“Exhausted majority” wants to rethink K-12 education— from axios.com by Stef W. Kight; via GSV

Excerpt:

Americans have drastically shifted some priorities on K-12 education since the start of COVID, a new study by Populace reveals.

Why it matters: There’s new pressure to change the existing model. Preparing students for college has fallen from 10th highest priority to 47th.

  • The study demonstrates what Populace co-founder Todd Rose called an “exhausted majority” who just wants kids to learn to think for themselves and find a career “with meaning and purpose.”

The big picture: Americans have a warped understanding of what the majority prioritizes in education.

  • U.S. adults overestimate the public’s desire for teachers to prepare kids for college, internships and only the highest-paying jobs. They also overestimate support for standardized processes and teaching social norms.
  • They underestimate preferences to allow students to learn at their own pace and according to their own interests and for kids to come away with more holistic, practical skills.

Also relevant/see:

New Survey: America’s Families are Rethinking K-12 Education — from schoolchoiceweek.com by the National School Choice Week Team

Excerpt:

K-12 education in America is experiencing a once-in-a-generation transformation, as tens of millions of parents rethink their children’s education and make crucial decisions about how and where their children learn. From exploring their school choice options to expressing interest in nontraditional learning models, parents are eager to find better or supplementary learning environments for their children. Parents don’t see this a dichotomous; a majority of them are open to change even as two thirds of all parents (67.9 percent) remain largely satisfied with the schools their children attend.

What do we mean by rethinking? Parents choosing new schools, parents considering options more frequently, and parents seeking to round out their children’s education by thinking outside the box and exploring new or nontraditional learning options.

On a related note see:

 

Education is about to radically change: AI for the masses — from gettingsmart.com by Nate McClennen and Rachelle Dené Poth

Key Points:

  • AI already does and will continue to impact education – along with every other sector.
  • Innovative education leaders have an opportunity to build the foundation for the most personalized learning system we have ever seen.

Action

Education leaders need to consider these possible futures now. There is no doubt that K-12 and higher ed learners will be using these tools immediately. It is not a question of preventing “AI plagiarism” (if such a thing could exist), but a question of how to modify teaching to take advantage of these new tools.

From DSC:
They go on to list some solid ideas and experiments to try out — both for students and for teachers. Thanks Nate and Rachelle!


Also from Rachelle, see:


 

From DSC:
Below is another example of the need for Design Thinking as we rethink a cradle-to-grave learning ecosystem.


The United States Needs a Comprehensive Approach to Youth Policy — from cew.georgetown.edu

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

On the education front, federal legislation serves as an umbrella for many state and local policies and programs. Education policy is further fragmented into K–12 and postsecondary silos.

An all-one-system approach to youth policy would support young people along the entire continuum of their journey from school to work. It would help them attain both postsecondary education and quality work experience to support their transitions from education to good jobs. In this modernized approach, preschools, elementary and secondary schools, community colleges, four-year universities, employers, and governments would all follow an integrated playbook, helping to smooth out young people’s path from pre-K–12 to college and work. To transform youth policy, systemic reforms should incorporate the following:

 

The Edge Newsletter from Goldie Blumenstyk

Subject: The Edge: Today’s Issues in Schools; Tomorrow’s Higher-Ed Challenges

Excerpts:

Issues like chronic absenteeism in big urban and rural districts, the impact of classroom shootings on kids, and schools’ struggles to handle teenagers’ mental-health challenges might not be day-to-day concerns for college leaders and those who work with them. But these will matter to higher ed in the not-so-distant future, as those K-to-12 students make their way to college. And they could matter even more if those students don’t ever even make it to college.

Words of wisdom:

Those of us who might be a little higher-ed siloed in our thinking on education would do well to widen our perspective. 

From DSC:
And it isn’t just about the impacts of COVID-19 either — though those things are very important. We would do well to get out of our siloes and practice some high-level design thinking to implement a cradle-to-grave, lifelong learning ecosystem. The vocational and corporate training worlds are highly relevant here as well.

 

 

From DSC:
For me, I wish politicians and legislators would stay out of the way and let public and private educators make the decisions. But if any politician is about to vote on significant education-related policies, laws, etc. — I would like to suggest that society require them to either:

  • teach a K12-based class for at least one month
    or
  • be in the classroom for the entire day to observe — and do this for at least one month 

Perhaps we would have far less standardized testing. Perhaps we would have far more joy and wonder — for the teachers as well as for the students. Perhaps lifelong learning — and the love of learning — would get the wind in its sails that it so desperately needs.
.


From DSC:
Along these lines of enjoyment in everyday things, could this type of thing happen more within education?

 

Also see:

Redbridge | The future of lifelong learning — from redbridgesf.org and with thanks to Michael Horn for this resource

Excerpts from their home page:

  • Red Bridge is a school that teaches students to set goals, work together, reflect, and own their learning.
  • For families who value lifelong learning and share a sense of responsibility for their community.
  • Our vision is for all students to graduate with a sense of ownership over their learning and their lives – so that no matter what the future looks like, they have the capacity to adapt and flourish.

 

 

14 charts this year that helped us better understand COVID’s impact on students, teachers, & schools — from the 74million.org by  Kevin Mahnken

Excerpt:

By the end of last year, a steady trickle of research had already begun to reveal the harm wrought by prolonged school closures and the transition to virtual instruction. But this fall brought the most definitive evidence yet of the scale of learning lost over more than two years of COVID-disrupted schooling: fresh testing data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the Nation’s Report Card, pointing to severe declines in core subjects.

From DSC:
While not minimizing the impact of the “learning loss” that is often written about, I do wonder if maybe the types of learning going on during the pandemic weren’t captured on a standardized test. Maybe the types of learning that our youth and families learned about help set them up for our present VOCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) world. And for a future where change doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Some of the types of learning that might not show up on the standardized tests include:

  • Dealing with life’s challenges and tumultuous changes
  • Being flexible
  • Adapting
  • The importance of having sufficient Internet connections and the corresponding hardware and software to keep on learning remotely
  • Where or to whom does one go to for help?

Also, as has been said elsewhere, bashing online learning or virtual instruction is often unfair. The remote learning that teachers and faculty members were thrust into lacked appropriate instructional design. Many teachers and faculty members hadn’t yet been trained on how to put together solid online-based courses and/or to use the tools that are required to offer such courses. Also, many in society didn’t have Internet access (or insufficient access), a quiet place to study and/or participate in online-based learning.

 

Thriving education systems, thriving youth — from events.economist.com by Economist Impact

Some of the key topics to be discussed include:

  • What are the challenges in how we measure learning outcomes today, and how does this need to transform?
  •  What is a learning ecosystem? What does a successful learning ecosystem look like?  
  • What factors enable the development of thriving learning ecosystems?  
  • Who are the key stakeholders that make up the learning ecosystem? How do different stakeholders see their role in the learning ecosystem?
  • Which national policies need to be in place to support effective education ecosystems?
  • What information and data do we need to assess how well learning ecosystems are performing?
  • What data do we need to collect so that we don’t perpetuate traditional approaches to defining and measuring success? 

 

Michigan flags 112 low-performing schools for intensive intervention — from mlive.com by Matthew Miller

Excerpt:

“These are the urban high minority districts, right? So they were the ones that had the highest death rates, the highest case rates, the highest income and economic hits because of the pandemic,” she said. “We know that all of this goes into what we label as school quality even though it’s about so much more than the school or the district.”

The full list is here >>

From DSC:
I surely hope that what’s going on in the image below isn’t what’s going on within the state of Michigan (as well as other states) — but I have my fears/concerns in that regard. Though admittedly, my focus here isn’t so much about the financial pictures, but rather it has to do with the straight-jacketing of the teachers and students by legislators in Lansing (and other state capitals). If I were to redraw this image, I would have legislators in (far-away) Lansing seated in comfortable chairs and offices while frazzled/overworked educators are straight-jacketed in the classrooms.

We have too many standardized tests and too many one-size-fits-all methods of “doing school” that aren’t coming from the people on the front lines. Those same people, given the right environment, could unleash a far greater amount of joy, wonder, relevance, creativity, and counsel — for themselves as well as for their students.

.

The ‘Digital Equity’ Students Need to Learn May Not Come Without Community Outreach — from edsurge.com by Daniel Mollenkamp

Excerpt:

And that means, more than ever, getting an education requires access to fast, reliable internet. But while the infrastructure to make sure that everyone can use the internet has improved in the last couple of years, the process isn’t complete.

If we want to keep the digital divide from growing, experts say, it’ll mean districts thinking about themselves as just one part of the larger community composed of families, nonprofits, businesses—all of them potential partners in expanding internet access for students.

.

Missing an Opportunity: Ed Dept. Criticized by GAO for Teacher Shortage Strategy — from the74million.org by Marianna McMurdock
In recent report, GAO finds key recruitment, retention challenges impacting the profession, and why current federal strategy lacks teeth to succeed

Excerpt:

The challenge of cost of entry into the profession and concerns of return on investment, the GAO report found, is also significantly straining the country’s supply of teachers. Compounding the financial reality, many candidates fear being overworked and mistreated.

“The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare teachers’ discontent with aspects of their jobs, including a lack of support for their safety and value as professionals and an increasingly disrespectful and demanding workplace culture—and exacerbated teacher shortages nationwide,” the GAO stated, pulling data from focus groups held throughout the pandemic.


Addendum on 12/10/22:

 

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.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian