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Lost in the Forest of Education and How to Find our Way Out

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Laura Lawrence

on 3 July 2013

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Transcript of Lost in the Forest of Education and How to Find our Way Out

Lost in the Urban Education Forest and How to Find our Way Out
Frustration and Exhaustion
Health and Safety
Diversity, Cultural Differences, and Poverty
"As long as "us" - the people in power - by connotation excludes people of color (unless otherwise explicitly noted) schools in America may always seem to belong to someone else - even perhaps if they are run largely by teachers of color" (Meier, 2002).
The Way out
Teachers are frustrated
"Do with rather than do to"
Ken Robinson
Our focus should be on learning rather than education.
Creativity and Innovation
Relationships and Collaboration
Trust and Accountability
"Create a climate of possibility"
Ken Robinson - 2013
Celebrate diversity -
All choices made with care of students in mind
What if we get it right?
Standardized "tests are designed to sort people not evaluate how well the teacher has taught or how well the students have learned" (Meier, 2002, p. 107).
"Tests become a cause of failure not a mere documenter of it" Meier, 2002, p. 150).

Low expectations from teachers (RTI, 2013)

Lack of parental advocates (NPR, 2013).

Working and learning in an urban school can seem like an uphill battle.....
Image: http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/may/11/secret-teacher-teaching-climate-fear-ofsted

Image: http://juvenilejusticeblog.web.unc.edu/2012/08/05/court-invalidates-backpack-search-by-school-resource-officer/
Administrators are frustrated
Image: http://www.endnewjimcrow.org/Open-Air-Prisons.html
Image: http://www.progressillinois.com/posts/content/2011/12/14/ausl-heart-emanuel-s-education-agenda
Urban Schools can have up to 17% more students per class than non-urban schools. (Tyre, 2011).

Urban schools are more likely to have high teacher turn over and less experienced teachers (RTI, 2013).
Kids are frustrated
How do we keep our students and faculty safe?
What programs can be implemented to reduce student violence?
Little local control
Policies and Unions make change difficult
Low budgets for urban schools make staffing and programming challenging
7% of teachers report to have been threatened by students (CDC, 2012).

43% of those teachers threatened by students are urban school teachers (APA, 2013).

Urban schools contribute about seventy eight percent of the total cases of violence

"..more than one in eight high school students was involved in a fight on school property. Schools in urban neighborhoods have the highest rates of violent crime, and their students tend to be more fearful of attacks occurring during school. Schools serving low-income students report higher crime rates than those serving respectively higher-income students and levels of gang activity also increase with the level of representation of minority and low-income students"
(National Center for suburban studies at Hofstra University, 2013)

Approximately 55% of Hispanic and African American students graduate compared to approximately 75% of their white peers. (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2010).

"In comparison to suburban and rural districts, urban school districts are frequently marked by higher concentrations of immigrant populations and linguistic diversity, and more frequent rates of student mobility" (RTI Network, 2013).

Image http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/03/gifted_and_talented_education_cities_try_to_make_programs_more_inclusive.html
"American schools expect teachers to spend more time on instruction and less time preparing for their work than any system in the advanced world" (Meier, 2002).
Students living in poverty are 7 times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers. (Alliance For Excellent Education, 2010)

"Fewer than 30 percent of students in the bottom quarter of incomes enroll in a four-year school and among that group fewer than 1/2 graduate."

"Urban teachers had fewer resources available to them and less control over their curriculum than teachers in other locations, as did teachers in urban high poverty schools compared with those in rural poverty schools."
(US Department of Education, 2013)

What will happen if it what we try doesn't work?
"It's easier to complain about an unfair system than to be a powerful member of a tough profession" (Meier, 2002, p. 75)
“It takes putting kids and adults into a shared community in which they are all members, albeit with different levels of responsibility and skill, different kinds of authority, with each accountable for different parts of the whole. It takes trusting in our children’s vast intellectual potential along with our innately human drive to understand and master. I've seen it happen. It can be done” (Meier, 2002, p. 24).

Let's ask our teachers how they would make changes - and listen to them

Teachers, students, and administrators need autonomy

Urban school teachers are limited with the work they can assign because their student's home life isn't always conducive to studying.
"People are most likely to enjoy their education if they believe they are in charge of the decision to learn" (Bain, 2004, p. 47).
"The goal is to forge an opportunity culture where opportunities reflect instructional excellence, leadership, and impact on students" (Hess, 2013).
Leadership "requires clarity on what you are trying to do and what you think a great school or school system looks like" (Hess, 2013, p. 57). "Ask yourself, what is your vision of a terrific school or system?...... That is the school you want to lead" (p. 55).
What learning goals do I, as a student, bring to the classroom? What perspective do I offer? How would I change the school to make it safer? What do I want my classes to look like? What fears do I have? What challenges do I face? How is the school going to support my dreams?
"You don't teach a class. You teach a student" (Bain, 2004, p. 97).
"If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child they will learn almost entirely without assistance" (Robinson, 2013).
"There is a perception that class assignments or tasks are irrelevant. Why work hard when what you're working on doesn't seem to matter" (Jacobs, 2010)?
"Our assessments must support rather than punish errors"Bellanca, 2010, chap. 14).
Deep "learning has three key elements: (1) Deep inquiry into the subject matter (as opposed to surface learning, (2) relevancy beyond the school day (students are working with teams outside of the school on projects that matter, and (3) knowledge construction (students are producing and constructing actual products to contribute to the community of interest as they demonstrate what their team now understands and what htey individually understand)" Bellanca, 2010, chap. 11).
"No significant learning can happen without a significant relationship" - James Comber
"I want us to imagine what it would be like if we were to create environments that fostered learning because of - not in spite of - school, that took advantage of what we know about how all children best learn and what all children can contribute from day one, so that all children will maintain their trust in their own learning abilities and in the families who are their first teachers" (Meier, 2002, p. 15).
"We have to trust student's drive to learn because it is the greatest part of what we have going for us" (Meier, 2002, p 19).
The alternative to standardization is real standards" (Meier, 2002, p. 132).
"At best, tests take our temperature.....Tests are thermometers, not cures" Meier, 2002, p. 136).
If we want to close the achievement gap we need to value students differences, not their sameness (Meier, 2002).
"Kids must see the grown-ups in their school as belonging to the same universe as those at home, so they can usefully keep company with them both" (Meier, 2002, p. 152.)
"We're all on the same team, so let's start acting like it." - Kid President
"It won't be possible to tackle the subtler gap between races, language communities, and classes without building cultures of trust that overlap race, a language, and class that allow for all children and all families to feel they are respected members of a shared - and beloved - community" (Meier, 2002, p. 152).
"It is in schools that we learn the art of living together as citizens, and it is in public schools that we are obliged to defend the idea of a public, not private, interest" (Meier, 2002, p. 176).
"To evaluate our local schools, we can collect evidence of various kinds in multiple forms, and we can bring in a range of external opinions - expert and lay - regarding the schools' reliability and validity" (Meier, 2002, p. 132).

"We used to combine our in-house judgements - our standards - with a wide range of external reviews, including each year bringing a group of experts in one of the domains our students were required to pass muster on, to assess our assessments. The experts' task was critiquing us - the faculty - in an open and public forum" (Meier, 2002, p. 134).
"Greater, not less, intimacy between generations is at the heart of all the best school reform efforts around today and is the surest path to restoring public trust in public education" (Meier, 2002, p. 13).
"The kids who are struggling the most we need to challenge the most" George White
- As opposed to remediate the the kids who are struggling
References Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h8l3XCeVztjY5btcrSXJt_26_81PgwDw8ZaxMiwHGec/edit
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