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Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Open Thread

 Quick - what American has spent the most time in space?  That would be Peggy Whitson who is retiring from NASA.  Show the kids this article from NASA.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who holds the U.S. record for most cumulative time in space, is retiring from the agency, effective Friday.

As an astronaut, Whitson completed three long-duration missions to the International Space Station, setting records on each. She made her first trip in 2002 as part of Expedition 5, during which she took part in 21 science investigations and became NASA’s first space station science officer. In 2008, Whitson returned on Expedition 16 and became the first female commander of the space station.

During her most recent mission, spanning Expeditions 50, 51 and 52 from November 2016 to September 2017, Whitson became the first woman to command the space station twice (Expedition 51). She also claimed the title for most spacewalks by a woman – 10 spacewalks totaling 60 hours and 21 minutes – and set the record for most time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut at 665 days.

Whitson’s time on the ground at NASA was no less groundbreaking. She served as chief of the astronaut corps from 2009 to 2012, becoming both the first woman to hold the position and the first non-military astronaut corps chief.
Interesting take on the school rating website, Great Schools, about Seattle schools reviewed there.
I am very happy with our school, even though it has some pretty significant challenges. It isn’t a “4” to me, or to most other parents I’ve talked to. I have friends at other nearby elementary schools with ratings of “3”, “4”, even “2” – they also love their schools.
So why is our school’s Greatschool.org rating not fitting my experience, and so many other people’s experience? And why do ratings in general, and Greatschool.org’s ratings in particular, perpetuate segregation and resource hoarding?   
 The suggestion?
Take the two tour pledge: set foot inside two schools. You wouldn’t buy a house without going in it, so why do so with your child’s education? When we were deciding on our current school, we toured and we talked to teachers and parents. It didn’t take that much time, and walking around and seeing the actual people in the building was the most important factor for us.
Another good read from Rick Hess from Education Next.  I've mentioned Mr. Hess before because, even though he's a conservative, he's willing to take on anyone - left or right - and call out issues.  His latest essay is No, Educators and Policymakers Shouldn’t Just ‘Do What the Research Shows.’
For my part, I routinely advise policymakers and practitioners to be real nervous when an academic or expert encourages them to do “what the research shows.” As I observed in Letters to a Young Education Reformer, 20th-century researchers reported that head size was a good measure of intelligence, girls were incapable of doing advanced math, and retardation was rampant among certain ethnic groups. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “That wasn’t real research!” Well, it was conducted by university professors, published in scholarly journals, and discussed in textbooks. Other than the fact that the findings now seem wacky, that sure sounds like real research to me.

When someone claims they can prove that extended learning time, school turnarounds, pre-K, or teacher residencies “work,” what they usually mean is that they can point to a couple studies that show some benefits from carefully executed pilot programs.

New policies governing things like class size, pre-K, or teacher pay get adopted and implemented by states and systems in lots of different ways. New initiatives are rarely precise imitations of promising pilots, even on those occasions when it’s clear precisely what the initial intervention, dosage, design, and conditions were.

Research should inform education policy and practice, but it shouldn’t dictate it. Common sense, practical experience, personal relationships, and old-fashioned wisdom have a crucial role to play in determining when and how research can be usefully applied. The researchers who play the most constructive roles are those who understand and embrace that messy truth.

No director community meetings this weekend.

What's on your mind?

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