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View Diary: Turning the tide on corporate education (110 comments)

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  •  Teacher Resistance (1+ / 0-)
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    During the 1970's I was a consultant to the California Department of Education working to promote the concepts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  
    ESEA, specifically Title III, was created to bring innovations to the classroom that would improve the quality of education for the students.
    One of the major tenets was "Individualized Instruction".  Each student would be treated as an individual and would progress at their own pace.

    That created a problem for the teachers.  The organization of a classroom into grades (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) was done to make the classroom more manageable.  The division of the thirty students into groups help keep track of where each student was in learning a subject.  Usually that meant three groups.
    Individualized instruction meant thirty groups (each student) capable of working on any of 250 learning objectives in Reading and Mathematics each.  The teachers considered it a management nightmare.

    The teachers rebelled.  It didn't make any difference that the learning experience for the student was greatly improved.  The teachers job was made harder.  End of story.

    As a computer consultant, my job was to introduce new management support systems that would relieve the management load on the teachers.

    We did two three year projects where we supplied computer supported tracking of each student.  The end of project evaluations showed increased student interest and learning, and high teacher satisfaction.

    But the Teacher's Union was against it and it died.  Why?  I don't know.

    One theory was that the teachers who were not in the studies were envious that they weren't the ones picked for the project.  Another theory was that as a group they were resistant to change.  What they didn't appear to care about was the student.

    So we come to today, where the management of the classroom is the same as it was in the 60's and 70's.  Classroom management techniques have not change at all.  The teachers are even more overworked trying to keep up with student progress with classroom sizes larger than thirty students.

    Students are unready for the subject being taught, or they already know it, and usually they are bored out of there skulls waiting for the teacher to tell them what to do.  It didn't have to be that way.

    I don't blame the individual teachers for today's situation, or even for the positions they took back then.  They are not the problem.  The classroom management techniques that haven't change in 50+ years are the culprits.  Applying For-Profit systems definitely will not solve that problem.

    In California, a lot of the problem can be laid at the feet of Proposition 13.  When money disappeared from the schools, their management problems increased.

    Somewhere in the Archives of ESEA Title III is the answer.

    "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve; if impeached, I will not leave" -Anon

    by Graebeard on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:11:20 PM PDT

    •  Definitely sounds like Success for All (2+ / 0-)
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      Azazello, JanL

      which, I believe bombed wherever it was implemented.

      And for good reason.

    •  I went through the California Ed system in the 60' (0+ / 0-)

      We had classroom sizes 30+ in almost every class.  

      Kids then were interested in learning...cared about grades...tried to succeed within the system.  

      Our culture has changed.  That's the biggest problem in education today.  Most teachers would agree if they're talking to you alone about it.  

      We had high school graduation rates exceeding 95% and nearly half went on to at least a junior college or into a trade school kind of environment.  It was expected by society AND parents.  Today?  Not so much anymore.

      Oh, sure, I know there'll be arguments to that here, but they won't make what I'm saying less true.

      The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

      by commonsensically on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:20:27 PM PDT

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      •  the desire of children to learn has not changed (1+ / 0-)
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        You suggest that back in the day students wanted to learn and imply today they don't. I wasn't a teacher or student in the 60s so I will take your world about students then but I think you are unfair in saying young people today aren't interested in learning.

        The much bigger problem in my view is that what we offer them today does much to frustrate learning. Overworked and undersupported teachers. Decaying facilities. Ancient textbooks. Pathetic science equipment. Test upon stupid test. A focus on a regimented learning model. Too little unstructured time. Whether or not a student wants to learn, it is hard to do so if the school system has been starved and bent to undesirable ends.

        That said, I also think most children do learn, even despite these obstacles, because the desire to learn is mostly innate and because most teachers are heroic professionals intent on teaching even in the face of the difficult and rising obstacles placed in their way.

      •  Maybe your school had a 95% grad rate (0+ / 0-)

        I assure you, that has never been the norm across the entire state.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 07:12:22 PM PDT

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