Join Focus on Change in Education and Esolution

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book: "The End Of College", by Kevin Carey

We are now headed into a time of abundance when it comes to educational resources. All the books in the world are now available on your iPad or your phone or your computer, or will be soon. The same is true for all of the lectures of all of the smartest people in the world, and the course notes and the problem sets. ... Once they're built, the cost of providing them to the 10,000th student or the millionth student is almost nothing.

The problem with college admissions is that colleges don't really know that much about students. All they kind of have to go on is an SAT [or ACT] score, which is kind of a blunt instrument ... a high school transcript, which is sort of hard to figure out, [and] maybe a personal essay, who knows who wrote the personal essay. So they tend to fall back on, "Is this person a legacy? Did they go to a 'good high school?'" Well, everyone figures out where "good high schools" are and people pay a lot of money in tuition if it's a private high school, or in the real estate market to buy a house near the good high school. And so again the opportunities for students to go to particularly elite colleges that are often the stepping stone toward the best jobs in government or business are in many ways constricted to a narrow band of people.

You just have to look at the numbers and you see that people who attend America's most elite universities are disproportionately wealthy, disproportionately well-off, in many cases disproportionately white; their parents both have college degrees, which is unusual. And because college is getting more and more expensive, it's less of a meritocracy, I would argue. If only the rich can afford to go to the "good colleges," then we don't have a system of opportunity; we have a system of replicating privilege that already exists. I think that — given the wider trend of growing inequality in the United States of America — is a huge, huge problem.
The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Learn Different with Larry Rosenstock, CEO of High-Tech High

A call for more experimentation in education. Be different! 

Visit High Tech High School and you will find project learning taken to the extreme. It's a different kind of school. The 6 "High Tech" schools from, elementary to media-arts, are unique learning environments in our Public/Charter School mind-space. They select students via an application lottery designed to maximize diversity using simple zip-code representation. Their Graduation Rates are 98%, and their objective metric is set by their student's 6-year college graduation rate (86%). They have been around 14-years, supported by Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm and Bill Gates Educational Foundation, CEO - Larry Rosenstock says all the right things and the results speak for themselves, plus the kids seem happy to learn. 
Born cross-eyed, Larry will tell you he sees the world differently. He says we don't need more High-Tech High type schools, what we need is educational experiments, to break up the factory model of schools so common in the USA. Each child learns differently, so we need a vast array of schools each with community designed focuses, to give them choices to be successful.

When schools are like prisons, we train prisoners. What if we could capture the power of 'peer-pressure' to push teachers & students to become better? The charter schools in California get the same $7500/year, per student, that regular schools do, yet High-Tech High School has a low 20:1 student-teacher ratio, and FIVE (count them) College Councilors (*one for every 100 students). With their 'great room' and transparent class-rooms, the project-based learning makes students extremely comfortable with presentation and social-skills. They learn math and english DEcontextualized, embedded within other subjects like history and science, for their projects. 
Apocoliptico Project

Look for "How to Teach Us" on Coursera 

Massive Open On-line Coourse = MOOC

Most Likely to Succeed - the Documentary about High Tech High Schools at Sundance Films 

Thanks for the invite from Thanasi Galvis of San Diego Experience Design Meetup
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
6:30 PM
High Tech High School
2861 Womble Road, San Diego , CA (map)
Remember high school? For many of us, it was regimented, rote, and devoid of real-world context and meaning. In the San Diego region, High Tech High is leading a wave of innovation in education rooted in design thinking. Students gather in engaged, small sessions in open-walled spaces that resemble brainstorm discussions more than traditional classrooms. Prototypes and finished work are everywhere. You can even play video games for hours; that is, of course, if you code them yourself. Welcome to High Tech High, the public charter school with the energy, spirit, and sense of exploration of a tech startup.
This month, we have the fortunate opportunity to hear about High Tech High from its founder, Larry Rosenstock, a noted innovator in education. Come learn about the design behind the school, teachers as designers, and teaching students a design thinking approach to projects.
Larry Rosenstock is the founder and CEO of High Tech High, a network of public charter schools focused on project-based learning.
Larry taught carpentry in urban high schools for eleven years before working as staff attorney at the Harvard Center for Law and Education. Returning to public schools, he served as Director of the Rindge School of Technical Arts and then Principal of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.
Mr. Rosenstock directed the New Urban High School Project of the U.S. Department of Education. He has served as a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Visiting Associate Professor at UC Berkeley School of Education.
Larry is the recipient of the Ashoka Fellowship and the McGraw Prize in Education, and serves as an advisor to numerous commissions and boards nationally and internationally. He holds a JD from Boston University Law School, an M.Ed from Cambridge College, a BA from Brandeis University and a Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa from Cambridge College.
High Tech High Learning now comprises twelve K-12 schools, a teacher-credentialing program, and a graduate school of education.
About High Tech High
High Tech High was originally conceived by a group of about 40 civic and high tech industry leaders in San Diego, assembled by the Economic Development Corporation and the Business Roundtable, who met regularly from 1996 - 1998 to discuss the challenge of finding qualified individuals for the high-tech work force. In particular, members were concerned about the “digital divide” that resulted in low numbers of women and ethnic minority groups entering the fields of math, science, and engineering. Gary Jacobs, Director of Education Programs at Qualcomm, and Kay Davis, Director of the Business Roundtable, were key participants in these discussions.
In late 1998 the group voted to start a charter school and engaged Larry Rosenstock, then President of Price Charities in San Diego, as the founding principal. The founding group was clear about its intent: to create a school where students would be passionate about learning and would acquire the basic skills of work and citizenship. Rosenstock, a former carpentry teacher, lawyer, and high school principal who had recently directed the U.S. Department of Education’s New Urban High School (NUHS) project, brought a vision and a sense of the design principles by which this mission might be accomplished.
Design Principles
High Tech High has distilled the six NUHS design principles to four: personalization, adult world connection, common intellectual mission, and teacher as designer. Responding directly to the needs of students, all four principles connect to the broad mission of preparation for the adult world. Moreover, all four call for structures and practices that schools do not now routinely employ. The design principles permeate every aspect of life at High Tech High: the small size of the school, the openness of the facilities, the personalization through advisory, the emphasis on integrated, project-based learning and student exhibitions, the requirement that all students complete internships in the community, and the provision of ample planning time for teacher teams during the work day.
For more information about High Tech High, please visit:
Special Thanks to Student Ambassadors: Max Richter, 12th HTH-Media Arts
Carly mitchell, 12th HTHI
Elena Hoffman, 11th HTH
Kai Anderson, 12th HTH-Media Arts

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

University of California Administration is Incompetent

LA Times Report: by George Skelton
Professors should teach more and do less research, he has said. Administrators shouldn't be paid so generously — into the $300,000 and $400,000 range, plus big perks.
UC contends it has to compete against Ivy League schools for talent.
Nonsense, the governor implied. "Money doesn't buy everything in this world," he told Regent Richard Blum, a wealthy investor and husband of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "If it did, I wouldn't have anybody working for me."
UC "doesn't have to follow the Ivy League" to recruit, Brown argued. "People will get very excited about an institution that has a moral depth that transcends the vagaries of the marketplace.... This is not Wall Street. This is the University of California, and we want to be different."
There is no need for tuition hikes. The UC Administrators are incompetent. Look at how they work with CA K-12 Public Schools, and the results. 

All UC Regents are over paid. Napalitano's base pay is $570,000/year (not including pension, health, housing, and transportation benefits). At Each UC Campus there are 9 Chancellors who get >$450,000/yr.+benefits. Governor Brown earns only $173,000/year.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Who Needs Algebra? Geometry? Trigonometry? Calculus? Differential Equations? Statistics? Linear Algebra? Topology? Number Theory?

Ashjame Pendarvis, a first-year community college student, works on her math homework at the University of District of Columbia.
Ashjame Pendarvis, a first-year community college student, works on her math homework at the University of District of Columbia.
Elissa Nadworny/NPR
Let's start with a little word problem. Sixty percent of the nation's 12.8 million community college students are required to take at least one course in subject X. Eighty percent of that 60 percent never move on past that requirement.
  1. Let Y = the total percentage of community college students prevented from graduating simply by failing that one subject, X. What is Y?
    The answer: Y = 48.
  2. And if you haven't guessed it by now, What is X?
    The answer: Subject X equals the course sequence known as developmental or remedial math, and especially its final course, algebra.
"Here at LaGuardia, and at every community college in the country, it is the single most-failed course, and the gateway" that determines who graduates, says Gail Mellow, the president of LaGuardia Community College in Queens, N.Y.
Mellow is one of a growing number of educators out there who believe it may be time to rethink the algebra requirement.
"More than half of the students who come to LaGuardia are not ready for college-level math," she says. "We're pretty typical that way. Should we take them back through high school just because math is important? Or should we take seriously the fact that these are adults, they're overwhelmingly poor, and we want to give them the type of skills that will be useful in their lives?"
'What Is The Purpose?'
Ashjame Pendarvis, 20, is studying in the lounge at the University of the District of Columbia Community College with her laptop, calculator and papers spread around her. She's taking the most basic level of math at UDC.
She plans on majoring in infant and early childhood education, but she has to get two semesters of remedial math out of the way before she can start on courses relevant to her major, and two more of college-level math before she can graduate — a typical required math sequence.
"I feel like, if math isn't important in your career, then there is no need for it in college," she says. "What's the purpose of wasting your time and your money?"
Anyone who's had to deal with math homework probably has heard, or uttered, a version of that complaint. What's surprising is that educators like Mellow agree with Pendarvis.
They're trying a new way of teaching math that gets rid of most algebra altogether. It's being tested on almost 5,000 students across the country. So far, many more students are succeeding in the courses, which abandon traditional math sequences in favor of new content, new teaching techniques and even a little psychology.
You Can Get It If You Really Want
"Adult learning theory tells us that adults learn better when the intellectual work is applicable to their lives," says Mellow, who is on the steering committee of an initiative called Community College Pathways. The new approach seeks to largely skip over abstract algebraic formulas and go directly to math concepts that students will use and find engaging.
Pathways consists of a yearlong course, Statway (for "Statistics") and a pair of semester-long courses, Quantway (for "Quantitative Reasoning").
In their traditional forms, both subjects typically come after remedial algebra in the college math sequence, and are offered for college credit — but these topics have far more immediate applications than algebraic equations do.
"Algebra is useful if you're going to be compounding chemical substances for a manufacturing firm or if you're an engineer," Mellow explains. "But understanding statistics, probability, levels of risk — whether for retirement planning or the risk of your kid getting a concussion in football — those are real-life issues people will face."
Similarly, the Quantway course is organized around concepts important for immediately useful topics: personal finance, health and civics.
This may sound like the old debate over replacing "pure math" with "applied math" or "business math." But Karon Klipple, who directs the Pathways project, says what's even more important to this new approach is changing how teachers teach, and how students think about math — and even how they feel about it.
Pathways tells instructors to emphasize "productive persistence" — using good study strategies, and trying hard. They talk explicitly with students about calming math anxiety. They try things like putting students into study groups whose members are responsible for following up if one of them skips class.
And, amazingly, they've found that simply by teaching students that the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger with use (known as "growth mindset"), the students go on to try harder and perform better.
The Carnegie Foundation started offering Pathways in fall 2011. Currently 49 institutions use the courses, including the California State University system and community colleges in 14 states. The foundation is tracking their success closely, and the institutions are collaborating to see how they can make the courses better. (The Gates Foundation, which also supports NPR, is a supporter of this collaboration.)
So far, about half of the Quantway and Statway students at LaGuardia and elsewhere finish developmental math and earn their college-level math credit within a single year. In the traditional sequence, just 15 percent do the same — and that's in two years.
"We've tripled our success rate in half the time," says Mellow.
Is This Cheating?
But is skipping algebra cheating somehow? After all, the traditional college math sequence has been in place since at least the 19th century. Karen Klipple, who directs the Pathways Project, says they can prove they're not dumbing down Statway and Quantway.
First of all, the material covered in the courses, which do include some algebraic topics, was vetted independently by the Mathematical Association of America, the American Statistical Association and other groups. Second, a report released in July showed that Pathways students, when given the same final exam as other college-level math and statistics students, scored as well or better.
A related question is whether creating alternate pathways means tracking students away from math-heavy, lucrative STEM careers.
"That's what a lot of people say," says Mellow. "I think that the way we do it now allows students to fail multiple times."
She points out that some students who succeed in Pathways gain confidence, and even a love of math, as opposed to the majority of remedial students, who retake courses again and again or drift away from college altogether.
"[Pathways] doesn't feel like closing off anything to me. I want students to have more choices and appropriate challenges."