The following post was contributed by Diana Laufenberg, and originally posted on Living the Dream, in December 2013. Diana is one of the Keynote speakers at INSPIRE 2014: Engaging Today's Students. I said this phrase, standards not standardization, in a conversation with the ever thoughtful, Jose Vilson… and he has brought it up with me a few times … which makes me think that I need to write through my thoughts on this and will then be leading a conversation on this same topic … [Read more...]
What Lies Ahead in Education is Up to Us
The Future of Education Steps away from the Massachusetts State House, Strategies for Children, a non-profit advocacy and policy organization seeking to have a positive impact on young children and families, held a conversation reminiscent of NISCE Professional Conversations. The panel discussion was titled Education Reform at 20: What Lies Ahead and was supported by the Boston Bar Association. Panelists acknowledged the impact of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, noting that it … [Read more...]
Unequal and Unjust Public Schools in America
Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund and vocal advocate for our nation's children, has pulled important data from the most recent Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection Survey. Citing the 2009-2010 version, she speaks to things we know all too well: "inequities in funding and educational resources place poor children in low-performing schools, with inadequate facilities and often ineffective teachers."The litany of practices that contribute to the … [Read more...]
A New Driver for Expanding Access to Early Education?
"Parents—and this is a real sea change—understand the infant-toddle years as learning years." —Betty Holcomb, Policy Director, Children's Initiatives An article recently posted in the Wall Street Journal focused on the growing competition to find excellent early childhood programs in New York City. The change in this case is that the demand appears to be driven by affluent parents who are newly convinced that their very young children need the stimulation and guided instruction available … [Read more...]
Excitement For Student-Centered Learning Builds In Sanford, ME
At the end of the 2012 school year, the NISCE leadership team took a field trip to witness a community event in Sanford, Maine. Parents, students, teachers, administrators and community supporters had gathered to celebrate the end of the first year of a three-year effort designed to reshape their entire school system.This effort had been galvanized by the award of a competitive $3.75 million grant from the Nellie Mae Foundation. Sanford's Student-Centered Proficiency Based Learning approach … [Read more...]
Educational Triage—Who Gets Lost?
A recent article by Susan Sparks posted in Education Week cites research into the unintended consequences of combining Federal accountability standards with increases in state curriculum standards. The article calls out the efforts made to improve the testing performance of the so-called 'bubble children' or students who almost passed the tests.It is the description of a system of 'educational triage,' however, that should be most alarming to those concerned with the state of our … [Read more...]
Standing Up For The Student In The Midst of Standardized Testing
Christopher Chamness, the son of a former teacher, will likely not be surrounded by his third grade classmates next spring when they take their standardized test, according to a New York Times article Student Assessments Facing Stiff Backlash in Texas. Why? His mother will be pulling him out of class to protest the system she says has sapped her son’s love of learning. While the move is bold—her son’s school does not permit students to miss test days for any reason – it is in line with a … [Read more...]
The Importance of Relationships and the Basics of Self-Teaching
Sugata Mitra Teaches About Self-Teaching Consider the connection between relationship and self-teaching.At first glance this will appear to be a contradiction. It would seem that self-teaching is, by definition, outside the realm of relationship. Of the list of educational context categories—military, traditional, Montessori, et cetera it is the least dependent on adult guidance. On further inspection, we discover that the very nature of learning is deeply affected by relationship at the … [Read more...]
Can a Military School Be Student-Centered?
As an institution, military education would seem to be something other than student-centered. Individuality may seem to be discouraged, with “service before self” being seen as the highest value. In other places along the continuum we have explored the role of the teacher and his or her capacity to be student-centered even in contexts that do not appear to have the individual learner as a central focus. Is it possible for an individual instructor or officer in a military school or for an entire … [Read more...]
Student-Centered Education and Faith-Based Schools
The following core value statement of a Catholic high school in Massachusetts: “Preserving a strong Catholic identity by providing a faith-based education aiding students to see themselves as stewards of the life they live and promoting the values of community and service.”A thorough exploration of religious schools would certainly reveal a wide range of educational philosophy, with some programs being far more immersed in doctrine than others. As a whole though, religious education would … [Read more...]