Monday, April 11, 2011

Recent Readings

Last week I read What Can Principals of PLCs Learn from Handwashing? by Bill Ferriter. It's possible it struck such a chord with me because it is quoting from a book by Atul Gawande, whose book The Checklist Manifesto I am in the midst of reading. His main point is that principals should be talking to and listening to their teachers.
And the failure that I see the most frequently is school leaders who mandate new practices from the principal’s office—collaborative meetings, SMART goal writing, data collection and analysis, identifying essential objectives—without ever listening to their teachers.
In my mind it doesn't matter if we're discussing PLCs, kiss and ride routines, lunch schedules, recess behavior, or anything else, principals should be talking to and listening to their teachers. It is astounding to me how often those of us 'in the trenches' of education are ignored by those making decisions at every level.

Just this morning Valerie Strauss of The Answer Sheet posted a piece written by Todd Farley. He worked for over a decade in the standardized testing business and has written a book, Making the Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry. He explores concerns about an industry that seems to have complete control of many educational dollars and decisions.
For the last 10 years in this country we’ve regularly seen standardized tests results that can’t be believed. Still, the United States seems to be heading towards taking the decisions about American education out of the hands of American educators and instead placing that sacred trust in the welcoming arms of an industry run entirely without oversight and populated completely with for-profit companies chasing billions of dollars in business.
Right or wrong, we need to be asking more questions about what we are doing in education today.

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