Post 12: An Education Revolution from the Field

Thursday, November, 29, 12 § 1 Comment

This post is the first in a three-part description of a national movement in adult education that successfully replaced the “sit-down-and-listen” model with a more dynamic, more humanistic learning approach. By guest contributor Paul Biderman, J.D.

Part 1: A new approach to learning.

Apart from any random molecules of enlightenment that may have drifted my way during my seven years of board service for a Santa Fe charter school, and whatever modest contribution I may have made to the presence of relentlessly inquisitive minds in two sons, I assert no claim to expertise in pedagogy.

In 1991, however, I was hired to start and run a new center dedicated to the education of the judges and staff of all New Mexico state, local and tribal courts.  I believe that some of the adult education principles I learned during my fourteen years running the New Mexico Judicial Education Center [JEC] may be adaptable to K-12 students. What may be even more applicable are my observations of and participation in the successful dissemination of this model among judicial educators nationwide, dramatically changing the culture of this profession. « Read the rest of this entry »

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Post 11: The Third Way

Thursday, November, 22, 12 § 2 Comments

Educational historian Diane Ravitch has described how the history of public school reform in the US can be divided into two basic approaches: the accountability approach, and the professionalism approach.

The accountability approach is all about outputs. Results. It’s hot right now, and has been for some time, among policy-makers like Obama and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and philanthropic leaders from the corporate world, like Eli Broad and Bill Gates. Their argument, in a nutshell, is that the best way to improve schools is by setting clear and measurable expectations for student performance, testing whether or not those expectations have been met, and then rewarding, re-training or sacking the adults who are responsible for the successes or failures. « Read the rest of this entry »

Post 10: My 18,053 Classmates and I

Thursday, November, 8, 12 § 2 Comments

Some weeks back, my former boss and School Re-Formed guest contributor, Tony Gerlicz, invited me to take an on-line class with him, from Stanford University.

He and I had been chatting about Disrupting Class, the book by Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn that predicts the end of school as we know it. There’s a lot of things I don’t like about Christensen and Horn’s book–it’s myopically oriented towards the middle and upper classes, and outright fascist in calling for school leaders to dismiss the democratic process–but like Tony, I feel the authors are right in predicting that new forms of more personalized and flexible schooling, aided by new technologies, are on the rise. « Read the rest of this entry »

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