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Why the Common Core Could Bring the End of One-Size-Fits-All Learning

Overly standardized learning isn't working for anymore. The Common Core State Standards could be the answer.

Data surrounds us. It is everywhere in our daily lives—all day, every day. From business and politics to health care, we take it on faith that more data will help us perform better and make smarter decisions. In education, however, that faith has overreached reality. Over the past decade we have increasingly relied on standardized test results to judge students, teachers, and schools, but we still haven't created assessments that give a fully accurate picture of student learning.

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Sir Ken Robinson's Radical Question: What if Education Was Rooted in Diversity?

Skip the standardized tests and bring on the creativity.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDhhIghXxfo&feature=youtu.be

How do you get people to pay attention to the conversation about education? Forget the stuffy academic lectures, and take a page from the U.K.'s Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce's playbook. Back in 2008, they turned an hour-long talk by creativity and education expert Sir Ken Robinson into an 11-minute animated video spelling out how the real problem in our schools is our antiquated, industrial-age education model that promotes conformity and a narrow view of intelligenceand millions of people around the globe watched it. Fortunately for us, Robinson's still teaming up with the RSA and they're still animating his thought-provoking insights into what's wrong with our schools and how we can fix it.

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The Onion Expertly Satirizes Panic Over International Test Results

There's a new crisis for education reformers to freak out over. Ten percent of American high schoolers lack basic object permanence.


Heard about how America's in danger of losing her global dominance because students are scoring poorly in reading and math on international tests? Well, it turns out there's a new—and completely unforeseen—crisis for education reformers to freak out over. A full ten percent of U.S. high school students are graduating without basic object permanence.

Yes, folks, our friends at The Onion have been on a roll lately with their satirization of education issues—see their report on a college grad who loves his alma mater despite having loads of student loan debt and no job prospects—and this mocking of the hand-wringing over international test score results expertly keeps their streak going.

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If Schools Aren't Teaching Science, Where Will the Next Generation of Scientists Come From?

Science education is getting the shaft in the Golden State.


When President Obama launched his initiative to encourage students to embrace science and math, he said STEM fields are "more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than ever before." On the other side of the political spectrum, Florida Governor Rick Scott said recently that he wants to shift higher education funding away from liberal arts disciplines toward technology and science. But despite such broad acceptance that the nation's economy needs more professionals in the hard sciences, a new report reveals that elementary schools in the nation's most populated state are barely teaching the subject.

"Children in California’s elementary schools rarely have the opportunity to engage in high-quality science learning because the conditions that would support such opportunities are rarely in place," says Rena Dorph, a researcher at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California at Berkeley. Dorph and her colleagues found that although 90 percent of school principals and parents say science education is very important and should begin early, 40 percent of elementary teachers said they spent an hour or less per week teaching science last year. Thirteen percent taught the subject for less than 30 minutes a week.

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The Unchecked Power of the College Placement Test

The current system of placement tests for college freshman may be the greatest hurdle to long-term success in higher education.


Every year, thousands of students walk onto college campuses excited to start their postsecondary education. But many are in for a rude awakening: They cannot take regular college classes unless they first pass placement tests. For these students, college suddenly becomes longer and more expensive because they must complete one or more semesters of remedial courses that do not count toward a degree.

Students don’t have the time and money to waste sitting in remedial courses that represent a barrier to earning a degree. Many give up immediately, but others venture on, only to eventually run out of steam and drop out before meeting remedial requirements. According to the Community College Research Center, less than half of these students finish remedial courses and less than one-fourth of remedial students at community colleges go on to earn a certificate or degree within eight years.

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Why Twitter Is a Teacher's Best Tool

The social media platform makes it easy to get instant ideas, links, and resources from a global community of educators.


Teachers are increasingly bringing the real-time communication power of Twitter into the classroom to help students learn. But I've come to the conclusion that it's great for helping teachers learn as well. Twitter has simply become one of the best places for teachers to collaborate, share solutions to common classroom problems, and discuss education policy. In fact, it might just be the best forum teachers have ever had.

As a classroom teacher I remember going across the hall to ask Mr. Sally for tips on getting kids to learn their times tables. His ideas were fine, but what if I'd been able to crowdsource my question to the global community of educators on Twitter? A teacher who engages with other educators on Twitter essentially has a 24/7 open door policy. Type the hashtag #edchat in the search box, and you'll see a real-time stream of discussion about an unlimited number of educational topics. It's pretty clear teachers are collaborating with each other by sharing solutions to their challenges—links to articles, resources and practical ideas:

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