My questions about “How to fix our schools: A manifesto by Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee and other education leaders”

If you haven’t read it, you should.  It will be published in this Sunday’s Washington Post and can be found here.  Through this post, I am sharing the questions I have as I read through the manifesto.  These questions are organized by the manifesto paragraph they relate to.  I repeat many of the questions and a few themes emerge.  I will write to these themes in future posts.

Paragraph 1

Reforming or re-forming?  If form follows function, must we also revisit the function of the country’s public schools in order to re-form in ways that make sense?  What will you accept as evidence of “academic achievement,” “personal growth,” and “how our schools perform?”

Paragraph 2

How do you measure “moving students forward”?  Forward towards what?  Are we going to measure the success of Race to the Top by the quantity of effort or the long-term impacts on learners?  What do you understand to be the “crisis in public education”?  How does Race to the Top address the root causes of the “crisis”?

Paragraph 3

The people who wrote and voted on NCLB weren’t paying attention?  What is your obligation to ensure the debate is representative of all stakeholders?  How can we ensure adequate funding for public education when much of the federal funding for reform is being diverted from this purpose?

Paragraph 4

Are structures and policies considered “practices”?  How will you decide which ones are “wrong” and how will you decide what to replace them with, if anything?

Paragraph 5

Failing at what?

Paragraph 6

How will you measure teacher quality?

Paragraph 7

How will you measure teacher performance? How will technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge weigh against enthusiasm?  How will you ensure collaboration across the teachers?  How will you ensure principals are equipped with expertise and resources to improve teacher performance?

Paragraph 8

How will you measure teacher effectiveness?  How will you measure student engagement?  How will you measure student and teacher relationships?

Paragraph 9

How will you ensure effective processes for teacher evaluation?  How will you ensure collaboration across the teachers?

Paragraph 10

How will you measure teacher effectiveness?  How will you measure student achievement? How will you ensure effective processes for teacher evaluation?

Paragraph 11

How will you measure performance?  How will you measure excellence?  How will you measure teacher effectiveness?  How will you measure student achievement?  How will you ensure collaboration across the teachers?

Paragraph 12

How will you measure principal quality?

Paragraph 13

What skills?  What skills should all teachers possess?  How do teacher preparation programs (traditional and non-traditional) ensure these skills are mastered?  What should teacher induction programs look like?  What role might the National Education Technology Plan play in this re-form?  How will we ensure technology is used for more than data collection and analysis?  How will you support teachers developing the skills and resources to differentiate with technology?

Paragraph 14

How will we ensure mastery of content and skills that matter? How will you ensure students have the time and resources they need to achieve mastery?

Paragraph 15

What does it mean to be a “low-performing school”?  How is this performance measured?  How can it be improved?

Paragraph 16

How will you measure school excellence?

Paragraph 17

Are our schools broken or are our structures and practices broken?  How do we ensure equity in education?

 

One Response to “My questions about “How to fix our schools: A manifesto by Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee and other education leaders””

  1. Anne V Says:

    Now I see why I just couldn’t get a handle on the manifesto – there is so much that is undefined! There is a lot of mumbo-jumbo about what is wrong, but nothing is specific, and absolutely nothing about what should take its place. If they can’t take off their gloves and work in the classroom with students and/or teachers, then waving their magic pens in their offices won’t work! (whether or not they write big checks)

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