Here is a round-up of the best education stories/essays that I have read this Spring.
60 years later we need a new Brown vs. Board of Education – This month the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education is 60 years old. This revolutionized race relations and education in the United States and beginning a process to restore equality to education among races. Sadly however, LEE C. BOLLINGER notes that in our era of school choice and anti-affirmative action ballot measures we have now re-segregated our schools back to the same level as pre-Brown, with similar terrible outcomes for minorities. This is a sad step backwards.
Schooled – How the much heralded Cory Booker–Chris Christie–Mark Zuckerberg transformation of the Newark School System is going. “education reform . . . comes across as colonial to people who’ve been here for decades. It’s very missionary, imposed, done to people rather than in coöperation with people….This is a democracy. A majority of people support these ideas. You have to build coalitions and educate and advocate.” As he put it to me at the outset of the reform initiative, “This remains the United States. At some time, you have to persuade people.” Zuckerberg’s 100 million has been spent.
Secret Military Test coming soon to your Spanish Class – This is a fascinating development. I look forward to trying out this test sometime.
Big Score when Mom takes the SAT – What exactly does the SAT measure, how does it feel to be old and take it?
Survival Skills at a School in LA – A heart wrenching portrait of life in the violent urban schools of Los Angeles. Horribly sad.
Teaching Grit is all the rage, here’s what’s wrong with it – I think “grit” is incredibly important. I do not think it is everything that reformers make it out to be, and I have serious moral and ethical concerns about grading it. I look forward to more holistic societal approaches. We need to have families, communities, private groups and even some old fashioned religion involved.
The case for banning laptops in the classroom. Even though I am a technology teacher I have decided to ban them during lectures/class discussions. I plan to introduce this policy through having students read this piece and discuss it. I hate blank faces.
This piece, How I became on unfair teacher, struck a real nerve with me. I need to be more cognizant of this, particularly with younger or sensitive students. The more students you have the easier it is to do this accidentally, and I do think it is something that we all can do from time to time.
And finally because I love maps, one day I will own this book by Richard Edes Harrison (via this wonderful article that brought him to my attention). And speaking of beautiful data These classic diagrams by John Phillips Esmile are spectacular.