Join Focus on Change in Education and Esolution

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

San Diego Unified doesn't know how to judge what makes a quality school

My favorite education reporter, Emily Alpert, from Voice of San Diego, is consistently uncovering the problems with SDUSD, but the solutions are rare. In this week's story she finds that our schools, which have run out of money for busing, must now strive to make all schools equally good, but they have no idea what factors make a quality school. There is some push back from the unions about which teachers go to what schools.
San Diego Unified has come up with a dozen different indicators of what makes a "quality school." Those indicators range from parent engagement to setting clear expectations for students. A lot of the work stems from "It's Being Done," a book by journalist Karin Chenoweth that looks at schools with high poverty and high achievement.
A dozen factors that indicate quality schools:
  1. Quality Teaching and data driven instruction
  2. Quality leadership
  3. Professional learning for all staff
  4. Access to broad and challenging curriculum
  5. High Expectations
  6. K-12 Integration and collaboration
  7. Supportive environment, safe and well maintained facilities
  8. Quality support staff integrated and focused on student achievement
  9. Parents engagement around student achievement, community volunteers
  10. Accepting of all children regardless of circumstance, need or background
  11. Tools for learning, technology
  12. Serves as neighborhood center with services depending on neighborhood needs
(Use the links above to access the reports)

In my opinion, the best teachers need to be assigned to the lowest performing schools. But we don't have any objective way to assess teacher quality, because test scores are not allowed to factor as part of teacher performance review. My solution, randomly rotate all teachers every other year, so that all students get access to the best (and worst) teachers over their 12 years in school.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Education is Key - RSA

Check out this short video from the United Kingdom, RSA from Cognitive Media.