Sunday, October 08, 2006

Education Myths

Swamp Fox Insights points to this great essay entitled Education Myths by Jay Green.

Allow me to paraphrase.

1. The money myth: Throwing money at schools alone does not improve educational outcomes.

2. The teacher pay myth: Teacher's salaries are competitive when compared with people with similar skills and qualifications. High-performing graduates aren't taking up teaching because there isn't enough incentive for strong performance or longer hours.

3. The myth of insurmountable problems: Don't blame social problems, reform schools.

4. The class size myth: The benefits of reducing class size aren't worth the expense.

5. The certification myth: Reward teacher's performance instead of certifications and "paper" degree's.

6. The rich-school myth: Private school's perform better than public schools, despite the average private school tuition being less than that of the public schools average dollars per pupil.

7. The myth of ineffective school vouchers: School vouchers really do cause public schools to improve.

While I agree with many of the author's points, I am not sure I agree with all of his conclusions.

One of the problems with many school reformers (of which I consider myself) is a tendency to come across as advocating "vouchers" and competition as the end all solution to improving our countries education system.

One of the arguments that reformers always use, is how our students perform internationally. Yet, there seems to be almost no effort to emulate the best practice's of some of the high performing nations.

More Fun with the School of the Future

Microsoft's High-Tech High, A Philadelphia High School Has No Textbooks, Blackboards Or Paper But Plenty Of Laptops - CBS News

“One half of the period you're learning math, the other half of the period you're learning science. But it all comes together,” said one student.
So thats how to improve math and science performance; cut down instruction time. Duh... why didn't I think of that!

This is a $63 million project, and with so much emphasis on high-tech elements, you might expect that it would be more expensive than traditional schools. Officials say that is not the case.
I see the accountants for Enron found new jobs.

New school, free laptops, no wonder so many kids want to go there. There's no entrance exam, only a lottery. Fifteen-hundred kids applied, 170 got in — most of them African-American. There is an exit exam of sorts — in order to graduate, they have to apply to college.
Wooo hoooo, If I apply to graduate school, can I skip the rest of my college education?

The ultimate test will be whether technology as tutor will actually help students learn.


Im Back!

Well I'm back, one kid richer. Thanks to Dennis and Mrs Q. for your kind words... I appreciate them.