Thursday, June 02, 2011

News Roundup

Looking for something fun to watch on tv tonight?  The finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is on ESPN (hey! it's a sport) at 5:30 p.m.

Also, on a serious note, as reported by the CDC, Washington has the highest rate of vaccine exemptions at 6.2%. 

Really?  I can only say I wish they wouldn't let these kids in public school.

Polio still exists.  So does measles, whooping cough and Hep B.  And don't get chickenpox as an adult.

Break them up - that's fine if you don't want them in one big shot.  I get that.  But depending on other people's children getting vaccinated to protect your child isn't very, well, neighborly.

Interesting article in the Washington Post about teacher reform - are we doing it wrong? 

That’s the suggestion of a new report from the National Center on Education and the Economy, a think tank funded mostly by large corporations and their affiliated foundations. The report takes a close look at how the countries that are kicking our academic butts — Finland, China and Canada — recruit, prepare and evaluate teachers. What it finds are policy agendas vastly different from our own, in which prospective educators are expected to spend a long time preparing for the classroom and are then given significant autonomy in how to teach, with many fewer incentives and punishments tied to standardized tests.

It's crazy things like having a master's degree in Finland (#1 in the world for student testing),  student teaching for a year, taking 90% of your college courses in the subject you teach (Shanghai).  None of this "best and brightest" stuff like TFA.

The way to increase the prestige of the teaching profession is not to make it easier for elite people to do the job for a few years and then burn out, but to make it more challenging to earn a teaching credential so that smart young people are attracted to the rigor of education programs. Within such a system, alternative credentialing programs for career changers could still play an important role. But it's important to realize that alternative pathways will never have the capacity to provide the entire teacher corps.

Amen, brother.

Following this approach, Finland has been able to abolish test score-based accountability, finding that the folks who come through their challenging teacher professional development pipeline are well prepared to create their own curriculums and assessments. 

Who would have thought it so?  Wait, what's that sound?  Could it be the tide slowly turning?


Peon said...
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Jan said...

I watched a little of the semifinal round this morning, and was promptly blown away by all those 12 and 13 year olds confidently spelling words I had never heard of and could not pronounce.