{lesson} How do we educate our children?

RSA Animate

If you haven’t seen this outstanding animated talk from Sir Ken Robinson—now is the time.

He points out the interesting coincidence that the instances of ADHD increased in parallel with growth of standardized testing, that the arts and sciences are the victims of this mentality. Most importantly, he makes it clear that current standards of assessment in public education are failing.

Most great learning happens in groups.
Collaboration is the stuff of growth.

Howard Gardner
Howard Garder on education and assessment

Edutopia revisits its 1997 interview with Harvard University Professor Howard Gardner about multiple intelligences and new forms of assessment. To figure out your learning style and see more recent videos on multiple intelligences, visit their site:


Andrew Cuomo is trying blackmail school districts and stifle creative productive education.

Andrew CuomoIt appears that Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t appreciate Edutopian Wisdom and is forcing corporate interest curriculum and unfair assessment criteria on NY State teachers. I happen be married to a veteran public high school science teacher so I’ve got some insider information on this topic.

It is bad enough that all the the top students take advanced placement courses therefore, leaving a highly qualified, hard working teacher with only the lower performing students—whom he lovingly refers to as his sweathogs. They are forced to take a standardized regents exam that they have little interest in, especially considering some of them can only read at a 5th grade level.

How is this a fair way to assess teachers? Isn’t it entirely possible that the very best teachers may not have the very best results…. Seems like a no brainer to me that the teachers with the motivated students have half the work already cut out for them. As if these poor teachers weren’t already stressed out enough with budget cuts, overloaded classrooms and lack of discipline.

According to the New York Times: Cuomo’s budget would add about $800 million to education financing, with most of that increase aimed at poor school districts, which suffered cuts last year and are especially dependent on state aid. He has also said that the promise depends on local districts and teachers’ unions agreeing to teacher evaluations. That’s crucial because the failure to move forward on evaluation systems means that New York could lose more than $700 million in federal education assistance.A lawsuit by teachers fighting a statewide evaluation system is in negotiations and a settlement is said to be close. But Mr. Cuomo added a shove, threatening to propose  own evaluation system if they don’t agree within 30 days from Tuesday. He wants school districts to be using these evaluations by January 2013 or they will lose their increase in state money. See full article— NY TIMES editorial.

nytimes opinion

“No evaluation, no money. Period,” he said. It is a smart tactic. That threat puts needed pressure on all the parties. There is simply no reason they cannot complete this important task this year.

Nice Andrew…lay on the guilt to the poor, sad sack, burned out teachers to deal with this mess. Blackmail them into agreeing to unfair evaluations to secure educational funding, threaten to take away their pensions and make a bad situation worse.

I agree with many of the points from the above interview with Howard Gardner. Students need to learn to think scientifically.

“Assessment shouldn’t be something that is done to you—it should be where you are the most active agent.”

Put the responsibility on students and parents and find a way to reward good grades with tax credits instead of punishing and stifling creative teachers.

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