Part 1 of this series, “The state of K-12 education is miscommunication,” described how two recent conferences illustrate the divide in American K-12 education between education professionals and those outside the field. This post looks at the educator’s perspective and offers advice for all sides moving forward.
The educators I talk to speak mainly about their passion for helping young minds find a love of learning. They also talk of feeling stressed out, juggling too much responsibility, fearing layoffs, being required to practice methods they don’t support and having criticism heaped on them from every quarter — whether it be unsupportive parents, critical administrators and education vendors who fail to provide adequate product training.
Educators are developing a bunker mentality from feeling constantly under siege. We are in a new era of accountability in K-12 education, and many educators feel that the criteria for success are arbitrary, measure the wrong things, and — in the worst cases — are bad for kids. (read more…)
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles. (If you missed my colleague James daSilva’s excellent coverage of the K-12 education and workforce track, you can read it.) It was fascinating, and a bit disorienting, to hear some of the wealthiest people in the country talking about issues I think about every day: namely, the state of K-12 education and the training and preparation of the next generations of the American workforce.
My next stop was the Software & Information Industry Association Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco, where I joined professional peers in hearing product-development news from some of the smartest minds in education. The two events were alike in theme but strikingly different in tone. The big take-away from hearing about the state of American education from education professionals versus non-education professionals is that the two groups appear to be talking past each other. (read more…)
I’m at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles this week. On Monday, panelists discussed K-12 education in the U.S. and what reform is needed — just one of a host of panels directly or indirectly focused on education.
The U.S. education system is broken, leaves classrooms unable to compete against the rest of the world and has mismatched priorities for local, state and federal roles, said a former secretary of education and current federal, state and charter-school officials at Monday morning’s panel. The session had a feel of optimism for America’s ability to regain its edge, but only through tremendous effort coupled with drastic changes in policy, focus and operational practices.
Teachers and teaching quality were the focus, though no active teachers were on the panel, and there was general agreement that weeding out bad educators, training better ones and figuring out why excellent teachers get to be that way is the best way to improve student achievement. (read more…)