Lesson Learned

                                                             Group 5

          Elizabeth Benavides- Gaitan Dominique Diaz , Zaheia Salem, Ethel Velez

    Amidst recent reforms and changes within the school               systems, many schools have not improved

  • Why are schools not improving?
  • Is the quality of teaching at stake?
  • Are reforms offering a proper “diagnosis” and “cure” for schools?
  • Where and why have reforms not been completely successful?
  • Schools are not improving because congress and state legislatures are determining what and how teachers should teach.
  • External stakeholders are making most of the decisions for schools.
  • This is affecting the pedagogy of schools.
  • Many schools continue to struggle and are not improving amidst recent reforms, because the stakeholders involved do not have proper experience in the classroom and in a school setting. They do not understand the layers of issues that exist, so there solutions are not productive.
  • Professional educators and scholars do not have a primary voice in decisions within the reforms and changes.
  • There is not enough collaboration between internal and external stakeholder.
  • It has been argued that the recent educational reforms have been threatening the sanctity of the classroom and impacting the role of teachers, students, and schools.
  • No Child Left Behind Act was implemented in 2002 and it is intended to measure math and reading competency of children in grades 3-8.
  • The benchmarks that were placed during the beginning of NCLB were not able to bridge the achievement gap. Many schools are falling behind and teachers and students are struggling to keep up with the standards that have been set by the reform.

                  Standardized Testing

  • Standardized tests are not a viable method of measuring what students have learned.
  • Focusing on the accountability of standardized testing's is not helping to improve all schools.
  • Tests are flawed and do not hold viable results because they are not taking into account diversity in individual learning styles.
  • Standardized testing’s are a stress on students, they are more concerned with learning information than understanding.
  • Instructional shifts within the common core focus on mathematics and reading. Due to the demands of student standardized testing’s, many subjects like social studies, geography, history, civics, and art have been briefly implemented in the curriculum.
  • Students and schools will not improve, because this goes against the fundamental reasons of education. Students need to be well-rounded and they need to learn about civility and how they can be prominent members of society.
  • The reforms are not encouraging creativity and critical thinking.

                Feeling the pressure

  • Schools will not improve because under new reforms test scores are detrimental to determining and evaluating students, teachers, schools and principals.
  • Due to the exclusivity and accountability of test scores (as means of evaluation), many schools have been under extreme pressure to meet the requirements.
  • This pressure has resulted in unethical acts by schools such as cheating and manipulating test scores.
  • Education will not improve under these standards because the nature and ideals of education has been distorted.

What, Then, Can We Do to Improve Schools and Education?

  • We must first have a vision of what a good education is.
  • Goals that are worth striking for.
  • Ask yourself 4 questions:
  1. What is a well-educated person?
  2. What knowledge is of most worth?
  3. What do we hope for when we send our children to school?
  4. What do we want them to learn and accomplish by they time they graduate?

What we want for our children?

  • Build basic skills.
  • Prepare them for a useful life.
  • Think for themselves in the real world.
  • Build good characters and make the right decisions about their life, work and health.
  • Face life with COURAGE & HUMOR.
  • Have a sense of JUSTICE & FAIRNESS.
  • Testing is not sufficient to reach these goals!

                                               We are training not educating

                              The generation of children are repelled by learning!


Moving Towards a New Vision of Education

  • The quality of curriculum - What is being taught .
  • Every school should have a well- conceived coherent, sequential curriculum.
  • Curriculum is not a script, it's a set of general guidelines.
  • Bring back the liberal arts and science: history, geography, sciences, civics, mathematics, the arts, foreign languages and most importantly, health and physical education.
  • Curriculum is a starting point for all other reforms.
  • It informs us all about the goals of instruction.
  • Japan and Finland

  • Nations such as Japan and Finland have excellent curricula that students learn from all subjects.
  • Their schools teach the major fields of study, including the arts and foreign languages, because they believe that this is the right education for their students, not because they will be tested.
  • We need to establish a national curriculum with the purpose of educating all children in liberal arts and sciences.
  • What is happening to the curriculum?

    The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

  • Students must learn the basic facts of computation, which are necessary for successful problem solving and critical thinking.
  • Many districts that mandate constructionist programs realize that they must also teach basic mathematical computation such as Reflex Math
  • Science

  • Students should study science in every grade.
  • History

  • Should be as exciting to young people.
  • To restore excitement and vitality to this subject, teachers and curriculum designers must raise questions, provoke debates, explore controversies, and encourage the use of primary documents, narratives written by master historians, biographies, documentaries, and other visual records of important events and personalities.
  • Art

  • Children deserve the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument, to sing, engage in dramatic events, dance, paint, sculpt, and study the great works of artistic endeavor from other times and places.
  • If national curriculum is impossible to reach, then every state should make sure that every child receives an education that includes history, geography, literature, the arts, the sciences, civics, foreign languages, health, and physical education.

    Why is curriculum important?

  • It’s a road map.
  • Ensures that young people will not remain ignorant of the most essential facts and ideas of the humanities and sciences.
  • To have no curriculum:

  • leaves schools at the mercy of those who demand a regime of basic skills and no content at all.
  • leave decisions about what matters to the ubiquitous textbooks on which assessment may be based.
  • is to tighten the grip of test-based accountability, testing only generic skills, not knowledge or comprehension.
  • Massachusetts one of the few states with an excellent curriculum in every subject.Students have highest academic performance in the nation.
  • The goal of evaluation should not be to identify schools that must be closed, but to identify schools that need help. With a strong and comprehensive curriculum and a fair assessment and evaluation system in place, the schools must have teachers who are well qualified to teach the curriculum.Test scores should not be the determining factor to measure of the quality of a school.

    To attract and retain the teachers we need, schools must offer compensation that reflects the community’s respect for them as professionals.Schooling requires the active participation of many, including students, families, public officials, local organizations, and the larger community.

    Question: How can we shift our attention to improve schools to infuse a substance of genuine learning?

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