Tag Archives: Shanghai

Copy charter schools or something else that works?

Instead of copying failed experiments like Hamilton County, Tennessee, how about copying some of the charter schools that do work? Or some other model that actually does work to improve education?

Sam Dillon wrote for the NYTimes today, Troubled Schools Try Mimicking the Charters

Classrooms are festooned with college pennants. Hallway placards proclaim: “No Excuses!” Students win prizes for attendance. They start classes earlier and end later than their neighbors; some return to school on Saturdays. And they get to pore over math problems one-on-one with newly hired tutors, many of them former accountants and engineers.

If these new mores at Lee High School, long one of Houston’s most troubled campuses, make it seem like one of those intense charter schools, that is no accident.

In the first experiment of its kind in the country, the Houston public schools are testing whether techniques proven successful in high-performing urban charters can also help raise achievement in regular public schools. Working with Roland G. Fryer, a researcher at Harvard who studies the racial achievement gap, Houston officials last year embraced five key tenets of such charters at nine district secondary schools; this fall, they are expanding the program to 11 elementary schools. A similar effort is beginning in Denver.

Charter schools were supposed to be pilot projects, so why not adopt what works there in public schools?

However, this still seems to be all about test scores. Maybe some public schools could look farther afield, Continue reading

Anyone attending the CUEE meeting expecting a plan … left disappointed. —VDT

While many other people, such as Friends of Valdosta City Schools (FVCS), are trying to prevent the damage to education CUEE is trying to cause through its “unification” referendum, CUEE had a meeting of its educational committee yesterday.

Sharah Denton wrote for the VDT, CUEE focuses on academics:

Anyone attending the CUEE meeting expecting a plan for how unification of the city and county school systems would work left disappointed. Instead of discussing how the school systems might merge if CUEE’s campaign to dissolve the Valdosta school charter succeeds during the Nov. 8 election referendum, the Education Planning Task Force focused on its primary objective: improving academics for area students.
So they have no plan, and of course they also have no control over academics. If “unification” passes, that control would lie with Continue reading

Why is Finland at the top of the world in education?

Attention to weak students. Status and autonomy for teachers. Educators running the show, not business people. All this creates a real educated workforce.

Lynnell Hancock wrote for Smithsonian Magazine September 2011, Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? Here’s a clue:

“Children from wealthy families with lots of education can be taught by stupid teachers,” Louhivuori said, smiling. “We try to catch the weak students. It’s deep in our thinking.”
So what do they do? Drill the weak students on test questions? Nope: Continue reading

Real discussion for real education: Shanghai

Here’s how they do it in the best education system in the world:
Shanghai’s education system is distinctive and superior—and not just globally, but also nationally. Hong Kong, Beijing, and ten Chinese provinces participated in the 2009 PISA, but their results reflected education systems that were still the same-old knowledge acquisition models, whereas Shanghai had progressed to equipping students with the ability to interpret and extrapolate information from text and apply it to real world situations—what we would normally refer to as ‘creativity.’ Twenty-six percent of Shanghai 15 year-olds could demonstrate advanced problem-solving skills, whereas the OECD average is 3 percent.
I do mean that literally, the best in the world:
Every three years, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) administers its worldwide Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to measure how well a nation’s education system has been preparing its students for the global knowledge economy. Nations such as South Korea, Finland, and Singapore have traditionally topped the rankings, but, apparently, even they are no match for Shanghai, which shoved the others into lower positions in its very first year of participation in the programme, in 2009.
That’s according to Jiang Xueqin writing in the Diplomat 1 August 2011, How Shanghai Schools Beat Them All.

So, how did they do it? Continue reading

“Debate is not allowed.” Well, why not?

The real problem with education around here is the adults who refuse to hold a civil discussion.

I hear this all the time around here:

“We’re not going to get into debate.”
“We will not, however, debate you over e-mail.”
“There’s been enough debate.”
“one more public meeting with 15 minutes of pros and cons and then hopefully that will be the end of discussion.”
“I’m not going to debate you about that.”
“Debate is not allowed.”
Well, why not? When did “debate” become a dirty word? What if we call it a civil discussion, will that make it sound better? Nobody seems to know how to do that, either.

And that, my friends, is the real failure of the local education system.

Next: how they do it in the best education system in the world.