Race To Nowhere in youth sports

Oldie but goodie. Click here for full story.

“As movies such as “The Race to Nowhere” and recent articles such as this one from the Washington Post point out, while the race has a few winners, the course is littered with the scarred psyches of its participants. We have a generation of children that have been pushed to achieve parental dreams instead of their own, and prodded to do more, more, more and better, better, better. The pressure and anxiety is stealing one thing our kids will never get back; their childhood.”

Poet criticizes Texas STAAR test after not being able to answer questions on own poems

“These test questions were just made up, and tragically, incomprehensibly, kids’ futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the so-called correct answer to made up questions.”

“test makers are for-profit organizations”

“the only way to stop this nonsense is for parents to stand up and say, no more. No more will I let my kid be judged by random questions scored by slackers from Craigslist while I pay increased taxes for results that could just as easily have been predicted by an algorithm. That’s not education, that’s idiotic.”

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College admissions tests are holding students back

Businessweek: The SAT

“…college applicants should also be asked to demonstrate their creativity, practical intelligence, and even wisdom, qualities which are in shorter supply than cleverness. “If you look at why this country is so screwed up,” he says, “it’s not because the people running it have low SATs.”

“Designed to ferret out hidden talent, the tests have become, for some students at least, barriers to higher education. Scores are highly correlated with family income; Harvard law professor Lani Guinier calls the SAT a “wealth test.” “

“Admissions officers at about 850 four-year colleges now make standardized tests optional for some or all of their applicants, according to FairTest, a nonprofit watchdog.”

“Imagine if hospitals evaluated incoming patients the way colleges evaluate applicants: Only the healthiest cases would be admitted.”

“Sternberg, the formerly stupid first-grader, wound up running the University of Wyoming this fall after academic postings at Yale, Tufts, and Oklahoma State. At all three schools his research showed that measuring students’ creativity and practicality could predict their college success better than plain SAT scores could. The message: Real life is messy. You’re not given five answers to choose from. And America shouldn’t depend on something resembling an IQ test to rake geniuses from the rubbish.”

Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy

Click HERE to read article.

“Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s.”
Known as GYPSYs in this article.

“Sure,” GYPSY’s have been taught, “everyone will go and get themselves some fulfilling career, but I am unusually wonderful and as such, my career and life path will stand out amongst the crowd.” So on top of the generation as a whole having the bold goal of a flowery career lawn, each individual GYPSY thinks that he or she is destined for something even better —

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

Pressured Parents Phenomenon

Jessica writes a terrific article about “Pressured Parents Phenomenon“.  The article is only half of it.  Make sure you read the comments following the article.

Our schools and other institutions, such as organized sports, are set up as hierarchies with evaluation, social comparison, and “weeding out” as part of routine practice. (Labaree, 1997). Indeed, Labaree (1997) argued that the goals of education have moved from obtaining knowledge that will be useful for children in their futures to obtaining credentials that will give them an edge over the competition.

Humans, as opposed to other species—are high-investment parents. Some species lay eggs and walk away, but not us. We spend an enormous amount of energy raising our children to adulthood, and often beyond, and as I found out at parent-teacher night, much of that energy is toxic.

Building a Better School Day

From today’s Parade Magazine

1. Begin the Day with Breakfast

As a result of government policies like No Child Left Behind—which requires schools to improve on students’ standardized test performance year over year—educators are overwhelmed with testing and test prep. And that has contributed to an increasingly dysfunctional public school system,

2. Emphasize Learning, Not Testing
3. Teach 21st-Century Skills
4.  “Flip” the Class Work

What if, instead of spending algebra class listening to their teacher give a lecture, students were sent home with short video lectures, then spent class time having the concepts reinforced with interactive labs or discussions?

5. Say Yes to Recess
6. Get Creative
7. Go Longer-And Better

Test Scores Sink as New York Adopts Tougher Benchmarks

It’s all about the numbers.

Excerpts from article linked above:

“The number of New York students passing state reading and math exams dropped drastically this year, education officials reported on Wednesday, unsettling parents, principals and teachers and posing new challenges to a national effort to toughen academic standards.”

“Now we’re going to come out and tell everybody that they’ve accomplished nothing this year and we’ve been pedaling backward?” Ms. Russell said. “It’s depressing.”

William C. Thompson Jr., a Democratic candidate who has been endorsed by the city’s teachers’ union, said the results showed that for years the city had put too much of an emphasis on tests at the expense of deeper learning.”

“The dreary numbers in New York have prompted some critics to argue that the tests are simply too difficult to pass and that education officials have set unrealistic goals.”

“We’re now demanding that most students are A students, and that’s ridiculous,” said Diane Ravitch, an education historian and a frequent critic of Mr. Bloomberg’s efforts to remake the school system. “It will feed into a sense that the tests are not even legitimate measures.”

Teacher Morale Plummets

Walt writes about latest results on teacher satisfaction

The 29th annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher confirms what was expected. I’m referring now to teacher satisfaction, which is the lowest in a quarter of a century. Specifically, only 39 percent of teachers said they were very satisfied, and more than half said they felt under “great stress” several days a week.

These results are not at all surprising in light of the pressure that public school teachers and principals are under to produce quantifiable outcomes.

Comments are worth reading as well:

I’ve been doing this job for 20 years, and all I hear from others in my strata and higher is how they cannot wait to get away from the stupid nonsense that is permeating education today.

We feel powerless. Micromanaged. Distrusted to do our jobs. To hell with actual pedagogy and learning theory. Let’s try this new fad. And punish the non-conformist. Data. Test. Data. Exam. Data. Ugh.

Teacher questions value of AP program

A popular article describes the problem with the AP program:
A warning to college profs from a high school teacher.

Performance on the AP test, while indicating some level of competence, does not necessarily mean one has learned what one would in the equivalent college course…Dartmouth College will no longer give credit for AP because when they tested incoming students who had scored well on the AP Psychology test the vast majority failed what would have been the end-of- course exam in Dartmouth’s introductory psychology class.

After a rebuttal, the author defends his position:
Teacher questions value of AP program