We live in an age of “Getting Things Done”, which is actually a philosophy espoused by productivity guru David Allen. Just in the last three days on this “Winter Vacation”, I have prepared for the Smarter Balanced assessment by watching a multi-hour webinar, planned for an upcoming district workshop surrounding the Common Core, and prepared for a School Board presentation on data use in Hopkinton.
I haven’t had time to think deeply about the road we’re traveling in our field, although I have the words of an old friend and fellow administrator who wrote in an email this week: “the SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment) is scary inappropriate for young kids… we have lost our way…just one man’s humble opinion.”
School administrators…we tend to be good “guys” who don’t rock the boat too much and want the best for everyone. We think out of the box when we can while staying cautious enough to follow the directives of our superiors and our federal and state departments of education. But I would encourage you to take at least one day out of your routine and the preparation for the SBA and everything else that may be necessary but not necessarily fruitful.
We are fortunate that Yong Zhao is flying across our continent to be with us in New Hampshire on Friday, April 3, 2015, 9 AM at the Grappone Center in Concord, NH. Zhao has a perspective that almost no one has, certainly in our area. He was born, as he says, in “one of the most ordinary villages in China”. His boyhood country does score the highest on international assessments such as the PISA. Yet, Zhao admits that while the authoritarian educational system in Shanghai may support high test scores, it does not generate a culture of innovation, critical thinking and creativity in their schools. He is wary that the US is heading down the same road.
“The education we need is actually quite simply “follow the child.” We need an education that enhances individual strengths, follows children’s passions and fosters their social-emotional development. We do not need an authoritarian education that aims to fix children’s deficits according to externally prescribed standards.” (http://nyti.ms/1Gwdp6Q)
To register for the conference, head to the NHASCD website. I look forward to seeing you on April 3 for a chance to think big and care about the future as much as we care about the details of the present.