Blue Serials (1/24/16)
I think the metaphor is obvious.
Most of #oklaed are currently focused on budget cuts, rhetorical shenanigans from our elected leaders, and the upcoming legislative session. Any recent contributions to such discussions are compiled on #OKElections16, along with pithy commentary and analysis from yours truly.
Somehow the rest of the interwebs carries on, however - including...
Stuff you simply SHOULD NOT MISS from this past week in edu-bloggery:
Making Room For Uncertainty In The Required Curriculum - Bill Ferriter of The Tempered Radical writes this brief-but-essential piece in reponse to an Mindshift post you should also consider perusing. "There’s a constant tension between what we SAY we want our students to know and be able to do and what we LIST as priorities in our mandated pacing guides..." Isn't THAT the truth? Make following @plugusin on the Twitters a stated priority - then follow through.
Addressing Teacher Quality Post-NCLB - P.L. Thomas of The Becoming Radical tackles the myth of 'teacher effectiveness trumps all'. Teacher quality absolutely matters, he argues, but he can in the same class period be a great teacher for lil' Bobo and a completely inadequate teacher for Mary Lou Kaputney. And while "we must address teacher experience and qualifications/expertise at high-poverty, majority-minority schools," Thomas reminds us, "without social reform that alleviates the burdens of poverty on the lives of students and their families, we are unlikely to see the sorts of changes in data that would justify any in-school only reforms."
Follow @plthomasEdD on the Twitters for more face-slapping reality and the occasional comic book character analysis.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Removing Grades - Peter Anderson on Mr. Anderson Reads & Writes shares some of his experiences as he moves away from using grades as fish to be dangled in front of dolphin-children so they'll perform our litle hoop-jumping tricks, and towards... what, exactly?
"And this is when the real work comes in. And the fear. How will I get children to work? How will I manage a classroom? How will I communicate with parents in an age of grade-surveillance and instant communication? Will I give homework? What skills will I focus on? How can I convince children to embark with me on an unknown path bereft of signposts and cardinal directions? Will they trust me? Will I trust myself? What starts out as a quiet act of revolution quickly metastasizes into real existential-occupational dilemmas. These dilemmas force you to make choices with actual consequences. You will find yourself, perhaps for the first time in your professional career, fully in charge of your classroom..."
Follow @MrAndersonELA on the Twitters and let him not give you a letter grade.
Drowning Bunnies to Raise Graduation Rates - Peter Greene of Curmudgucation highlights a modest university in Maryland trying to reduce its 'dropout' rates in a somewhat horrifying way. The situation is specific, but the lessons are many - When you put non-educators in charge, you get non-education results. When you judge an institution by magic numbers, its purpose tends to mutate in order to serve those numbers. On the other hand, when you give a few students freedom and a pen, they sometimes write truth to power and change the course of bigger things than themselves. Boo-yah. Follow @palan57 on the Twitters and ensure no animals are harmed in the writing of his posts.
Finally, this piece in the Tulsa World from Blue Cereal favorite Nour Habib...
Area high schoolers among protestors booted from Trump rally - While I certainly try to maintain the same sort of neutrality towards Trump that I do towards, say, genocide, lynching, rape, or the Kardashians, this tale warms my cynical, bitter little heart. We talk a good game about young people getting involved and following their convictions - who knew they'd sometimes take us seriously and do it?
"King-Sellars said he thinks the protest went well and that the group accomplished its goal — having its message seen by both Trump and the cameras before being kicked out. 'We didn’t get beat up, so that was great,' he said..."
OK, Listen To Me -
Don't let facts get in the way of truth this week. Teach as if there's hope, push as if there's strength, and love as if that were enough. Reality is way, way overrated.
I choose to believe.