Education I look at K-12 policies and practices from the classroom perspective.
“We are teaching students, literally, not to think, but instead to clear their own thoughts and concentrate on following the path followed by the people who wrote the test questions. We are teaching them that every question has just one right answer, that somebody out there already knows it, and that you go to school to learn to say what those people want you to say. This is not a new issue in education, but we have ramped it up, systematically injected it into every level of K-12 education, and incentivized it like never before. If it has stifled a generation’s desire for independent thought, that is no surprise.”
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A Harvard University paper released Wednesday says such plans pull together students’ goals, strengths and needs, but are “largely underemployed in the field of education.”
When one school in Salem, Massachusetts, received a “Level 4
” designation in the state’s accountability system — thereby causing the entire Salem Public Schools to receive the same low rating — city leaders began looking for ways to bring schools and community partners together to improve outcomes for students.“We have definitely struggled to meet the needs of all kids,” Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said in an interview. “We also know and recognize that what happens outside of school has such a big impact.”
Driscoll and the city’s children’s cabinet began working with the Education Redesign Lab at Harvard University as part of its By All Means initiative. And they partnered with City Connects, a Boston College program, to bring coordinators into schools who link together the various in-school and out-of-school programs serving students. The coordinators and teachers develop a personalized plan for each student when he or she enters pre-K that might include healthcare needs, afterschool and enrichment programs, and specific interventions if needed.
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