Monday, March 7, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: Competency Based Ed for Teachers

CURMUDGUCATION: Competency Based Ed for Teachers:

Competency Based Ed for Teachers


Competency Based Ed (or Proficiency Based Learning or Outcome Based Education) is increasingly and alarmingly all the rage, but so far we've been talking about it mainly as a content delivery system for K-12 students. Well, says Patrick Riccards at Real Clear Education, why not use it as an approach to training teachers as well?

Riccards is the chief communications and strategy officer for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and he lays a foundation here of reformy building blocks. Here's the Bellwether Partners report on how we don't know how to unpack "the black box of good teaching." Here's a charmingly trusting assertion that Charlotte Danielson " has clearly identified the knowledge and skills that beginning teachers need to both succeed in those formative years and remain in the classroom for many years to come." Has she? Has she really? Why, bless her heart, and yours too, if you believe in her so hard.

But Riccards is here to argue against inputs, against the traditional teacher prep program that measures hours and lists the courses one must take.

There is nothing magical about 36 credit hours of graduate education that ensures one will be an effective teacher. Instead, it is about understanding content and pedagogy, as well as being able to put that understanding to use in a classroom of your own.

Well, no. There's nothing "magical" about 36 credit hours, just like there's nothing "magical" about studying human skeletal structure on your way to mastering physiology for your physical therapy degree. But Riccards want us to see as necessary and inevitable a shift from lecture halls to actual 
CURMUDGUCATION: Competency Based Ed for Teachers:



Russ on Reading: Fordham Institute: Democracy is Overrated

Russ on Reading: Fordham Institute: Democracy is Overrated:

Fordham Institute: Democracy is Overrated
Democracy? We don't need no
 stinkin' democracy!

 Writing in the Thomas B. Fordham Institute'sOhio Gadfly Online, Aaron Churchill says that we shouldn't worry so much about whether school boards are elected, as in most public schools, or appointed, as in most charter schools, because democracy doesn't really work so well in education.


Churchill's key argument is that not many voters show up for school board elections because voters are not well-motivated for these off- cycle, low-profile elections; so who really cares if the school board members are elected or appointed by some charter operator. The problem is, according to Churchill, that these low-turnout elections leave the field open to "special interest groups" to unduly influence elections. By special interest groups, Churchill means teacher unions. Apparently, he cannot think of any other special interest groups that might want to influence a school board election.

To support his thesis, Churchill cites the work of Terry Moe, the William Bennett Monroe professor of political science at Stanford. This sounds really impressive until you google Professor Moe and find out that he is also a member of the Hoover Institute's Koret Task Force on K-12 Education. The Hoover Institute is a conservative think tank that has a long history of anti-unionism. Moe discovered, lo and behold, that 
Russ on Reading: Fordham Institute: Democracy is Overrated:

My Chief Concerns about ESSA | deutsch29

My Chief Concerns about ESSA | deutsch29:

My Chief Concerns about ESSA

reversal
I have been asked recently if I would compose a list of concerns related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the latest revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESSA replaces the last revision, the infamous No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
I had planned to write a series of posts based on reading the entire ESSA document. However, after writing four posts, I became sidetracked from such a monumental task. (Plus, it is a dry task, and one that is likely to appeal to very few readers.) Perhaps I will take it up again this summer.
For now, let me offer in this post my chief concerns with ESSA.
I have three.
Concern One: Opt-out “Catch 22”
First of all, ESSA plays a game with states via its Title I 95 percent annual testing requirement for grades 3 through 8 and once in high school in English language arts (ELA) and math. On page 36, ESSA traps states into including 95 percent of all enrolled students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school as the denominator in determining annual measures of achievement on the mandated (yet state-selected) standardized tests. At the same time, ESSA tries to exonerate itself from driving state and local opt out policies by offering a “rule of construction” regarding the right of parents to opt their children out of testing (see page 32).
ESSA requires the 95 percent of testing for the states even as it says, “Don’t pin your state opt-out policies on us for our federal policy.”
ESSA also requires that states include that 95 percent testing in state accountability systems (page 36).  States, districts and schools are able to apply for “waivers of statutory and regulatory requirements” (page 302), but this only puts states, districts, or schools at the mercy of the US secretary of education.
Concern Two: Data Security
My second concern involves data collection and especially security. Pages 79 and 80 My Chief Concerns about ESSA | deutsch29:

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