News


Education author to speak on achievement, learning in Palo Alto

Alfie Kohn coming to the Oshman Family JCC on Jan. 8

Alfie Kohn, lecturer and author of numerous books and articles on education, parenting and human behavior, will be at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto on Thursday, Jan. 8, to give a talk titled "Performance vs. Learning - The Costs of Overemphasizing Achievement."

Kohn is known within the educational sphere for his staunch — and sometimes controversial — criticism of attitudes and modes of learning that perpetuate rote instruction, achievement mania and unhealthy competition.

He sees no benefits to homework ("probably the most powerful device we have for extinguishing children's curiosity," he said) and despairs that the Common Core State Standards — hailed by many as a push toward more innovative, active learning — are "the next step downward in a perpetual descent toward a corporate-styled, test-driven prescriptive approach to school reform that is squeezing the intellectual life out of our schools."

"The more we get kids focused on how well they're doing in school, the less deeply they tend to think and the less interested they end up being in the learning itself," Kohn told the Weekly. "That speaks to the horrible emotional and psychological costs that an achievement-crazy culture often engenders. I'm talking about something that's less commonly noticed, which is that there are intellectual costs to this mania for school success, even for the kids who aren't emotionally devastated."

These costs will be the focus of his talk, which he said is geared toward the two stakeholders who must be working together to create any real change for students: parents and teachers.

"I want teachers and parents together to reflect on how we can question the conventional wisdom and stop the cult of rigor that is literally killing our children," he said.

Parenting has been the focus of much of Kohn's writing, including his most recent and 13th book, "The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children," which challenges the assumption that "helicopter parents" are everywhere, producing coddled, overindulged children.

However, he's quick to throw out an acronym for achievement-obsessed parents: BIRG, which stands for "Basking In Reflected Glory."

"To talk about attitudes is to invite parents to think about how much of their children's curiosity and well-being they're willing to sacrifice so that the kids get higher grades and test scores that the parents can brag about," he said.

Kohn has also written extensively about the difference between praise and productive positive enforcement, from a 1999 book called "Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes" to a well-known 2001 parenting article titled, "Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good job!'"

But, he said, changes in parents' attitudes alone won't produce happier, more engaged children.

"There are structural changes necessary that go beyond parents' attitudes and that's where parents have to work with educators to talk about issues like grades, tests, homework, AP courses and a general climate in schools that's really not about exploring ideas but merely about succeeding at any price or worse, succeeding at other kids' expense," he said.

Kohn decries the entrenched culture of celebrating high grades — "a school with even the most rudimentary sense of kids' best interest in mind would never do things like spelling bees and awards assemblies and school rankings," he said.

He praises teachers who take advantage of the latitude they have within their own classroom to shift the focus from achievement to learning. (He knows teachers who only give a grade at the end of the class, but not on individual assignments, and some who actually refuse to give homework, even in high school, he said.)

But the key point he'll be making on Jan. 8, he said, will speak to the particular environment in Palo Alto.

"The situation may be most dire in communities that boast about the excellence of their schools because they literally don't know the difference between high test scores that typically measure the size of the houses in neighborhood and quality of education," he said.

The Jan. 8 talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to paloaltojcc.org.

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Dear P.A Onliners,

Changing parenting attitudes—that is such a sensitive chord to touch!

I think no parents feel at ease with suggestions or insinuations that their child-rearing approaches are off-track, misguided, or founded on the wrong values. We so easily become defensive, and quickly lash back.

We have as much trouble dispassionately assessing our own parenting, after all, as we have in assessing our parents' parenting! It's all just "too close to home."

Rather than try to alter other parents' perceived misbehavior or misconceptions, then, those of us with an interest in teenage well-being would do better to try to affect the communal child-rearing of our schools.

Mr. Kohn is wise to look beyond the home for solutions. He's wise to observe that "changes in parents' attitudes alone won't produce happier, more engaged children," and to note that changes must also be "structural," must occur in the schools, and must occur around issues "like grades, tests, homework, AP courses and a general climate..."

It's exactly such structural changes that are advocated by "Save the 2,008," the new community initiative to change the nature of life at Gunn High.

The initiative's six steps go straight to issues of grades, homework, AP courses, and the general climate in the school.

The steps are designed to: 1) bring students and their teachers closer together, through smaller classes; 2) keep tabs, and thus keep a lid, on nightly homework; 3) discourage overwhelming AP loads; 4) switch off the disruptive school-day climate of teenage cellphone use (with its gossip, taunts, texting and sexting); 5) reduce the flood of grade-reports streaming home; 6) end the climate of academic fraud.

These steps are founded upon the belief that students and teachers are much less likely to succeed and thrive in a school tainted by distrust, haste, fatigue, meaninglessness, and anonymity than in a school that is rich with trust, deliberation, energy, meaning, and personal connection.

Co-founded by Gunn sophomore Martha Cabot and former Gunn teacher Marc Vincenti, "Save the 2,008" is described in detail at:

www.savethe2008.com

We hope you'll take a look and, if you find yourself liking any of our proposals, you'll share your enthusiasm by coming to the Jan. 13th meeting of the School Board and "liking" them aloud to our District's decision-makers.

Sincerely,

Marc Vincenti
Gunn English Dept. (1995-2010)


7 people like this
Posted by Concerned PAUSD Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 30, 2014 at 9:20 am

As a PAUSD parent concerned about excessive homework loads on many of our students, I would encourage parents and teachers to attend Kohn's talk at the JCC next week if possible. Kohn is a leading thinker and researcher in the area of homework and its role in education, and while not everyone will agree with his perspective, we could all use a strong dose of what he has to say. Parents and teachers might also consider reading one or more of Kohn's books; his writing is clear, backed by data and thought-provoking.

In PAUSD we have the beginnings of a common-sense homework policy, but to date it is largely ignored. In addition, we (parents, teachers, culture) steer many of our most able high school students towards excessive numbers of honors and AP classes, and then exempt those classes from the homework policy. Why exempt them? Don't they need limits too? Our collective approach to homework, as a culture and a system, doesn't add up. We need to re-think what education is all about and how homework fits (or doesn't) into a robust, balanced education focused on promoting love of learning and intrinsic motivation. Our kids, all of them, deserve nothing less.

As further food for thought, take a look at a Menlo Park elementary school principal's letter to parents, written in 2006, about the district's homework policy and his plans to enforce it, and why. Everything in this letter could and should apply to Palo Alto schools as well: Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 30, 2014 at 9:48 am

This sounds very interesting, but I suspect he will be preaching to the choir.

To make changes he needs to be talking to educators, teachers, BOE, and those tiger parents, but of course it will never happen.


5 people like this
Posted by Those tiger parents
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Education starts at home. Until we change the climate of parenting in our district and the value system things will not change.

Children learn what they live.

We need more members on the board with their head screwed on properly. It would appear that Ken Dauber is the only one who may have the ability affect some positive change. However, until we have other board members who are willing to think about things in a different way, we will just wind up with the same old same old.

I am very disappointed with Godfrey's willingness to just go along with the status quo. I had hope for her that she would be willing to think a little more clearly about some of these issues. I hope that Gina Donna will be willing to run again next time. We really need a complete overhaul on the board.

I had high hopes's for a breath of fresh air to come into the district with our new superintendent. The jury is still out on Max, however there's always hope.


6 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Dec 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Tiger parents,
Take a look at the current thread on limiting homework, you would be surprised. There are a great many people in Palo Alto searching for a high-quality education without homework, as evidenced by the high interest in the Connections program, which sadly has nevertheless seen a huge homework creep over the years.

Here's the thread on homework and its intrusion on family time:
Web Link

I find scapegoating parents to be unhelpful and mostly a poor excuse for lack of interest in doing anything real by a few at the top. Depending on the issue, parents are characterized as too pushy, or by contrast, they consider their kids too precious to push them; they are too busy to engage or they are too helicoptery. No matter what, blame, blame, blame the parents. I think in an imperfect world, this is about as great a group of families as I have ever seen. Regardless, no administrator worth their salt should be able to stoop to blaming parents for failing, because it's inherent in the job that people you serve in a public system will not be perfect. To be a school administrator is to know you are dealing with a spectrum of humanity, it is no excuse to blame the parents.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Mackreth
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 31, 2014 at 8:58 am

Finland's school system created the highest-performing students in the world by following a radically different approach than the US. In Finland, the school day is only four hours, there's 1 hour recess, little homework, no standardized tests, and teaching is considered on par with medicine and law. Finland's school system is also nationally-funded, instead of locally funded as in the US. This mean schools in rich and poor areas receive equal funding. Another shocking difference is there is no technology allowed in Finland's classrooms, whereas a core part of education "reform" in the US relies on new technology.


2 people like this
Posted by PA parent too
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 31, 2014 at 11:45 am

As long as parents refuse to even take one look at the role they play in their children's problems here in PA, there will not be any long lasting solution. It is that simple. Not to say changes should not be made in schools, but parents are a huge part of the problem as well.


4 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2015 at 1:07 pm

> Finland's school system created the highest-performing
> students in the world by following a radically different
> approach than the US

Finland is a tiny country, that has fewer people than are living here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Finland’s population is almost all pure Finish (94% Finnish and 5% Swedes). There is virtually no immigration, which forces millions of poorly educated immigrant children with no fluency in the Finnish into the System. There are probably no more than 1.2M children in the Finish school system—which is not much larger than the number enrolled here on the Peninsula.

The CIA Factbook claims that this system results in 100% literacy, but the per capita GDP of only about $35K per person—with over 50% taxation.

We are left with nagging questions as to what any international ranking of schools means. Are there more Nobel prizes won by Finns? How much did the Finns bring to the Allied effort to end WWII? If we were to find ourselves in some sort of world wide conflict again, where would the Finns align themselves?

Given the vast differences between the two countries, maybe Finland isn’t the best system to compare with US schools.


6 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2015 at 5:44 pm

This is an also-ran argument: we can't have good transportation systems like in Europe because their countries are smaller, we can't have better labor laws, we can't, we can't we can't. We also have greater collective resources because we are a larger nation. Your point is what's called a non sequitur: it doesn't follow. (But it sounds good).

Our schools aren't run nationally, they're run locally. We are an extremely wealthy district, and you can't make demographic excuses here.

Peter Mackreth has brought up a valid point for those who care about improvement, and you have countered with sweeping generalizations that are hard to counter because they don't actually apply.


3 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm

> Peter Mackreth has brought up a valid point for those who care
> about improvement

Really? And what point was that? People who point to Finland’s educational system as a panacea have no idea if this system will “scale up” to 300M or 1B students. Finland’s situation is really little more than a ship in a bottle. There is no chance of its ever being much more than it is—something that is an experiment that works in Finland, but likely wouldn’t work elsewhere. No system has any real value unless it is scalable. How many countries have adopted Finland’s system? If the answer is none—then what makes it such a good candidate for the US?

> Our schools aren't run nationally, they're run locally

And your point (or his) is? There are reasons for local control, which makes more sense in a large country like the US than perhaps a small one like Finland. Does anyone know who is actually calling the shots where education is concerned in Finland? Obviously it’s not the parents .. which seems to be something that is obscene to those who believe in big, absolute, government control of our lives.

> Your point is what's called a non sequitur:

The point follows perfectly, if you are rational, and have any sense of reality.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Mackreth
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Bob, clearly you are not happy with Finland's education system and don't think we have anything to learn from it.
What would be your solution to fix our ailing system?


2 people like this
Posted by PA parent too
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

The international standing of Finland's schools has been slipping. They no longer are at the top of international assessments. The following article explains the phenomenon and some of the possible reasons why Finland is slipping. An interesting read.

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by PA parent too
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 4, 2015 at 6:08 pm

I would like to quote the last paragraphs of the article I mentioned above.

"Of course, everything is relative, and Finland still ranked highly in reading and science, where it was the top European nation. But the domination of PISA rankings by Asian countries looks complete, with countries from the region holding all the top seven spaces in math, the top five in reading, and the top four in science. Ultimately, this success might come down to something simple and harder to imitate — hard work.

"Some teachers think that our life in Finland is so easy, our pupils have forgotten how to work," Lundell says. "You won't learn mathematics if you don't work enough.""

I would agree that there is no workaround to putting in some hard work. The whole article is at:

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by David Cohen
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2015 at 11:30 pm

David Cohen is a registered user.

I'd encourage folks to listen to Alfie Kohn and read his work with an open mind; see if he challenges your assumptions and thinking, and raises questions worth discussing in your family, school community, and beyond.

On a tangent: rather than focus on the differences between the U.S. and Finland, I encourage folks to look at the commonalities among school systems that have improved. "The Global Fourth Way: The Quest for Educational Excellence" by Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley is a book worth reading, or at least knowing about (look up articles/reviews). They find that the commonalities exist whether you're looking at a district, state/region, or nation. First of all, it helps to have consensus about the purposes of schooling and education, something lacking in the U.S. right now. Then, constant communication and tolerance for productive failures and paradoxes. Successful systems have local control and are led by educators at every level; U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and recent CA Supt. candidate Marshall Tuck would not be considered for such positions in higher quality systems. Teacher leadership and strong unions that focus on professional issues and teaching quality are also important; school systems that have unions haven't improved by weakening or eliminating unions, but rather by expanding their focus - and influence. Intelligent use of technology (not glorifying in it for its own sake), less testing, and more informed use of data are important. We don't need standardized testing of every student, every year in order to gather quality data necessary for broad observations and accountability purposes, and no system has made teacher evaluation the lynchpin of better schools - especially not through standardized tests in evaluations. Those are just some of the examples in their research, and there's no reason a district, county, state or country can't move in the right direction in most of these areas even if there different challenges that arise in some areas.


Like this comment
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 5, 2015 at 8:47 am

@David Cohen - of course, in Finland (non-federal country of 5 million) there is no equivalent position to our US Sect. of Education. And of course there is no elected position comparable to the CA Superintendent position Mr. Tuck ran for. I can't speak to the cabinet level leadership of larger school systems in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other leading systems.

Since the US is, in many areas, a reform / turn-around situation, it may not be appropriate to simply copy selected aspects of top performing systems. You've probably read the McKinsey 2010 report on improving school systems, which lays out a framework of systems at different stages. Web Link

On the other hand, Palo Alto schools do seem further evolved and leadership by professional educators seems appropriate here.


1 person likes this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 5, 2015 at 9:08 am

I think it is a silly idea to look at the system in any one foreign country and say, this is the ideal, we should do the same here. If Finland (or any other country) is doing this and it works, then it must be the best for us too.

However, saying that, I think it is worth looking at systems in many other countries. Ideas like longer school days and years, are things that many countries employ even though how they spend that time in the classroom is totally different. When lots of countries with good scores do things that are similar then it probably does speak to ideas that may work.

I think that what we have here in this country is an outdated idea that is not changed. We have not made any big changes in education for a long time. The Common Core standards have come in, but that is a curriculum change, not a method change. Here we have let unions and outdated methods of control education rather than move with the times.

Many changes could be made, but I feel that they should start at the top rather than a district level. I haven't seen or heard PAUSD try to be innovative. All they do (in typical Palo Alto fashion) is study neighboring districts or similar ones elsewhere in California, and then follow like sheep instead of leading a new idea.

Trimesters instead of Semesters, abolishing finals (particularly in full year classes), work experience programs, and many other suggestions have been put by parents to our BoE and none of them have been even discussed or explored.

High school education is being ruled by the college application process and by unions. It is about time that this changed, and changed from the top.


Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Great post. But sadly, even the college application process isn't being thought through, as our kids spend so much time on homework, they have no time for the kinds of activities that make them attractive for colleges. (Wasn't there a thread from a parent complaining about that? They knew someone with a high GPA who didn't get into UC's, a kid posted a complaint about no time for extracurriculars?)


5 people like this
Posted by another JLS mother
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jan 5, 2015 at 8:27 pm

To Parent of JLS,
I would have to disagree with your assessment of homework creep, particularly in Connections.
I had a child go through all three years of the Connections program a couple years ago and I have an eighth grader now who is in the third year of Connections. I have definitely noticed that my second child has FAR LESS homework than my older child who went through the same program just a few years earlier. I have chatted with other JLS parents of multiple children who have also noticed the decrease in homework over that period of time.

In my family's experience (and others I've spoken with), JLS has taken the homework policy to heart and implemented it consciously. My older child has also noticed that the slightly younger sibling has less work to do at home.

When there was a noisy set of complaints (from one parent only as far as I can tell) about the homework load in Connections this eighth grade year, I asked my eighth grader about the issue. Rarely do I see my student working on significant amounts of homework so I actually became concerned that maybe it just wasn't being done.
The answer from my student was, "The teachers give us plenty of time in school to do our work. Most of the time homework is to finish up work you didn't get done in class. So the kids who are complaining about lots of homework are probably not working on their stuff in school."

I simply want to point out that it is one family's opnion that there is too much homework at JLS.


Like this comment
Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2015 at 3:02 pm

"Save the 2,008"—a grassroots initiative to bring a healthier, happier life to Gunn High—will have a table with information, brochures, buttons, and bumper stickers in the lobby before Mr. Kohn's lecture. I hope you'll say hi.

In a nutshell, "Save the 2,008" is a proposal to moderate the amounts of homework, lighten course loads, slow the bombardment of grade-reports so our kids have room to ride out the ups and downs of teenage life, eliminate the demoralizing impact of cheating, quiet the school-day distraction of cellphones, and shrink classes to a friendlier size—so that the 2,008 students and teachers of Gunn High can grow, breathe, learn, thrive.


5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jan 6, 2015 at 4:12 pm

another JLS mother,

Connections in 8th grade is only two classes. The kids all have 5 other classes that are probably different. You can't even compare. You seem to have some kind of personal axe to grind. Instead of trying to take it out on another family who is trying to solve a problem that is clearly, based on this thread and even national news media, a problem for a lot of people, why don't you try to be a human being and talk to the other parent you seem to think is all alone in their complaints?

You repeated your nasty post from another thread on setting boundaries
Web Link

First you say it's one family, then you say your second-hand intelligence from your kid causes you to believe it's the kids (plural - or perhaps you mean twins from the same family who are the only family complaining?) kids who are just not up to finishing their work who are complaining, then you go back to saying it's one family.

For you to characterize the problem as just one family is really a stretch, especially since I have sat with and heard from so many other families from Connections with complaints about the homework. In fact, I have heard from families who felt extremely disconnected from Connections this time around because of other go-go parents who marginalize other families whose children are struggling more than their own. I quietly heard from other parents after your nasty post.

My own experience is that there are people who wish to marginalize other who have problems, it seems to be a kind of disease in this district. We don't solve problems, we cover them up and blame others for them. It's actually a common response to setting boundaries. You don't want to have to honor them, so you marginalize people who want to set them. If they aren't a problem, why are you so aggressive about those who want to set what would be a token boundary?

I don't think you should make sweeping generalizations about all the other families when you clearly haven't spoken to the same people. But your attitude does make those people feel further intimidated to speak and stick out. I don't think that's really in the spirit of Connections, which is too bad, it's supposed to be a closer group than that.

Since you clearly think everyone is just like you, just inferior, some of the things that could influence whether homework is a problem for one child versus another:

*illness
*puberty
*red-shirting (age, many kids are held back so 7th/8th graders could be at very different stages of maturity)
*indoor air quality in classrooms
*allergies
*use of electronic media in school for schoolwork/timing of it
*use of contraband electronic media in school (I'm assuming phones aren't allowed? I don't know)
*the ability to do study hall for PE (for kids in sports)
*daylight and other built-environment problems
*other life events like a death in the family
*distractability
*sense of connection (or lack of)
*bullying and social issues
*dyslexia and undiagnosed learning disabilities
*depression

I'm sure there are others. If teachers aren't able to solve them during the day, they don't get magically solved by sending the work home when kids are tired and out-of-sight of teachers. Better boundaries mean that wouldn't be the first option.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2015 at 1:02 pm

> clearly you are not happy with Finland's education system
> and don't think we have anything to learn from it.

You miss the point of my objection to the post. Simply claiming that one school system, or another, is somehow “better” and therefore the US should adopt that system is hardly meaningful in a discussion like this one. If you wanted to dig into the Finnish system, and identify elements of it that somehow could be demonstrated as “superior” to the US system (or all other school systems), then I probably would have not objected to the Finnish posting as I did.

Can you actually provide us an elemental breakdown of that system, and demonstrate how any/all of these elements are “superior” to our system?

> What would be your solution to fix our ailing system?

There are so many possible solutions that it is impossible to engage in such a discussion. Clearly, the thrust of many people who post on this topic is that education is a cultural “adventure”, and that parents/families need to be engaged in the nurturing of young minds so that they are hooked on “life long” learning by the time they are sucked into the public education system. Getting kids interested in reading, and then writing, are the two major skills that should be the focal point of any education system that hopes to deliver a individuals with core skills to start their lifetime’s endeavors.

Believing that spending more, and more, money on teachers (salaries and other costs) is going to make education better is not the answer. Teachers’ unions have become toxic to education. Banning unions of all sorts in government would be a good first start.

Issues about local vs national school control are probably not going to get us anywhere. For one thing, general systems theory endorses localized control over central control—which we have seen fail time and again in those countries that have fallen victim to “socialism” and “communism”. Arguments that kids in all parts of the country are not introduced to a fully standardized curriculum are not meaningful in a country this large—where skill sets in factories are not the same as skill sets needed for agricultural pursuits.

If the American system is truly “ailing” it’s because the parents have no idea what education is really all about, and have allowed education “professionals” to make decisions for them, and their families, that have proven to be non-productive, in the aggregate.

We also have a real problem in this country, given that too many people have come to believe that everyone should go to college—which is unsustainable, and unneeded, based on the number of jobs that require college degrees/skill sets. It is, doubtless, an anathema for people who have replaced religion with education to hear that no everyone should go to college. Given the high college dropout rates (about 50%), one would think that the data documenting this failure would drive the decision to rethink our need for education in this country. But education has become big business, with 4%-5% of the GDP going to public education alone. Much more when the costs of all education sources are considered.

So, to summarize—reduce the number of students going to college, reduce the number of colleges, and rethink the focus on college entrance as the primary product of secondary schools. Over time, reduce the amount of money in education at all levels.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2015 at 1:38 pm

> Intelligent use of technology (not glorifying in it for its own sake),
> less testing, and more informed use of data are important.

Standardized testing has become a real bug-a-boo for many in this country. The issues, or course, revolve around who is creating the tests, for what purpose, and how close each local school system is conforming its general curriculum to the test guidelines.

It would not be that hard to have all classrooms (at least in each state) connected to a central data processing center, where all grades, assignments, and test materials, are stored. Given this mass of data, students across each State could be compared to each other, as individuals, classes, schools, school districts and eventually the whole State. The need for standardized tests, and the time teachers claim that they have to dedicate to “teach to the test” might be greatly reduced—since the educational data system could provide each teacher, student, family, and school administrators, with reasonably detailed overviews of how the individual students in their school are doing.

This is obviously a lot of work, and it suggests that a lot of “local control” of the class rooms might shift to a centralized source—which opens the door to a longer discussion about the future of teaching when there is a well-designed information management system embedded in each school.

Ultimately—this never-ending battle between “centralists” and “localists” will be fought anew—with the possibility that the “centralists” might actually gain some ground on the “localists”, and the students end up exposed to somewhat better/more uniform educational “quality”.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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