“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:

 

Closing the digital divide in Black America — from mckinsey.com
Five steps could help to bring broadband and digital equity to every Black household in the United States—urban and rural—while bolstering efforts to create a more inclusive economy.

Excerpt:

But broadband access is only part of a much bigger picture. Ensuring all Americans can fully participate in civic life and the digital economy requires afford­able subscriptions, internet-enabled devices, applications, digital skills, and high-quality technical support. For example, while smartphone and tablet penetration are approximately equal among White, Black, and Hispanic and Latino adults in the United States, only 69 percent of Black Americans and 67 percent of Hispanic Americans have desktop or laptop computers, compared with 80 percent of White Americans (Exhibit 1).5 A 2020 OECD survey found that roughly half of Black workers had the advanced or proficient digital skills needed to thrive in our increasingly tech-driven economy, compared with 77 percent of White workers.6

 

What factors help active learning classrooms succeed? — from rtalbert.org Robert Talbert

Excerpt:

The idea that the space in which you do something, affects the thing you do is the basic premise behind active learning classrooms (ALCs).

The biggest message I get from this study is that in order to have success with active learning classrooms, you can’t just build them — they have to be introduced as part of an ecosystem that touches almost all parts of the daily function of a university: faculty teaching, faculty development and support, facilities, and the Registrar’s Office to name a few. Without that ecosystem before you build an ALC, it seems hard to have success with students after it’s built. You’re more likely to have an expensive showcase that looks good but ultimately does not fulfill its main purpose: Promoting and amplifying active learning, and moving the culture of a campus toward active engagement in the classroom.

From DSC:
Thank you Robert for your article/posting here! And thank you for being one of the few faculty members who:

  • Regularly share information out on LinkedIn, Twitter, and your blog (something that is all too rare for faculty members throughout higher education)
  • Took a sabbatical to go work at a company that designs and develops numerous options for implementing active learning setups throughout the worlds of higher education, K12 education, and the corporate world as well. You are taking your skills to help contribute to the corporate world, while learning things out in the corporate world, and then  taking these learnings back into the world of higher education.

This presupposes something controversial: That the institution will take a stand on the issue that there is a preferred way to teach, namely active learning, and that the institution will be moving toward making active learning the default pedagogy at the institution. Putting this stake in the ground, and then investing not only in facilities but in professional development and faculty incentives to make it happen, again calls for vigorous, sustained leadership — at the top, and especially by the teaching/learning center director.

Robert Talbert


 

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?

 

From DSC:
For those seeking a doctorate in education: Here’s a potential topic for your doctoral thesis.

Homelessness is a huge issue. It’s a complex issue, with many layers, variables, and causes to it. I once heard Oprah Winfrey say that we are all one to two steps away from being homeless, and I agree with that.

But as I was passing a homeless person asking for money on the exit ramp from a local highway the other day, I wondered what place, if any, education played (or didn’t play) in people’s lives. Was/is there any common denominator or set of experiences with their education that we can look at? If so, can we use design thinking to get at some of those root issues? For examples:

  • Was school easy for them? Hard for them?
  • A source of joy for them? A source of pain for them?
  • Were they engaged or disengaged?
  • Were they able to pursue their interests and passions?

It might turn out that education had little to do with things. It could have been health issues, broken relationships, systemic issues, the loss of a job, addictions, intergenerational “chains,” or many other things. 

But it’s worth someone researching this. Such studies and interviews could turn up some helpful directions and steps to take for our future.

#homelessness #society #education #passions #participation
#research #educationreform #K12 #lifelonglearning

 

From DSC:
Unless students see how the topics that you are introducing are relevant to *their futures*, it just develops a mindset of “how do I play the game/system?” and “what’s the least I can do to get an A?”

On a somewhat-related tangent:

 

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.

 
  • From DSC:
    I continue to think about the idea of wiping the slate completely clean. If we were to design a lifelong learning ecosystem, what would it look like? How could we apply Design Thinking to this new slate/canvas?

Perhaps we could start by purposefully creating more pathways to weave in and out of the various siloes — and then come back into the “silos” with new ideas, knowledge, and experiences:

  • PreK-12
  • Higher education
  • Vocational programs
  • Business and the corporate world
  • Government
  • Communities of practice
  • Other

Integrate apprenticeships, jobs, sabbaticals, rest, purpose, passions, intrinsic motivations, other into this lifelong learning ecosystem. Take one’s new learning back to one’s former silo(s) and improve things therein. Such a design would help keep curricula and learning/training environments up-to-date and relevant.

It would also allow people more pathways through their careers — and to keep learning while doing real-world projects. It would help people — and institutions— grow in many ways.

 

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? 

 

How to Receive Feedback With a Growth Mindset — from neuroleadership.com by the NeuroLeadership Institute

Excerpt:

A growth mindset can help us view feedback as a good thing, which ultimately makes performance reviews more effective. After all, we want to learn, grow, and improve our skills. People with a fixed mindset view criticism as an attack on their self-worth. Growth mindset, by contrast, leaves room for the possibility that we all have blind spots — and that your manager may have valuable insights on how you can hone your skills. Feedback, in other words, isn’t personal. A manager may critique our performance, but a growth mindset helps keep us from tying our performance to our identity.

The beauty of growth mindset is that it’s self-reinforcing. As you gain more confidence in your own ability to learn and grow, each feedback conversation becomes easier than the last. You become more capable of discussing high-stakes issues with honesty and transparency because neither side feels threatened.

 

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:

 

Homeschooling high school with interest-led learning — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

There is a misconception that interest-led learning is not appropriate for a high school education in your homeschool. The good news is that all the same benefits of interest-led learning still apply in the middle and high school years.

Think of an interest-led homeschool as one that functions more as a college than a high school. Just as a college student declares a major and the bulk of their study is in that topic area with supplemental general education, your interest-led high school can function the same way.

Allowing interests to guide the educational path you take in your high school has tremendous benefits including:

    • Less resistance
    • Less learner anxiety
    • Increased self-confidence in learning
    • More in-depth studies in topics of interest
    • Self-motivated learning that can be applied in later college and career settings
 

TL;DR: Women prefer text contributions over talk in remote classes — from highereddive.com by Laura Spitalniak (BTW, TL;DR: is short for “too long; didn’t read”)

Dive Brief (emphasis DSC):

  • Female students show a stronger preference for contributing to remote classes via text chat than their male counterparts, according to peer-reviewed research published in PLOS One, an open-access journal.
  • Researchers also found all students were more likely to use the chat function to support or amplify their peers’ comments than to diminish them.
  • Given these findings, the researchers suggested incorporating text chats into class discussions could boost female participation in large introductory science classrooms, where women are less likely to participate than men.
 

Homeschooling High School With Interest-Led Learning — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

Think of an interest-led homeschool as one that functions more as a college than a high school. Just as a college student declares a major and the bulk of their study is in that topic area with supplemental general education, your interest-led high school can function the same way.

Also relevant/see:

This approach allows you to help them develop their interests, communicate that you see their interests as valuable, and it gives your child the chance to follow their own paths of interest. It’s an outstanding way to facilitate a self-motivated, self-directed learner and thinker. 

 

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.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian