Wagging the Dog

Photo from: Eric Doherty
I recently had a conversation with my excellent student-teacher about last week's post advocating for an end to traditional grades.  She pointed out the implications of the large-scale practical application of grade-less education.  How would that affect admissions into higher-ed?  How would that effect financial aid and scholarships?  My collaborator Joey Till responded in a very matter-of-fact way, 'well, we have to change the system'.  

Obviously the system can change.  From NCLB to merit-pay and school choice--education policy will bend to the loudest voice.  Unfortunately, these changes have all been in the wrong direction.  These were top-down changes that have mainly come from outside sources who political motivations.  We need a positive change toward progressive pedagogy/assessment on a platform of technology with an evaluation system that doesn't involve a carrot or stick.  This needs to be bottom-up initiative that moves from the teachers to buildings to districts to the state level. 

I haven been a part of major change in my building (1:1 computing), which is now affecting change in my district (1:1 grades 4-12 next year).  Other schools have been visiting our school and changing their districts--hopefully this will lead to changes at the state level.  However, the fight to changed the evaluation system is a much harder fight.  I think its a fight worth fighting.  I think what we need is an organization of teachers who want change.  We need to create a grassroots organization of teachers who are interested in changing educational policy in the interest of learning.  Does one exist already?  Where do we start?

1 comment:

  1. I think you have to start with parents. For way to long the only thing they understand is A thru F. This is how we judge a students learning. Until you change the way they see the measurement of learning, it definitely will not work. Maybe it starts with the kids. Once they are bought in and understand the method of conversations and reflective learning, they can "Educate" their parents on a new way of measuring our learning. Then once you have the kids and parents, administrators will fall in line. There is such a better way for a student to show understanding than A - F. This will be a huge fight for a long time.

    Joey Till


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