Monday, December 5, 2011

Alberta looks at the united states, does the opposite

Dangerously Irrelevant has an interesting article about the Alberta School System.  We know our school systems need improvement, but I think sometimes we forget to look at what is being successful in education before looking outside education for ideas to improve.

 A recent article inAlberta Views highlighted the differences between its system and America's, noting that the United States is an 'anti-model' for how to do school reform:
By contrast we can also learn what not to do from reform in the US, whose education system is in decline. Its elements, implemented over the past two decades, are largely ideological: "market-based" reforms (the application of "business insights" to the running of schools); an emphasis on standardization and narrowing of curriculum; extensive use of external standardized assessment; fostering choice and competition among schools, often with school vouchers; making judgements based on test data and closing "failing schools"; encouraging the growth of charter schools (which don't have teacher unions); "merit pay" and other incentives; faith that "technologically mediated instruction" will reduce costs; an overwhelming "top-down" approach which tells everyone what to do and holds them accountable for doing it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Is The Achievement Gap a Middle Class Issue

An interesting article about the fact that the achievement gap is becoming a middle class issue.

A recent study (PDF) by Sean Reardon of Stanford University finds that the achievement gap between the upper and middle classes is bigger than the gap between the middle class and the working poor. This should give pause to those who dismiss education reform as something that affects other people. If you're middle class, you're on the losing side of the achievement gap.