Monthly Archives: May 2014

Transparency in government

It must be four, maybe five years ago now, where I first called for Commissioner expense accounts to be posted online for all to see. “Why not?”, I asked…  I certainly don’t feel I have anything to hide. And I don’t really think anyone else in our Council does either.

But no – we still don’t post them.

A glimmer of hope now – maybe a real shift in the culture of governance in Quebec:

“People want to be better informed,” Fournier said.

“Good governance raises the level of confidence of Quebecers in their institutions and allows better participation by Quebecers, organizations, the public, in public debates,” he said.

“It is a completely different approach,” he added, explaining that people have a cynical view of transparency.

(Full article here.)

Well, there’s an election coming for school boards across Quebec. Think about this one when you’re casting your vote. Ask the candidates about their definition of “transparency”.

Truly,

Steve

 

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The common core

The words “common core” are being somewhat villainized in educational circles these days. And sadly, I think it’s justifiable.

Wikipedia defines the common core as:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an education initiative in the United States that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers(CCSSO) and seeks to establish consistent education standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing courses at two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.[1]

It makes sense to have standards. It makes sense to measure against these standards. It makes particular sense to have a common standard for ELA and math. But. How is this really manifesting itself in education today?

Have a look at this video where comedian Louis CK speaks to the common core in an appearance on David Letterman:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/louis-c-k-continues-going-after-common-core-on-letterman/

It’s funny, and it’s not. Louis CK also posted a number of pics of the homework his kids are doing. Check them out here:

http://www.mediaite.com/online/comedian-louis-c-k-goes-off-on-common-core/

One tweet in particular kinda sums it up:

My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!

We really have to be careful as education continues to evolve. Standards are good. Assessment is good.  But…  it’s easy to see how quickly it can all go off the rails.

There’s an election coming in school boards across the province of Quebec. Education matters. And like it or not, school boards and their Councils of Commissioners have a key role to play. Make sure you are electing the people you think will support positive educational leadership; people who can support a real vision of 21st century learning and the people who understand that they are accountable to the public at large. It’s important to get out and vote.

Truly,

Steve

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7 Ways to Transform Education by 2030

I don ‘t think any of what is in this article is “new”, but I am also not sure that we have made much progress in getting there, so, I thought it would be good to look at these real simple point-form goals.

  1. Change the focus from rote learning – the memorization of specific facts and figures – to the development of lifelong learners who are able to think critically and solve problems.
  2. Encourage learning through cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects that are relevant and useful to their community.
  3. Create an environment where students work in fluid groupings that combine students of different ages, different abilities and different interests.
  4. Shift the role of the teacher from “chalk-and-talk” orators to curators of learning, helping students grow their knowledge and skills.
  5. Measure learning progress using qualitative assessments of a student’s skills and competencies, rather than using high-stakes examinations.
  6. Ensure that all groups – teachers, parents, governments and students – have a seat at the table when building the framework for learning.
  7. Empower students and teachers to experiment with new ideas in an environment where they can fail safely and develop confidence to take risks.

Thinking critically and solving problems. Teachers as “curators of learning”, actually teaching; being the infamous “guide at the side”.

Measuring learning qualitatively.

The full article can be found here.

There’s an election coming in school boards across the province of Quebec. Education matters. And like it or not, school boards and their Councils of Commissioners have a key role to play. Make sure you are electing the people you think will support positive educational leadership; people who can support a real vision of 21st century learning and the people who understand that they are accountable to the public at large. It’s important to get out and vote.

Truly,

Steve

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