Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to Study!!

One of my biggest complaints as a parent is that schools are horrible at teaching students how to study.  They jump right from studying the worksheet in elementary school to supposedly self study in middle school with no actual lessons on what it means to study to deeply understand content. 

For my girls it really didn't come until they took AP classes - their AP teachers helped them learn to study for exams - but were they doing it right?

Dan Willingham - one of my favorites in education - has a post saying that Students Should be Taught How to Study.  A survey of students found that they spend most time re-reading texts which is the least effective way to study.  Coming in at number nine is self-testing which is the best way to promote deep understanding!

For great tips on studying smart, Willingham refers to the American Psychological Associations website and a Study Smart article.  I have one left in college and she is so getting this link.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Student Loan Bubble

I love this essay entitled "The Loan Defaults are Coming: Here's What To Do" by Jackson Toby - bottom line:

"Insert a risk-assessment component into all future student loans that includes credit-worthiness and past academic performance, in order to maximize the likelihood of loan repayment and minimize defaults that add to the national debt."

Piling on $75,000 in debt for a general studies degree or worse, some of the ridiculous for-profits that are piling on $25,000 in debt for a vocational nursing degree is ridiculous since there is little hope that the loans will be paid off.

College access for all must have some reality to it meaning there has to be some risk component added to the loan.  You cannot just give loans to everyone especially in the current predatory market.

I would take it one step further and force all education institutions to have some skin in the game because THAT would really change the college loan mindset. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why does alternative certification work?

Great post from Matt Ladner over on Jay Greene's Blog  - ABCTE Teachers Outgain Competition - about the recent Sass study showing that ABCTE math teachers are really getting it done.  Their students are outscoring students taught be teachers from any other route! 

A teacher asked why and I posted the following:
We took significant grief at ABCTE for having a very high cut score on math and a pass rate that barely broke 35% back when these teachers were coming through which is one factor. They had to study very hard to get a passing score (and they only had three chances or they could not get in the classroom unlike other tests you take until you pass). Selectivity works.

A second factor which is fodder for the journal of anecdotal evidence is that the people coming through the program really had a calling to teach and were extremely motivated to get into the classroom. Because they had been in industries where it is common to receive more on the job training, they sought input from principals and other teachers once in they were classroom on how to improve their craft. One teacher who became a board member challenged a principal who came to observe because he only spent a few minutes in his classroom at the end of the day. He told the principal he had to come back in the morning and really observe him and give him feedback on how to improve. Maturity helps.

It is extremely gratifying to see these results and know that we provided a pathway for these talented individuals to get into the classroom. At every turn teacher unions tried to stop this – but in the end, the kids won!

When I first showed Ladner the study, his email back to was :BOOOOOOOOOOOM!
Oh Yeah!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Met Life Teacher Survey is Released

Wasn't hard to predict this outcome - if 66% of teachers saw layoffs in their schools and 76% say budget cuts, what would happen to job satisfaction.  Not surprising it went down in the 28th Annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Teachers, Parents and the Economy.

"Teacher job satisfaction has fallen by 15 percentage points since 2009, the last time the MetLife survey queried teachers on this topic, from 59 percent to 44 percent responding they are very satisfied. This rapid decline in job satisfaction is coupled with a large increase in the number of teachers reporting that they are likely to leave teaching for another occupation (17 percent in 2009 vs. 29 percent today). Teachers are also more than four times as likely now than they were five years ago to say that they do not feel their job is secure (34 percent today vs. 8 percent in 2006, the last time this question was asked). In addition, 53 percent of parents and 65 percent of teachers today say that teachers’ salaries are not fair for the work they do."
 Also not surprising based on the work we do at LTF (from page 11)
"Several factors distinguish teachers with high job satisfaction from those with lower satisfaction. Teachers with high job satisfaction are more likely to feel their jobs are secure and say they are treated
as a professional by the community. They are also more likely to have adequate opportunities for
professional development, time to collaborate with other teachers, more preparation and supports to engage parents effectively, and greater involvement of parents and their schools in coming together to
improve the learning and success of students."

If you want great teachers to stay in the profession and ensure a great education, you have to invest in their development.  If you want good teachers to become great teachers - you absolutely have to invest in their development.  We cannot afford to lose teachers so it is time that we give them the tools and the training to be successful and they will stay.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Education 's Fallback Strategy - wait and see

I have been doing this long enough to know that there are so many programs thrown at our schools that they can't really do a great job with implementation.  I remember seeing a presentation at the 2007 Arizona Superintendents Association meeting that found the highest performing schools had only one thing in common:  they had a principal who stayed that school, implemented something that worked and stuck with it.


But in today's education world, we are all hyped up on the flavor of the month.  What is the newest trend that had minute impacts on students achievement and we fly off in that direction.  So we must forgive our school leadership for taking a wait and see attitude with Common Core State Standards.  They see the every increasing debate and are not going to start going until they see it is here to stay. 

Our LTF blog on Common Core State Standards PD has the facts:
In a survey of 315 districts by the Center on Education Policy, “more than half …indicated they had not provided professional development for teachers of mathematics or English/language arts—the two Common Core subject areas—and were not planning to provide such PD for those teachers during the 2011-12 school year,” Katie Ash included in her recent Education Week article, “Common Core Raises PD Opportunities, Questions

It is sad - we have an opportunity to really train teachers who need help, but we can't get them into training.  We refuse to accept the "wait and see" attitude and will continue to push districts to help their teachers really help their students!

Monday, March 5, 2012

What Works in STEM & College Readiness!

Pasadena Independent School District - up to over 3,000 students taking AP exam due to Laying the Foundation training creating a massive shift in the culture. 

You must read the research!!