DailyDirt: Ready Or Not… Back To School
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Schools in the US vary quite a bit by location. A school in one neighborhood could be vastly better than another school just on the other side of town. There are obvious factors that play into this situation, and unsurprisingly, some political campaigns can cloud the progress towards solutions that might improve lagging schools. Clearly, not all schools can be created equal, but there could be some ways to close the “achievement gap” without simply knocking down the higher-performing schools.
- Education research shows that there are specific things that have been tried in the past and that have failed to really improve education: smaller classes, higher standards, more money… do not provide guaranteed results. Some alternative strategies may be better. Instead of creating standards that penalize poor schools and reward good schools, the performance of each student could be tracked to monitor actual individual progress, avoiding the use of an average score over many students. Instead of more tests, better tests could give teachers actionable feedback on how/where to improve. Instead of choosing which school to go to, parents and students might be better off being able to choose which teachers are best. Throwing more money at education without targeting it at effective programs just wastes valuable resources. [url]
- This American Life has a fascinating series on how de-segregation has affected some school districts. According to some observers, de-segregation is a solution that works, but that it’s so politically unpopular, it’s hardly ever given a chance. [url]
- Digital education tools are coming. There’s a lot of venture capital going towards “big data” approaches to developing better teaching tools. Online classes are still working out the bugs, but presumably, digital degrees (or nano-degrees?) may provide some advantages over traditional classrooms in the future. [url]
- Segregation (or re-segregation as the case may be) is not so good for elementary schools. A study of five elementary schools in Florida that re-segregated performed horribly as the schools failed to get money and resources. Statistically, these schools were about average for a variety of socio-economic metrics, but after the school boards voted to effectively begin re-segregation plans, student and teacher performance plummeted. [url]
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