recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : nais   21

Outside the Skinner Box
"There are two commonly repeated tropes about educational technology impeding progress and clouding our judgment. The first such myth is that technology is neutral. This is untrue. All technology was designed to influence behavior; the fact that a handful of people can stretch a technology beyond its normal trajectory does not change this fundamental truth.

It is not uncommon for a school committed to progressive learner-centered education to undermine its mission by investing in a well-intentioned school-to-home communication package that allows Dad to sit at his office desk and day-trade his eight-year-old when the expectation of continuous numerical reporting is offered by such a system. Similarly, I have encountered many independent schools committed to whole language development that then contradict their missions by using phonics software on iPads for no other reason than, “There’s an app for that.”

In schools, all hardware and software bestow agency on one of three parties: the system, the teacher, or the learner. Typically, two of these actors lose their power as the technology benefits the third. Ask a group of colleagues to create a three-column table and brainstorm the hardware or software in your school and who is granted agency by each. Management software, school-wide grade-book programs, integrated learning systems, school-to-home communication packages, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and other cost-cutting technologies grant maximum benefit to the system. Interactive whiteboards, worksheet generators, projectors, whole-class simulations, plagiarism software, and so on, benefit the teacher. Personal laptops, programming languages, creativity software, cameras, MIDI keyboards, microcontrollers, fabrication equipment, and personal web space primarily benefit (bestow agency to) the learner.

The second oft-recited myth is that technology changes constantly. If only this were the case in schools. Regrettably, much of what schools do with technology is exactly the same, or less than, what they did 25 years ago. Wordles, note taking, looking stuff up, word-processing essays, and making PowerPoint presentations on topics students don’t care about for audiences they’ll never encounter represent the state-of-the-art in far too many classrooms. We can do better.

I enjoyed the great fortune of leading professional development at the world’s first laptop schools nearly a quarter century ago. Those Australian schools never saw laptops as an experiment or pilot project. For them, laptops represented a way to rescue kids explicitly from a failing hierarchical bureaucracy. Every student learned to program from every teacher as a means to encounter powerful ideas, express oneself, and change the nature of the educational experience.

When teachers saw what was possible through the eyes and the screens of their children, they demanded rapid changes to scheduling, assessment, classroom furniture, and even school architecture. They blurred the artificial boundaries between subject areas, shared expertise, challenged peers, and transformed many schools to benefit the children they served. Those early “laptop teachers” often viewed themselves in new and powerful ways. An amazing number of them went on to become school principals, Ph.D.s, policy makers, and entrepreneurs. A school like Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne, Australia, changed the world with its existing teaching staff through a coherent vision articulated clearly by a bold, charismatic leader, David Loader, who focused on benefiting the largest number of stakeholders in any school community: the students.2"

"A Bold Vision for the Future of Computers in Schools

The future of schools is not found in a shopping list of devices and programs, no matter how interesting or revolutionary the technology may be. In order for schools to seize the power of computers as intellectual laboratories and vehicles for self-expression, the following traits need to be in place.


Educators, parents, and policy makers need to understand that, currently, their investment in technology is not maximizing its promise to amplify the human potential of each student. Alternative models must be made available.


Too many schools conflate instructional and noninstructional technology. Such an inability to reconcile often-competing priorities harms the educational enterprise of a school. One role is of the plumber and the other of a philosopher; both are important functions, but you would never consciously surrender the setting of graduation standards to your maintenance department. Why, then, is educational policy so greatly impacted by IT personnel?


Schools need a bolder concept of what computing can mean in the creative and intellectual development of young people. Such a vision must be consistent with the educational ­ideals of a school. In far too many cases, technology is used in ways contrary to the stated mission of the school. At no point should technology be used as a substitute for competent educators or to narrow educational experiences. The vision should not be rigid, but needs to embrace the serendipitous discoveries and emerging technologies that expand the power of our goals.

Consistent leadership

Once a vision of educational technology use is established, school leadership needs to model that approach, enact rituals and practices designed to reinforce it, and lend a coherent voice leading the entire community in a fashion consistent with its vision to improve the lives of young people.

Great leaders recognize the forces that water down innovation and enact safeguards to minimize such inertia.

Professional development for professionals

You cannot be expected to teach 21st-century learners if you have not learned in this century. Professional development strategies need to focus on creating the sorts of rich constructive learning experiences schools desire for students, not on using computers to perform clerical tasks. We must refrain from purchasing “teacher-proof” curricula or technology and then acting surprised when teachers fail to embrace it. PD needs to stop rewarding helplessness and embrace the competence of educators.

High Expectations and Big Dreams

When we abandon our prejudices and superstitions in order to create the conditions in which anything is possible, teachers and children alike will exceed our expectations.

Some people are excited by using technology to teach what we have always wanted kids to know, perhaps with greater efficiency, efficacy, or comprehension. I am not interested in using computers to improve education by 0.02 percent. Incrementalism is the enemy of progress. My work is driven by the actualization of young people learning and doing in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.

This is not a fantasy; it’s happening in schools today. Here are a few vignettes from my own work.

Learning by Doing"
2015  garystager  computing  schools  education  technology  makers  makermovement  seymourpapert  edtech  physicalcomputing  governance  awareness  vision  leadership  nais  learningbydoing  learning  constructionism 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Challenge 20/20
"Challenge 20/20 is an Internet-based program that pairs classes at any grade level (K-12) from schools in the U.S. with their counterpart classes in schools in other countries; together, the teams (of two or three schools) find local solutions to one of 20 global problems. Schools do not have to be NAIS members to participate. We accept private, public, charter schools from the U.S. and any other country. Schools can be elementary or secondary schools. There is no cost to participate in Challenge 20/20 and no travel required. Follow the navigation on the left to read details."

[See also: ]

[via: ]
nais  teaching  classideas  global  collaboration  projectideas 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Thoughts on Elite Private Independent Schools and Public Education Reforms | School Finance 101
[See also:
"This whole duplicitous campaign of “school choice” is just a way of obscuring the reality of what all families need: a system of accessible, responsive — democratic — control of school education policy that truly maximizes educational opportunity and availability of educational best-practices – true excellence — for all." ]
independentschools  education  learning  classsize  poverty  2014  nais  choice  johnchubb  elitism  statistics  enrollment  policy  publicschools  schools  etaching  us  harknesstables  mattchingos  erichanushek  margueriteroza  robinlake  checkerfinn  brucebaker  research  harknessmethod  harkness 
january 2014 by robertogreco
School Head’s Brilliant, Sarcastic Insights on Voucher Policies and Independent Schools | Private Schooling & the Public Interest
"I’ve been struck lately by what appears to be a general unawareness regarding public education policy issues among private independent school faculty and leaders (not all, but certainly many). I wrote recently about John Chubb of NAIS and his convening of public education policy scholars (& “thinkers?”) to provide insights for private independent school leaders.

Notably, the vast majority of like-minded scholars convened by Chubb are ardent supports of publicly financed vouchers and are more than willing to project their research inferences on vouchers used largely for urban catholic schools, onto all private schools – as willing as they are to rely on Catholic school tuition rates from the late 1990s to characterize private school per pupil costs for eternity."

"There exists a common bait and switch involved in voucher rhetoric, where the idea of the voucher, or tuition tax credit is presented as providing the option for the kid from the tough urban neighborhood to attend a “better” option,… like Exeter or Choate, or even Calhoun for example. Then the voucher is actually allocated at a level ranging from about $3,500 to a maximum around $8,000. Further, the voucher is provided in a marketplace that includes few or no elite private independent schools, or at least few or not private independent schools willing to take any substantial number of kids for the specified voucher rate.

But for all the technocratic geeky explanations on this point I’ve provided over the years – many of which have fallen on deaf ears – this recent Huffpo piece by the Head of School of the Calhoun School in NYC nails many of the same points and in much more entertaining fashion. Here are a few excerpts from Steven Nelson’s look ahead at 2014 in Education Reform:

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that several hundred voucher-bearing children from the Katrina-devastated Lower Ninth District express confusion when applying to a prestigious private school and discovering that the voucher covers only 20 percent of the tuition. They also learn that the kindergarten class has only 25 places, 24 of which will be filled by siblings of current students or children of alumnae parents. Five-year-old Ruby Jindal is accepted into the elite school’s class of 2026, filling the one available slot.

Having been rebuffed at every other independent school, several hundred voucher students from New Orleans Lower Ninth District enroll at “Billy Bob’s Bible Barn,” a new K-5 school promising each student a new tablet with all 10 Commandments pre-loaded. New York’s prestigious Collegiate School announces that all 185 seniors are headed to Yale in the fall.

And there’s much more on a range of education reform topics addressed in Nelson’s post. It’s a good read.

My point in sharing Nelson’s comments is to reveal that reasonably informed persons who have spent some (really, any) time pondering the role of elite private independent schools in the broader debate over education policy understand what these schools try to provide to their affluent consumers and why these schools are largely immune to the pressures of “education reform.”But immunity need not mean obliviousness.

They don’t need to play in that sandbox. And thus many don’t and likely never will. But I would hope that more of those involved would become aware of what’s going on in that sandbox, and be more willing to explain where they stand when it comes to choices for their own schools and the children they serve.

If private schools are so fond (as am I) of their Harkness tables to encourage active discussions among classes of 12 to 14 students, why isn’t that good for kids in Newark, Chicago or Philadelphia? Can low income “urban” kids not handle this as well as the affluent? Are they not as worthy? That seems a stretch.

If, as I’ve noticed, many private independent schools continue to shift toward physics first (which, as a former science teacher, I really appreciate) high school science curriculum, including migrating away from AP courses and adopting a rich array of upper level electives (small, lab courses), isn’t this good for kids in Newark, Chicago or Philly too? Or are common core standards, computerized assessments, classes of 30+ and high school exit exams simply better for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds?

Can only affluent kids play squash, compete in fencing, wrestling and ice hockey or play string instruments?

Private school leaders know that a few thousand bucks worth of voucher isn’t going to coerce them to take on large numbers of low income kids. It’s just not financially feasible. They know that there will be schools providing much lower quality of service which may try to fill this niche, and they know that providing any decent education on 20 to 30% of their own operating costs would be pretty darn difficult, especially for needy children, and especially for more than a few.

I suspect that even though NAIS schools spend on average nearly double public districts in their metro area, they still feel financially pinched – that even they can’t do all they want to do.

These are well understood realities among those involved in elite private independent schools. Realities regarding which the general public has been misled for years and in my view, by those leading the public education policy debate.

In my view, it is incumbent on private school leaders to provide the very sort of clarity that Steve Nelson has provided in his Huffpo piece.

Well done Steve."

[References: ]
nais  privateschools  elitism  publicschools  policy  education  schools  couchers  2014  stevenelson  brucebaker  funding  money  harkness  harknessmethod  harknesstables 
january 2014 by robertogreco
When Minority Students Attend Elite Private Schools - Judith Ohikuare - The Atlantic
"Many parents of color send their children to exclusive, predominantly-white schools in an attempt to give their kids a "ticket to upward mobility." But these well-resourced institutions can fall short at nurturing minority students emotionally and intellectually."
judithohikuare  education  schools  independentschools  nais  dalton  packercollegiate  chapinschool  2013  film  documentary  americanpromise  idrisbrewster  seunsummers  michèlestephenson  joebrewster  diversity  race  parenting  privateschools 
december 2013 by robertogreco
American Promise

[via: ]
education  independentschools  race  diversity  2013  documentary  towatch  schools  parenting  dalton  nais  americanpromise  idrisbrewster  seunsummers  michèlestephenson  joebrewster 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Bassett Blog, 2011/09: Insights from the College Front [Bassett gets it right, but seems to take credit for ideas that predate him & are contrary to some of what he pushed during his first many years at NAIS.]
"The university leaders also confirmed…that 30–40% of the undergrads on anti-depressants, and 10% of girls suffered from eating disorders. While the university leaders were quick to point out that their universities were mirroring national data, it is particularly interesting to me that the students at these colleges had already “won the lottery” by matriculating at places that were nearly impossible to get into for mere mortals, and yet so many were still stressed beyond belief and needing medication (prescribed or, probably in much larger numbers, self-medicating — see the next bullet point).

Footnote to “success-driven parents and college counselors”: beware what you wish for: What we actually do well is place students in the “best match” college, where they will be successful and can pursue interests that will keep them engaged and balanced."

[Also covered: alcohol abuse, demonstrations of learning / digital portfolios, foreign language requirements…]
patbassett  2011  criticalthinking  creativity  communication  admissions  highereducation  highered  collegeadmissions  technology  collaboration  character  antidepressants  students  parenting  education  stress  schools  learning  policy  balance  society  competition  digitalportfolios  nais  alcohol  demonstrationsoflearning  resilience  risktaking  foreignlanguage  languages  fluency  testing  standardizedtesting  self-medication  eatingdisorders  socialnorming 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Once Upon a Time, Not Too Long Ago, Teaching Was Considered a Profession, But Then Came Standardization, Tests, and Value-Added Merit Pay Schemes That Ate All Humanity for Breakfast...
"Even in the some of the most selective independent schools that once prided the immense Creative and intellectual power of their teaching force, teachers are being asked by administrators to devote their planning efforts to standardizing the curriculum. These are schools where a majority of the teachers (like the ones I wrote about at the start) have doctorate degrees or previous careers related to subject areas of special interest that they so freely and passionately incorporated into individualized teaching approaches. These are schools where students used to benefit from the creative and intellectual contributions that highly professional individual teachers made in a myriad of ways. Scarce resources (both time and money) are also squandered on stifling new technology such as so-called curricular mapping software in efforts to further regiment a formerly creative and free-flowing process.

In other words, in the name of standardization and equity (of homework assigned, books read, topics covered, and so on), the teachers are being asked to make themselves interchangeable. As a result, the once passionate, personalized, and professional process of curriculum development and teaching is now characterized by assembly-line malaise in a growing number of schools. And students may lose the opportunity to explore the kind of idiosyncratic topics that demonstrate the richness of inquiry itself.

How did this happen?
There is an old parable about a man searching on his hands and knees under a streetlight. A passerby sees him and asks, “What are you looking for?” Hunched over, eyes not leaving the ground, the man replies, “I’ve lost my car keys.” The kind passerby immediately joins him in his search. After a few minutes searching without success, she asks the man whether he is sure he lost the keys there on the street corner. “No,” he replies, pointing down the block, “I lost them over there.” Indignant, the woman asks, “Then why are you looking for them here?” The man replies, “Because there’s light here.”

Behind the onslaught of testing and so-called “accountability” measures of the last decade lurks the same perverse logic of the man looking for his keys. We know what matters to most teachers, parents, school administrators, board members, and policy-makers. But we are far less sure how to find out whether teachers and schools are successful in teaching what matters. Since we have relatively primitive ways of assessing students’ abilities to think, create, question, analyze, form healthy relationships, and work in concert with others to improve their communities and the world, we turn instead to where the light is: standardized measures of students’ abilities to decode sentences and solve mathematical problems. In other words, since we can’t measure what we care about, we start to care about what we can measure."

[Ironically via: ]
nais  cv  beenthere  teaching  standardization  curriculum  curriculummapping  time  learning  tcsnmy  independentschools  education  schools  policy  testing  standardizedtesting  meritpay  standards  2011  joelwestheimer 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Reimagine : Ed
"We are exploring the future of learning in K-12 education by identifying ideas, places, and professional roles that would benefit from new perspectives.

Using a virtual learning community and an annual three-day summit, we bring together diverse voices and use the design process to develop shared understandings and action steps for change.

Reimagine : Ed is a partnership between The Lovett School and Be Playful"

"The initial focus of Reimagine : Ed will be to explore the role of the library and its potential as a center of learning and engagement in our communities.

In an age of information abundance, rapid technological change, social-construction of knowledge, and a debate on the definition of literacy, the library has an unprecedented opportunity to lead our communities."
beplayful  christianlong  lovettschool  atlanta  future  learning  schools  teaching  education  tcsnmy  libraries  reimagine  technology  community  knowledge  abundance  literacy  susanbooth  helenebowers  lucygray  buffyhamilton  davidjakes  randallkirsch  trungle  sarahmalin  andreasaveri  jeffsharpe  jedsimmons  davidstaley  ethanbodnar  davidbill  nais  virtual 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The 4 S's of Adolescent Success
“In order to survive & thrive in college, students must have a stake in their own education & know how to walk toward problems. This requires an ability & willingness to approach faculty, navigate bureaucracy, tap into resources, & ask for help. In other words, it requires maturity. If students don’t possess sufficient self-discipline, resilience, impulse-control, & a keen desire to learn, the college experience can have expensive & devastating long-term consequences."

[via: ]
nais  tcsnmy  schools  schooloness  stress  psychology  maturity  edication  unschooling  deschooling  impulse-control  self-discipline  resilience  learning  2008  toshare  topost  integrity  honor  character  responsibility  self-confidence  admissions  collegeadmissions  colleges  universities  readiness  ivyleague  caroldweck  margaretmead  stressmanagement  michellegall  williamstixrud  success  relationships  self-knowledge  sat  well-being  parenting  happiness 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Bassett Blog 2010/05: Disruptive Realities (Part I)
"Exacerbating that reality is that while the boomers’ priorities of an intellectually stimulating environment, the opportunity to give back to the world, and autonomy regarding work tasks were a slam dunk for independent schools, those values don’t appear on the “top ten” list of Millennials. Rather our young protégés expect quick and early prospects for advancement and a steady rate of promotion. This in the context of their expecting to change jobs frequently and in a work environment that has had only one advancement option: leave the classroom to become an administrator. Thus, demography of the workplace will require from school leaders a more complex and flexible environment to keep the natives happy and productive.
patbassett  nais  generations  leadership  tcsnmy  education  independentschools  schools  future  predictions  enrollment  demographics  management  administration  flexibility  work 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Beyond Test Prep
"…creativity in all disciplines…critical thinking, & joy of learning, strength of character…importance of beauty & grace…respect & concern for others…our cultural differences & common humanity…stewards of natural world…realize their power for good as citizens…critical, creative, & independent habits of thought…random walk through mission statements of independent schools shows an admirable determination to educate students for an unknowable future, for creativity & problem solving, for responsible citizenship, for resiliency. Nevertheless, many of these same schools are constrained to work towards their mission-central goals in time stolen from the classroom...

The pressure on schools to stay focused on test prep is real. But if independent schools are not to go the way of many independent bookstores, they will have to resist this pressure & focus their academic programs on the real educational outcomes their students will need — & then actually design their teaching around them."
tcsnmy  nais  schools  teaching  education  learning  lcproject  21stcenturyskills  creativity  curriculum  missionstatements  standardizedtesting  testing 
april 2010 by robertogreco
The Curious Pursuit of Greatness
"To some degree, we all want to remain a 1st-grader — at least when it comes to curiosity. I went to high school & college & grad school & all that, but I try to retain that unbridled, 1st grade curiosity. In the end, Markham is right. I think that is what's so hard about death — unsatisfied curiosity. For 100 of years of life...we can only scratch the surface of learning. 50 years from now...I'll look for the hospice person in my room & I'll ask him how some apparatus works? I want my last words in life to be a question, not an answer...If you stay curious, you'll never run out of energy. Of course, I'm motivated by other things. I'm motivated by impact as well...But even if you have a positive impact on the world, your satisfaction is only momentarily abated — & then you start to get curious again & start process all over again. When it comes to education...if you can have every single kid coming out of school with his curiosity intact, you've succeeded on a deeply important level."
jimcollins  tcsnmy  learning  curiosity  schools  teaching  nais  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  death  glvo 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Progressive Education [don't miss the "sidebar"]
"It’s not all or nothing, to be sure. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a school — even one with scripted instruction, uniforms, and rows of desks bolted to the floor — that has completely escaped the influence of progressive ideas. Nor have I seen a school that’s progressive in every detail. Still, schools can be characterized according to how closely they reflect a commitment to values such as these: Attending to the whole child, Community, Collaboration, Social justice, Intrinsic motivation, Deep understanding, Active learning, Taking kids seriously...A school that is culturally progressive is not necessarily educationally progressive. ... What It Isn’t ... Why It Makes Sense ... Why It’s Rare ... A Dozen Questions for Progressive Schools"
progressive  education  learning  alfiekohn  nais  tcsnmy  philosophy  progressivism  politics  standards  teaching  schools  children  students  homework  schooling  lcproject 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Marginal Revolution: The economic collapse of Japan and the Phoenix Suns
"The Suns have been spending lots in recent years toward the goal of ever-rising prices for season tickets and corporate boxes. Does that strategy sound familiar?" Replace "The Suns" with "many independent schools" and insert "tuition" for "prices for season tickets and corporate boxes" and you have the predicament of many NAIS schools.
tylercowen  economics  money  finance  sports  bailout  management  property  nba  nais  bubbles  tuition  leadership  spending  administration  gamechanging  waste  cv  tcsnmy 
february 2009 by robertogreco
NAIS - Resources and Statistics - Hot Topics: Global Issues and Sustainable Schools [from 2005]
"This PowerPoint presentation focuses on independent school issues that are universal and global. It also presents the NAIS vision for school sustainability in five areas: financial, global, environmental, demographic, and programmatic. If the purpose of leadership is ultimately to develop and execute a vision that creates a school "built to last," then school leaders and their boards must address how to plan for sustainability across these several continua. What are the right questions to ask? What are early adopter schools doing?"
nais  independentschools  trends  2005  sustainability  leadership  demographics  management  administration  finance  us  global  technology  millennials  generations  parenting  teaching  schools  education 
september 2008 by robertogreco
NAIS - Sustainable Schools - Sustainable Schools for the 21st Century [from 2005]
"NAIS believes that in order to survive and thrive in the 21st Century, schools should address sustainability on five dimensions. Below you'll find links to additional research and resources related to each of these areas of sustainability.
nais  sustainability  independentschools  schools  2005  education  planning  21stcentury  environment  finance  global  curriculum  leadership  management  administration  demographics  trends 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Trends in Private Education [from 2001]
"teacher shortage in private schools this year: · declining interest in teaching as a profession (especially among women and people of color as other professional opportunities open for them offering much higher salaries and status).
2001  teaching  education  administration  management  leadership  independentschools  trends  population  nais  sustainability  workforce  careers 
september 2008 by robertogreco
NAIS - Publications - Independent School Magazine - Tomorrow Is Today [from 1999:]
"Allowing a few fleeting seconds of glory, let's remind ourselves of our current moment: an all-time high number of school-age children in the United States; the longest sustained economic expansion in history; a growing interest in educational choice and attendant enhancement of independent school profiles and reputations. Enough mirth: it is too tempting to drink ourselves silly on the nectar of today's market factors." ... "over 4 mil 10-year-olds in U.S...# of school-age children has been increasing since '96...will continue...until '05. After that...will increase very slightly/not at all...until 2010...then decline until 2020, to about '96 level." ... "keep operating overhead low, even if increased enrollment possibilities offer the chance to cover the costs -- downsizing will be painful when the drought comes" "differentiate...mission from...other schools"
1999  nais  demographics  trends  poplulation  independentschools  sustainability  education  schools  children  families  administration  management  leadership  marketing 
september 2008 by robertogreco
NAIS - Search - Schools of the Future - "In 2007, NAIS launched the Schools of the Future initiative to establish NAIS as the forum for conversations about schools of the future."
"Promote initiatives in equity & justice, global perspectives, and educational technology...Project & predict new ways of teaching & learning...Capitalize on new technology for teaching, learning, & communicating...Seek out partnerships for experimentatio
education  classideas  tcsnmy  schools  schooldesign  global  technology  equity  justice  sustainability  learning  students  initiatives  nais  gamechanging  future 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Drop in Applications Tests D.C. Area Private Schools
"shrinking pool of younger students, a souring economy and rising tuition...population of children ages 5 to 9 is declining...Tuition may have reached the "breaking point...Schools are going to have to think out of the box from now on"
education  trends  private  schools  nais  tuition  leadership  finance  recession  money  change  administration  management  demographics 
april 2008 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:

to read