Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Who's the boss?

A friend of a friend just lost his job. I know that this happens, but this was unusual. He was the principal of the best school in the region, a school which consistently wins awards, competitions and prizes, a school whose enrollment continued to grow despite the recession, and a school with close to 100% staff retention and over 90% student retention in what is a highly-mobile area. The most interesting thing is that this is a fee-paying private school, one whose parents could choose to go to any other school public or private. They chose this school because of what was happening there, and what was happening there was because of this principal.

Why did this principal lose his job?

Teachers Talking

Teachers like to talk, and that is a problem because if students are not actively participating, they find something else to do and that something may not be constructive and it may not be desirable.

I remember in my student teaching days an exercise where we would plot "TTT" (Teacher Talking Time) and "STT (Student Talking Time) on a chart. It was very simple; every 15 seconds or so we would check one of two columns and then at the end of the lesson produce tables and graphs. Inevitably, teachers spoke the majority or almost all of the class, and equally inevitably they were shocked at how much they spoke.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Efficiency in public education

So legislators want to examine "efficiency" in public schools. (What happened to waste, fraud and abuse?) As always, the problem starts with defining the term. I thought efficiency means faster, better, greater output with the same inputs and so on. Apparently to these lawmakers, efficiency means "cheaper".