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this is slightly modified from the original which appeared at Education Review

Berry, Barnett, and the Teacher Solutions Team (2011). Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public Schools — Now and in the Future.

In all of the public discourse of what we need to do to fix public schools and educate our young people for the future, one set of voices has until now been conspicuously absent. It is the voices of teachers.

This new book, put together under the auspices of the Center for Teaching Quality established by lead author Barnett Berry, and with generous funding from the MetLife Foundation, is an important attempt to include the voices of teachers in helping frame the discussion of how we address our educational needs.

Those of us in classrooms, unless we choose to be oblivious, recognize that our profession needs to be redefined. We lose too many good teachers from classrooms because too often the only path for professional and financial advancement is through administration. In the meantime, we see the students arriving in our classrooms changing as society changes. Often we are prevented from changing what we do in order to meet them where they are. We know this has to change.

This book is the product of an extensive discussion among professional educators. Much of it was conducted online. The final product list 12 authors besides Berry, all themselves notable classroom teachers. They are the ones who sat down with him to put together the book as we have it. But that final product also included material offered by others in online discussions through the various arms of the Center for Teaching Quality, especially its Teacher Leaders Network, of which I am member. Thus while I was not part of the actual author group, I appear 3 times in the work. I do not think that disqualifies me from examining the work and encouraging others to read it.

The teachers participating in this endeavor collective bring a diverse set of experiences to it. Renee Moore taught English high school students in the Mississippi Delta, where she now teaches at a community college. Ariel Sacks and Jose Vilson teach in New York City middle schools. Laurie Wasserman has almost 30 years as a teacher of special education. After a distinguished career in a classroom, Shannon C’de Baca has spent a number of years doing online education. Jennifer Barnett now functions as school-based technology integration specialist in rural Alabama. Kilian Betlach is a Teach for America alumnus who was well-known as a blogger and is now an elementary school assistant principal. Carrie Kamm is a mentor-resident coach for an urban teacher residency program in Chicago. Among these and others in authoring group are winners of State Teacher of the Year (including one finalist for National Teacher of the Year), Milken award winners, Lilly Award winners, and so on. All have experience in trying to improve the teaching profession beyond the reach of their own classrooms. One finds a similar range of diversity and an equal amount of accomplishment in the 33 teachers who are also thanked for their contributions in the online discussions in which we took part.

In addition, those functioning as authors were able to participate in webinars with a number of outstanding experts from across the nation, including on expert from Australia.

The result is a book rich in insight, analysis, and suggestions for the future, one that has already received praise from many notables associated with education and teaching. Of greater importance, it is a book that will speak to a wide range of audiences: those who prepare our new teachers, those who administer our schools, those who make policy, and most of all, to those of us who teach now or may teach in the future.

In his Prologue, Barnett Berry makes a couple of key points that help a reader understand the thrust of the book. The authors

...have come together, in harmony if not always in lock-step, about an expanded vision for student learning in the 21st century and for the teaching profession that will, in myriad ways, continue to accelerate that learning. (p. xiii)

They get to this point by examining what works now in order to describe what will likely work and be needed in the schooling of the future. The vision "emerges from a student centered vision" that takes advantage of new tools, organizations and ideas. It is based on four "emergent realities":

  1. a transformed learning ecology for students and teacher
  1. seamless connections in and out of cyberspace
  1. differentiated paths and careers
  1. "teacherpreneurs" who will foster innovation locally and globally

These rely on six levers for changes: 1. engaging the public in provocative ways

  1. overhauling school finance systems
  1. creating transformative systems of preparation and licensure
  1. ensuring school working conditions that they know promote effective teaching
  1. reframing accountability for transformative results
  1. continuing to evolve teacher unions into professional guilds

Each of these levers and each of the realities could be a separate volume. Thus the authors cannot fully explore the dimensions of each, yet they provide more than enough to lay out a vision that is clearly possible. In part that is because of the experience they collectively bring to the task, and what they have absorb from the webinars and from the exchanges with each other and with those who participated in online discussion.

The aforementioned Prologue is titled "We Cannot Create What We Cannot Imagine." It is followed by two chapters that can be considered introductory:

  1. The Teachers of 2030 and a Hopeful Vision
  1. A Very Brief History of Teaching in America.

The next four chapters explore the four Emergent Realities, each in some specificity. For example, Chapter 5 explores the 3rd of these Emergent Realities, Differentiated Pathways and Careers for a 21st-Century Profession. In just over 30 pages the authors explore four subthemes:

  1. Outgrowing a One-Size-Fits-All Professions
  1. Redefining the Professions for Results-Oriented


  1. Teacher Education for a Differentiated, Results-Oriented Profession
  1. Professional Compensation for Differentiated Profession

After these four chapters the book spends almost 40 pages exploring the six policy levers of change before concluding with Taking Action for a Hopeful Future, with a subsection on "What You Can Do to Build a 21st- Century Teaching Profession."

Perhaps the power of the book can best be understood through the notion of "Teacherprenuerism" as it is explored in Chapter 6. The term first appears near the beginning, with the idea of teacher entrepreneurs serving in hybrid positions that don’t easily fit the normal way we classify teachers. Allow me to offer the paragraph from p. 7 which first presents the idea in some detail, after setting the stage by reminding us how already teachers, many National Board Certified and comfortable with using the tools of the web, are de-isolating teaching and offering cost-effective ways of propagating exemplary teaching practices:

The fruits of those labors have been realized in 2030. About 15% of the nation’s teachers - more than 600,000 - have been prepared in customized residency programs designed to fully train them in the cognitive science of teaching and to also equip them for new leadership roles. Most now serve in hybrid positions as teacherpreneuers, teaching students part of the day or week, and also have dedicated time lead as student support specialists, teacher educators, community organizers, and virtual mentors in teacher networks. Some spend some of their nonteaching time working closely university- and think tank-based researchers on studies of teaching and learning - or conducting policy analyses that are grounded in their everyday pedagogical experiences. In some school district, teachers in these hybrid roles earn salaries comparable to, if not higher than, the highest paid administrators.

Lest one think that a pie in the sky belief about the future, several members of the team that wrote this book - and several of those who like me served as additional resources - already partially function in this fashion. The book posits a day where such teachers would not only be known to wider audiences of parents, community and business leaders and policy makers, but would be respected and listened to. Some of those participating in this process already have that kind of respect, for example, Renee Moore, who has served on the boards of both the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and as the first educator still in the classroom on the board of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (California). John Holland has served as a classroom teacher, a blogger for the Pew Charitable Trust blog Inside Pre-K and moderates an online community of accomplished teachers. Others have similar experiences of attempting to create hybrid roles where they can leverage their expertise and knowledge while remaining at least partially classroom based. They use their experience to project to the future they envision. The process has begun already, but the authors are talking about something more than selling one’s good lesson plans on E-bay. As John Holland notes in Chapter 6,

The combination of self-publishing and the use of the internet as a platform for communication has already given rise to the "communities of practice" around topics ranging from lessons in how to teach fractions to using brain research to perform the teaching act as the highest levels. Teacherpreneurs will increasingly be leaders in these communities, which will stretch far beyond the confines of their school or district - a virtual domain where they are able to impact the profession on a large scale. (p. 143)

As more teacherpreneurs appear they will serve as a primary agents in developing connected learning. As we get more teachers who have greater facility in using the power of the web, not only will teachers be less isolated, but the nature of teaching will begin to change, and radically, as Emily Vickers notes

Teachers will, in fact, be orchestrators of learning - a concept we talk about today, but one that will force itself upon most everyone who expects to be a teacher in 2030. (p. 145)

In part this will be because students will be accustomed to different ways of obtaining information. We are already seeing this among our current students. They know how to quickly obtain information, although we may still have to guide them in how to evaluate the information they obtain. They are comfortable building websites and increasingly also putting together wikis. It is incumbent upon the educational professionals to adapt what we do not only to meet our students where they are now, but also to anticipate how much this will change the nature of what we do. Teacherpreneurs will be key to a successful transition to a new approach to education.

We still have a way to travel to even come close to such a radical rethinking of the teaching profession. The book points out how much we already know, and how we can begin to move in such a direction, even if the path may change over the next several decades from what even the most imaginative of our current teachers can foresee. A key to this is that others with whom teachers interact will need to rethink how they do their jobs. Administrators will need to spend more time in classrooms, even teaching, and most certainly embrace the idea of teacher leadership. Unions will need to rethink how they serve the teachers who are their members, being more open to diverse roles and with those diverse roles different models of compensation. Policy makers will have to be willing to support and invest in the development of the kinds of hybrid roles necessary to implement the kind of teaching we will need. University-based teacher education will have to change, being more connected with what is happening in classrooms, and working together with community-based organizations, as education moves to be more firmly integrated in the communities in which are schools are located.

There are the first five points listed in the concluding chapter. By themselves they represent a major rethinking of how we have been approaching education and teaching. There are examples of these kinds of changes. I teach in a school that serves as a professional development school for a local state university, and we have had an increasingly close relationship between those who serve as mentor teachers and the university faculty. The next step is for more of those who are skilled mentors moving into a hybrid role where they not only mentor within their own classroom, but perhaps serve as adjunct instructors in the university environment, overcoming the artificial divide between learning about teaching and learning how to teach.

For this to work requires three additional points, also covered in the final chapter. The communities must become more involved, helping encourage the new roles of teacher-leaders even as administrations and unions have to redefine their relationship with one another. Parents and students must be willing to advocate on behalf of the effective teachers, providing the support that will enable teacher leaders to help redefine the conversation about teaching.

Most of all, teachers will have to step out of the isolation of their individual classrooms. They will

... need to band together to document their professional practice and assemble both empirical evidence and compelling stories about what works in their classrooms and their communities - and, therefore what matters most for public policy. (p. 210)

The book is intended as a starting point for ongoing conversations. The authors do not presume that they have imagined every possibility. They want to encourage further discussion. They encourage people to visit them at either of two websites, that of the Teaching 2030 social networking site  and by connecting with other teachers from the Center for Teaching Quality’s New Millennium Institute.

I am as I write this in my 16th year of teaching. I have been a participant in the discussions of the Teacher Leaders Network for the past few years. I have gotten to know electronically a number of the authors of this book, and have been fortunate enough to meet both Barnett Berry and John Holland. I know how seriously all of the authors take the profession of teaching, and how much they already give of themselves to try to make the teaching profession a more effective way of serving our students, which is ultimately the goal.

For too long the voices of teachers have been systematically excluded from the public discourse about education. In part this book serves as an important corrective, or at least the start of one.

I am not only a teacher, but also one who engages in policy. Like the authors, I wear several hats besides that of classroom teacher. Here you encounter me as one who regularly writes about books on education in order to encourage others to read them. Like many of those who authored the book, I regular write online about education. We are bloggers; it is part of how we connect with one another.
Our expert teachers are a resource that we should value beyond what they accomplish in the classroom, as important as that is. We need to tap their expertise and insight, we need to hear their voices.

If you read this book, you should get a sense of not only how important the teacher voice is, but also how much we all gain from including it in the discussions.

What the authors have proposed is in some ways radical. It has the promise of moving us in a far more productive direction in how we approach the future of teaching. Since I am in my mid 60s, it is unlikely I will still be teaching in 2030. Several of the authors will be. They are helping reshape the profession to which they are dedicating their lives.

I feel as if I should end with the voice of one of the authors. Each offers some closing words at the end of the final chapter. The last are offered by Renee Moore, whose work I greatly respect. It seems appropriate to end this review as the book ends, with the words she offers on p. 214:

We stand on the cusp of a great opportunity to end generations of educational discrimination and inequity, finally to fulfill the promises of our democratic republic. I believe the noblest teachers, students, and leaders of 2030 will be remembered by future generations as those who surged over the barriers to true public education and a fully realized teaching profession - while myopic former gatekeepers staggered to the sidelines of history.

I too am dedicated to improving the teaching profession for the benefit of the students entrusted to our care.  It is because I am that I fervently hope Renee Moore is right. Read this book.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 03:43 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am often asked what I would propose (23+ / 0-)

    to fix our schools, since I have been very critical of the approach that is too often the agenda of the self-styled "reformers" of education.  I have said in partial response that the voices of teachers need to be included in the discussion, because then you might understand that we are willing to consider changes that are far more radical than the recycled ideas that comprise the "reform" movement - more testing, "higher" standards, etc.  I have said that much of the "reform" movement has been tried and found wanting, and that much of what teachers would propose has been tried at least in small ways and found to be successful.

    This book, with the voices of several outstanding teachers, and with the coordination of Barnett Berry, who has done as much as anyone to promote quality teaching, gives the reader a good sense of the kinds of things we might be exploring were we willing to trust the voices of our teachers.

    In the next few comments I will offer a few of the blurbs from people who truly know education, as they appear on the book cover and at the link for the book provided in the diary.   If my words have not convinced you of the importance of this book, perhaps theirs will.


    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 03:39:53 AM PST

  •  Here are several blurbs: (7+ / 0-)

    "A fresh take on the real future of teaching, Teaching 2030 delves into the myriad of issues that teachers face today and will confront in the future. Barnett and his colleagues pose bold ideas for recruiting and rewarding teachers. They point out how we should restructure accountability and more, in order to provide our nation’s children with the education they deserve."
    —Richard Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former Governor of South Carolina

    "Teaching 2030 is a brilliant look at the future of teaching in America from the perspective of those who know most about what it is and should be: accomplished teachers. Working with Barnett Berry, himself a former teacher and one of the nation’s foremost experts on teaching, these voices frame the issues and the possibilities with passion, knowledge, and insight. Everyone who cares about teaching and learning should read this book."
    —Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University and author of The Flat World and Education

    "In this engaging volume, a notable and diverse team of accomplished teachers, and a researcher who advocates for them, explain why the teaching profession needs a dramatic overhaul and present an intriguing path to a more promising future. This provocative work is a welcome contribution to thinking about how we can get our kids the teachers they need."
    —Frederick M. Hess, Resident Scholar and Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

    "Teaching 2030 is a remarkable, revolutionary picture of the future of our schools. Blasting the intellectual meltdown shaping too much of today's education policy, Berry and his colleagues reveal extraordinary opportunities to improve our schools and serve every student. Deeply respectful of teachers, Teaching 2030 proposes how teachers and support professionals can help craft and take more ownership of their professions. This is an exciting and hopeful vision of possibility."
    —Dennis Van Roekel, president, National Education Association

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 03:42:24 AM PST

  •  And one more, (7+ / 0-)

    this from someone who herself is an exemplar of outstanding teaching:

    "There is no other person in our country that captures the teacher voice like Barnett Berry. In his new book, Barnett works with 12 expert teacher colleagues in describing what teaching must look like in 2030 and what we need to do now. It is a call for policymakers and the to recruit the brightest and best to join our ranks and prepare them to lead the way for transforming the public schools. This is a must read for all practioners and policy makers to ensure our schools are ready to prepare our students for 21st Century Careers."
    —Betsy Rogers, 2003 National Teacher of the Year

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 03:43:37 AM PST

    •  One generally would not want (0+ / 0-)

      the best and brightest to teach in K-12 schools or even at universities.

      It takes patience and persistence to be a good teacher.

      The best and brightest wouldn't be willing to put in the time and effort on the most needy students.

      •  bullshit - (0+ / 0-)

        we have some very bright teachers -  and I ain't no dummy

        patience is independent of "intelligence:

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sun Feb 06, 2011 at 10:52:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like a critically important book (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, FindingMyVoice, JanL

    at this time. Thanks for sharing. Don't know how quickly I can get ahold of it, but I will.

  •  I see that this is being shared (4+ / 0-)

    which is good.  However more people can be made aware of this book, the better.

    I am around, and am willing to dialog should anyone be so inclined.


    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 04:01:33 AM PST

    •  I love this quote... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, joycemocha

      I am not only a teacher, but also one who engages in policy. Like the authors, I wear several hats besides that of classroom teacher. Here you encounter me as one who regularly writes about books on education in order to encourage others to read them. Like many of those who authored the book, I regular write online about education. We are bloggers; it is part of how we connect with one another.
      Our expert teachers are a resource that we should value beyond what they accomplish in the classroom, as important as that is. We need to tap their expertise and insight, we need to hear their voices.

      On Wednesday, I wrote about the importance of educators using their collective voices in multiple ways to share their stories, their values, and their expertise.

      We need to begin taking control of the dialog and informing the public and policymakers about the dangers of our current education reform policy.

      More importantly, we should be talking about the dangers of think tanks pushing faulty research.  We should all be engaging in critical thinking, deliberative democracy, and asking questions.  

      Thanks again for motivating me to share my voice...the voice of a teacher!

      "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey

      by iTeachQ on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 06:41:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, Reino, joycemocha

    Thanks Ken - the idea that actual working teachers ought to have a voice in the changes being asked for in public (and private) schools has been overlooked for too long. My personal experiences in an urban district lead me to believe that if drastic changes in the funding and delivery of 'education' are not made, public schools will suffer.
    I wonder if the authors would consider e-publishing this book in the near future?

    Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

    by JanL on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 05:54:59 AM PST

    •  not their choice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      published by Teachers College Press as a joint venture with the NEA.  

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 06:14:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, x

        I will try posting the book on my fb and talking it up...would like to see it get as wide an audience as possible.  Teachers from all across the country need to be engaged around educational issues, and not just in matters of salaries and pension "reforms".
        Stay warm, more snow/ice mix here today, probably heading your way.

        Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

        by JanL on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 06:40:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds Good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are a lot of good ideas in this diary, and I'm willing to assume in the book as well.

    Learning is already changing. I assigned a homework problem a few months ago that involved answering questions based on information in a chart. One of the questions was whether a zebra or a dog runs faster, and the students were supposed to answer "Not Enough Information". Thanks to the internet, some of my students were able to answer the question, explaining that it depends on the dog breed.

    I don't really like the term teacherpreneur, though I like the idea. It implies that teachers will focus on turning a profit and marketing. There are people at my school who spend part of their time teaching and part of their time working on other tasks that help the school, and they make union scale. Teachers interested in making a profit typically just perform private tutoring, which, though often helpful to the family paying for the services, isn't particularly interesting within the topic of reforming our schools.

    I agree that we need teachers to have release time to advance the profession, and there are many ways in which they can do so. There should be some thought into where the money to pay them will come from, and how they can keep their pension plans and benefits while working in less traditional roles. In other words, it sounds like I generally agree with at least some of the ideas, and probably a lot of the ideas, in this book.

    "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

    by Reino on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 06:06:20 AM PST

    •  actually, that is not intent of term (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Reino, JanL, NancyWilling

      in fact, the idea is to maintain idea that teachers should be able to earn differential pay without having to turn themselves into marketing machines

      it is perhaps as important as any concept within the book.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 06:16:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Though perhaps we should also look at (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, JanL

        teacherpreneurs as those teachers willing to strike out and experiment with differential education forms to meet the needs of students who don't fit in the traditional teaching environment.  I am feeling called into that direction, probably due in part to my current studies in Interpersonal Neurobiology combined with my growing dissatisfaction about how the current system doesn't work for some of my high functioning special ed students.

        Standard education is not going to work for a student who is so developmentally globally dyslexic that he or she can't make sense of print.  When a kid has phonemic awareness and superb auditory processing but can't make sense of print, pounding them over the head with phonics won't solve the problem.  Especially since these kids tend to be very smart and can solve problems, answer questions, etc, if you feed it to them orally.  The emphasis on high-stakes testing and one-size-fits-all standards leaves these kids by the wayside--and it's a waste, an utter waste, of brilliant minds and sharp perceptions that will ultimately make superb contributions to society...if they aren't tossed out on the trash heap because they don't fit into the standard, high-stakes testing mold.

        One size does not fit all.  But for me to meet these kids' needs, I may need to open up my own school.  Public education sure as hell ain't gonna help them.

        •  I see a lot of lip service given to honoring ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the individual learning needs of kids... and pressure put on teacher's to address this... via "differentiated instruction."

          While, at the same time, the powers that be in education (as in NYC, under BloomKlein) have increasingly trashed the idea of differentiated teaching. They prefer their teachers as one size fits all - lockstepped and molded.. So much for honoring the individual adult! Which cant say much for how they really think of the children, despite all the empty rhetoric...

          As you honor the big folks, so you honor the little ones, in my view.

          Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

          by NYCee on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 11:25:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Why This Emphasis on Differential Pay? (0+ / 0-)

        Doesn't this reinforce the notion that educators in the classroom should make less money than other educators? If I get an appropriate amount of release time to support other teachers, why should I also expect a raise along with that?

        "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

        by Reino on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 07:57:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no - (0+ / 0-)

          one can be in the classroom with additional duties

          the idea is to allow one to be still classroom based and make as much or more than a pure administrator

          it gets spelled out in detail in the book

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 08:29:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  is there a quick list of cost projections (0+ / 0-)

    OR ...

    this is just more high level theorizing??

    I knew ronnie raygun was a fascist toady when I was a  20 year old 4 buck an hour poli sci major drop out cook in 1980.

    however, the collge educated "leadership" class of the u.s.a. has spent the last 30 years either cleaning out the till OR not makeing much of anything really run better, despite their mountains of degrees and fancy job titles.

    I have 66 Algebra 2 students on Monday, and 72 PreCacl students ----

    anyone have some ideas we can implement by Wednesday?


    buried under incessantly changing 'best pratice' consultant fixes in Seattle.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 06:26:36 AM PST

  •  A teacher seeking alternatives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My District has bought into a professional development and educational publishing house whose central product is an Excel© spreadsheet.  I am looking for alternatives, and thus, will explore your links.

  •  This sounds interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, JanL

    Thanks for letting us know about it

  •  Now that you have a wish list, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, iTeachQ

    the next step is a plan of action. That ma prove harder to craft.

    •  not necessarily (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, NancyWilling

      since many of the ideas are already being done, at least in incipient forms.

      FWIW - in about 2 weeks several of the authors and I will be part of a conference including reporters and experts that will be addressing the key question of quality teachers - it will be another place and fashion to try to propagate some of the ideas contained in the book.

      Some of us in the other hats we wear are already trying to implement some of the other ideas.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 06:54:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Teachers need to break out of isolation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, SingleVoter, JanL

    From my experience, how true!  So many of my former colleagues would never join a professional organization such as the National Council of Teachers of English because it "costs too much" ($75 per year!) or they could see no connection between their work and the work of teachers/researchers on a national or global canvas.  When pedagogical issues arise the sad result is usually a reversion to how their favorite teacher did it when THEY were in high school or grade school.  So, instead of a vision of teaching in 2030, these colleagues carry a vision of teaching in 1970 into their classrooms.  Some of these visions aren't bad, but they don't deal with the cultural changes of either the community or the students they serve.  Like you, Ken, I got into this profession later than most; consequently, I was blessed with discovering the wealth of new information on brain science, pedagogies, language acquisition, etc., that has emerged over the last 20-30 years. It has helped me enormously.  I look forward to reading Teaching 2030.

  •  Thanks for another book to read. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The only course i can see is one that not only redefines teachers and teaching  but also focuses on administration, the school building concept and really, seriously, redefines what is important in the curriculum, how to deliver it and also give opportunity for branching out into other areas of knowledge.
    It is hard to define what I mean by all that...probably because I am so locked in the traditional way of thinking about education...but I see a real need to scrap the whole system and start over with a more child-friendly, learning-friendly environment that focuses on learning and experimenting and research rather than trying to meet artificial standards that end up being worthless in today's world.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lazzardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 08:23:08 AM PST

  •  The word "lockstep" is what jumps out at me... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here's one very blatant downside of the one size fits all program from Teachers' College, instituted across NYC's public schools, under Bloomberg/Klein - two non educators who have held the keys to deforming NYCs ed system for the past decade (Klein just very recently departed)...

    I agree with this NYC teacher-blogger, "Queensteacher," re the pitfalls of reading (and writing)... under NYC's Must-Do Lucy Calkins approach, much despised by many teachers who have had it forced upon them... lock, stock, and lockstep... forward march!

    Lucy Calkins Reading Workshop

    Lucy Calkins, architect of the Teacher's College Reading & Writing Workshop, probably the worst reading and writing programs ever created. I will give her this: she is very smooth and makes you believe TC is it. To most teachers in New York City though, her name is mud.

    I have no great love for Teachers' College because of what I have seen happen to NYC's elementary schools, in full fledge partnership and embrace of TC's programs... which has meant a lockstep mandate of how to teach this and that, what materials may and may NOT be used, and then when to teach what each day, with hardly any wiggle room for deviation, teacher insight, experience and creativity. It has seeped into so much, including what must go on the bulletin boards for each class, each month... and all the wasteful, frustrating and creativity killing time teachers must spend to at least "appear" that they have been correctly molded into place, have all their little boxes checked off, every single day...

    Here we go, an extensive look at NYC's problematic wholesale embrace of Teachers' College gospel... Can We Fix Our Failing Schools?

    Just one snippet:

    Today I was teaching in a general education fifth-grade class in the New York City public school system. I went around and listened to each student read individually. At least 45% of the students in this class suffer from a lack of ability to decode (sound out the words); in addition, about 85% of these students lack a wide breadth of vocabulary knowledge. Research proves that the inability to read fluently, along with vocabulary deficits, result in low comprehension, therefore a significant portion of this class is at risk.  I then did a math lesson on equivalent fractions, which was riddled with questions that were beyond these kid’s understanding.  I had to tell these frustrated students the answers because they simply could not do their work independently. About 85% of these students don’t know the multiplication and division tables.

    Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

    by NYCee on Sat Feb 05, 2011 at 10:06:03 AM PST

  •  Science literacy develops after K-12 (0+ / 0-)

    I found this interesting:

    Over the past two decades, science literacy in the United States – an estimate of the share of adults who can follow complex science issues and maybe even render an informed opinion on them – has nearly tripled.

    Sweden is the only Western European country that had better numbers than the US:
    The new U.S. rate, based on questionnaires administered in 2008, is seven percentage points behind Sweden, the only European nation to exceed the Americans.

    The U.S. figure is slightly higher than that for Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands. And it’s double the 2005 rate in the United Kingdom (and the collective rate for the European Union).

    "America’s improving science and tech literacy does not appear to reflect better K-12 science education, Miller says, since scores on tests assessing kids’ science literacy has remained fairly stable – and not that high. Indeed, he notes, U.S. high school students "are below average and below most European countries" on virtually every international achievement test administered throughout the past 30 years. One in four American students don’t even complete high school, and among those who do, he contends, many are "poorly educated." Against this background, he says, one is tempted to ask how science literacy among U.S. adults could have risen to become second only to the Swedes’."

    Those attending college are the ones who allow us to attain this high level of science literacy. Seems to me its not rocket science to conclude that when kids are taught by expert teachers and where students know won't pass the class if they don't study, they learn well:

    In general, high-school science classes tend to be elementary in nature, he says, and poorly taught – often by teachers who lack much grounding in the subject.

    "A lot of learning also has to do with expectations," he maintains. When they’re low, students don’t feel compelled to try hard. But unlike in U.S. high schools, "college courses come with high expectations," Miller says, and professors insist that you actually do work – or you fail.

    K-12 in the US is a rough slog, but our colleges and universities are doing pretty well.

  •  Teaching NOW (0+ / 0-)

    I also ignored the fact that losing our vice principal—who tried his best to be an effective disciplinarian—was sure to affect the school’s climate....

    Everything was great for the first three weeks, but then a few students began testing the limits of what was acceptable behavior. It’s one thing when a student throws a paper ball at his friend, or when someone utters a rude comment. It’s quite another thing when a student tells you that she’ll "crack" your "bitch ass" or demands that you "get the fuck out of [her] face". Unfortunately, as the students soon discovered, our principal offered no support whatsoever. Nearly every discipline referral sent to the office was returned with a polite reminder to please contact the students’ parents. Clear and consistent consequences simply did not exist—even though they were mandated by the district’s code of conduct.

    Once that realization spread, the school effectively went from quality to chaos overnight. The following is but a sample of what an average day looked and sounded like:

    -Students standing in the hall and kicking classroom doors for five to ten minutes at a time
    -Students fighting
    -Teachers pelted with paper, pencils, erasers, and rocks whenever they turned their heads
    -Assignments torn up and thrown on the floor the moment they’re passed out
    -Teachers cursed at, threatened, and sometimes even assaulted
    -Classroom supplies vandalized or thrown about the room
    -Groups of students running the halls and showing up to one or two classes at most
    -Constant yelling and shouting from the hallways
    -Gang writing written on the walls with permanent markers
    -Students talking and yelling so loud in the classroom that nobody could hear the teacher

    By "students", I’m of course referring to the 15-25% that were chronically disruptive. The truth is that the overwhelming majority in each class were great kids who came every day ready to learn. Besides being from an impoverished part of town, they were no different than students at any other school.

    This wasn’t just a problem at my school. When I spoke with other teachers throughout the district, they told me that the situation at their school was nearly identical to mine.

    A reader comment:

    This is exactly what is going on in Washington DC. It is absolutely outrageous especially when our former chancellor, Michelle Rhee, is now parading around the country being touted as a rock star. It makes me ill every time I see an article referencing her and her new organization Students First.


    I came to realize a certain truth about this country’s urban schools: their leaders—especially those at the district level—rarely have any stake in whether or not the schools are successes or failures. They’re not a part of those communities, they don’t send their children to the schools they oversee (except, sometimes, the selective admissions-based ones), and at the end of the day, whatever happens doesn’t really affect them. They’re working with other peoples’ children. The only thing they have to lose is their jobs—and that’s easy to protect if they cover their rear, furnish the necessary documentation, and blame those below them.

    Perhaps each administrator and their eldest flesh-and-blood K-12 school-age child should be in the same building.

  •  A critical review (0+ / 0-)

    of Obama's State of the Union address with respect to education:

    Race to the Top is anything but what Obama says "the work of local teachers and principals, school boards and communities." States that were desperate for cash had to use all means to coerce teachers, principals, and school boards to sign on to the application because participation of local schools was a heavily weighted criterion.

    "Over the past decade, U.S. colleges and universities graduated roughly three times more scientists and engineers than were employed in the growing science and engineering workforce," one of the study’s co-author Lindsay Lowell was quoted in the study’s press release, "At the same time, more of the very best students are attracted to non-science occupations, such as finance.

  •  An interesting article (0+ / 0-)

    on charter schools:

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