Odds And Ends…

Today through Thursday ES is hosting an online discussion about Bill Tucker’s Beyond the Bubble paper and the ideas in it.  You can read and participate via this link.

Per the great 21st Century Skills debate, Ed Week’s Sawchuk jumps into the fray with a must-read overview.*

The other day Vice President Biden went to Delaware to plead with the education establishment not to screw this windfall up.  There’s been a lot of that the past few weeks.  If teacher policy is your thing, you want to be in D.C. on March 26th for this event.  Likewise, if teacher quality is your thing you can welcome Jay Mathews into the fold.  The class size crowd is none too happy with him today!   And on March 10 the Data Quality Campaign is having a big throwdown, with $250 million on the table you don’t want to miss this.  A reader wanted to know what I thought of President Obama’s budget.  Should have just cross-posted this quick take on the blog.

Finally, Boston’s public television station is taking a look at the dropout issue.   Here’s a question: There are data indicating that Americans think the national high school completion rate is a lot higher than it actually is.   As much as 90 percent rather than the real figure of closer to 70 percent, for instance, and much better for minorities than it in fact is.   Would the climate for addressing that problem be different if more people understood the problem or are the politics of tackling it elsewhere?

*Are 21st Century Skills, at least at their superficial level, education’s Madoff?  If so, who has exposure?

2 Replies to “Odds And Ends…”

  1. Madoff? Hyperbole is an easy way for you to generate attention for yourself, but are you really advancing the conversation? You may disagree with the framework, but I find your analogy disingenuous and self-serving.

    The questions represented in the discussion are tough and as was pointed up, largely not new. Grounded, contextual learning is important and valuable. Creating substantive, content rich projects that are consistently implemented in different parts of the country is a real challenge. ‘New’ technology provides us some new tools to bring to bear on this problem. Either way, it requires a professional, highly qualified teacher to bring to life. The fact that 21st Century Skills, as articulated by the Partnership, are difficult to implement does not mean we should throw them over and resort to the reductive practices of NCLB. As was mentioned in the panel, it is a false dichotomy.

    The real challenge of 21st Century Skills is implementing the framework within the realities of today’s schools. As a member of the Board of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, it is these conversations with our member states about how they are approaching curriculum, technology and the framework that I find most interesting and compelling. Their efforts are genuine, grounded and a sincere effort to enhance education for their students.

  2. After teaching for over two decades, I finally began to learn, over the past eight years, about what goes on between school officials and their lawyers in San Diego. The lawyers, who are motivated to bring in business for insurance companies, have enormous power over school district decisions. Insurance companies don’t get business if problems are prevented, or are solved without litigation. (Also, the companies will not be able to raise premiums if the schools don’t get involved in litigation.) Until now, no newspaper in San Diego would touch the story. On March 2, 2009, however, the story began to come out in the nationally famous Internet newspaper Voice of San Diego. It’s called “The Schoolhouse Lawyer Who Helped Hire His Overseer,” and features Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz lawyers Daniel Shinoff and Jeffery Morris, and their former associate Diane Crosier, who runs the public entity insurance authority San Diego County Office of Education Joint Powers Authority (SDCOE-JPA).
    — Maura Larkins

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