Saturday, June 14, 2014

Local schools

Pundits often claim that the strength of US public education lies in "local control", meaning locally-elected school boards, with members reflecting their communities, which are locally-funded through locally-set levies and taxes. This is a myth. The only truly local schools are independent schools.

Confidentiality Agreement

I received a Comment today about the following scenario. "Joe" is a school head who last year took a position leading a school, one of a group of schools. When he arrived at his new post, he found he had been largely misled, and in several respects lied to. The real situation in his new school, and in the group, as a whole ranged from mediocre to terrible, unethical and perhaps even unlawful.

Friday, June 13, 2014

How not to respond to a parent concern

A report from a parent at another school: A student was injured at football practice and his head hit the ground, hard. When he got up, he told the teacher he felt dizzy. The published policy says that in such a case, depending on severity either the student should be sent accompanied to the nurse or the student should not be moved and the nurse summoned. Instead, the teacher told him to "walk it off". That night, the student went by ambulance to the ER and a mild concussion was diagnosed.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Not the Board's business #1

Another story about a Board becoming involved in a school's operations with the inevitable and costly results. Heads and faculty run schools; Boards do not. Boards set the strategic direction and overall policies,  provide funding (ie, through fundraising) and employ the Head, their only employee. So what happened this time?

A sample lesson based on a Common Core standard

I strongly believe that teaching and learning is context-dependent, thus who, where and when matter. Accordingly, I do not agree with standard or one-size-fits-all or textbook-driven lessons which so plague our public schools, and demand for which is behind much Common Core criticism. Yes, Common Core forces teachers to plan lessons and to take into account who they teach, what their students know, what they are like and so on. Yes, Common Core forces a significant change for many teachers and in many schools.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Neighborhood schools

I recently read a highly indignant, even condemnatory, article about a child who applied to her neighborhood school and was not accepted. The cause of the indignation? She was a twin and while she was not accepted, her sister made the cut.

Are private schools unaccountable?

Non-public ("private") school detractors, who are typically public school boosters, often claim that such schools are inherently evil / amoral / wicked because they are not "accountable" in the same way as are public schools. While in a very narrow sense this may be true, it in nonetheless rubbish.