Empty Classrooms, Abandoned Kids: Inside America’s Great Teacher Resignation— from nytimes.com; video by Agnes Walton and Nic Pollock

Excerpt:

A survey of National Education Association members at the beginning of the year revealed an unsettling truth: More than half of the respondents said they were looking for a way out. That’s an astounding number of unhappy teachers. If they all quit, it would leave millions of students in the lurch.

But were these just empty threats? At the start of this school year, we spoke to over 50 educators in almost 20 states to find out. The picture they painted was far bleaker than we could have imagined: Empty classrooms, kids in crisis, and teachers who can’t survive another day on the job — that’s the reality of American education today.

And from the UK, see the following:
The word OUCH! comes to my mind here — for this item from the UK and from the above item from the US. The politicians are going to need to back off and let the teachers do their jobs. Or we may not have many people who want to go into teaching anymore. The current situation is not only bad for the teachers, it’s bad for the youth/students.

 

To Combat Learning Loss, Schools Need to Overhaul the Industrial-Age Paradigm — from educationnext.org by Frederick Hess
The decline in academic gains may be steeper, but it’s not a new phenomenon

Excerpt:

Why did movements over the last two decades to raise standards, improve educator quality, upgrade curriculum, enable choice, leverage assessment, instill accountability, and increase funding appear to have such a limited impact on college and career readiness?

One potential answer: Nearly all of these reforms left the basic tenets of the industrial-paradigm classroom intact.

The above article links to:

Out of the Box -- How Innovative Learning Models Can Transform K-12 Education

It’s Time to Rethink the ‘One Teacher, One Classroom’ Model — from edweek.org by Irene Chen & Stephanie Banchero
How to build a happier and more effective teaching force

Excerpt:

The last few years have taken a toll on our teachers. The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing cultural divisions, and the Uvalde, Texas, massacre all weigh heavily. Morale is at an all-time low. Now is the time to rethink the teaching profession.


Addendum; also relevant/see:


 

Stephen Downes’ reflection on “Every Student Needs a Learning Coach” — from by Nate McClennen

Excerpt (from Stephen):

The key to making this happen, I think, is to reorganize local schooling to take advantage of online (and increasingly, AI-generated) learning services, allowing in-person educators to adopt this coaching function.

Key points from Nate’s article:

  • As learning becomes more personalized, learning opportunities expanded and unbounded, and learning science research more robust, an updated and revised advisory role is more important than ever.
  • Redefining the coaching/mentor/advisor role as the educational landscape shifts is critical to ensure success for every learner.

Also relevant to using AI in education/see:

 

 

Hidden toll: Thousands of schools fail to count homeless students — from by Amy DiPierro and Corey Mitchell
Federal law promises homeless children an equal shot at education. Many fall through the cracks

Excerpt:

A Center for Public Integrity analysis of district-level federal education data suggests roughly 300,000 students entitled to essential rights reserved for homeless students have slipped through the cracks, unidentified by the school districts mandated to help them.

Some 2,400 districts — from regions synonymous with economic hardship to big cities and prosperous suburbs — did not report having even one homeless student despite levels of financial need that make those figures improbable.

And many more districts are likely undercounting the number of homeless students they do identify. In nearly half of states, tallies of student homelessness bear no relationship with poverty, a sign of just how inconsistent the identification of kids with unstable housing can be.

 

The Status of the Teaching Profession Is at a 50-Year Low. What Can We Do About It? — from edweek.org by Caitlynn Peetz

Excerpt:

The status of the teaching profession is at its lowest in five decades, new research suggests, which its authors say is “cause for national concern.”

In a new paper published Tuesday, researchers at Brown University and the University at Albany compiled and analyzed decades’ worth of national data from more than a dozen sources about factors like teachers’ morale, the perceived prestige of the profession, and interest in entering the field, to create an annual profile of the profession between 1970 and 2022.

What they found is sobering. It suggests that the pandemic has only added fuel to a job that’s steadily declined in prestige and attractiveness for more than a decade.

“When you look at the data that we have, it’s hard to see us in a spot anywhere else other than a really critical tipping point in public education,” said Matthew Kraft, an associate professor of education and economics at Brown and co-author of the report.

Reversing “the trend of top-down control over teachers” and creating meaningful career pathways, including professional development and peer observation opportunities, could help restore morale, Kraft and Lyon wrote in their paper, though they did not recommend specific approaches.

 

An obituary for education—or not? — from brookings.edu by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Jennifer M. Zosh, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Elias Blinkoff, and Molly Scott

Excerpt:

MAKING SCHOOLS WORK
The science of learning offers a blueprint of how children in our future can and will succeed. For the last three decades, researchers made enormous progress in understanding how human brains learn. If we can teach in a way that capitalizes on these findings—if we can apply the science to the classrooms—we will have evidence-based ways of helping children grow the suite of skills that will make them successful in today’s classrooms and the workplaces of tomorrow. Our Brookings report, A New Path to Educational Reform and our book Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful Classroom Practice, detail how this research in the science of learning can offer a scalable, evidenced based path to re-invigorating and re-imagining education for our time.

Children learn when they are active, not passive observers of what is taught. Children learn when they are engaged in the material and not distracted, when the information is meaningfully connected to their knowledge in ways that are culturally responsive. They learn best in social contexts, when there are strong teacher-student and peer relationships, when the information is iteratively presented multiple times in slightly different ways, and when the learning is joyful. Yes, it is possible to have joyful teaching that affords deeper learning. When we teach in ways that the brain learns, the learning “sticks” and generalizes to new problems and new solutions.

 

I Never Wanted to Be a School Administrator. Here’s Why I Changed My Mind. — from edsurge.com by Patrick Harris II

Excerpt:

What made him so unique? Maybe it was his humility. He didn’t claim to have all the answers. Maybe it was the trust he put in me as a new teacher on his team. When I asked him which curriculum we used, he said, “I trust you to collaborate with the team and build it. I have some resources here to help us ensure that we create a scope-and-sequence for the literacy skills our students need. But we have to create it.” Maybe it was how frequently he said “we.”

Principal Williams had to answer to the school board, to our school’s executive director and to parents, but when it came down to decision-making, everything was up for discussion. I could walk into his office for anything. I felt motivated to become more involved in the school community because he made room for me.

He was flattening the hierarchy.

Cultivating a culture where every voice matters is not the quickest solution, nor is it the easiest, but my hope is that it will have a long-lasting impact at our school. The more that we flatten the hierarchy, focus our attention on building trust and talk more with one another, the better chance we have of creating schools that teachers want to stay at and that students want to learn in.

 

Building Rural Learning Pathways to Strengthen the Future of Community — from gettingsmart.com by Nate McClennen, Guest Author

Key Points

  • Some rural areas continue to have durable and empowered economies.
  • Others need to build a new vision for prosperity while simultaneously maintaining core talent to support community infrastructure needs.
  • By integrating dual enrollment, credentials and CTE, high school students are better able to graduate with college credit and viable credentialed experiences to support entry into the postsecondary workforce.

Also from Getting Smart:

Science Fairs as Pathways To Passion, Problem-Solving and Careers

Key Points

  • Science Fairs inspire the problem-solvers that touch the future.
  • Science fairs provide a great opportunity to form a community and present your ideas.
 

Why Now Is The Time To Overhaul K-12 Education — from forbes.com by Phyllis Lockett and Michael Horn

Excerpts:

If you take a team approach, then one adult works with students on their social-emotional learning and how they connect to their learning. And another leverages data to create small group opportunities based on the learning objective. And another connects learning to real world projects and helps students build social capital in the community, which also creates a more permeable classroom that’s open to the outside world. Or there could be other ways the teams are structured to best support the student.

For all the plans in the past to “reinvent” K-12 education, none have questioned the fundamentals of time-based instruction. It’s no surprise then that the system produces the outcomes it does. Not every child needs exactly 180 days to master the knowledge and skills required for a third grader. Conversely, some kids need more time. It’s an arbitrary system that cuts off learning for children based on a calendar, yet doesn’t provide a different pathway forward for them that’s productive. In our current system, time is fixed and learning is variable, then students are labeled and sorted accordingly.

Michael Horn


From DSC:
This quote…

The answer is for district leaders to create independent teams of educators in which they are shielded from traditional day to day pressures and have the explicit license to do things differently. They can give these new “schools within schools” the resources they need without encumbering them by the old ways of doing things.

…makes me think of a graphic I did a while back about the need for more Trim Tabs within our learning ecosystems:


 

Innova: A Revolution in Education? — from gettingsmart.com by Chris Terrill

Key Points

  • Innova Schools is designed to rapidly cut through the vast inequities that exist and be a lever for change in Latin America.
  • Innova has the potential to revolutionize education around the globe.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The initial school start-up was funded by Carlos Rodriguez Pastor, a Peruvian businessman. He saw an opportunity to provide high-quality schools in areas where the government struggled to supply essential education services (Peru and Colombia consistently rank near the bottom on the global education survey). He enlisted the famed US design firm IDEO to develop a comprehensive program that would eventually be utilized in multiple countries.

From DSC:
Stop the presses. I love that idea of using IDEO to be involved here. It seems like that is a positive step towards implementing Design Thinking within our learning ecosystems.

In the original model, the founders designed a rigorous, engaging, personalized curriculum, with a heavy emphasis on Project-Based Learning. I wanted to know if and how that is actualized, and how that is enacted across multiple countries in schools thousands of miles apart.

Finally, IDEO’s work included a design for the physical structure of schools to be quickly and economically replicated at each location; how was that design working? The vision for Innova may be one of the most ambitious educational undertakings today. What lessons can I, as an individual educational leader, and we, as a global education community, learn from their work?

The Maker Space and the Gaming Lab demonstrate clearly how digital competency is a central element of their curriculum. I saw highly engaging lessons that were perfectly synced with classroom projects, pursuing a bigger goal of equipping Colombian students to fill the digital labor gap. 

 

Returning Joy to Teaching & Learning — from gettingsmart.com by Trace Pickering

Key Points

  • Too many school-based reform efforts continue to have educators implicitly standing with the standards against the students.
  • Pivot your perspective for a moment to the opposite.
  • What does a school where its educators stand with the students against the standards look like?

From DSC:
My hunch is that we need to cut — or significantly weaken the ties — between the state legislative bodies out there and our public school systems. We shouldn’t let people who know little to nothing about teaching and learning make decisions about how and what to teach students. Let those on the front lines — ie., the teachers and local school system leaders/staff — collaborate with the community on those items.

 

If We’re Serious About Student Well-Being, We Must Change the Systems Students Learn In — from highereddive.com by Tim Klein and Belle Liang
Here are five steps high schools can take to support students’ mental health.

Excerpt:

The truth is, the best school systems in the world succeed without homework, standardized test scores or an obsession with rigorous courses. And many U.S. schools have found creative and empowering ways to showcase student merit beyond rankings and test scores.

If we aren’t willing to change policies and practices that have been shown to harm students’ well-being, we have to ask ourselves: Do we really value mental health?

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario: We can design school systems that help students thrive academically and psychologically.

 

Students Are Calling BS on High School and Opportunity Knocks — from gettingsmart.com by Trace Pickering

Excerpts:

Let’s be clear. These students are not wrong. The pandemic showed students that much of what they were required to do and endure during pre-pandemic high school was a lot of busywork and tasks that held little relevance or interest to them, and apparently didn’t really matter since they were able to be successful without all that extra work. When schools lost their ability to command and control a student’s time, it forced a different economy for schools and educators. It required the curriculum to be pared down to only the essential standards and information. It now had a very real and powerful competitor for the student’s time – a job, a hobby, sports, music, sleep…

Students are no longer a captive audience. They have more options and choices. To avoid obsolescence, perhaps schools should focus on making school a place where kids see value and want to come to each day.

This is a wonderful opportunity to put in place the things that really drive 21st-century skills and give students the keys to their own learning and growth. To truly personalize learning for students, and unlock teacher professionalism and creativity in the process. That extra time could allow students to pursue areas of passion and interest, to dive deep into a subject that interests them, pursue job shadows and internships, and earn and learn on a job.

 

The Most STOP-Enabled Innovators of 2022 — from yassprize.org
MEET THE 32

Excerpt:

This year’s 32 semifinalists come from 23 different states and really prove that innovation is alive and well in education.  Micro schools, pods and hybrid learning environments almost unheard of two years ago are now being utilized by parents and educators across the nation.  Traditional public schools that operate more like a charter and charters that continue to flourish outside of traditional systems, private schools serving specialized populations that are often overlooked and leaders in the ed tech space who provide remarkable tools that can be integrated into any of the other full service models we are celebrating today.  Truly a remarkable group of visionaries that are transformational exemplars for all in this tumultuous 2022!

Also relevant/see:

 

Our Teachers Are Leaving — What Now? — from medium.com by Amanda Beaudoin
A look at the problem and potential solutions

Excerpt:

As a result, teacher shortages have persisted. After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shortage became larger and more urgent. Now, nearly half of public schools across all 50 states report teaching vacancies, up from 30% pre-pandemic and over half of educators are thinking of leaving the profession earlier than they had planned. The vacancies include educators across ages, years in the profession, and roles within schools. Made worse, a disproportionate percent of Black (62%) and Latinx (59%) educators are looking to leave, a population already underrepresented in the field. Today’s shortages create a vicious circle; according to a National Education Association survey, 80% of educators report that unfilled job openings have led to more work obligations for the educators who remain and 90% of educators say they are experiencing burnout, perpetuating a cycle of overwhelm and attrition. Not only are teachers leaving and thinking of leaving in record numbers, but enrollment in education preparation programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level are declining.

 

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian