saving students from education reform

doing what we can to keep the test prep, teacher-hating, and standardized "education" out of our classrooms

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Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools

This site is heartwarming and wonderful. ReThink is a partnership between middle school kids and organizations in New Orleans whose purpose is to make sure that kids have a voice in the restructuring of New Orleans schools.

After Hurricane Katrina, many students had to attend school elsewhere—and as they put it, “For the first time most of us saw school bathrooms with toilet paper and soap, libraries with books and hallways with lockers. It made us realize what good schools actually look like.”

Horrifying.

The work that ReThink has done looks wonderful—they’ve come up with a list of recommendations for improving schools (focused on restorative justice, local & fresh food, and renewable energy). They’ve also written some articles for local newspapers and created a report on school lunches in the area!

Check it out—well worth it!

Filed under education reform school lunch new orleans charter student voices restorative justice

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0 Plays

I’m a “This American Life” addict, but I can’t believe I never heard this episode from 2004: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/275/two-steps-back
It tells the story of a school in Chicago that was doing something right, until board policies messed it up—and although it’s a seven-year-old story, it’s not an unfamiliar one. It reveals the regenerative power of collaboration and consensus, as well as the destructive force of uniformity and mandates. And it suggests two important lessons: one, that change takes a while, and growth may not show in the course of a year; and two, that when something is working, we need to do everything we can to fight the forces that are trying to take it down.

I’m not asking you to listen if you have an hour. I’m telling you to listen to it. It’s that good. I guess I saw a little of our school in their story, and it made me think a lot differently about planning for next year.

Filed under Education reform teachers teaching teacher evaluation

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The students in the Independent Project are remarkable but not because they are exceptionally motivated or unusually talented. They are remarkable because they demonstrate the kinds of learning and personal growth that are possible when teenagers feel ownership of their high school experience, when they learn things that matter to them and when they learn together.
Let Kids Rule the School - NYTimes.com

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A group of researchers—Thomas J. Kane, an economist at Harvard’s school of education; Douglas Staiger, an economist at Dartmouth; and Robert Gordon, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress—have investigated whether it helps to have a teacher who has earned a teaching certification or a master’s degree. Both are expensive, time-consuming credentials that almost every district expects teachers to acquire; neither makes a difference in the classroom. Test scores, graduate degrees, and certifications—as much as they appear related to teaching prowess—turn out to be about as useful in predicting success as having a quarterback throw footballs into a bunch of garbage cans.
Predicting success in football and teaching : The New Yorker

Filed under education teaching teachers teacher quality