Join Focus on Change in Education and Esolution

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New SDUSD Strategic Process Plan, 40 years too late.

The district's has so far produced a draft document that lists 12 lofty goals and goes into some detail about what each one means and why it's important.
But the document stops there. So far, there are no plans to create metrics that might inform the district, or the public, how close each school is to attaining each goal. It's a bit like a teacher demanding good grades from students, but without identifying how students should earn them or what the grades are.
District Chief of Staff Bernie Rhinerson said that's by design. The district didn't want to rush into creating a measurement system that would immediately start to brand schools as successful or unsuccessful. The school board wanted to take its time and get it right, he said.

VOSD continues to cover our failing schools, but we've made no progress in four decades. Every few years a new Superintendent comes and the old one goes. The elections of School Board members are a fight between the conservative right and progressive left, and the Teachers' Unions tend to win with both money and votes. We need change, the kids suffer, but the problem is now endemic. Our children are afraid of school, uninspired, and unnourished.

When will we get the leaders we need? I know this should sound cynical, but after watching this all my life, my best guess is we will never find them. The best we can hope for is to save our own children, pay to keep them with quality schools and tutors, after school programs and camps, and try to limit the damage to other people's kids. The system is broken by the very democracy that created it. I suggest we let those who want out of our public schools use some kind of standardized Voucher System, to introduce market like forces into the education system. However, these vouchers must be tempered with strict regulation that doesn't allow schools to pick and choose students based upon uncontrollable atributes: race, religion, economic status, nationality, sexuality, gender, etc.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Project Based Learning

PBS NewsHour Reports ...
A public school district in Danville, Ky., has turned its emphasis away from traditional testing in order to encourage creativity and let students learn by doing. NewsHour special correspondent for education John Merrow reports on "deep learning," and how it requires commitment from educators, students and parents.