The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committing some pocket change to solve the “Algebra problem”.
In his column this week, Jay Mathews begins with a premise I can agree with. I know. I was also surprised.
His concept is that schools don’t make writing a priority and that students don’t engage in writing nearly enough.
So far, so good. But then he heads off into well-worn territory, making the case largely about himself.
Almost from the start of the chaotic, but necessary, shift to online schooling last spring, articles started appearing about the amount of learning that students were going to miss. Including several studies claiming to “estimate the size of the learning loss students have experienced under such conditions”, although they didn’t make clear where researchers obtained meaningful data to arrive at their conclusions.
As students head back to school, still mostly online, we have even more stories about students falling behind, including one British study predicting that “lost school time will hurt economy for 65 years”. Again with few details about how they obtained their “huge base of evidence”.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind while reading these reports.
Being in mostly quarantine over the past five months has provided a lot of opportunity to catch up on reading. And to pull a few older books off the shelves for a second pass.
One work that I just finished again, and have returned to every few years since I first read it in graduate school, is Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s Teaching as a Subversive Activity.
A few pieces of the book are very dated, reflecting the late 60’s era in which it was written. However, large sections are still far too relevant fifty plus years later.
Ok, for this rant I’ll probably get some pushback from friends, colleagues, and others, but…
I really don’t get the excitement around Bitmoji1 Classrooms.
I’ve watched some videos about how to create them, read some blog posts extolling their virtues, and followed a few Twitter discussions/arguments between supporters and detractors. EdWeek even tried to explain “why teachers are buzzing about them“. None of it helped.