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April 2011

My view: shut up and teach

"Discord in Harvard’s education school".

More than 50 doctoral students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education are demanding that the 91-year-old school redirect its mission. Over the last decade, they say, it has veered away from social justice issues in education toward more results-driven management and policy concerns. The students, who are groomed to be national leaders in education, said they fear the shift will hamper their professional development and tarnish the school’s reputation.

The NFL draft is tonight . . .

. . . and here's an interesting piece on how difficult it is to draft QBs.

Let's consider a broader sample of quarterbacks, with enough time passed so we can properly evaluate their careers: all quarterbacks drafted during the 1990s. There were 104 quarterbacks drafted during that decade, 20 of them in the first round. Of those 20 quarterbacks, only eight started for the equivalent of five seasons (80 games) or more. Meanwhile, another eight of those 20 had careers lasting for the equivalent of fewer than two seasons. So for an entire decade's worth of first-round quarterback picks, you were just as likely to get a total bust as you were to get a QB with a decent career. That's with a first-round pick.

"Education: The magic of hard work"

This whole article is interesting, but let me highlight two parts:

The educational establishment of Southern California divides fairly neatly into three groups: those who recognize the need for radical and sustained improvement but fear that it's impossible; those who actively oppose change because their allegiances require them to defend failure; and that small but growing and inspiring group of advocates who see a way to improve and are actually making it happen.

The Compton Unified School District board, which I discussed in this space last week, belongs in the second group. It has made it a mission to thwart reform and protect the vested interests of its failing schools. Elyse Colgan, by contrast, is part of the third group. She is improving the lives of children and, in the process, challenging long-held assumptions about learning.

Hmmm . . . "thwart reform and protect the vested interests of its failing schools": that doesn't sound good. But then there's this:

Colgan came to Southern California in 2008 and went to work at Charles R. Drew Middle School, where she taught eighth-grade math. Her message the first day was unequivocal: She expected her students to achieve, and she would do her part to see that they did. "I will show up every day," she told them.

They did not immediately believe her. At the end of that first day, several of her students asked if they would see her again. Many had not had consecutive weeks with the same teacher for years.

Let's repeat that: Many had not had consecutive weeks with the same teacher for years.

This is a system that the teachers' union wants to defend?