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robertogreco : tutoring   21

We can’t educate our kids out of inequality
"Those who tout the advantages of a good education like to conjure an image of some future society full of educated professionals all working stable, fulfilling, and salaried jobs. But even the worst students can look around the world and see through this. They can see the economic instability facing most people, and they know that a good education won’t undo the vagaries of the gig economy, or replace the protections of a union. But, they’re told, if you do well enough in school, then hopefully you won’t have to worry about that stuff.

This false promise was more disheartening that any other realization I had while working with students. Unfair tests, confusing admissions policies, unequal schools — all that is bad but sadly unsurprising, so you can prepare yourself for it. On the other hand, I was not prepared to lie to students about how, if they just figured out trig functions, then everything would be OK.

Education fetishism gives the illusion of fairness to society’s inequalities. Grades and test scores and college rankings mirror the stratification of the economy, and apply a thin veneer of meritocracy to that hierarchy. What students internalize about school is that it is primarily about ranking people. So attempts to improve education are really attempts to make those rankings more accurate, instead of making them less determinative. As long as this is true, then education is not really the solution to society’s problems. Even bold steps to improve schools and bring down college costs will not fix the problem of inequality, since status and sorting are also the results of education in America.

None of this is to say that education is bad or that schools should not be improved for their own sake. Learning things, after all, is fun. Education is great when it’s about teaching people stuff they want to know. But because school has to serve this burden of fixing social problems it is not equipped to fix, it cannot simply teach students interesting things they want to learn. Students should learn trig functions because they are an elegant solution to a complicated problem. They should read Hamlet because it’s a good play. They should learn things because there is value in learning them.

Instead, educators have to rend these subjects apart, breaking them into supposedly marketable skills like “reading comprehension” and “analytical reasoning” so that they can be used to demonstrate a student’s market value and justify patently unjust economic outcomes. As long as this is the case, then not only will inequality fail to get better, but education will continue to get worse. Instead of insisting we can educate ourselves out of the social problems capitalism creates, we should learn something new."



"This false promise was more disheartening that any other realization I had while working with students. Unfair tests, confusing admissions policies, unequal schools — all that is bad but sadly unsurprising, so you can prepare yourself for it. On the other hand, I was not prepared to lie to students about how, if they just figured out trig functions, then everything would be OK.

Education fetishism gives the illusion of fairness to society’s inequalities. Grades and test scores and college rankings mirror the stratification of the economy, and apply a thin veneer of meritocracy to that hierarchy. What students internalize about school is that it is primarily about ranking people. So attempts to improve education are really attempts to make those rankings more accurate, instead of making them less determinative. As long as this is true, then education is not really the solution to society’s problems. Even bold steps to improve schools and bring down college costs will not fix the problem of inequality, since status and sorting are also the results of education in America.

None of this is to say that education is bad or that schools should not be improved for their own sake. Learning things, after all, is fun. Education is great when it’s about teaching people stuff they want to know. But because school has to serve this burden of fixing social problems it is not equipped to fix, it cannot simply teach students interesting things they want to learn. Students should learn trig functions because they are an elegant solution to a complicated problem. They should read Hamlet because it’s a good play. They should learn things because there is value in learning them.

Instead, educators have to rend these subjects apart, breaking them into supposedly marketable skills like “reading comprehension” and “analytical reasoning” so that they can be used to demonstrate a student’s market value and justify patently unjust economic outcomes. As long as this is the case, then not only will inequality fail to get better, but education will continue to get worse. Instead of insisting we can educate ourselves out of the social problems capitalism creates, we should learn something new."
education  inequality  tutoring  schools  2018  hierarchy  economics  admissions  class  meritocracy  sorting  johnschneider  schooling  society  capitalism  gigeconomy  colleges  universities  grades  grading  learning  deschooling  unions  socialsafetynet  testing  bias 
november 2018 by robertogreco
826 Seattle Changes Its Name to the Bureau of Fearless Ideas by Paul Constant - Seattle Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper
"And as Part of Its Commitment to Fearlessness, Breaks Off from 826 National and Expands into White Center with Another Tutoring Space



"he nonprofit soon to be formerly known as 826 Seattle was not conceived as a branch of 826 National. Hein had been organizing it for a year under other names. It was originally called Pencil Head “for the blink of an eye” until “these kids told me that was stupid,” and then it was going to be “Studio 26” until Eggers asked Hein to join 826 National. Since then, Hein says, they’ve been “operating at capacity for all our programs. We’ve never taken a loan, we’ve ended up in the black every year. Even through the worst of the economic decline, our budget’s been going up and up and up and up.” Staffing has increased from “two and a half” employees to 19. The first year’s annual budget was a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This year, the budget is almost a million.

So if everything’s going so well, why rock the boat? Hein has nothing but kind words to say about 826 National, but she thinks her nonprofit has always been “kind of the independent chapter” and needs to grow beyond the 826 National mission statement. Plus, as 826 National grows and expands, they will probably need to standardize their procedures in order to capture the larger grants that a truly national educational program needs. Hein hopes the BFI will become an affiliate of 826 National; she’d like to pilot educational programs that she can then pass on to the nationwide branches. Gerald Richards, CEO of 826 National, issued a statement saying, "We wish them well,” but did not elaborate on the future of the BFI’s involvement with 826 National.

So what will the BFI do differently? For one thing, Hein says, they’re going to open a branch in White Center by 2016. And obviously the name is changing. A lot of serious thought has gone into the terminology behind the BFI. Students and tutors will be “Field Agents,” Hein is the “Bureau Chief,” and starting next week, students will be doing after-school tutoring and taking other classes at the Greenwood Field Office, which will still be hidden behind a teleporter in the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company.

Hein says the organization makes most of its money from individual donors, a rarity in the nonprofit education field. “Are we crazy to think we can raise another million dollars,” she says, “and open another center somewhere else? Or two centers? Or five centers?” She’s considered offices in Burien, and she calls Tukwila and the Crossroads neighborhood on the Eastside interesting possibilities. Wherever the field offices open, Hein wants them to become intrinsically tied to their neighborhoods. Seattle feels more divided than ever, she says, thanks to worsening traffic and economic disparity. But “what happens to kids when they really identify with their neighborhood and their sense of confidence and their sense of safety with their neighborhood?”

The programs that 826 Seattle has become known for will still be happening at the Bureau, including tutoring assistance, classes on writing family history “through poetry, prose, and a comic/graphic novel,” travel and food writing classes, and a National Novel Writing Month meet-up group for high-schoolers. The programs will still be free and available to kids from all financial backgrounds; they serve three thousand kids a year in Greenwood alone. Hein is bursting with ideas involving low-power radio and incorporating neighborhood businesses into the act. Hein says, “One of my fantasies is that the kids with their adults will research the history of Greenwood and perform a play about it with the adults at the Taproot Theatre.” She begins whirling off ideas—personal histories of immigrant small-business owners, songwriting projects—until it’s obvious that she’s just gotten started."
826seattle  seattle  terihein  2014  via:coreycaitlin  education  standardization  826national  tutoring  writing  children  youth  openstudioproject  lcproject 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Writing Centers Seek to Unlock Youths' Creativity - Education Week
"'Stealth Education'

Gerald Richards, the CEO of 826 National, said the storefronts contribute to the ability to provide "stealth education."

"Students are coming right from school, and they walk into this space. They touch some eyeballs, they might try on the cape tester, then they walk in the back, and their whole perception shifts," he said. "It's like I'm not going into a tutoring space, I'm going into a different space where volunteers are waiting to work with me."

Several flagship programs run at all 826 sites. One-on-one homework help is held after 3 p.m. almost every school day, the last hour of which is dedicated to writing assistance. During Storytelling and Bookmaking field trips, classes from local schools drop by for two-hour sessions in which they write a story as a group, bind it into a book on-site, and fill out the ending on their own. Individual after-school and summer workshops have playful writing-related themes—for example, cartooning, playwriting, or comedy writing.

And the Young Authors' Book Project connects classrooms with writers and volunteers, who spend a semester helping students craft poems or stories that are then bound into a professionally published book.

Comedian Robin Williams, author Isabel Allende, and filmmaker Spike Jonze, among others, have written the forwards for the student anthologies.

"They're making space for young people to do real writing and carry their writing all the way through the process to publication," said Ms. Eidman-Aadahl. "They endow writing again with the kind of magic that the written word should have."

STEM Initiative

As part of the new 826 program that blends STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) with creative writing, students will do a hands-on science experiment and use it as the inspiration for fiction writing.

In a 2012 pilot, students learned about viral mapping and rates of decay, then wrote stories about a zombie apocalypse. The lesson plans are aligned to both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, according to 826.

Unlike with some other national education networks, the 826 model is overall quite nimble, said Mr. Richards. As it is, the centers are founded at the local level and then apply for chapter status.

"We're not going to parachute in and say you need 826," he said. "It has to be locally driven."

That means each chapter puts its own spin on how programs are run."



"Recent evaluations suggest the 826 chapters are helping students with both confidence and academics. An 826 analysis of test scores and surveys, conducted during the 2011-12 academic year, found that students increased an average of 13 percent in "story composition" skills and 8 percent in "contextual convention" (such as noun-verb agreement and punctuation) on a standardized writing test after participating in 826 programs.

Participants were also more likely to report enjoying writing and feeling proud of their work, the study found. An external evaluation of the Young Authors' Book Project in Boston, conducted in 2013, found similar results.

But as some see it, what the 826 chapters do best is give students one-on-one attention, which happens rarely in schools, and set up a "third space"—somewhere that's neither home nor school that provides creative opportunities and inspiration.

"It's a strong Socratic method," said Mr. Richards, 826's CEO. As a volunteer, "you're there to support and to nourish, you're not there so much to teach."At 826, "young people with an interest in writing can go to follow their interest and be with other young people and mentors who also love writing," said Ms. Eidman-Aadahl of the National Writing Project.

However, 826 chapters are "not the mass solution," she said. "They're not everywhere."

In fact, there are many other local initiatives—summer writing camps, after-school writing clubs, library writing centers—without the name recognition that are doing similar work. "They're not so much organized, but in their local communities, people know about them," she said.

Making out-of-school writing opportunities available widely is critical, she added.

"We know in schools the minutes for writing have just diminished in so many places with the emphasis on testing and reading and math," said Ms. Eidman-Aadahl. "When writing shows up, it's much more likely to show up as a form of testing."

Going Global?

While 826 is only located in a few urban areas for now, leaders of the national organization have plans to branch out. Beyond the tutoring spaces in New Orleans and St. Paul, Minn., whose leaders are hoping to get the official 826 imprimatur, centers in Amsterdam, London, and Sydney, Australia, may soon try to make the brand international.

Mr. Richards noted that the organization is also applying for a federal Investing in Innovation grant.

Individual centers are expanding as well. Michigan is considering opening a second storefront in Detroit next year, though Ms. Uhle called that plan "funding dependent." And the Washington chapter is on track to meet a goal of serving 5,000 students—about 10 percent of the public school population—by June 2016. (It currently serves 3,250, up from 2,500 in 2013.)For Mr. Callahan of 826 DC, expansion is now more critical than ever. In working with students on their assigned homework, "we've noticed less creative writing," he said. "Am I concerned? Personally, yes. But that is why a place like 826 is important. Because after [students] finish their homework, they have an opportunity to write what they wouldn't in the classroom.""
826national  lcproject  openstudioproject  learning  education  tutoring  writing  stem  thridspaces  2014 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Cobble Hill Think Tank
"Our philosophy and approach is student-centered. We believe that if we develop self-confident and self-motivated students, everything else will fall into place.

Our priorities:
student confidence
a solid understanding of the academic material
providing tools with which student will thrive and grow
We have assembled a diverse team of specialists in a wide variety of subjects and skills. All of our staff has passed a Dept of Education background check, as well as regular in-house training."
workshops  tutoring  testprep  lcproject  nyc  brooklyn  education 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Your Handbook for Building and Running a Young Writers Program « Conventioneers!
"This handbook aims to inspire you to build a free writing program for under-served youth in your community. It contains mostly instructions and resources, and is written out of my own experiences and research. I am a senior at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where I have concentrated on writing and education. For the past five months, I have been leading an after-school writing program at a middle school in Holyoke, a depressed urban area in western MA."
teaching  writing  tutoring  howto  826  lcproject  nonprofit  nonprofits 
july 2011 by robertogreco
School On Wheels
"We provide one-on-one tutoring for homeless kids who live in shelters, motels, group foster homes and on the streets. In addition to weekly tutoring and mentoring, every student receives a backpack, school supplies, and uniforms; students get assistance enrolling in school and with locating and filing school records; and each student receives a toll-free phone number for around-the-clock School on Wheels’ support."
homeless  education  charity  activism  homelessness  tutoring  losangeles  volunteer  lcproject 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Hot for Teachers | Page Six Magazine | The New York Post
"Who says homeschooling is just for granola moms and religious zealots? Thanks to a pair of glamorous consultants, more and more NYC boldfacers are educating their kids in the privacy of their brownstones and high-rises—complete with their own custom uniforms and music lessons from the pros." "Melissa says homeschooling is particularly appealing in New York City, with its competitive school admissions. "For most people with kids in school, there's a sense of feeling trapped," she explains. "You sort of get on the private school train…and once you're there, you don't feel like you have a lot of options. You pay a lot of money to be there, and you're supposed to be really grateful that you're there. So the perspective of 'There is something else that works—and that maybe works better—for my family' can be incredibly powerful.""
education  learning  homeschool  alternative  tutoring  teaching  qed  nyc  california  consulting  freelanceteaching 
february 2009 by robertogreco
eduFire - Live Video Learning
"We have a simple (but not easy) mission: Revolution education.

Our goal is to create a platform to allow live learning to take place over the Internet anytime from anywhere.

Most importantly...for anyone. We’re the first people (we know) to create something that’s totally open and community-driven (rather than closed and transaction-driven).

We’re excited to create tools for people to teach and learn what they love in ways they never imagined possible.

If changing the world is your thing and you’re as passionate about education and learning as we are, please get in touch."
education  learning  technology  online  teaching  tutoring  elearning  languages  videos  translation  tutorials  socialnetworking  communication  e-learning  spanish  italian  german  french  english 
december 2008 by robertogreco
TeachStreet | Find Local Teachers, Learn New Things
"Our goal is to encourage life-long learning by connecting inquiring minds with quality instructors. We built TeachStreet to be a headache-free place for insatiable learners to quickly find great local instructors—whether they want to learn photography

[via: http://www.springwise.com/education/local_lessons_advertised_revie/ ]
education  learning  local  teachstreet  lessons  unschooling  johnholt  hyperlocal  courses  instruction  maps  mapping  search  seattle  teaching  tutoring  socialnetworks  lcproject  gamechanging  freelance  freelanceteaching  socialnetworking  classes 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Taking Back Teaching: A Forgotten History | Beyond School
"If Hartmann’s research is correct...bad smell of grading comes from rotten historical roots...invented by William Farish, lazy teacher...in order to increase class size, decrease necessity for teachers to have real relationships with students & fatten

[see also: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=44909 ]
grading  assessment  evaluation  teaching  learning  comments  schools  history  relationships  schooling  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  tutoring  mentoring  grades  williamfarish  lifelonglearning  education  culture  clayburell 
june 2008 by robertogreco
TED | Talks | Dave Eggers: 2008 TED Prize wish: Once Upon a School (video)
"With spellbinding eagerness, he talks about how his 826 Valencia tutoring center inspired others around the world to open their own volunteer-driven, wildly creative writing labs"
826  826valencia  daveeggers  mcsweeneys  ted  education  writing  tutoring  learning  lcproject  schools  teaching  nonprofit  activism  community  nonprofits 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Conceptual Trends and Current Topics: Subterranean Tutoring
"I make stuff because I love to, and because it is also subterranean tutoring. Kids don't miss much. When tinkering is part of the household pattern...gets set in unconscious level. When tools are ever present, there's permission to make a mess. When pare
children  childhood  education  geek  parenting  science  teaching  tutoring  learning  environment  enthusiasm  leadership  modeling  kevinkelly  lcproject  osmosis  gamechanging  unschooling  deschooling  tinkering 
february 2008 by robertogreco
826 brings reading, writing and robots to Echo Park - Los Angeles Times
"This convenience store for time travelers, whose motto is "Whenever you are, we're already then," is the whimsical retail component of the new Echo Park 826LA"
826  losangeles  daveeggers  writing  tutoring  learning  lcproject  timetravel  time 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Grockit - Learning 2.0
"Grockit's mission is to abolish Education and replace it with Learning...to develop our MMOL (Massive Multi-Player Online Learning) game."
MMO  homeschool  social  socialnetworking  games  mba  business  multiplayer  collaborative  education  entrepreneurship  gradschool  alternative  tutoring  testing  gmat  elearning  simulations  finance  learning  teaching  study  software  collaboration  socialsoftware  socialnetworks  online  internet  web 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Outsourcing Your Life - WSJ.com
"Sending work offshore has transformed the U.S. economy. Now, some families are tapping the same approach for personal tasks, getting them done for a fraction of what they'd cost at home. Taking your to-do list global."
outsourcing  society  economics  tutoring  education  online  internet  landscape  architecture  illustration  webdesign  design  learning  globalization  global  international  world  webdev 
june 2007 by robertogreco
The Boring Store: A Tour of 826CHI's Chicago Spy Shop - Chicago News by Medill reporters
"mysterious and often-times hilarious “secret agent supply store” known as “The Boring Store” that claims to be “the nation’s first exclusive supplier of holes...merchandise is specially labeled so that no one will ever know what you walk out
education  learning  tutoring  lcproject  gadgets  humor  826  826CHI  chicago  travel  enzo  design  spies  space 
march 2007 by robertogreco

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