The January/February 2011 Leadership magazine from ACSA if full of great articles. There are a couple of articles on “linked learning” i.e., connecting academic content to the “real world”. The idea is that linked learning will make education more relevant to students. I sometime feel ambivalent about this idea. I’ve personally seen/heard this turn into student tracking. I always cringe when people say “not all kids go to college” because those kids that don’t go to college have historically been kids of color. As long as linked learning links to college, I’m all for it.
I have a variety of things I do in my job. One of them is keeping track of some student data. However, I was causing some trouble in our system when I was providing data that referred to 2007. At first I had no idea what I had done wrong as I was just using the data that was provided to me by schools. Sure enough, when I dug in I realized that when I cut and pasted some dates from one spread sheet to another that the dates where changing automatically. I thought perhaps I was inadvertently copying a formula. Nope. Well maybe there was some formatting that I was capturing; it wasn’t that either. No matter what I tried, when I copied dates from one sheet to the next the dates were automatically changing. I was really flumoxed until I came across the following article: What to do when the wrong date is pasted in Excel | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog. This has to be one of the most geeky, arcane, obscure things I’ve tracked down in several years and I can’t believe Microsoft has not addressed it! It would not seem a complicated fix on the programming side but on the user side it’s downright mysterious. Not an educational post but I had to share my frustration, triumph at finding the fix, and share the knowledge in case you ever suffer from such a conundrum.
Charter association’s call for closure of charter schools stirs controversy | EdSource Extra!. I’m impressed by the stance of the California Schools Charter Association. This is the sort of decision which may be unpopular in the short run but in the long run will help the credibility and viability of charter schools.
Study: Nearly half of U.S. public schools failing No Child Left Behind standards – NY Daily News. I put this squarely on Duncan. This was HIS job. Everything else pales in comparison and his inability to reform this is his failure. And now everyone else has to pay for it. Waivers are a poor substitute for doing what’s actually needed.
California Bill Pushes for Free Online College Books | MindShift. This would be fantastic! Approved on-line text would make it feasible to create online course as well.
Is USC Hybrid High a Solution to the Dropout Epidemic? – Forbes. I think they may be over selling this. Hybrid High is very promising but I don’t think it the solution to the Dropout Epidemic. Why students dropout is complicated and overly simplistic “solutions” are set-ups for failure that hurts the effort in the long term. Do I think Hybrid High can be successful? Yes. Do I think it’s the solution to dropout? No. But it may be a solution…
Report: Overworked, undertrained principals | Thoughts on Public Education. Principals have a remarkable workload made all the heavier as reductions eliminate support, both at the school site and from offices.
Influence of a Teacher’s Scaffolding Moves During Child-Led Small-Group Discussions describes how teachers influence student behavior in the classroom. Questioning techniques, feedback, proximity, are all important when in comes to student engagement. Moreover, students appear ready to pick up on teacher cues and re-create them in small groups.
Held our first meeting with members of the Los Angeles Public Library and the LAUSD Library Services. It was a promising first meeting. We’re going to start working on a presentation to Local District administrators, Overdrive access for students, and other outreach to schools and students.
Different Tests, Different Answers by Papay suggest that Value-Added measurements are sensitive to outside variables such as when testing is done. Accordingly, they may be to sensitive to teacher evaluation but they are reliable for a more macro or school level evaluation.