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Notes, emails reveal Trump appointees’ war to end HHS teen pregnancy program

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Heidi Przybyla reports for NBC News:

The Trump administration’s abrupt cancellation of a federal program to prevent teen pregnancy last year was directed by political appointees over the objections of career experts in the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the program, according to internal notes and emails obtained by NBC News.

The trove shows three appointees with strict pro-abstinence beliefs — including Valerie Huber, the then-chief of staff for the department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health — guided the process to end a program many medical professionals credit with helping to bring the nation’s teen pregnancy rate to an all-time low.

Prior to serving at HHS, Huber was the president of Ascend, an association that promotes abstinence until marriage as the best way to prevent teen pregnancy.

The $213 million Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program was aimed at helping teenagers understand how to avoid unwanted pregnancies. It had bipartisan support in Congress and trained more than 7,000 health professionals and supported 3,000 community-based organizations since its inception in 2010.

In the notes provided to NBC News, Evelyn Kappeler, who for eight years has led the Office of Adolescent Health, which administers the program, repeatedly expressed concerns about terminating the program, but appeared out of the decision-making loop and at one point was driven to tears.

In a July 17, 2017 note, she says she was admonished to “get in line” and told it was not her place to ask questions about the agency’s use of funds. In a July 28 note, Kappeler recalled she was “frustrated about the time this process is taking and the fact that (her staff) has not been part of the discussions.” She described being “so rattled” that “my reaction when I got on (sic) the phone was to cry.”

She and her staff “were not aware of the grant action until the last minute” — an apparent reference to the decision, it says.

Last month, Democracy Forward, a nonprofit law firm and advocacy group, sued the administration for unlawfully terminating the program after the agency took months to respond to its Freedom of Information Act request.

The group claims the newly obtained emails show that HHS violated the Administrative Procedure Act that bars arbitrary decision-making and that the political appointees thwarted the will of Congress.

“Now that we’ve seen these documents, there is no question to us why the Trump administration withheld” the emails, said Skye Perryman, the group’s lawyer. The decision to end the program “was made hastily, without a record of any reasoned decision making and under the influence of political appointees who have long opposed evidenced-based policy,” she said. . .

HHS has given different explanations about its decision to terminate the program, including claims that it was ineffective or that it did not conform to the president’s proposed budget. HHS did not respond to emails or answer questions about who was responsible for ending the program.

HHS spokesman Mark Vafiades directed NBC News to a fact sheet and announcement on the agency’s website. They state that 73 percent of the projects funded by the program “had no impact or had a negative impact on teen behavior, with some teens more likely to begin having sex, to engage in unprotected sex or to become pregnant.”

“The evidence stands in stark contrast to the promised results,” the statement says. . .

It is also part of a broader narrative about programs benefiting women and children becoming political targets under a president who insists he is an advocate for women’s rights and health. Under Trump, a mandate under the Affordable Care Act to cover contraceptive coverage has been rolled back, while Republicans in Congress have sought to defund Planned Parenthood and proposed budget cuts to Medicaid, which covers half of all births.

In July 2017, the Office of Adolescent Health notified 81 grantees including the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, that it would be discontinuing funding under the Obama-era program beginning this June, with some programs cut off immediately.

After the program’s 2010 inception, teen pregnancy and birth rates fell faster than ever. Health care experts say considerable research and money that has already been invested in the program will be wasted and the number of at-risk teens will increase. . .

Continue reading.

There’s a lot more. The US government has been taken over by ideologues and zealots who ignore (and even hide) evidence.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 March 2018 at 2:19 pm

The craft of the miniature staircase

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Photographer: James Hart

Natasha Frost has an interesting article in Atlas Obscura, which includes a number of photos of the tiny staircases. Here’s another:

Staircase model, Paris, France, late 19th century; Carved, bent, joined and veneered cherry and walnut; 31 x 13 x 17.2 cm (12 3/16 x 5 1/8 x 6 3/4 in.); Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, 2007-45-8; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo by James Hart © Smithsonian Institution

She writes:

Since the Middle Ages, France’s “compagnons” have lived idiosyncratic existences, steeped in mystery, ritual, and a devotion to their trades. Even today, these master craftsmen have certain quirks: As young people, they live in boarding houses together in towns across France, where they spend their days learning and training to become the country’s greatest tradespeople. After six months in one place, each tradesman will pack up and move on to another French town, and a new hostel, to learn more skills under a new master.

The name “compagnon” translates to “companion,” relating to the brotherhood between members and the shared identity of a movement that, today, encompasses around 12,000 permanent, active members. Professions usually fall into one of five “groups,” depending on their principal material: stone; wood; metal; leather and textiles; and food. Within these groups are bakers, clog-makers, carpenters, masons, glaziers, and many more. In the past century, new trades have been added and old ones have fallen away. But whatever the craft, the journey from apprentice to “compagnon” is long and highly specific, and culminates in the completion of a “masterwork”: an item that showcases the skills acquired over at least five years of sustained study.

Historically, woodworkers have often chosen to produce a tiny, intricate staircase as their “masterwork.” Over 30 years, the art dealer and collector Eugene V. Thaw, who died at 90 in January 2018, amassed an incredible collection of these staircase models, dating from between the 18th and 20th centuries. Measuring only a few inches in height, they are self-supporting, graceful, and impossibly delicate. Since 2007, they have been part of the permanent collection of New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and are currently on display alongside craftsmen’s working drawings.

To make these models, craftsmen draw on a variety of different kinds of wood, including pear, ebony, walnut, and mahogany, with extra twiddly bits, like banisters and infinitesimal hand-railings, made of anything from brass to bone. Every minute piece of wood—and there are hundreds in each model—has been painstakingly hand-cut, carved, planed, joined, and inlaid to produce a staggeringly detailed staircase, in miniature. These were sometimes produced for competitions, writes Sarah D. Coffin, author of Made to Scale: Staircase Masterpieces, The Eugene & Clare Thaw Gift, where apprentices vied to be named the master carpenter of a city. “Other times, they might be group works for parade.” In these instances, slightly larger models would be carried through the city by their makers for all to admire. . .

Continue reading, and more photos at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 March 2018 at 8:38 am

Posted in Daily life, Education

The Secret Behind the Greatest Upset in College Basketball History

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In the Atlantic Freeman Hrabrowski, president of UMBC, explains the university culture that led to the upset victory:

People now know the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as the ultimate Cinderella, an overnight social media sensation, the team that magically emerged as the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in the history of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. But our story is far less fairy tale than it is classic American dream. Our magic comes from questioning expectations, putting in the hard work, and staying focused.

The nation saw the results on the court Friday night. My colleagues, students, alumni, and their families came to the game knowing the team would give the game their all. Our men’s basketball team embodies our definition of grit. We knew the players were bringing both passion and preparation to the game. We knew that they would listen to the guidance of head coach Ryan Odom, support one another, give their individual best, and get tougher and tougher as the game went on.

Nevertheless, like the rest of the world, we were stunned—not only by the outcome but by their execution to the end. Everybody thought it couldn’t be done because it hadn’t been done. And then we did it.

I’m not embarrassed to say that I know much more about mathematics than basketball, and I continue to learn about the game from coach Odom, my mentee Jairus Lyles, and others. What impresses me about this team is its can-do attitude—one that said that even though they had lost 23 games in a row to Vermont, we could win the 24th and the America East Conference championship. An attitude that said that, despite the odds, they could beat Virginia, an outstanding team from one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most-respected public institutions in the country.

What makes our story so appealing is that the players not only have a strong sense of self, they have hope. It is not idle hope, and that showed on Friday, too. Even the few people who thought we had a chance to win never thought we would do so by 20 points. Our win wasn’t a fluke. We won convincingly because we had worked hard to be ready. Rigorous preparation can lead people to reach goals they didn’t think were possible.

We’ve defied the odds before. Three decades ago, nobody believed you could close the achievement gap between white and underrepresented minority students, who were disproportionately likely to be lower-income and to be less academically prepared, without adjusting academic standards. But UMBC and the philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff didn’t believe it had to be that way. We believed you could set high expectations and, with appropriate support, not only help minority students succeed but also excel in some of the toughest fields. We started the Meyerhoff Scholars Program to support, challenge, and mentor underrepresented minority students in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Today, the university is a top producer of African-American graduates who go on to earn PhDs in the sciences, and is the leading producer of ones who go on to earn MD-PhDs. The lessons learned have spread across the campus and across disciplines, and we are now graduating students of all races and of all socioeconomic backgrounds who go on to earn PhDs and join the faculties of some of the most prestigious institutions in the country, from Harvard to Duke. In fact, in the audience Friday were three alumni who are on the Duke medical faculty, two of whom were UMBC athletes. In just the past two years, we produced a Rhodes Scholar, and we saw a researcher and exemplary mentor to students elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Even as a young research university, we’re in the top 20 in funding from NASA, and numerous humanities faculty are receiving prestigious national and international awards. Everybody thought it couldn’t be done because it hadn’t been done. And then we did it.

This week has been a mountaintop experience for the UMBC community. On Monday, I accepted a lifetime achievement award on behalf of the university from the American Council on Education. The award honored the careers of so many people on campus who have transformed the lives of thousands of students. I reflected on my TED talk on the four pillars of college success in STEM and how my thinking over the years has evolved. I’ve come to appreciate that the pillars are true not only for science, but also across academic disciplines and in other aspects of education: setting high expectations; building community; having experts draw people into the work and building relationships; and evaluating results and revising strategies. We saw Coach Odom and the team demonstrate that on Friday—and throughout the year. It’s no coincidence that two of our strongest players, Jairus Lyles and Joe Sherburne, earned 4.0 GPAs this fall, or that Joe was just named a First-Team Academic All-American.

In other arenas, we continue to tackle seemingly intractable problems. Our Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program trains . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 March 2018 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Education, Games

People are dying because we misunderstand how those with addiction think

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Brendan de Kenessey, a fellow-in-residence at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and (as of this fall) a member of the faculty of the philosophy department at the University of Toronto, writes in Vox:

The American opioid epidemic claimed 42,300 lives in 2016 alone. While the public policy challenge is daunting, the problem isn’t that we lack any effective treatment options. The data shows that we could save many lives by expanding medication-assisted treatments and adopting harm reduction policies like needle exchange programs. Yet neither of these policies has been widely embraced.

Why? Because these treatments are seen as indulging an addict’s weakness rather than “curing” it. Methadone and buprenorphine, the most effective medication-assisted treatments, are “crutches,” in the words of felony treatment court judge Frank Gulotta Jr. [see note below – LG]; they are “just substituting one opioid for another,” according to former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

And as county Commissioner Rodney Fish voted to block a needle exchange program in Lawrence County, Indiana, he quoted the Bible: “If my people … shall humble themselves … and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin.”

Most of us have been trained to use more forgiving language when talking about addiction. We call it a disease. We say that people with addiction should be helped, not blamed. But deep down, many of us still have trouble avoiding the thought that they could stop using if they just tried harder.

Surely would do better in their situation, we think to ourselves. We may not endorse the idea — we may think it is flat-out wrong — but there’s a part of us that can’t help but see addiction as a symptom of weak character and bad judgment.

Latent or explicit, the view of addiction as a moral failure is doing real damage. The stigma against addiction is “the single biggest reason America is failing in its response to the opioid epidemic,” Vox’s German Lopez concluded after a year of reporting on the crisis. To overcome this stigma, we need to first understand it. Why is it so easy to see addiction as a sign of flawed character?

We tend to view addiction as a moral failure because we are in the grip of a simple but misleading answer to one of the oldest questions of philosophy: Do people always do what they think is best? In other words, do our actions always reflect our beliefs and values? When someone with addiction chooses to take drugs, does this show us what she truly cares about — or might something more complicated be going on?

These questions are not merely academic: Lives depend on where we come down. The stigma against addiction owes its stubborn tenacity to a specific, and flawed, philosophical view of the mind, a misconception so seductive that it ensnared Socrates in the fifth century BC.

Do our actions always reflect our preferences?

In a dialogue called the Protagoras, Plato describes a debate between Socrates and a popular teacher named (wait for it) Protagoras. At one point their discussion turns to the topic of what the Greeks called akrasia: acting against one’s best judgment.

Akrasia is a fancy name for an all-too-common experience. I know I should go to the gym, but I watch Netflix instead. You know you’ll enjoy dinner more if you stop eating the bottomless chips, but you keep munching nevertheless.

This disconnect between judgment and action is made all the more vivid by addiction. Here’s the testimony of one person with addiction, reported in Maia Szalavitz’s book Unbroken Brain: “I can remember many, many times driving down to the projects telling myself, ‘You don’t want to do this! You don’t want to do this!’ But I’d do it anyway.”

As pervasive as the experience of akrasia is, Socrates thought it didn’t make sense. I may think I value exercise more than TV, but, assuming no one is pressuring me, my behavior reveals that when it comes down to it, I, in fact, care more about catching up on Black Mirror. As Socrates puts it: “No one who knows or believes there is something else better than what he is doing, something possible, will go on doing what he had been doing when he could be doing what is better.”

Now, you might be thinking: Socrates clearly never went to a restaurant with unlimited chips. But he has a point. To figure out what a person’s true priorities are, we usually look to the choices they make. (“Actions speak louder than words.”) When a person binges on TV, munches chips, or gets high despite the consequences, Socrates would infer that they must care more about indulging now than about avoiding those consequences — whatever they may say to the contrary.

(He isn’t alone: Both the behaviorism movement in 20th-century psychology and the “revealed preference” doctrine in economics are based on the idea that you can best learn what people desire by looking at what they do.)

So for Socrates, there’s no such thing as acting against one’s best judgment: There’s only bad judgment. He draws an analogy with optical illusions. Like a child who thinks her thumb is bigger than the moon, we overestimate the value of nearby pleasures and underestimate the severity of their faraway consequences.

Through this Socratic lens, it’s hard not to see addiction as a failure. Imagine a father, addicted to heroin, who misses picking up his children from school because he’s shooting up at home. In Socrates’s view, the father must be doing what he believes to be best. But how could the father possibly think that?

I see two possibilities. As Socrates’s illusion analogy suggests, the father could be grievously mistaken about the consequences of his actions. Perhaps he has convinced himself that his kids can get home on their own, or that he’ll be able to pick them up while high. But if the father has seen the damaging effects of his behavior time and again — as happens often to long-term addicts — it becomes harder to see how he is not complicit in this illusion. If he really believes his choice will be harmless, he must be willfully, and condemnably, self-deceived.

Which leads us to the second, even more damning possibility: Perhaps the father knows the consequences shooting up will have on his children, but he doesn’t care. If his choice cannot be ascribed to ignorance, it must reveal his preferences: The father must care more about getting high than he cares about his children’s well-being.

If Socrates’s model of the mind is right, these are the only available explanations for addictive behavior: The person must have bad judgment, bad priorities, or some combination of the two.

Our philosophy of addiction shapes our treatment of it — whether we realize it or not

It’s not exactly a sympathetic picture. But I suspect it underlies much of our thinking about addiction. Consider the popular idea that someone with addiction has to hit “rock bottom” before she can begin true recovery. In the Socratic view, this makes perfect sense. If addiction is due to a failure to appreciate the bad consequences of getting high, then the best route to recovery might be for the person to experience firsthand how bad those consequences really are. A straight dose of the harshest reality might be the only cure for the addict’s self-deceived beliefs and shortsighted preferences.

We could give a similar Socratic rationale for punishing drug possession with decades in jail: If we make the consequences of using bad enough, people with addiction will finally realize that it’s better to be sober, the thought goes. Once again, we are correcting their flawed judgment and priorities, albeit with a heavy hand.

Socrates’s view also makes sense of our reluctance to adopt medication-assisted treatment and needle exchange programs. These methods might temporarily mitigate the damage caused by addiction, but on the Socratic view, they leave the underlying problem untouched.

By giving out clean needles or substituting methadone for heroin, we may prevent some deaths in the short term, but we won’t change the skewed priorities that caused the addictive behavior in the first place. Worse, we may “enable” someone’s bad judgment by shielding her from the worst effects of her actions. In the long run, the only way to save addicts from themselves is to make it harder, not easier, to pursue the lifestyle they so clearly prefer.

Is Socrates right? Or can we find a better, more sympathetic way of thinking about addiction?

To see things differently, we need to question the fundamental picture of the mind on which Socrates’s view rests. It is natural to think of the mind as a unified whole and identify ourselves with that whole. But this monolithic view of the mind leads to the Socratic view of addiction. Whatever I choose must be what my mind wants most, and so what want most. The key to escaping the Socratic view, then, is to realize that the mind has different parts — and that some parts of my mind are more me than others.

The “self” is not a single, unitary thing

This “divided mind” view has become popular in both philosophy and psychology over the past 50 years. In psychology, we see it in the rise of “dual process” theories of the mind, the most famous of which comes from Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, who divides the mind into a part that makes judgments quickly, intuitively, and unconsciously (“System I”) and a part that thinks more slowly, rationally, and consciously (“System II”).

More pertinent for our purposes is research on what University of Michigan neuroscientist Kent Berridge calls the “wanting system,” which regulates our cravings for things like food, sex, and drugs using signals based in the neurotransmitter dopamine. The wanting system has powerful control over behavior, and its cravings are insensitive to long-term consequences.

Berridge’s research indicates that addictive drugs can “hijack” the wanting system, manipulating dopamine directly to generate cravings that are far stronger than those the rest of us experience. The result is that the conscious part of a person’s mind might want one thing (say, to pick his kids up from school) but be overruled by the wanting system’s desire for something else (to get high). . .

Continue reading.

Note: I wonder whether Judge Gulotta wears glasses (an obvious “crutch”). If he breaks his leg, will he refuse to use a crutch because it’s just a crutch? I wear hearing aids—obviously a crutch. I think Judge Gulotta is a moron.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 March 2018 at 1:48 pm

2 “good guys with guns” accidentally fired them in schools on Tuesday

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Gun accidents happen only if guns are present.

Emily Stewart reports in Vox:

As the Trump administration advocates for more guns in schools and allowing teachers to carry firearms, two separate incidents in Virginia and California on Tuesday in which trained school employees accidentally fired their weapons highlight the dangers of such a proposal.

A teacher who is also a reserve police officer trained to use a gun accidentally discharged a firearm at Seaside High School in Monterey County, California, on Tuesday. According to the local outlet KSBW, Dennis Alexander’s gun went off around 1 pm while he was teaching a course about gun safety. He was pointing his gun at the ceiling when it went off, and pieces of the ceiling hit the ground.

The local police department said no one suffered serious injuries, but one 17-year-old boy was harmed when fragments from the bullet hit his neck, the boy’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW. The boy’s parents only figured out what had happened when he returned home from school with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments on his neck.

“He’s shaken up, but he’s going to be okay. I’m just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it,” the father told the TV station.

In a separate incident in Alexandria, Virginia, on Tuesday, a school resource officer — a five-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department — accidentally discharged his weapon while inside George Washington Middle School. No one, including the officer, was injured.

“I just think it was an accident that happened, and we’re going to investigate it and find out, and we’re going to move forward,” Capt. D.C. Hayes told NBC Washington. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 March 2018 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Education, Guns

The ‘campus free speech crisis’ is a myth.

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Jeffrey Adam Sachs reports in the Washington Post:

Universities are supposed to be places where you confront unfamiliar and challenging ideas. According to some critics, however, students today are turning their backs on that concept of welcoming free speech. Instead, the argument goes, young people want to transform campuses into “safe spaces” where offensive speech is banned and political correctness is enforced.
There’s just one problem: This narrative is wrong. Let’s examine three myths about free speech on campus.
Myth #1: Young people in general (and college students in particular) don’t support free speech
In fact, the opposite is true. For nearly 50 years, the General Social Survey (GSS) has asked Americans about their tolerance for offensive speech. Some questions include: Should an anti-American Muslim cleric be permitted to teach in a public school? Should the local library stock books hostile to religion?
On almost every question, young people aged 18 to 34 are the most likely to support free speech. Check out the data for yourself. Not only are young people the most likely to express tolerance for offensive speech, but with almost every question posed by the GSS, each generation of young people has been more tolerant than the last.
Consider the question of whether someone who is gay should be allowed to make a speech in your community: . . .

Continue reading.

The other two myths, discussed with the aid of charts and graphs:

Myth #2: Universities make students less tolerant of offensive or opposing speech

Myth #3: Universities may claim to support free speech, but their actions show otherwise

Written by LeisureGuy

16 March 2018 at 2:42 pm

Posted in Daily life, Education, Law

Venture capitalist visits 200 schools in 50 states and says DeVos is wrong: ‘If choice and competition improve schools, I found no sign of it.’

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Valerie Strauss reports in the Washington Post:

Ted Dintersmith is a successful venture capitalist and father of two who has spent years devoting most of his time, energy and millions of dollars of his personal fortune to learning about — and advocating for — public education and how it can be made better for all children.

Dintersmith has taken a dramatically different path from other wealthy Americans who have become involved in education issues, departing from the approach of people such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who was a prime mover behind the Common Core State Standards and initiatives to assess teachers by student standardized test scores.

Dintersmith traveled to every state to visit schools and see what works and what doesn’t — and his prescription for the future of American education has very little to do with what Gates and others with that same data-driven mind-set have advocated.

He thinks the U.S. education system needs to be reimagined into cross-disciplinary programs that allow kids the freedom to develop core competencies through project-based learning.

He discussed his vision in a book he co-authored, “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Age,” and he funded and produced a compelling documentary called “Most Likely to Succeed,” which goes into High Tech High school in San Diego, where the project-based educational future he wants is already there.

He has a new book being published in April, “What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration From Teachers Across America,” about what he learned during his travels and school visits.

In this post, he writes about what he saw and offers advice to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who recently said on “60 Minutes” that she had never “intentionally” visited an underperforming school.

By Ted Dintersmith

In her recent “60 Minutes” interview, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos indicated that perhaps she should visit more schools. Yes.  She needs to get out of her bubble and visit schools across America.  I did, and there’s much to be learned.

For context, I spent the entire 2015-2016 school year immersed in education across America.  In a trip that rivaled de Toqueville’s, I traveled to all 50 states, visited 200 schools of all types and talked to thousands of people about school.

Questioning my sanity, friends asked, “Why take such a grueling trip?”  But as a career venture capitalist, I know that ever-advancing technology is gutting the economy of jobs and reshaping what’s needed for career and citizenship.  These disruptions have profound implications for the future of our children and our democracy.  I wanted to see how schools might take on this challenge.

During my travels, I met with every element of our education ecosystem — governors, legislators, billionaires, school boards, college admissions, textbook and testing executives, bureaucrats, students, parents and teachers.  I covered every geography, demographic and school type. I had no ax to grind, no bias to uphold. I just wanted to listen and learn. For an administration that relies on index cards with “I hear you” reminders, here’s what our secretary of education needs to hear.

First, America’s teachers are dedicated, passionate and committed — across all types of schools.  They care.  Many are distressed, even in tears. Like troops fighting an unwinnable war, our teachers know they’re being held accountable to tests that don’t reflect real learning, nor lead to important competencies. We are demoralizing our teaching force, driving our best to early retirement and dissuading young adults from the profession that will shape our nation’s future.

Second, I was blown away by the many inspiring examples of great innovation I encountered — in classrooms, schools, districts and states.  In these classrooms, teachers help kids develop essential skill sets and mindsets. Instead of checking off endless content boxes (AP U.S. History, for example, covers five centuries, allowing a whopping 30 minutes for the U.S. Constitution), students master what they learn, apply it and teach others.  Much of the learning is hands-on, tied to real-world projects.  Students have voice in creating initiatives and in defining their path forward. Teachers are trusted, and students approach schoolwork with a sense of purpose.

Third, I didn’t find charter schools to be, on balance, more innovative than public schools. . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

Later in the article:

Seventh, DeVos might be surprised at my conclusions about “the very powerful forces allied against change” she alludes to.

In U.S. education, nonexperts tell experts what to do. Priorities are set by legislators, billionaires, textbook and testing executives, college admissions officers and education bureaucrats. These forces, perhaps unintentionally, impede real change in our schools. They push kids to study what’s easy to measure, not what’s important to learn. No worries that a steady diet of memorizing content and drilling on low-level procedures produces young adults who are sitting ducks in the innovation economy. Put all the chips on college-ready, discounting the importance of hands-on learning and discouraging those with non-academic proficiencies. Channel kids down the same standardized path, impairing their ability to leave school able to create and develop their own path forward — arguably the most important competence young adults need in a world where careers come and go.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 March 2018 at 11:45 am

Posted in Books, Education

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