Daniel Jupp: Like Jeremy Corbyn or Channel 4’s scrupulously impartial Jon ‘fuck the Tories’ Snow, Attenborough has shown himself to be another elderly, middle-class man suffering under the delusion that he is an 18-year-old student radical. And Glastonbury was not an isolated incident, either. Anything a 16-year-old Swedish girl can do, Sir David has obviously … Continue reading Civics: class rhetOric – We know best
Ross Douthat: Over the last three years, since Brexit and the Trumpening and the general rise of disreputable forces in Western politics, there has been a steadily boiling elite panic about the power of the paranoid fringe, the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories, the pull of fake news and the danger of alternative realities. And yet … Continue reading “We know best”, continued
Dan Rasmussen & Haonan Li: An elite pedigree — the type of pedigree favored by headhunters and corporate boards — is not predictive of superior management. One of the central rationales for Jensen’s campaign (increasing CEO pay by tying it to share price performance) appears, in retrospect, to have little empirical support. These credentials, however, … Continue reading Questioning the substance of “We know Best” and credentialism
Margot Cleveland: Two recent bills proposed by state legislators in Illinois and Iowa reveal a disturbing perspective on parental rights that’s becoming more prevalent in our country: the belief that parents cannot be trusted to care for their children. The Swiftly-Defeated Illinois Bill In Illinois, a little over a week ago, Democratic state Rep. Monica … Continue reading “We Know Best”, Redux
Jared Diamond: these stories of isolated societies illustrate two general principles about relations between human group size and innovation or creativity. First, in any society except a totally isolated society, most innovations come in from the outside, rather than being conceived within that society. And secondly, any society undergoes local fads. By fads I mean … Continue reading “We know best”, Disastrous Reading Results and a bit of history with Jared Diamond
Robby Soave: Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited Harvard University’s Institute of Politics to discuss her school choice agenda. Students in the audience interrupted her several times; some even held up a sign accusing her of being a “white supremacist.” The irony, of course, is twofold. One, the subject of DeVos’s Harvard address—school choice—is … Continue reading “We know best” at Harvard and K-12 Governance diversity
Robert McFadden “We find when we bring average Americans together that they listen to one another, that they can contribute and that they can build, develop a vision of what they want our society to be like. And it’s really inspiring.” In a speech at the Drucker Institute in Claremont, Calif., in late 2008, Mr. … Continue reading Contra “We Know Best”
Bagehot: For my money the best analysis of what happened was inadvertently penned by Hugh Trevor-Roper in his 1967 essay on “The Crisis of the 17th Century”. Trevor-Roper argued that the mid-17th century saw a succession of revolts, right across Europe, of the “country” against the “court”. The court had become ever more bloated and … Continue reading “We Know Best”…
Caleb Crain It would be much safer, Plato thought, to entrust power to carefully educated guardians. To keep their minds pure of distractions—such as family, money, and the inherent pleasures of naughtiness—he proposed housing them in a eugenically supervised free-love compound where they could be taught to fear the touch of gold and prevented from … Continue reading “We Know Best” If most voters are uninformed, who should make decisions about the public’s welfare?
Peggy Noonan Those who come to this space know why I think what happened, happened. The unprotected people of America, who have to live with Washington’s policies, rebelled against the protected, who make and defend those policies and who care little if at all about the unprotected. That broke bonds of loyalty and allegiance. Tuesday … Continue reading Civics: “living, and responding to we know best”
Emmmett Rensin There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what’s … Continue reading The smug style in American liberalism “We Know Best”
Jeff Guo: Recently, Johns Hopkins University political scientists Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg conducted a study of the unglamorous D.C. bureaucrat. These are the people who keep the federal government humming — the Hill staffers, the project managers and all those desk workers who vaguely describe themselves as “analysts.” As Bachner and Ginsberg argue, civil … Continue reading Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons; “We Know Best”…
Chris Arnade Trump voters may not vote the way I want them to, but, after having spent the last five years working in (and having grown up in) parts of the US few visit, I know they are not dumb. They are doing what all voters do: Trying to use their vote to better their … Continue reading A Critique Of “We Know Best”
Madison students have long endured the disastrous results of “we know best“. Reading Recovery and Connected Math are two prominent examples. Chris Mooney: The question then is whether there is an effective way to prime people to be more science-curious — which could then also have political ramifications. “It’s an asset that there’s a segment … Continue reading “We know best” & curiosity
Lawrence Summers: We do not want to learn what we can get used to. I’m sure once the historical commission had delayed the bridge for many months, there was an attitude of “What’s another couple?” In a broader sense, the Anderson Memorial Bridge tale tees up a bigger question. Where is the outrage? Why didn’t … Continue reading “We Know Best” & Why Americans don’t trust government
Deirdre N. McCloskey: The Great Enrichment of the past two centuries has one primary source: the liberation of ordinary people to pursue their dreams of economic betterment. Why are we so rich? An American earns, on average, $130 a day, which puts the U.S. in the highest rank of the league table. China sits at … Continue reading Contra “We Know Best”
Joe Gelonosi: I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally. The power of the family to tilt equality hasn’t gone unnoticed, and academics and public commentators have been blowing … Continue reading “We Know Best, Redux”: Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?
Harriet Alexander: Venezuela’s embattled government has taken the drastic step of forcing food producers to sell their produce to the state, in a bid to counter the ever-worsening shortages. Farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour have been told to supply between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of … Continue reading Civics & we know best: Venezuelan farmers ordered to hand over produce to state
Conor Friedersdorf: Last summer in Kansas, a 9-year-old was loving his Little Free Library until at least two residents proved that some people will complain about anything no matter how harmless and city officials pushed the boundaries of literal-mindedness: The Leawood City Council said it had received a couple of complaints about Spencer Collins’ Little … Continue reading “We know best”: All over America, people have put small “give one, take one” book exchanges in front of their homes. Then they were told to tear them down.
Joseph L. Bast, Lindsey Burke, Andrew J. Coulson, Robert C. Enlow, Kara Kerwin & Herbert J. Walberg: Americans face a choice between two paths that will guide education in this nation for generations: self-government and central planning. Which we choose will depend in large measure on how well we understand accountability. To some, accountability means government-imposed … Continue reading Choosing to Learn: Self Government or “central planning”, ie, “We Know Best”
With the nationalizing of the American healthcare system well underway, nationalizing public education pre-K through 12 is the next big thing on the progressive agenda. Wait for it.
It will be called ObamaCore Education, for short.
The original 2008 Obama campaign Blueprint for Change document included a “Plan to Give Every American Child a World Class Education” and linked to a 15-page, single-spaced document entitled “Barack Obama’s Plan For Lifetime Success Through Education.” It offered a litany of proposals as part of a broad, federal intervention into America’s public education system.
A case can be made that the regime would have been better off, in the long run, nationalizing public education before healthcare, because the fundamental transformation of education would have been easier.
How so? you ask.
The reasons for the relative ease — compared to ObamaCare — of installing ObamaCore Education were cited in the American Thinker back in June 2009.
Related: Up for re-election Madison School Board President Ed Hughes: “The notion that parents inherently know what school is best for their kids is an example of conservative magical thinking.”; “For whatever reason, parents as a group tend to undervalue the benefits of diversity in the public schools….”. Remarkable.
That led minority leaders to complain about the perceived control white Madison liberals — including teachers union leaders — exert on elections and on efforts meant to raise minority student achievement. Some local leaders have undertaken soul-searching while others say more minorities need to seek elective office.
“You could not have constructed a scenario to cause more alienation and more mistrust than what Sarah Manski did,” longtime local political observer Stuart Levitan said, referring to the primary winner for seat 5. “It exposed an underlying lack of connection between some of the progressive white community and the progressive African-American community that is very worrisome in the long run.”
In the last few weeks:
- Urban League of Greater Madison president Kaleem Caire in a lengthy email described the failed negotiations involving him, district officials and Madison Teachers Inc. executive director John Matthews over Caire’s proposed Madison Preparatory Academy geared toward low-income minority students.
- Ananda Mirilli, who placed third behind Manski for seat 5, released emails in which Sarah Manski’s husband, Ben Manski, accused Caire of recruiting Mirilli to run for School Board and linking Caire to a conservative foundation. Caire confirmed the email exchange, but said he didn’t recruit Mirilli. The Manskis did not respond to requests for comment.
- Two School Board members, Mary Burke and Ed Hughes, vigorously backed former police lieutenant Wayne Strong, who is black, to counter the influence of political groups supporting his opponent. In the seat 3 race, Strong faces Dean Loumos, a low-income housing provider supported by MTI, the Dane County Democratic Party, Progressive Dane and the local Green Party.
Much more on the 2013 Madison School Board election, here.
Perry Link: We remember June Fourth because the glint of bonfires on bayonets is something one does not forget, even if one did not see it personally. We remember June Fourth because it taught us the essential nature of the Communist Party of China when all of the clothes, every shred, falls away. No book, … Continue reading Why We Remember June Fourth
PNS Newshour: Lisa Stark: This type of reading instruction is the most beneficial for early readers. That was the conclusion of the federally appointed National Reading Panel nearly two decades ago. Stacy Smith: So, there is actual scientific evidence about how students learn to read. And it’s largely been ignored. Lisa Stark: Ignored largely because … Continue reading “What have we done for generations to kids that we didn’t really teach to read?”
Victor Davis Hanson: The harshest critics of the West in general and the United States in particular are the best arguments for it. Take the latest iconic critic, 29-year-old Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. She has a predictable list of complaints against America, past and present. Yet fortunately for her, her paternal grandparents and mother had experienced firsthand … Continue reading Civics: Why Immigrants Travel West
Shane Parrish: There are two types of knowledge and most of us focus on the wrong one. The first type of knowledge focuses on knowing the name of something. The second focuses on knowing something. These are not the same thing. The famous Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman understood the difference between knowing something and … Continue reading The Feynman Technique: The Best Way to Learn Anything
Leigh Turner: The UK is a famously modest place and we don’t like to brag about the excellence of our universities (if you really want to know, click here). So instead I thought I’d list a few fun facts about universities in the UK. Durham is the UK’s most haunted university (the link has the … Continue reading Is British education the BeSt? You judge!
Christopher Osher: But districts are free to use their READ Act per-pupil funds on whatever curriculum they want, even on interventions researchers have found ineffective. “Typically, as with any education policy, we’re only given so much authority on what we can tell districts to do and what we monitor for,” Colsman said in an interview … Continue reading “One issue state officials say they have detected as they monitor the effectiveness of the READ Act is that not all teachers are up to date on how best to teach reading.”
Duff McDonald: The ongoing three-way public-relations car wreck involving Washington, Facebook, and Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s powerful C.O.O., begs a question of America’s esteemed managerial class. How has someone with such sterling Establishment credentials—Harvard University, Harvard Business School, the Clinton administration—managed to find herself in such a pickle? The answer won’t be found in the … Continue reading “When You Get That Wealthy, You Start to Buy Your Own Bullshit”: The Miseducation of Sheryl Sandberg
Peter Stothard: Among the myths of Ancient Greece the Cyclops has become forever famous, the Talos not so much. While both were monsters who hurled giant boulders at Mediterranean shipping, the Cyclops, who attacked Odysseus on his way home from Troy was a monster like us, the son of a god, an eater, a drinker, … Continue reading Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology by Adrienne Mayor reviewed
Molly Beck and Erin Richards: “We set a high bar for achievement,” DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy said. “To reach more than half (proficiency), we would need to raise the achievement of our lowest district and subgroup performers through policies like those recommended in our budget, targeted at the large, urban districts.” The new scores reveal … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI: “We set a high bar for achievement,” & abort Foundations of Reading Teacher Content Knowledge Requirement}
Magnus Henrekson and Johan Wennström: Swedish school system suffers from profound problems with teacher recruitment and retention, knowledge decline, and grade inflation. Absenteeism is high, and psychiatric disorders have risen sharply among Swedish pupils in the last ten years. In this pioneering analysis of the consequences of combining institutionalized social constructivism with extensive marketization of … Continue reading “Post-Truth” Schooling and Marketized Education: Explaining the Decline in Sweden’s School Quality
Emily Hanford: Balanced literacy was a way to defuse the wars over reading,” said Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of the book “Language at the Speed of Sight.” “It succeeded in keeping the science at bay, and it allowed things to continue as before.” He says the reading wars are over, and science … Continue reading Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read? “The study found that teacher candidates in Mississippi were getting an average of 20 minutes of instruction in phonics over their entire two-year teacher preparation program”
Laurie Frost and Jeff Henriques [PDF]: Dear Simpson Street Free Press: Thank you for leading the way in looking more closely at recent reports of an increase in MMSD minority student graduation rates and related issues: http://simpsonstreetfreepress.org/special-report/local-education/rising-grad-rates http://simpsonstreetfreepress.org/special-report/local-education/act-college-readiness-gap Inspired by your excellent work, we decided to dig deeper. We call the result of our efforts … Continue reading Seeing the Forest: Unpacking the Relationship Between Madison School District (WI) Graduation Rates and Student Achievement
Rachel Thomas: Understanding Opportunity Costs I grossly underestimated how much I could learn by working in industry. I believed the falsehood that the best way to always keep learning is to stay in academia, and I didn’t have a good grasp on the opportunity costs of doing a PhD. My undergraduate experience had been magical, … Continue reading What You Need to Know Before Considering a PhD
Wu Huiyuan: In an otherwise sleepy suburb of Wuhan, hundreds of twentysomethings are rushing in and out of a real estate office, stooped over to protect piles of documents from the heavy rain. In a bid to attract university graduates, these young people can now buy discounted houses in newly built community Linkonggang Youth City … Continue reading The Grads Caught in the Battle for China’s Best and Brightest
Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email: Wisconsin Reading Coalition has alerted you over the past 6 months to DPI’s intentions to change PI-34, the administrative rule that governs teacher licensing in Wisconsin. We consider those changes to allow overly-broad exemptions from the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test for new teachers. The revised PI-34 has … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI efforts to weaken the Foundations of Reading Test for elementary teachers
Martin Parker: Visit the average university campus and it is likely that the newest and most ostentatious building will be occupied by the business school. The business school has the best building because it makes the biggest profits (or, euphemistically, “contribution” or “surplus”) – as you might expect, from a form of knowledge that teaches … Continue reading Why we should bulldoze the business school
Neerav Kingsland: Below is an email (pasted with permission) from Scott Pearson, the head of the Washington DC Public Charter School Board. On this blog, as well as on twitter, we debate a lot about regulation. We have a lot to figure out and these debates help me get smarter. But leaders on the ground … Continue reading The best school district in the United States?
Wisconsin Reading Coalition: Teachers and more than 180,000 non-proficient, struggling readers* in Wisconsin schools need our support While we appreciate DPI’s concerns with a possible shortage of teacher candidates in some subject and geographical areas, we feel it is important to maintain teacher quality standards while moving to expand pathways to teaching. Statute section 118.19(14) … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin DPI efforts to water down already thin elementary teacher content knowledge requirements.
Stephen Carter: Russia’s recent declaration that it is prepared to operate its own internet should the West cut off access has struck some observers as more Putinesque bellicosity, which indeed it might be. But Moscow’s desire to build a web it can control is the dream of authoritarians everywhere. And not all the authoritarians are … Continue reading Controlling the Web Is the Dream (and the Nightmare)
: Michael C. Zwaagstra March 13, 2018 Walk into an elementary school classroom and you will probably see a lot of books on the shelf. Take a closer look and you will often find a coloured dot, a number, or a letter on each book’s spine. Those dots, numbers, and letters show the reading level … Continue reading Reading Comprehension Depends on Content Knowledge
CP Snow: No, I intend something serious. I believe the intellectual life of the whole of western society is increasingly being split into two polar groups. When I say the intellectual life, I mean to include also a large part of our practical life, because I should be the last person to suggest the two … Continue reading The divide between the humanities and science (1959)
Michael Zwaagstra: Walk into an elementary school classroom and you will probably see a lot of books on the shelf. Take a closer look and you will often find a coloured dot, a number, or a letter on each book’s spine. Those dots, numbers, and letters show the reading level of each book. Books are … Continue reading Reading Comprehension Depends on Content Knowledge
Lars Silberbauer: Meitu was number 17 on Time Magazine’s list of ”Best apps in 2017”. Since then, they have grown their user base not just in China, but also in the US. Most recently, they did the largest IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange in the last 15 years, when they went public about … Continue reading Chinese App: “We’ll Make the World a More Beautiful Place”
Kevin Drum: In other words, third-grade scores are probably strongly influenced by poverty and home life, while growth from third to eighth grade is probably more influenced by the quality of schooling. They have little to do with each other: Growth rates better isolate the contribution to learning due to experiences during the schooling years. … Continue reading “What may be surprising, however, is…the fact that these growth opportunities are at best weakly correlated with early opportunities and with socioeconomic status”
Puzhong Yao : It was the summer of 2000. I was 15, and I had just finished my high school entrance exam in China. I had made considerable improvements from where I started in first grade, when I had the second- worst grades in the class and had to sit at a desk perpendicular to … Continue reading The Western Elite from a Chinese Perspective
James Tarmy: On East 83rd Street there’s a squat brick walk-up that’s a viable contender for the least fancy apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. But for the past 25 years, Wall Street machers and captains of industry have marched up to its gray-carpeted third floor to learn the secrets of attack and defense … Continue reading Wall Street’s Best-Kept Secret Is a 72-Year-Old Russian Chess Expert
Lee Ann Stephens: Three truths I wish I’d known as a first-year teacher. I walked into my first official day in the classroom as an idealistic twenty something with some innate skills, a boatload of ambition, and a newly minted teaching degree from a program that did its best to school me on theory and … Continue reading If I Knew Then What I Know Now
Madeline Will: After their time in Finland, the U.S. teachers traveled to Milan, Italy, for Education First’s Global Leadership Summit, which was focused on the future of food and had celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain as one of the speakers. The teachers’ travels were funded through scholarships by EF, an international educational tours company, and the … Continue reading Some Top U.S. Educators Went to Finland. Their Big Takeaway: Empower Teachers
Citizen Stewart The NAACP report finally acknowledges the education nightmare many parents and their children face in our public education system. For far too long, low-income and working-class Black families have been ill-served by a system that, from the very beginning, was never created with the interest of Black children in mind. We also agree … Continue reading The NAACP finally acknowledges the ‘nightmare’ public education has been for working-class Black families
Sean Coughlan: When there are debates about the world’s top performing education systems, the names that usually get mentioned are the Asian powerhouses such as Singapore and South Korea or the Nordic know-alls, such as Finland or Norway. But with much less recognition, Canada has climbed into the top tier of international rankings. In the … Continue reading How Canada became an education superpower
I recently read, with interest, Amy Goldstein’s book: Janesville. The work is a worthwhile look at Janesville’s history, including George Parker (Parker Pen) and Joseph A. Craig (brought GM to Janesville). Goldstein revealed the workforce’s culture, opportunities and the shutdown’s ultimate cost. Further, she dwelled extensively on Congressman Paul Ryan and Governor Scott Walker, with … Continue reading Thoughts on Janesville: “many people who went to Blackhawk didn’t finish what they were studying for a whole lot of reasons”
Mike Hutchens: Life is becoming increasingly less predictable. From the political volatility of Donald Trump and Brexit to the vast societal changes of globalisation, drastic, seismic change is in the air. While unpredictability is already problematic for many, for future generations there are no signs of things calming. If we accept that the role of … Continue reading Forget coding, we need to teach our kids how to dream
Katie Avis-Riordan: As we get older, it’s easy for our brains to get rusty. That’s why we want to know how to keep them healthy and functioning at their best capacity. So, in honour of World Thinking Day, we asked SharpBrains – an independent market research firm tracking applied brain science – to share some … Continue reading 10 things we should all do every day to keep our brains sharp
Michael Schuman: I was hurtling through Shanghai in a cigarette-scented taxi, not quite sure where I was headed. Cab jaunts through unfamiliar places can be a bit stressful for anybody. You feel vulnerable and too dependent on a driver you don’t know and can’t necessarily trust. But for me, such trips in rickety taxis rattle … Continue reading How Technology Is Besting My Blindness
Karis Hustad: If you want to know the consequences of tech’s gender gap, look no further than Britain after World War II, says Marie Hicks, assistant history professor at Illinois Institute of Technology. Hicks is the author of “Programmed Inequality,” a book just published from MIT Press, that explores why Britain’s computing industry, which was … Continue reading How Tech’s Gender Gap Influences a Country’s Computing Power
“The existing K-12 school system (including most charters and private schools) has been transformed into a knowledge-free zone…Surveys conducted by NAEP and other testing agencies reveal an astonishing lack of historical and civic knowledge…Fifty-two percent chose Germany, Japan, or Italy as “U.S. Allies” in World War II.” Sol Stern, via Will Fitzhugh: President-elect Donald Trump’s … Continue reading Curriculum Is the Cure: The next phase of education reform must include restoring knowledge to the classroom.
Greg Miller: It’s been a good year for map lovers. Whether you’re into old maps, new maps, or new ways of interacting with old maps, there was much to cheer about in 2016. Lots of great historical maps became more accessible this year. One of the world’s great private map collections is now open to … Continue reading The Best Maps of 2016
Stephen Dinham In health there are well-established protocols that govern the introduction of any new drug or treatment. Of major consideration is the notion of doing no harm. In education there are no such controls and plenty of vested interests keen to see the adoption of new strategies and resources for a variety of ideological … Continue reading Students are not hard-wired to learn in different ways – we need to stop using unproven, harmful methods
Justin Cohen Everyone needs to read Alana Semuels’s long piece in the Atlantic about the historical roots of using property taxes to fund schools. The piece uses Connecticut as a case study: The discrepancies occur largely because public school districts in Connecticut, and in much of America, are run by local cities and towns and … Continue reading Friday Reading List: The Original Sin of Schooling As We Know It Is Property Taxes. Seriously.
Caitlin Dewey: Google’s “knowledge panels” materialize at random, as unsourced and absolute as if handed down by God: Betty White is 94 years old. The Honda Civic is 2016’s best car. Taipei is the capital of — ahem — the “small island nation” of Taiwan. If you’ve ever Googled a person, place or thing — … Continue reading You probably haven’t even noticed Google’s sketchy quest to control the world’s knowledge
Abby Schachter: Dr Jean Twenge argues in her book Generation Me that those born in the 1980s and 1990s are “tolerant, confident, open-minded, and ambitious but also disengaged, narcissistic, distrustful, and anxious.” There’s the best-selling book How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims, which tracks this trend and chastises parents for how poorly they … Continue reading Should We Let Our Kids Fail?
Katherine Beals & Barry Garelick: “In general, there is no more evidence of “understanding” in the explained solution, even with pictures, than there would be in mathematical solutions presented in a clear and organized way. How do we know, for example, that a student isn’t simply repeating an explanation provided by the teacher or the … Continue reading Explaining Your Math: Unnecessary at Best, Encumbering at Worst
Marianne Lombardo: The Hibsty Map-when you’re given information that paints a rosier picture than what is the actual case – might be humorous if we’re talking about Match.com, but it isn’t when we’re talking about our children’s education. The Obama administration has fought hard, against extensive criticism, to address the discrepancies between what states have … Continue reading Honesty is the Best Policy: Early Smarter Balanced Results Provide Insight into How States Compare
Wisconsin’s stürm and drang over “Act 10” is somewhat manifested in Madison. Madison’s government schools are the only Wisconsin District, via extensive litigation, to still have a collective bargaining agreement with a teacher union, in this case, Madison Teachers, Inc. The Madison School Board and Administration are working with the local teachers union on a … Continue reading Madison’s Schwerpunkt: Government School District Power Play: The New Handbook Process is worth a look
David Gelernter: GELERNTER: I guess they have, they’re never ever any shortage of complaints. And it’s true. It’s something one really has to keep in mind that any generation looking back is likely to be wistful and nostalgic on how great it used to be. Of course, we’ve made progress in a million ways. How … Continue reading “I mean, these are people (college students) who – We have failed.”
Bruce Schneier: Encryption protects our data. It protects our data when it’s sitting on our computers and in data centers, and it protects it when it’s being transmitted around the Internet. It protects our conversations, whether video, voice, or text. It protects our privacy. It protects our anonymity. And sometimes, it protects our lives. This … Continue reading Civics: Why We Encrypt
Gillian Tett: This month, some Brooklyn-based friends have been touring New York’s top selective public high schools to assess whether their kids should take the ultra-competitive entry tests. It has left them grappling with unease — and some subtle guilt. On the one hand, they explained, they were dazzled by the schools’ academic environment. Competition … Continue reading Why ‘pedigree’ students get the best jobs
Deborah Loewenberg-Ball: Teaching matters. We know that it can make the difference between a child learning to read by third grade, being confident in math, and developing the mindset necessary for success. Yet skillful teaching is not commonplace, and it’s hurting our society. Three reasons stand out: We do not agree on a minimum competency … Continue reading We will pay for our lack of respect for teachers, Disresepect in education
The Economist: “AFTER God had carried us safe to New England, and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship and settled Civil Government, one of the next things we longed for and looked for was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity.” So ran the … Continue reading More and more money is being spent on higher education. Too little is known about whether it is worth it
Steve Denning: Given that the factory model of management doesn’t work very well, even in the few factories that still remain in this country, or anywhere else in the workplace for that matter, we should hardly be surprised that it doesn’t work well in education either. But given that the education system is seen to … Continue reading The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education
Keith Hoeller: In 2009, Money Magazine published a survey titled “The 50 Best Jobs in America.” Their reporters analyzed job data and conducted an online survey of thirty-five thousand people, taking into account such factors as salaries, flexibility, benefit to society, satisfaction, stress, job security, and growth prospects. The proverbial college professor sat high on … Continue reading The Wal-Mart-ization of higher education: How young professors are getting screwed
Amanda Marcotte: Many in academia have long known about how the practice of student evaluations of professors is inherently biased against female professors. Students, after all, are just as likely as the public in general to have the same ugly, if unconscious, biases about women in authority. Just as polling data continues to show that … Continue reading Best Way for Professors to Get Good Student Evaluations? Be Male.
Tom Bennett: I want to talk about a topic so volatile and delicate it could be a kitten made of nitroglycerin: subject knowledge. And, for once, I don’t mean looking at what children know, because that’s a discussion that can currently be enjoyed on channels 1-100 on your Sky box (other cable providers are, of … Continue reading What do you know? A simple way to revolutionise teacher quality1 2
Lisa Grey: I’m the parent of a public school student myself. So I know how much parents want to help. American parents are more involved in the schools than ever before — much more so than in other countries. I followed three American kids who studied as foreign exchange students in Finland, South Korea and … Continue reading The best thing parents can do for schools
Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email: Dyslexia 101: Wisconsin Institute for Dyslexia/Learning Disabilities is repeating Dyslexia 101 this Saturday, October 11, from 9-12, at the WILDD center in Madison. $10 [Brochure – PDF] Free webinar: Dr. Margie Gillis presents Every Child Reading: Linking Knowledge and Practice to Support School Systems Tuesday, October 28, 1-2 … Continue reading Every Child Reading: Linking Knowledge and Practice to Support School Systems
Steve Denning: I have been asked for my “single best idea for reforming K-12 education”. When you only have one shot, you want to make it count. So I thought I would share my idea here, in case anyone has a brighter insight. Root cause: factory model of management To decide what is the single … Continue reading The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education; ” Stop Running the system for the sake of the system”
Sonia Vermer: I launched into the same speech I’d given a dozen others before him: My family is moving to Doha. I am seeking school placement for our daughters. Yes, I realize it is late to enroll. I know, your school probably has a wait list, and my daughters don’t have a hope in hell … Continue reading Why my children were lucky to get accepted to a Finnish school in Qatar
Rena F. Subotnik, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Frank C. Worrell: The U.S. education policy world—the entire country, for that matter—is on a quest to increase the ranks of future innovators in science and technology. Yet the programs that get funded in K–12 education do not support students who are already good at and in love with … Continue reading See Inside The U.S. Neglects Its Best Science Students
Reid Wilson: That’s according to the Education Week Research Center, a nonpartisan group that measured indicators such as preschool and kindergarten enrollment, high school graduation rates, and higher education attainment. The yearly study also considered family income and parental employment, which are linked to educational achievement. In almost every category, the Bay State beats the … Continue reading Best state in America: Massachusetts, for its educational success
Rebecca Schumann: n the classroom, I can be formidable: I’ve been known to drill-sergeant lethargic students out of their chairs and demand burpees; I am a master of the I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed scowl. And yet, when it comes to assigning an end-of-semester letter value to their results, I am a grade-A milquetoast. … Continue reading Confessions of a Grade Inflator Between the grubbing and the blubbering, grading fairly is just not worth the fight.
Grant Birmingham: Jinjing Liu, a 15-year-old ninth-grader at Meilong Intermediate in central Shanghai—and part of the best education system in the world’s most populous country—is ticking off her normal class schedule: “Physics, chemistry, math, Chinese, English, Chinese literature, geography…the usual stuff,” she says in impeccable English. That’s not Jinjing’s school day schedule; that’s her workload … Continue reading Lessons From the World’s Best Public School
—No, the humanities should step up and proudly proclaim: “We are the purveyors of beauty more lethal than you may possibly be able to bear and knowledge more profound than you can yet fathom. We are your vehicle into the past and into the minds of other human beings. Within our precincts are works of … Continue reading The Liberal Arts Are in Trouble–Should We Celebrate?
In 2009, Money Magazine published a survey titled “The 50 Best Jobs in America.” Their reporters analyzed job data and conducted an online survey of thirty-five thousand people, taking into account such factors as salaries, flexibility, benefit to society, satisfaction, stress, job security, and growth prospects. The proverbial college professor sat high on the list at No. 3, with a median salary of $70,400 for nine months’ work, top pay of $115,000, and a ten-year growth prospect of 23 percent. College teaching earned “A” grades for flexibility, benefit to society, and satisfaction, and a “B” for job stress, with 59 percent of surveyed professors reporting low stress.
While acknowledging that “competition for tenure-track positions at four-year institutions is intense,” Money claimed that graduate students with only a master’s degree could find a part-time teaching job: “You’ll find lots of available positions at community colleges and professional programs, where you can enter the professoriate as an adjunct faculty member or non-tenure-track instructor without a doctorate degree.”
Similarly, the 2000 “American Faculty Poll” conducted by the academic pension giant Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) seemed to corroborate the high job satisfaction rate for professors. “The poll found that 90 percent of the faculty members surveyed were satisfied with their career choices and would probably make the same decisions again,” reported Courtney Leatherman, in her Chronicle of Higher Education story about the survey.
My wife and I teach our children at home. My wife does 99 percent of it. I teach the kids music as best I can. We’ve had good success with it. Our older son is now college age. He’s not attending college. He doesn’t want to become anything that requires credentials that are the result of attending college — you know: doctor, lawyer, engineer. He wants to be a musician of some stripe. You can go to college to be a music teacher in a public school, or play in a symphony orchestra, but other than that, a diploma is superfluous. You just have to know how to play. He’s like a monk right now. He doesn’t do anything except work on music and shovel the driveway. No college would be as intensive.
The little one is just ten. He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. I’m still trying to decide what to do with mine, so I don’t judge. He’s recently become enamored of the idea of opening up his own restaurant. He says he wants to call it “The Meat Shelter.” Catchy, that; but there’s something about it that makes me wonder if he might abandon that line of thinking before he starts shaving. Little boys are interested in all sorts of things.
He already plays the drums. He plays the drums like an adult. He plays the drums for money. He and his brother call themselves Unorganized Hancock. They are very likely the most famous persons currently residing in the town we live in, but no one here knows that. You can watch the boys playing Crooked Teeth at the New Musical Express website if you like. They’ve sold copies, on two continents, of music they composed and recorded themselves, which makes them INTERNATIONAL RECORDING ARTISTS. Snicker.
#1: Good teaching needs to be seen as including those students who are already grade-level proficient
– Lesson plans (coherent instruction) – Curricular alignment
#2 Needs-Based Learning
• What a student is learning should be based on his or her current level of mastery
• This may or may not correspond with age-level norms
This would seem to make sense for all students.
Related: Some states begin to add teacher content knowledge requirements to the licensing process.
Much more on Madison’s Talented & Gifted program along with a recent parent complaint.
Across schools, however, better pupils are assigned to slightly better teachers on average. The common practice of “tracking” pupils (filtering good ones into more advanced courses) could be to blame, the authors reckon, though they abstain from drawing firm conclusions. Whatever the cause, getting more effective teachers to instruct better-performing pupils naturally exacerbates the gap in achievement. Making the best teachers work with the worst pupils could go a long way toward minimising the yawning differences in attainment within a school system, the authors contend.
At the very least, that change would be lucrative for the pupils who benefit from it, according to the researchers’ second paper. They compare their measure of teacher quality against pupils’ fortunes as adults, after again controlling for pupils’ previous test scores and demography. (Pupils from the earliest years of their sample are now in their late 20s.) Unsurprisingly, exposure to better teachers is associated with an increased probability of attending university and, among pupils who go on to university, with attendance at better ones, as well as with higher earnings. Somewhat more unexpectedly, good teachers also seem to reduce odds of teenage pregnancy and raise participation in retirement-savings plans. Effects seem to be stronger for girls than for boys, and English teachers have a longer-lasting influence on their pupils’ futures than maths teachers.
The authors reckon that swapping a teacher at the bottom of the value-added spectrum with one of average quality raises the collective lifetime income of each class they teach by $1.4m. That rise would apply across all the teacher’s classes and over the whole of his or her career.
Teach for America is best known for sending bright young college graduates to teach for two years in poor communities.
But it’s much more than a service organization. It’s a political powerhouse.
With a $100 million endowment and annual revenues approaching $300 million, TFA is flush with cash and ambition. Its clout on Capitol Hill was demonstrated last week when a bipartisan group of lawmakers made time during the frenzied budget negotiations to secure the nonprofit its top legislative priority — the renewal of a controversial provision defining teachers still in training, including TFA recruits, as “highly qualified” to take charge of classrooms.
It was a huge victory that flattened a coalition of big-name opponents, including the NAACP, the National PTA and the National Education Association. But it barely hints at TFA’s growing leverage.
TFA has already produced an astounding number of alumni who have transformed the education landscape in states from Tennessee to Texas by opening public schools to competition from private entrepreneurs; rating teachers in part on their ability to raise student test scores; and pressing to eliminate tenure and seniority-based job protections. Convinced that quicker, bolder change is needed, TFA executives are mining their network of 32,000 alumni to identify promising leaders and help them advance.
Education in England is no better than mediocre, and billions of pounds have been wasted on pointless university courses and Sure Start schemes for young children, Michael Gove’s special adviser has said in an outspoken private thesis written a few weeks before he is due to step down from his post.
Dominic Cummings, the most influential adviser to the education secretary in the past five years, also argues in a revealing 250-page paper that “real talent” is rare among the nation’s teachers – and, eye-catchingly, says educationists need to better understand the impact of genetics on children. The adviser, known for making fierce demands of civil servants, writes that the endgame for the Department for Education should be to reduce its role to acting as accountants and inspectors, employing hundreds and not thousands of civil servants – and creating an environment in which private and state education would be indistinguishable.
The Cummings manifesto claims that “the education of the majority even in rich countries is between awful and mediocre”, and that the quality of maths education, in particular, is poor.
“In England, few are well trained in the basics of extended writing or mathematical and scientific modelling and problem-solving,” he writes.
One of the best-known and most controversial of many special advisers working in government, Cummings is due to leave Gove at the end of the year. He worked in the department for two years, having previously advised Gove before the election, although his appointment within the department was initially blocked by David Cameron’s then director of communications, Andy Coulson, who regarded Cummings as untrustworthy.
Parents send their children to school with the best of intentions, believing that’s what they need to become productive and happy adults. Many have qualms about how well schools are performing, but the conventional wisdom is that these issues can be resolved with more money, better teachers, more challenging curricula and/or more rigorous tests.
But what if the real problem is school itself? The unfortunate fact is that one of our most cherished institutions is, by its very nature, failing our children and our society.
School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted — far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades, we have been compelling our children to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there is strong evidence (summarized in my recent book) that this is causing serious psychological damage to many of them. Moreover, the more scientists have learned about how children naturally learn, the more we have come to realize that children learn most deeply and fully, and with greatest enthusiasm, in conditions that are almost opposite to those of school.
Compulsory schooling has been a fixture of our culture now for several generations. It’s hard today for most people to even imagine how children would learn what they must for success in our culture without it. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are so enamored with schooling that they want even longer school days and school years. Most people assume that the basic design of schools, as we know them today, emerged from scientific evidence about how children learn best. But, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Today, as schools across the country wrestle with new approaches to teacher training, evaluation, development and compensation, it is critical to consider and understand the views of teachers themselves. Beyond teachers unions and newer organizations that seek to amplify the opinions of practicing teachers, education leaders and policymakers often turn to scientific polls and surveys such as the MetLife Foundation’s annual Survey of the American Teacher.
In sampling the opinions of all teachers, these surveys provide useful information–some of which we have incorporated into our own research and work–but they also cast a very wide net. While it is important to understand the views of all teachers, we believe the perspectives of our very best teachers are especially important.
Our 2012 study The Irreplaceables showed that improving our nation’s urban schools requires creating policies and working conditions that will attract more outstanding teachers and encourage them to stay in the classroom. We should be building the profession around its finest practitioners. Today, too little is known about the opinions and experiences of top- performing teachers, because researchers rarely focus specifically on them. We launched the Perspectives of Irreplaceable
“IQ is a metric of such dubiousness that almost no serious educational researcher uses it anymore,” theGuardian’s Ana Marie Cox wrote back in May. It was a breathtakingly ignorant statement. Psychologist Jelte Wicherts noted in response that a search for “IQ test” in Google’s academic database yielded more than 10,000 hits — just for the year 2013.
But Cox’s assertion is all too common. There is a large discrepancy between what educated laypeople believe about cognitive science and what experts actually know. Journalists are steeped in the lay wisdom, so they are repeatedly surprised when someone forthrightly discusses the real science of mental ability.
If that science happens to deal with group differences in average IQ, the journalists’ surprise turns into shock and disdain. Experts who speak publicly about IQ differences end up portrayed as weird contrarians at best, and peddlers of racist pseudoscience at worst.
I’m speaking from experience. My Harvard Ph.D. dissertation contains some scientifically unremarkable statements about ethnic differences in average IQ, including the IQ difference between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites. For four years, the dissertation did what almost every other dissertation does — collected dust in the university library. But when it was unearthed in the midst of the immigration debate, I experienced the vilification firsthand.
There is no shortage of lists that attempt to rank the world’s universities and research-focused institutions. However, it’s well known that some places are much stronger in one area of science than others but it is not always possible to interrogate these rankings by discipline.
Today, Lutz Bornmann at the Administrative Headquarters of the Max Planck Society in Germany and a few pals release new online ranking tool that does this and more. Their website site lists the top institutes by discipline and also displays them on a map of the world allowing different regions to be compared as well.
The site uses a straightforward measure of excellence. It assumes that a good indicator of an institution’s worth is the rate at which it produces high quality scientific papers, in other words those papers that are most highly cited.
So the site counts the number of papers produced by an institution in a given discipline and then counts the number of these that are among the top 10 per cent of most highly cited. If more than ten per cent of the institution’s papers are in this category it gets a positive rating, if less than 10 per cent, it gets a negative rating.
Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher–a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country’s private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills–and he is in high demand.
Kim Ki-Hoon, who teaches in a private after-school academy, earns most of his money from students who watch his lectures online. ‘The harder I work, the more I make,’ he says. ‘I like that.’
Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students’ online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).
“The harder I work, the more I make,” he says matter of factly. “I like that.”
I traveled to South Korea to see what a free market for teaching talent looks like–one stop in a global tour to discover what the U.S. can learn from the world’s other education superpowers. Thanks in part to such tutoring services, South Korea has dramatically improved its education system over the past several decades and now routinely outperforms the U.S. Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.
No country has all the answers. But in an information-driven global economy, a few truths are becoming universal: Children need to know how to think critically in math, reading and science; they must be driven; and they must learn how to adapt, since they will be doing it all their lives. These demands require that schools change, too–or the free market may do it for them.
The Madison School Board President recently wrote: “The notion that parents inherently know what school is best for their kids is an example of conservative magical thinking.”; “For whatever reason, parents as a group tend to undervalue the benefits of diversity in the public schools….”
Ms. Ripley is an Emerson Fellow at the New America Foundation. This essay is adapted from her forthcoming book, “The Smartest Kids in the World–and How They Got That Way,” to be published Aug. 13 by Simon & Schuster.
Esenberg sets out to identify the fundamental differences between voucher advocates and opponents. His thesis is that views on vouchers derive from deeper beliefs than objective assessments of how well voucher schools perform or concerns about vouchers draining funds from public schools. To him, your take on vouchers depends on how you view the world.
Esenberg asserts that voucher advocates are united by their embrace of three fundamental principles: that a centralized authority is unlikely to be able to decide what is best for all; that families should be trusted to select their children’s schools since ordinary people are capable of making choices for themselves without paternalistic direction; and that “government does not do diversity, experimentation and choice very well.”
By implication, he asserts that voucher opponents think that a centralized authority will be able to decide what’s best for all, that families shouldn’t be trusted to make choices for their children, and that government control is the best way to foster innovation.
And there you have it. Your views on school voucher expansion are entirely explained by whether you prefer individual freedom, like the voucher advocates, or stultifying government control, like the voucher opponents. In cinematic terms, voucher opponents are the legions of lifeless, gray drones in Apple’s famous 1984 commercial and voucher supporters are the colorful rebel, bravely challenging the control of Big Brother and hurling her sledgehammer to smash mindless conformity. You couldn’t ask for a more sophisticated analysis than that, could you?
While his thesis invites mockery, Esenberg’s short article does present a bit of a challenge to voucher opponents like myself. Can we set out a coherent justification for our opposition that doesn’t depend on the facts that voucher schools drain needed resources from public schools and don’t perform any better? Sweeping those fairly compelling points aside, Esenberg asks, in effect, what else you got?
Mr Hughes anti-voucher rhetoric is fascinating on several levels:
1. The Madison School District’s long term, disastrous reading results. How much time and money has been wasted on anti-voucher rhetoric? Reading has long been job one.
2. Local private schools do not have much, if any availability.
3. Madison spends double the national average per student (some of which has been spent on program explosion). Compare Milwaukee Public and Voucher Schools’ Per Student Spending.
4. Madison’s inability to address its long-term disastrous reading results will bring changes from State or Federal legislation or via litigation.
5. Superintendent Cheatham cited Long Beach and Boston as urban districts that have “narrowed the achievement gap”. Both districts offer a variety of school governance models, which is quite different than Madison’s long-time “one size fits all approach”.
I recall being astonished that previous Madison School District administrators planned to spend time lobbying at the State level for this or that change – while “Rome is burning“. Ironically, Superintendent Cheatham recently said:
“Rather than do a lot of work on opposing the voucher movement, we are going to focus on making sure our schools are the best schools possible and the schools of choice in Madison,” Cheatham said.
This points up one of the frustrating aspects of trying to follow school issues in Madison: the recurring feeling that a quoted speaker – and it can be someone from the administration, or MTI, or the occasional school board member – believes that the audience for an assertion is composed entirely of idiots.
A great, salient quote. I would hope that the District would focus completely on the matter at hand, disastrous reading scores. Taking care of that problem – and we have the resources to do so – will solve lots of other atmospheric and perception issues.
In closing, I sense politics in the voucher (and anti-open enrollment) rhetoric. Two Madison School Board seats will be on the Spring, 2014 ballot. One is currently occupied by Mr. Hughes, the other by Marj Passman. In addition, local politics play a role in becoming school board President.
Sometime in 2004 Richard C. Vos, the admission dean at Claremont McKenna College, a highly regarded liberal arts school outside Los Angeles, developed a novel way to meet the school president’s demands to improve the quality of incoming classes. He would simply lie.
Over the next seven years Vos provided falsified data-the numbers behind our ranking of Claremont McKenna in America’s Top Colleges-to the Education Department and others, artificially increasing SAT and ACT scores and lowering the admission rate, providing the illusion, if not the reality, that better students were coming to Claremont McKenna. He got away with it thanks to a disturbing lack of oversight; he was trusted to hand-calculate the data and submit it without review. What had made this longtime employee break bad? “He felt the same pressure to deliver as any executive does,” Claremont McKenna spokesman Max Benavidez says. (Vos, who resigned in January 2012, couldn’t be reached for comment.)
Just as an analyst’s upgrade can spark a rally in a specific stock, a college’s move up the rankings usually results in a financial windfall. “There’s institutional pressure at colleges to achieve at all levels, and that includes rankings,” says Troy Onink, a college planning expert and FORBES contributor. “It’s a hypercompetitive world for the best students and for that tuition revenue.”
Claremont McKenna isn’t the only top college that lied. Bucknell University doctored SAT results from 2006 to 2012; Emory University provided numbers for admitted students rather than enrolled ones for more than a decade; and Iona College lied about acceptance and graduation rates, SAT scores and alumni giving for nine years starting in 2002. All have since fessed up and claim to have instituted better practices. As a penalty for their dishonesty-and an acknowledgment of the growing scope of the problem-we are removing the four institutions from our list of the country’s best schools for two years.
Are there other cheaters out there? If there are, they also will be taken off the list. Stay tuned. We will be watching.
Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, compared home schoolers and public school students on the results of three standardized tests — the California Achievement Test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Stanford Achievement Test — for the 2007-2008 academic year. With public school students at the 50th percentile, home schoolers were at the 89th percentile in reading, the 86th percentile in science, the 84th percentile in language, math, and social studies.
Socio-economic factors may have a lot to do with why home schoolers do so much better. Virtually all have a mother and a father who are living together. Nearly two thirds of fathers and 62 percent of mothers have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The explosive growth in home schooling has been fueled by dissatisfaction with public schools.
We spend more per pupil than any other country, but among industrialized nations, American students rank near the bottom in science and math. Only 13 percent of high school seniors knew what high school seniors should know about American history, says the National Assessment of Education Progress. Half of 18 to 24 year olds in a National Geographic Society survey couldn’t locate New York state on a map.
The United States is only major country where young people will not know more than their parents, the education expert for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development told the BBC last year.
About 2 million children are home schooled. Since 1999, the number being home schooled has increased 7 percent a year. Enrollment in public schools fell 5 percent between 2005 and 2010.
The first students to leave public schools tend to be the better ones, because their parents care more about education, said University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds. “When they leave, the overall quality of the remaining students, and thus the schools, will drop.”
When enrollment declines, funding is cut. Because teacher unions are so powerful, first on the chopping block are music, art and athletic programs. (In Buffalo, N.Y., where teachers get free cosmetic surgery, music programs may be eliminated in half the schools.) These cuts make public schools less attractive, accelerating departures.
If Americans are judging the colleges they choose a, they may be better off not choosing a college at all. It turns out that college graduates are significantly less engaged in their jobs than everyone else. And this finding is true across all professions, age ranges, and income levels. College graduates are less engaged than technical/vocational school grads, high school grads, and even high school dropouts. This finding alone is about as devastating as it gets for higher education, but it’s actually worse than you think.
The key driver of college graduates being less engaged is that they are much less likely than everyone else to say they have an opportunity to “do what they do best every day.” In other words, something about college isn’t working — it appears it doesn’t do a good enough job of bringing students closer to figuring out what they are best at. The implications of this are so profound that it will literally change everything in higher education. From rethinking what its ultimate purpose should be, to the very basics of how we teach, coach, mentor, and develop learners.
College — based on recent economic analyses — does produce higher earnings over a lifetime. But it does not always lead to a “good job” – one in which people are engaged in their work and doing what they do best. At least, not compared to everyone else who doesn’t go to college. The magnitude of this failure can’t be over-exaggerated, especially considering what Gallup knows about human development and wellbeing — where nothing is more fundamental than doing what you’re best at every day.
Anyone involved with schools has noticed that many governors, legislators and school boards think business practices can improve education. There is little proof of this. It’s a fad. If we leave it alone, it will go away.
But sometimes the latest business idea is too foolish to ignore. Take, for instance, this recent commentary piece in Education Week, “We Need a New Approach to Principal Selection,” by Ronald J. and Bill J. Bonnstetter.
“Identifying an effective principal requires a clear vision of the job duties, expectations and required personal attributes,” they wrote. “While most selection committees would agree with these criteria, the present selection system ends up being filled with personal biases and status quo mentalities. That’s why we recommend using benchmarking.”
Ronald Bonnstetter is professor emeritus of science education at the University of Nebraska. He now works as senior vice president of research and development for his brother Bill, chairman of Target Training International, a private company that does human behavior and skill assessments for businesses and groups in 90 countries. The Bonnstetters know much about business and education, but they fail in this piece to consider the importance of finding out how well principal candidates have done with students.