The United States is holding its collective breath. As of today, July 24, the Republican convention is over. The Democratic convention will happen next week. The nation is between moments. The future leader of our country will have a tremendous impact on education. However, education is not prepared to embrace newer methods or models. Instead, education should look towards models where there has been success in globalization. Lastley, education leaders will soon be forced to look internally, rather than externally, for models of reform. November’s elections will happen soon. How the American people view the importance of the rest of the world will be reflected in the results of November.
The audacity of hope is a nice thought. However hope often is in direct conflict with mundane real world. Take for examples Zhao (2009) suggest of how to redesign schools, with Input Based Accountability. Input Based Accountability will not work. This vision is too bold for the slow moving beast know as government funded public education. The model for education was created in the industrial age, a time of factories and assembly lines. The K to 12 model is nothing more that a reflection of this assembly line thinking. It is a flight of fantasy to think that anything so progressive as removing subject based classes could ever happen. Education requires assessment. These assessments are based on subjects. Compartmentalizing knowledge based on subjects is easier to teach when assessment is required. Some even suggest that IBA would even removed the idea of a traditional classroom. Educating school aged children without a classroom is just too radical. As Zhao stated, “Schools need to be redesigned so that they no longer are organized around age cohorts, classes, and classrooms” (Zhao, 2009, p. 187). This sort of next century thinking has no place is a system still operating in the 19th century.
Dreaming too far into the future will not work for today’s public education system. This much is for sure. Perhaps Zhao’s (2009) global enterprise business model could work. This model is based on the actions of today’s global business world. The three parts of this model are simple enough. Education will need to think of its product on a global scale. The student is the product. To compete globally the student would then need to be successful in Main Street, USA and Pudong, Shanghai. Creating a product that can navigate through many cultures is a large task for any school. This connects directly with the second part of the model, resources. To foster success in the school’s product, the must bring in the best resources possible. If the resources is not on site, than a school has an obligation to get the need resource. Virtual, or online, education is no longer a novelty and is becoming a legitimate solution to a school’s lack resources. Lastly, there is the market. This is the invisible hand that determine who will want the product, the student. China has top test taking students, skilled in “obedience, conformity, compliance, respect for order, and homogeneous thinking” (The Good, Bad, & Ugly, 2016). American students while far more independant, lack global awareness. Afghanistan is location that majority of American students could not find on a map (Zhao, 2009). What global consumer would want either student, the product, from these two educational systems?
Globalization is in the news and it’s not good. It was the fear of what globalization had done to their country that led the majority of Britain's to choose to leave the European Union. Brexit is a direct reaction to globalization. Cross-cultural competencies may create global citizen but not everyone wants to be a citizen of the world (Zhao, 2009). If fact, our nation is moving towards a time where global empathy and cultural understanding is ridiculed. Global awareness is sacrificed on the altar called ‘national security.’ Multiculturalism is walled off in favor of preserving the economy, keeping the jobs. Our nation is about to shift into a time of isolationism. Those in power will embrace a monocultural. Zhao hopes and believes that “racial and ethnic harmony rests upon mutual understanding and respect” (Zhao, 165, 2009). After the November elections hope and belief will have no place on this side Trump’s Wall.
The ancient Greeks are revered in Western culture. The mythology of the ancient Greeks is part of the Common Core. The American public should read the story of Pandora. Instead of a box, the voters of the United States will soon have a booth. When this modern Pandora’s box of an election is opened the resulting evils will be unleashed upon the world. Fear of competitive globalization will run rampant. Worry of progressive educational reforms will keep learning in the dark. Dread of multicultural understanding will create hate. Fear, dread, and worry will become the standards of our National discourse. But will Hope remain locked away or will the voting public release it?
The Good, Bad, and Ugly Dimensions of Chinese Education | Inside Higher Ed. (2016). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/good-bad-and-ugly-dimensions-chinese-education
Zhao, Y. (2009). Catching up or leading the way: American education in the age of globalization. Alexandria, VA: ASCD
Research project: One of the roles of public education is to support student learning and growth. Administrators believe that the process teachers use to educate students will work on teachers. After all, how many professional developments start with the same agged ice-breakers used on students. Educational Leaders are just wrong. They are out of touch. Worst, those in control of education do not commit the resources need to make professional development effective in training teachers in allowing for student growth. Instead of real classroom changing PD, teachers sit through one day wonder sessions that go nowhere. If a student was to show up for a semester long class on pre industrial American History there would be many expectations of what a semester long class requires from that student. Instead, the student has a six hour long session facilitated by math teacher. This sound impossible. However teacher professional development is exactly the same thing. It is often not conducted by a professional in the field. PD should be as many hours as a college level course, but instead is a single day. PD sucks.
Sources: I was worried at first that all I would for source would be Edutopia articles. Edutopia is good, but it aint no graduate level source. I hunted and searched and found some great sources. If I were to continue this project I would even seek out a few of the authors and try to learn more.
First Draft Done: I have turned in my first draft. I am o.k. with the paper. My first paper in many years and I know my writing isn’t what it should be. I was going to hire a guy who has a Ph.d. and teaches writing as my editor, pay him in dinners, but he has left the country to elope.
Mood: I worry. Maybe it is because, like Woody Allen, I’m a Sagittarius. Worry is just something we do. We live in a world where the second show is going to drop, followed by several more shoes, shoe boxes, the shoe rack, and shoe store’s ceiling. This first term is almost done but there are a few more hoops I need to jump through before I can rest.
Passion and interest is the last thing schools need to foster. What did passion ever do for Steve Jobs? Look where Jobs is now. Einstein’s interest led directly to Hiroshima. If the glorious President Reagan had has his way, then the Department of Education would no longer exist. America would be in a much better place. Our country would be able to compete with China, if only educators had followed Reagan’s inspired vision. Who would dare argue against the wisdom of America’s greatest President? After all, Reagan defeated Communism. If Reagan’s vision had won our nation’s factories would be filled with American laborers, working for pennies a day. America would have been great again.
Zhao states that schools are a “creativity killing machine” (Zhao, 2009, p.93). Public education is just now waking up from its own drunken night of passion with No Child Left Behind. What were people thinking? How could an educated teacher ever believe that “Excellence equals good test scores in math and reading and standards- and test-based accountability is the tool to achieve excellence” (Zhao, 2009, p. 2). What a mistake. In order to move forward, American education better delete NCLB from its cell phone. Using China as an example Zhao (2009) makes a strong case against such soulless instruction as what NCLB forced educators to engage in. My own district removed art from it K-8 curriculum in favor of improving test scores.
Every educator who teaches reading knows level plus interest equals success. It’s the old Zone of Proximal Development theory. Students exploring reading material below their level do so for recreation. If the material is too far above their ability level, then frustration occurs. Matching ability with proper instruction allows for great learning (Zhao, 2009). Les focus on what students are and more focus on who they are allows for greater success. I have seen, in my own class, when students engage in their own exploration of learning, then learning still happens. The best way to allow for student passion and interest to guide learning could be Project Based Learning (Larmer, Ross, & Mergendoller).
Through Project Based Learning students dive into some pretty deep and wide waters. Standards are addressed, so those who still are Facebook-friends with NCLB don’t have to worry. Gone is the drill and kill trivial approach to learning. Instead, working with their peers students learn to learn for themselves. Through PBL, I have seen heated discussions arise independently. I have also watch the same discussions lead to understanding and cooperation. PBL fosters student passion and interest. PBL aims at the heat of philosophy of education, rather than the technical aspects (Zhao, 2009).
The Department of Education is still around. Reagan’s dream of educational reform did not succeed. However, Reagan’s brilliant Trickle Down policies still have a major effect on education. Poverty is the greatest factor in a student's ability to learn (Zhao, 2009). Reagan successfully decreased the middle class and increased the poor in America. Passion and interest will always lose out to hunger.
Larmer, J., Ross, D., & Mergendoller, J. R. (2009). PBL starter kit: To-the-point advice, tools and tips for your first project in middle or high school. Novato, CA: Buck Institute for Education.
Zhao, Y. (2009). Catching up or leading the way: American education in the age of globalization. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Research project: Teachers are college educated professionals. Educational leaders believe that teacher training will improve student performance. Teacher training, referred to as professional development, is frequently mandated. According to research effective professional development must meet required criteria to show results in student performance. Teacher frustration happens when expectations for student improvement continues with ineffective professional development. Personalized professional development, like Edcamps, removes the frustration from teachers. Edcamps have proven results for inspiring attendants. However, Edcamps also do not meet the required criteria of effective professional development.
Sources: I am going to bet that I am the only student who quoted Deepak Chopra.
First Draft Due: My first draft will be submitted on July 13th. This is two days earlier.
Mood: I am glad to be done with Summer School. I look forward to four weeks off before I must return back to work. I can only hope that my regular teaching gig will be easier than Summer School Principal.
Research project: Personalized Professional Development: The Rise of Edcamps. This might be my working title. The research has take on a life of its own. Three section explore the requirements for effective PD, Personalized PD , and why Edcamps are so very popular. Maybe as my graduate career continues I might even research into further ideas. Ideas like ‘What makes teachers happy?’ and ‘Do adults learn differently from children?’ Professional Development in teachers is big business, maybe I get my degree and go into the lecture circuit?
Sources: This part is done. I hit upon a few exciting and academic articles about professional development. I also found some great research on Edcamps. Of course I even used old fashioned books. I threw in a few heavy hitters like Viviane Robinson and Alan November.
First Draft Due: July 10th is my own deadline for success. This gives a few additional days to clean the paper up and try to catch a many typos as possible. This is a first draft and I want to be ready for improvements I need to correct before the final draft. Might call in a favor from a professor friend of mine and have him take a look at my paper. But, he is a Lit. Crit. guy and therefore an MLA monkey.
Mood: I am alway need more sleep. Still work as the principal of Summer School. It was a lot to take on, grad school and Summer School both started at the same time. I am lucky. I feel that all my professors are willing to work for student success. There isn’t a lot of egos involved. As one professor put it, “We are all adults, trying to learn together.” I will say I am excited.
Research project: Edcamps and Professional Development. The paper will change from my original research. Edcamps are great for creating a bunch of happy and energized teachers. Edcamps are not a successful form of PD.
Sources: I have all my sources !
First Draft Due: July 10th. On track to getting this first big paper submitted.
Mood: In a great mood, but always tired.
Research project: Edcamps and Professional Development
Sources: Nine. Still needing to get my Alan November book from work.
First Draft Due: July 10th. (The correct date is July 15th, but I want to be ready for it)
Mood: Ready to kick this paper’s butt.