Ordinary World: Education

Education

Ordinary World: Education

EDU1: The first ever charter school strike in the United States took place in Chicago on Tuesday. The strike was over issues of pay, class size and teacher diversity.

EDU2: David Didau questions whether students are learning because of or despite what happens in schools.

EDU3: An increasing number of parents are joining their children to eat lunch with them at school, raising questions about whether it is appropriate for parents to do so.

EDU4: T.M Landry, a school in Louisiana made headlines for sending black children to elite colleges. However, a New York Times investigation found that the headlines were largely false.

EDU5: Chester Finn of EducationNext reflects on George H.W Bush’s legacy on education policy.

EDU6: School has begun again for thousands of students displaced by the deadly Camp Fires in California in early November.

EDU7: A new report from Good Jobs First, a left-leaning think tank claims that public schools lost $1.8 billion in revenue as a result of the 2017 corporate tax cuts.

EDU8: Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, makes an impassioned case for content-rich school curriculum and traditional disciplines.

EDU9: Dustin Hornbeck argues that US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has achieved little in two years in the role.

EDU10: A new study shows virtually no correlation between playing violent video games and aggressive behaviour in youths.

EDU11: Tom Sherrington, writing for The Guardian, argues that teachers’ professional judgment should be trusted more when assessing students’ work.

EDU12: An in-depth article from The Guardian on the rise of private tutoring for students as young as four years of age.

Scott J Davies

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Scott Davies is a freelance writer and tutor. He is currently studying a Master of Education. He is interested in education, economics, geopolitics and history. He's on Twitter and has a Medium page.

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8 thoughts on “Ordinary World: Education

  1. EDU2: I think that this goes back to what high school “really” teaches. We’ve all heard the theory that high school trains you to do show up on time, do a task for 50 minutes until the bell rings, move from this to that task in 10 minutes squeezing in potty breaks, then do a different task for 50 minutes until the bell rings again. Repeat until lunch. Lunch. Repeat tasks/switching tasks until the end of the day. Go home.

    This perfectly mimics a factory job.

    Well, there are a lot fewer factory jobs these days. Training kids to work factory jobs is malpractice.

    What do jobs look like in 2018? Well, mine looks a lot like college. Show up on time, get told about different tasks that we’ll need to research alone or in teams, yell “BREAK!”, then go off and do them until it’s time to meet again and give status reports. Oh, and bull sessions. Lots and lots of bull sessions.

    But that’s not really training, at that point. When I went to college, I wasn’t trained to do that as much as asked to do that and my professors confirmed that I could and then they threw a sheepskin at me that I took to employers who put me on the team.

    The students who need high school to prepare them for college are probably learning despite what high school teaches. The students who need high school (but not college) aren’t being prepared for a post-college job.

    I mean, to the point where I’m sure that people are incredulous that I would even suggest that there are students who need high school (but not college).

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  2. EDU3: My kids’ school actively encourages parents to pop in for lunch. I work 45 minutes away and my wife teaches high school, so we have never done it, but my in-laws have occasionally. I haven’t heard any complaints from faculty or other parents. Around here at least, it is a thing, but not a big deal. I would be astonished were my kids traumatized by my absence. Or my presence. I am of the school of thought that most kids mostly figure stuff out on their own eventually. Marginal stuff like this doesn’t matter in the long run. My older kid will be in middle school next year. I don’t know if parents pop in for lunch there. I can see how that would be more of an issue, the kids being of the age where the mere acknowledgement that they have parents is humiliating. Maybe I’ll make the time to enjoy that.

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    • I admit to having found the linked piece extremely weird and muttering “helicopter parents” under my breath. My kid’s schools simply wouldn’t have room for parents to drop-in for lunch whenever they wanted. Maybe if it did, the article wouldn’t seem so strange. The last ten years or so has also been a period of strengthening security measures.

      This resonated though: “In 2016, the percentages of students whose parents reported attending a general meeting at their child’s school, a parent-teacher conference, or a school or class event reached their highest recorded levels . . ..” Just inside the grade school entrance there was always a chart showing the level of parental involvement at different grade levels. I’m sure some study showed better performance was associated with parental involvement and there were always different ways to engage parents in the school.

      One day a year, Dad’s day, the school opened up the lunch hour to a parent, the dad. Probably sounds sexist, but I think that the mom’s were already well-represented and they were looking for an angle to get the dads. We like grabbing lunch and goofing around.

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  3. EDU2: Having moved around a lot between various school districts during my public school years, I’d say it’s a mix. There were definitely places where I learned despite the school/teacher, but there were also places where the interest and direction from a teacher and/or opportunities provided by a district’s teaching philosophy really helped.

    EDU8: Wow. I never imagined that so few kids took advanced math courses anywhere in 1st World countries. My oldest is in 12th and taking AP Stats and honors Calc – and she’s not even a math whiz by the standards of the honors group in her high school. I know not every kid is interested in areas that require that level of math, but it’s hard to imagine schools not directing science majors to take advanced math courses.

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    • EDU2: Yup. Military brat. The quality of schools I attended varied wildly. Eighth grade was nearly an entire waste. Typing was the only class that served any useful purpose. Partly this is the nature of eighth grade, but mostly it was that we moved there from a much better school district. Some of my classes were quite literally repeats of what I had taken in seventh grade because the school didn’t offer anything higher. In retrospect I should have pushed back more. I’m not sure my parents realized what was going on. I know my older brother, in high school, was taking classes at the community college. We should have pushed for me to be at the high school. I was a big kid. I wouldn’t have stood out as obviously younger than everyone else. Live and learn.

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      • I had that experience of being in a school district much behind my previous one in 7th grade. Unfortunately we were in Ohio and in that era (possibly still today) the state had firmly decided that letting kids skip a grade was ‘detrimental to their social development’ – which was quite ironic since most of the friends I made anywhere we lived tended to be a year or two older than me.

        But I put all the spare time I didn’t need to spend on class work to good use and read my way through whole sections of the local libraries (mostly science fiction, but I also read a lot on real science). I even talked my parents into picking up books from the adult sections – not mature or R-rated stuff, but language books. I spent part of 7th grade defying the state’s insistence that no foreign language could be offered prior to 8th grade (as it was held to interfere with properly learning English) by learning to at least read some German and Latin.

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  4. Here is the actual report for EDU7: https://www.goodjobsfirst.org/sites/default/files/docs/pdfs/newmath2.pdf

    The report is interesting. And I am all for more insight and accountability into local government finances. But I am not sure how close the report comes to delivering what it promises to deliver. As far as I can tell, they’re adding up the property taxes that would have been paid on new projects had tax abatement not been granted.

    Two problems here. One, this assumes that all of these projects would have been built without the abatements. And two, it assumes that the had more money been collected it would or could have been all funneled into education. Both of those assumptions need to be discounted. It should also incorporate any increases to the tax base coming from the new projects. It’s possible that they did all this and I missed it. Otherwise, I’m not sure that the report tells us anything all that meaningful.

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