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Equitable Schools for a Sustainable World - Long View on Education
"“The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom.” bell hooks

Instead of writing a review of Different Schools for a Different World by Scott McLeod and Dean Shareski, I want to try reading it differently, from back to front. I’ll start with the last topic, equity, and then proceed to talk about: innovation, boredom, learning, economics, and information literacy. But first, I want to touch on the book’s epigraph: Seth Godin tells us to “Make schools different.”

Different is an interesting word. It’s certainly a different word from what people have used to call for educational transformation in the past. If we were to draw up teams about educational change, I’m confident that McLeod, Shareski, and I would all be against the authoritarian ‘no excuses’ strand of reform that fears student agency. We’re also for meaningful engagement over glittery entertainment.

Yet, we also part ways very quickly in how we frame our arguments. They argue that we should “adapt learning and teaching environments to the demands of the 21st Century.” Our “changing, increasingly connected world” speeds ahead, but “most of our classrooms fail to change in response to it.” I start from a different position, one that questions how the demands of the 21st Century fit with the project of equity."

"What makes McLeod and Shareski’s take different from the long history of arguments about schools? Here’s their answer:

“In some respects, the concerns in this book are no different from the concerns of the authors of A Nation at Risk… We agree schools need to change, but that change should have to do with a school’s relevance, not just with its achievement scores.”

I think that relevance is exactly the right word, but we must ask relevant to what?

Their answer is the “demands of the 21st Century” that come from “shifting from an industrial mode to a global model and innovation model.” In Godin’s book, he presents the data center as a source of individual opportunity. While that can be true, the number of well-paying jobs at Google and Youtube stars will always be limited. Freedom of expression and civic participation can’t flourish in an age of economic precarity.

So what are the alternatives?

Jennifer M. Silva writes a counter-narrative to the worship of self-sufficiency and competition, and exposes “the hidden injuries of risk”, which often lead to isolation, a hardening of the self, and tragedy. One of her interview subjects died because she lacked affordable health-care.

What Silva finds is that “working-class young adults… feel a sense of powerlessness and mystification towards the institutions that order their lives. Over and over again, they learn that choice is simply an illusion.” Writing in a global context, (2014), Alcinda Honwana gives a name – waithood – to this experience of youth who are “no longer children in need of care, but … are still unable to become independent adults.” Honwana explicitly rejects the idea that waithood represents a “failed transition on the part of the youth themselves,” and she carefully documents the agency of the youth she interviewed in South Africa, Tunisia, Senegal, and Mozambique.
“Young people I interviewed showed strong awareness of the broader socio-economic and political environments that affect their lives. They are acutely conscious of their marginal structural position and they despise and rebel against the abuse and corruption that they observe as the elites in power get richer and they become poorer … They are critical of unsound economic policies that focus on growth but do not enlarge the productive base by creating more jobs.”

There’s no sustainable future in Western countries measuring educational success by the extent to which they out-compete the globalized Other. In her conclusion, Silva presents Wally, who is like her other working-class interview subjects in every respect except his political activism, as a token of hope. Instead of privatizing his problems, he is able to translate them into political issues. The alternative lies not in making schools different, but making the world ‘different’, sustainable, and just."
benjamindoxtdator  2017  equality  equity  socialjustice  schools  sustainability  education  children  economics  globalization  competition  bellhooks  scottmcleod  deanshareski  litercy  infoliteracy  sethgodin  capitalism  digitalredlining  digitaldivide  chrisgilliard  marianamazzucato  ha-joonchang  innovation  labor  work  rosslevine  yonarubinstein  jordanweissman  aliciarobb  carljames  race  class  boredom  richardelmore  mikeschmoker  robertpianta  johngoodlad  engagement  passivity  criticism  learning  howwelearn  technology  johndewey  democracy  efficiency  davidsnedden  neoliberalism  richardflorida  tonyagner  erikbrynjolfsson  andremcafee  carlbenediktfrey  michaelosborne  davidautor  inequality  surveillance  surveillancecapitalism  shoshanazuboff  jonathanalbright  henrygiroux  jennifersilva  alcindahonwana  change  precarity 
october 2017 by robertogreco
The Future is Learning, But What About Schooling? | Higher Ed Beta @insidehighered
"I am, in short, moving away from my earlier conviction that schooling is learning enacted for public purposes through public institutions, and moving toward a broader vision for learning as a social activity upon which society depends for its future development. I am increasingly aware that the weight of politics and public policy upon the institutions of schooling is making schools less and less likely to be the privileged place where learning occurs in the future.

The future of learning in society is virtually unlimited, at least for the foreseeable future. Learning is the conversion of information into knowledge; information, in the digital age has become a vast sea of ones and zeros; information becomes knowledge by passing through some medium that transforms the ones and zeros into a conceptually organized form.

In the past, we have thought of this transformation as a single authoritative portal, called schooling. The advent of digital culture means that this portal is now one among many possible places, virtual and physical, where information can become knowledge. The type of knowledge and skill required to negotiate this increasingly complex world is completely different from what schools have conventionally done, and schools are institutionally disadvantaged as players in this new world, in large part because of the well-intentioned efforts of school reformers.

While learning has largely escaped the boundaries of institutionalized schooling, educational reformers have for the past thirty years or so deliberately and systematically engaged in public policy choices that make schools less and less capable of responding to the movement of learning into society at large.

Standards and expectations have become more and more literal and highly prescriptive in an age where human beings will be exercising more and more choice over what and how they will learn.

Testing and assessment practices have become more and more conventional and narrow as the range of competencies required to negotiate digital culture has become more complex and highly variegated.

Teacher preparation, hiring, induction, and evaluation practices have become more and more rigid and hierarchical in an age where the teaching function is migrating out into a more individualized and tailored set of learning environments.

We are continuing to invest massively in hard-boundary physical structures in an age where learning is moving into mobile, flexible, and networked relationships. In other words, it would be hard to imagine an institutional structure for learning that is less suited for the future than the heavily institutionalized, hierarchical world that education reformers have constructed."

[via: ]
richardelmore  2015  education  learning  howweteach  unschooling  dechooling  schooliness  edreform  netwrokedlearning  policy  standards  standardization  expectations  evaluation  hierarchy  schooling  decentralization  obsolescence  irrelevance  bureaucracy  knowledge  information  schoolreform  institutions  institutionalization  publicschools  society  scriptedlearning  testing  assessment  hiring  flexibility  mobility  experience  leadership  politics 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Squishy Not Slick - squishy not slick, the edtech futurist version / #thoughtvectors not call centers
"lots of rumblings lately, lots of connections

[most of this will just serve as placeholders until I have more time to fill in the missing pieces]

Is the future of educational technology going to look like a call center? ( )

Rob led me to Gardner Campbell’s talk ( ) [who I just realized is a colleague of some of my favorite people on the internet, @jonbecker and @twoodwar who are working on the #thoughtvectors thing at VCU], in which he explains the point of all this as ”networked transcontextualism,” which is the way to escape “the double bind,” a term from Gregory Bateson. ( )

In the same vein, Audrey Watters says all the right things ( ) [and thanks to Rob for storifying it]

Seymour Papert (,38 ) keeps coming up [Campbell and Watters mention him]

Campbell’s “networked transcontextualism” especially reminded me of what Richard Elmore had to say about all this ( ), that we’re moving from “nested hierarchy” to “networked relationships.”

Then Dan Meyer joined in, saying it with a Neil Diamond analogy. ( )

This is all happens while I’m trying to make Sugata Mitra’s SOLE idea ( ), or something similar, happen in more traditional classrooms, an attempt at finding an alternate path, an escape from the call center version of our edtech future."
lukeneff  audreywatters  2014  gardnercampbell  jonbecker  tomwoodward  gregorybateson  danmeyer  seymourpapert  sugatamitra  sole  transcontextualism  edtech  education  learning  teaching  connections  networks  doublebind  richardelmore  transcontextualization 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Overcoming the Assessment Culture to Achieve Real Education Reform | Dr. Richard Elmore
"Professional development for educators is a fundamental key to large-scale improvement of learning for children. Yet building the capacity of adults charged with preparing students for the future is the weakest part of our nation's reform strategy.

This is not because we don't know what to do. We understand that professional development must be sustained over time. We know it must be structured and focused, and include direct observation and support in the classroom. We know that teachers and school leaders must understand the importance of children's cognitive and emotional development and embrace it with a sense of urgency.

Our nation's record in professional development isn't weak because we don't have the knowledge or the tools to do it right. It's weak because it is difficult to do and because policymakers tend to gravitate toward what is easier. Professional development is an investment of dollars and time. And, it often demands profound culture change.

Culture change is particularly difficult in an environment with schools that have been redesigned around assessments, which measure school performance. And we have not figured out how to make this accountability system support the development of human beings. I would argue that this assessment culture is the single biggest challenge facing professional development and school improvement.

If you visit most American schools today, you'll observe instructional practices that are not designed to develop students' competencies and engagement in learning, but to teach simple recall tasks that can be transferred to test scores. Most schools know they are stuck in this territory and don't like it. They know they can get students to a certain level of performance by doing these things; however, they know these are not the right things.

We can begin to move away from this accountability environment by placing professional development experts in the classroom who are knowledgeable about instruction, who understand and are inquisitive about how students think, and who will work with teachers as learning partners. However, even that will not work if we fail to embrace a true learning culture.

Instead of fixing teachers, we need to release the energy that's already in the classroom and put strong resources in place that support teachers. These added resources will enable them to make the necessary shifts -- shifts that challenge students to struggle for, and ultimately find, meaningful answers to real problems.

If I could make one wish, it would be to create a generation of teachers who walk into the classroom every morning expecting to be surprised by what kids can do. This is not the job of professional development alone, but also our schools of education.

Can we make these cultural shifts? In working with more than 300 schools that have made a commitment to professional development, I know it can be done.

The role of national, state and local policymakers must be to ensure that every struggling school, and every struggling teacher, has the same opportunity."
richardelmore  professionaldevelopment  2014  teaching  howweteach  learning  schools  education  policy  assessment  accountability 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Coming Revolution in Public Education - John Tierney - The Atlantic
"• It's what history teaches us to expect.

• Education policies based on standardization and uniformity tend to fail.

[Related:;view=fulltext ]

• Policies based on distrust of teachers tend to fail.

• Judging teachers' performance by students' test scores is both substantively and procedurally flawed.

• More people are realizing that many of the organizations involved in "corporate reform" seem to need reforming themselves.

• People wonder why reformers themselves aren't held accountable."
education  policy  trust  2013  schools  schooling  reform  edreform  johntierney  testing  standardization  standardizedtesting  commoncore  local  testscores  us  capitalism  business  pearson  accountability  teaching  learning  dianeravitch  thomaspaine  pushback  davidpatten  geraldconti  michellerhee  doublestandards  richardelmore  mildbreywallinmclaughlin  incentives  corruption  motivation 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Two great quotes from Richard Elmore | Scott McLeod | Big Think [More within]
"When students step out the door of…school today, they step into a learning environment…organized in ways radically different from how it once was. It’s a world in which access to knowledge is relatively easy & seamless; in which one is free to follow a line of inquiry wherever it takes one, without the direction & control of someone called a teacher; &, in which…most people can quickly build a network of learners around just about any body of knowledge & interests, unconstrained by the limits of geography, institutions, & time zones. If you were a healthy, self-actualizing young person, in which of these environments would you choose to spend most of your time?

…The more accessible learning becomes through unmediated relationships and broad-based social networks, the less clear it is why schools, and the people who work in them, should have such a large claim on the lives of children and young adults, and the more the noneducational functions of schooling come to the fore."

[Don't miss the video: ]
scottmcleod  technology  schooling  self-directedlearning  inquiry-basedlearning  change  lcproject  cv  openstudioproject  schools  learning  deschooling  unschooling  networkedlearning  education  2011  richardelmore 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Harvard Education Letter: “I Used to Think . . . and Now I Think . . .” Reflections on the work of school reform, by Richard Elmore
1. I used to think that policy was the solution. And now I think that policy is the problem. [elaborates]…

2. I used to think that people’s beliefs determined their practices. And now I think that people’s practices determine their beliefs. [elaborates, inlcuding]… The largest determinant of how people practice is how they have practiced in the past, and people demonstrate an amazingly resilient capacity to relabel their existing practices with whatever ideas are currently in vogue. …

3. I used to think that public institutions embodied the collective values of society. And now I think that they embody the interests of the people who work in them. [elaborates, including]…School administrators and teachers engage in practices that deliberately exclude students from access to learning in order to make their work more manageable and make their schools look good."
professionaldevelopment  pd  hierarchy  hierarchies  bureaucracy  organizations  stasis  radicalism  radicals  cv  2010  mindchanging  mindchanges  schools  tcsnmy  administration  policy  institutions  institutionalization  self-preservation  deschooling  unschooling  nelsonmandela  martinlutherkingjr  gandhi  leadership  change  learning  education  richardelmore  mlk  canon  schooling  unlearning 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Richard Elmore: Futures of School Reform - C-SPAN Video Library
"general drift here is from left to more radical... I do not believe that the institutional structure of public schooling anymore. I view the work that I continue to do with schools, and I take it seriously, as palliative care for a dying institution.""

"The central organizing principle for society and for going to be network relationships."

"It will not accommodate well, in fact the longer we stay with the hierarchy model, the worse the disassociation between learning and schooling will be."

"The mobile classroom in the mobile public schools in this country is designed point for point to be exactly the opposite of what we are learning about humans, how human beings develop cognitively."

"how do we handle issues of access when learning starts to migrate away from schooling?… what is the mechanism by which neuroscience becomes part of the way we think about learning and what consequences does that have for the way we design learning environments? I refuse to call them schools."

[Alt link: ]
networkrelationships  relationships  adhoc  informal  informallearning  schooling  thisishuge  edreform  reform  neuroscience  change  networks  networkedlearning  institutionalization  institutions  self-servinginstitutions  flattening  policy  scale  sugatamitra  hierarchies  nestedhierarchies  bureaucracy  hierarchy  cv  lcproject  learning  teaching  2012  radicalism  radicals  deschooling  unschooling  richardelmore  via:lukeneff  education  radicalization  canon  horizontality 
november 2012 by robertogreco
What Would Happen if We Let Them Go? - The Futures of School Reform - Education Week
"I wonder, finally, what would happen if we simply opened the doors and let the students go; if we let them walk out of the dim light of the overhead projector into the sunlight; if we let them decide how, or whether, to engage this monolith? Would it be so terrible? Could it be worse than what they are currently experiencing? Would adults look at young people differently if they had to confront their children on the street, rather than locking them away in institutions? Would it force us to say more explicitly what a humane and healthy learning environment might look like? Should discussions of the future of school reform be less about the pet ideas of professional reformers and more about what we’re doing to young people in the institution called school?"

[See also: ]
unschooling  deschooling  education  teaching  schools  schooliness  learning  compulsory  reform  policy  2011  richardelmore  canon  schooling 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Usable Knowledge: The (only) three ways to improve performance in schools, HGSE Professor Richard Elmore
"You don't change performance without changing the instructional core," states Anrig Professor Richard Elmore. "The relationship of the teacher and the student in the presence of content must be at the center of efforts to improve performance."


Richard Elmore pinpoints fundamental tensions between district-based efforts for systemic improvement and the performance-based accountability demands of No Child Left Behind. "We have gotten ourselves into a situation where testing has become the primary lever of accountability and improvement," Elmore says. He cites significant consequences that interfere with our efforts to bring about instructional change:

* We have vastly underinvested in human capital and resource development. Schools and districts have to figure out exactly what the requirements are for raising skill and knowledge without much guidance, or more importantly, without the resources to do it.

* States have become agents of the federal government and are headed toward a crisis. There are more schools headed toward receivership than any state can handle. No one has the capacity to deal with the growing case load of low-performing schools.

* The Adequate Yearly Progress standard is not empirically grounded. We have to generate data about how schools actually improve and start to make accountability policies represent that.

* People shy away from acknowledging the negative consequences of performance-based accountability. Where are the kids who don't show up for the test? Where are the kids who start 9th grade and don't finish 12th grade? What is the consequence of receiving a curriculum that is based on test preparation versus one that is based on teaching high-level skills?

"These issues don't actually compromise or demean performance-base accountability," states Elmore. "They just pose problems for it – and they're not getting treated as issues of public accountability."

Elmore cautions districts as they wrestle with creating instructional change in this climate, "If you don't have a way of connecting instruction to management, organization, and accountability, you're behaving irresponsibly." He advises focusing on those things that make the instructional core work.

What this means, says Elmore, is there are basically only three ways you can increase learning and performance:

1. increase the knowledge and skill of teachers

2. change the content

3. alter the relationship of the student to the teacher and the content

"The instructional core helps us identify where we're trying to improve," explains Elmore. "The teacher, the student, the content – if you change one, you have to change them all." He elaborates:

"You can't alter the skill and knowledge of the teacher when you stay in a low-level curriculum. If you alter the content without changing the skill and knowledge of teachers, you are asking teachers to teach to a level that they don't have the skill and knowledge to teach to. If you do either one of those things without changing the role of the student in the instructional process, the likelihood that students will ever take control of their own learning is pretty remote."

Given the serious consequences of the current accountability context, Elmore advocates focusing on the instructional core in schools – the teacher and the student in the presence of content. He cautions districts and policy makers, "If you push on an organization and you don't have a theory about how it shows up in teaching and learning, you're basically causing people to do rain dances.""
curriculum  development  leadership  management  administration  schools  learning  teaching  students  reform  change  richardelmore  performance  ayp  adequateyearlyprogress  nclb  accountability  performance-basedaccountability  relationships  content  unschooling  deschooling  cv 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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