome kicks in and plays its insidious role.

Evidence of this kind of coercive control and its outcomes are manifest. In Australia, teachers are not allowed to describe their own feelings to the public about NAPLAN tests. Principals cannot mention publically that parents have the right to say, “NO”. Some teachers who help children to feel more at ease during testing time, are punished. Others go to extraordinary lengths to settle the victims down. [sleep-overs, breakfasts, rewards]. Mystical privacy laws are invoked by the meek when questioned privately. A tenuous Code of Conduct is used by authorities and school leaders as an institutional whip. Nothing is done about the assault on children’s emotions….only talked about. Anti-naplanners [them ‘kid-lovers’] are seen as seditious. Verbotten! Dissembling professional clashes between educators and testucators have become part of the scenery. Never before. Political gimmicks [charter schools, year level distribution, curriculum ‘improvement’, ‘Accords’ amongst them] are allowed to permeate the teaching culture as solutions to a mythical standards crisis.

This is 2014-style schooling. Embedded Eichmannism has become a very serious threat to our children’s emotional welfare and our general future. Our better nature reacts against fear-centric teaching techniques; but we sheepishly do as we are told.

What should we do? Just keep going?

_________________________________________________
Phil Cullen [….one of them kid-lovers] 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443 0407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com
http://primaryschooling.net/    http://kelleyandcullen.net/

The readiness to do social experiments on the education of children

Reposted from Scoop NZ.

by Gordon Campbell

The school closures in Christchurch really are a perfect storm – the most stressed community in New Zealand is being led by the most accident prone Minister in the Key government, into a social experiment on its youngest and most vulnerable, in the least available time. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that scenario, could it? Even if Education Minister Hekia Parata was correct – and this is contested – about the school mergers she is imposing on Christchurch due to what the earthquake has done to population shifts, school rolls and the costs for classroom repairs and replacement, nothing can justify the speed with which she is rushing through these changes.

Even Parata’s own Ministry, it seems, was advocating a further year of adjustment. The plan is as follows:

Seven primary and intermediate schools in Christchurch are to close outright and another three primary schools will close as part of mergers with other schools. Of the closures confirmed on Wednesday afternoon, most will take effect from January 2014. Branston, Linwood and Manning intermediates are three of the seven schools to close.

 To cater for the gap left by their closure, Hornby High, Hillmorton High and Linwood College will from next year expand to provide for Year 7 and Year 8 students. The principal of Manning Intermediate, Richard Chambers, says the short timeframe places pressure not only on the three high schools, but on his soon-to-be jobless teachers who will be expected to help with the changeover.

This is another galling aspect of the unnecessary haste. The timeframe can only be achieved if the professionals involved are prepared to work their butts off in the interim to make it happen – for the sake of the children caught up in the changes. This has to be the ultimate in cynical politicking. In effect, Parata and her top advisers are exploiting the dedication of the teaching staff to bring about a programme that will ultimately cost those teachers their jobs. And who will get to fill the (lesser) number of teaching positions available? Only the mice who run fastest on the treadmill between now and next January, and who complain the least.

Keep in mind that these teachers, and their communities and the children affected have already been under significant stress for the past 18 months. Is the rushed timetable achievable? Significantly, Parata was using the weasel words on RNZ this morning that she has been advised that it is achievable. Code: if it doesn’t prove to work out that way….blame the advisers, not her.

But that’s how the business of government works these days. Public servants are bullied to deliver outcomes where success is ministerialised and failure is officialised. In the Christchurch case, there is little or no evidence that the children affected – who are the unfortunate lab rats in this experiment – will be better off, or worse off as a result. There’s an information vacuum on this crucial point. The mergers will create bigger schools. Yet do we know anything about whether such education supermarkets do – or do not – improve the learning experience and outcomes for students? (If they don’t, any short term cost savings from these mergers will be false economicsm as well as a waste of human potential.) Intuitively, one would think that as schools become bigger the chance for teachers to recognise and to nurture individual learning needs gets reduced. But that would be only a guess.

The trouble is, Parata seems to be guessing too – and as Minister, she happens to be gambling with the future of thousands of children in Christchurch. For those children in Christchurch, their schools have just become casinos, and with themselves being the chips.

Charter schools meanwhile, march onwards
Charter schools are a social experiment in education into which the government is choosing to pour money, even while it cries poor about its ability to keep open the state schools it is closing and merging in Christchurch. Ironically, the charter schools legislation is being advanced in Parliament this week just as (a) the closures/mergers are announced in Christchurch and (b) the OECD has released a report that generally showers praise on our state education system. Meaning: charter schools seem to be the solution to a largely non-existent problem. On global comparisons, our state schools are high achievers. Rather than create a parallel education system for nutcase Act Party reasons, the government should be funding the due maintenance needed in the existing system.

Look, for evidence, at the OECD findings on NZ education contained in the Better Life Indexcomparative report. On most comparisons of participation in education, New Zealand is at or around the OECD average:

In New Zealand, 73% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, close to the OECD average of 74%. This is truer of men than women, as 74% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 72% of women. This 2 percentage point difference is in line with the average OECD difference. Among younger people – a better indicator of New-Zealand’s future – 79% of 25-34 year-olds have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, also close to the OECD average of 82%.

On the quality of that education though, the New Zealand education system continues to punch well above its weight:

New-Zealand is a top-performing OECD country in reading literacy, maths and sciences with the average student scoring 524. This score is higher than the OECD average of 497, making New-Zealand one of the strongest OECD countries in students’ skills. On average in New-Zealand, girls outperformed boys by 15 points, more than the average OECD gap of 9 points, with an overall score of 532 points compared with 517 points for boys.

In passing, it should be noted that the best performer of all in the OECD – i.e., Finland – continues to get these optimum results while resolutely turning its back on the national standards that have been fetishised here by the Key government, and without having any private schools at all. However, there are some warning signs in the New Zealand evidence, which suggest that growing income inequality in this country is having an effect in our school system as well. For example:

The best-performing school systems manage to provide high-quality education to all students. In New-Zealand, the average difference in results, between the 20% with the highest socio-economic background and the 20% with the lowest socio-economic background, is 119 points, higher than the OECD average of 99 points. This suggests the school system in New-Zealand tends to provide higher quality education for the better off.

Are charter schools the answer to this aspect of our performance? Dr Pita Sharples evidently thinks so, and he likens them to kura kaupapa schools. On the overseas evidence though, charter schools only deliver as-good educational outcomes as state schools if and when they receive similar inputs of funds. So – as you might well think – it would make more sense to put the money being earmarked for charter schools into the state school system that is already delivering top results – rather than create a parallel system that will cost just as much to deliver similar results. Unfortunately for the nation’s taxpayers (and not to mention the children who will be subjected to the charter schools experiment) this doesn’t fit with the political and ideological agendas of the National Party, or the Maori Party. Their mantra is that state provision is always bad – and no evidence will convince them otherwise.

Some have tried to convince them, regardless. Reportedly, 65 people including prominent Maori, Pasifika and education academics and children’s advocates have signed an open letter urging MPs not to experiment on children by introducing publicly-funded charter schools. But hey, to cite the failure of charter schools to surpass the performance of state schools – on any dollar for dollar level playing field – would be to rely on the kind of pointy-headed overseas evidence that Pita Sharples refuses to consider as being relevant here. According to Sharples, we should adopt the American model of charter schools, but not consider the American evidence of its performance as being relevant. As he told RNZ:

“You have to try new things and if they don’t work, ditch them….It is about giving charter schools a chance – we’re not England or America and what they’ve done there, and we’ve got to see how it can work here.”

Brilliant. With the likes of Parata and Sharples choosing not to learn from experience and precedent, what could possibly go wrong with entrusting them to steer the nation’s course in education?

The Current School Reform Landscape: Christopher H. Tienken

This video is about the USA educational scene, however it is very relevant, in most part, to New Zealand and Australia. A great watch.

‘Is it necessary to have every child master the same exact material at the same level of difficulty?

About Christopher Tienken, from his website:

Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Education Administration at Seton Hall University in the College of Education and Human Services, Department of Education Management, Policy, and Leadership. He has public school administration experience as a PK-12 assistant superintendent, middle school principal, director of curriculum and instruction, and elementary school assistant principal. He began his career in education as an elementary school teacher. Tienken is currently the editor of the American Association of School Administrators Journal of Scholarship and Practice and the Kappa Delta Pi Record.

Tienken’s research interests include school reform issues such as the influence of curriculum quality on student outcomes and the construct validity of high-stakes standardized tests as decision-making tools to determine school effectiveness. The Institute of Education Sciences recognized his research about the effects of professional development on student achievement and the National Staff Development Council awarded him the Best Research Award in 2008.

Tienken has authored over 80 publications including book chapters and articles. His new book, with co-author Don Orlich is titled, The School Reform Landscape : Fraud, Myth, and Lies. He presents papers regularly at state, national, international, and private venues. Tienken has ongoing research collaborations with colleagues at the Universita` degli Studi Roma Tre, Rome, Italy, the University of Catania, Sicily, and he was named as a visiting scholar at both universities.