Status of Education in 2012

Technology has pushed education into a transition period on many fronts.  Our tech-based economy, ubiquitous information, the need for 21st Century skills, PLN's and the sharing of best practices, publishing to authentic audiences, and global competitiveness are just a few areas where technology has forced the education industry to question itself.  All of this questioning has led to, potentially, the most revolutionary period in public education's 100+ year history.  As in all revolutions, there are several interested groups pushing and pulling the revolution in the direction they think is best.

Generally, we have progressive education gurus such as Will Richardson, Alan November, and Sir Ken Robinson pushing school teachers and administrators toward a major paradigm shift.  On the other end legislators, politicians, and the high stakes testing industry hold school administrators and teachers accountable to standardized test scores.  The dichotomy of pushing and pulling has left teachers and administrators moving in two directions.  Teacher salaries and administrators jobs now depend on test scores, but we all nod our head in approval of people like Alfie Kohn.  We see the future, but we are still anchored to the past.

Some people feel there are not two different directions.  They would argue that progressive education will/should lead to higher test scores.  This can be argued and legitimized by data, but its new music in old ears.  I think it is safe to say the average teacher or administrator feels like they are being given opposing orders.  Mom says 'stay' and dad says 'go'.  The Google Story Builder video in this blog probably describes the general feeling across many school districts.  The polarized status of education in 2012 needs resolution.  A simple, well-framed resolution.  Opposing sides will need to come together, lest we live in pedagogical limbo, which will result in a low-profile maintenance of the status quo and continue public education's glacial slip into obsolescence.


  1. Good points, Justin. The paradigm shift to more authentic learning that is student-directed will result in students being more capable of critical thinking, collaboration, and global leaders. The problem with the standardized tests is that they don't assess in an authentic environment. Our real-world isn't comprised of multiple choice decisions throughout the day. We can only truly move forward when the assessments match the learning.

    1. I agree. Someone once said that if we don't assess what we value, we will only value what we assess. Thanks for your comments!


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