Link: How Engaged Are Students and Teachers in American Schools? | MindShift

Unfortunately, most teachers are not in a position to share excitement with students. About 70% are classified as disengaged, which puts them on par with the workforce as a whole. This is surprising in some ways, because teachers score close to the top on measures that indicate that they find meaning in their life and see work as a calling. Unfortunately, the structures that teachers are working in–which may include high-stakes standardized testing and value-added formulas that evaluate their performance based on outside factors–seem to tug against their happiness. “The real bummer is they don’t feel their opinions matter,” Busteed says. K-12 teachers scored dead last among 12 occupational groups in agreeing with the statement that their opinions count at work, and also dead last on “My supervisor creates an open and trusting environment.” via How Engaged Are Students and Teachers in American Schools? | MindShift.

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Cool spaces emerge as schools retool for technology

This is an exciting piece about Kansas City schools that are changing their physical spaces to accommodate more collaborative learning.  I would LOVE to teach at a school like this.

It’ll take time for faculty and students to retool their ways of teaching and learning. But providing spaces that encourage problem-solving, cross-disciplinary and cross-age collaboration, problem-based learning, and real-world simulations will push curriculum in creative & innovative directions.

Enjoy the article here:
Kansas City area’s digital age schools hail an education revolution

In his own words: A student explains his NCS education

When you hear your own students explaining their education in a way that proves “they really get it,” down to the real core of what it means to educate Christianly and in grace, it’s hard not to cry right on the spot. 🙂

Have hardly been prouder than during this speech at the NCS graduation last week.  The valedictorian is still studying overseas in Taiwan for his senior year, so he recorded his speech.  [Maybe all valedictory speeches should be recorded on foreign soil? There’s something cool about this!]

David nails it — a “grace-based” education digs deep. Really deep.

Truly – It takes a village

This article posted on the lovely site Good.Is caught my attention today:
Want to Transform Public Education? Act Locally.
The author suggests that parents really DO make a difference in their local schools when they visit campus, get to know the staff, come to understand the problem, and get involved in solutions.

 I see too many good people in Los Angeles who are afraid of our kids. They are afraid to send their kids to an unknown school. All these people really need is to be invited on to campus, take a look around, and put that fear aside. These are our children—why are people afraid?

So if you want to transform education, find a teacher who needs help. Get on to that campus. Have a simple clean up event with teachers, students, and parents all working together. Invite the village. Bring coffee. Tap into the good in people. It’s there, just waiting for an invitation. They are out there, just waiting to be invited

We all tend to care much more about institutions that we have invested personal effort into maintaining. What is handed to us cost-free, even work-free, is an institution that we feel free to walk away from.  
In my MEd coursework at Covenant, we read a book called Is There a Public for Public Schools? The author suggests that local school management, where parents and community members can have a greater say in the particular traditions, setup, and even moral outlook of a given school, has a much better chance of succeeding than a monolithic education policy driven from “above.” 
Media coverage of education makes the whole situation sound so dismal. But we really CAN make a difference in our schools. It’ll cost something, of course — the courage to know before we condemn, the willingness to invest in the lives of others, and the determination to focus on finding solutions rather than railing away at problems.

Social Media & Education: Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Everytime I talk to a new teacher, the conversation always drifts to the question of student relationships and social media. Do we friend students on Facebook or Twitter? How do you maintain the proper “distance”? What about all those new laws in states like Missouri, banning students & teachers from online contact?

I wrote about it on my blog and I think it’s worth sharing in case other educators are wrestling with social media policy in a Grace-education context:

Social Media & Educators

A Better Social Media Policy for Educators

Dabney, On Education … and a Question

This isn’t a long read, though the sentences have the density of fruitcake. 🙂

WORLD Magazine: Dabney’s Day
It’s a long, interesting quote about the inability of a state-run, public school system to educate in a true sense of the word, as long as that state-run system cannot offer a Christian perspective as the foundation of the education.

Here is his final paragraph (of the quoted passage):

“But farther: Why do people wish the State to interfere in educating? Because she has the power, the revenues to do it better. Then, unless her intervention is to be a cheat, her secularized teaching must be some very impressive thing. Then its impression, which is to be non-Christian, according to the theory, will be too preponderant in the youth’s soul, to be counterpoised by the feebler inculcation of the seventh day. The natural heart is carnal, and leans to the secular and away from the gospel truths…. In a word, to the successful pupil under an efficient teacher, the school is his world. Make that godless, and his life is made godless.

Agree? Disagree?

Does Dabney’s argument actually support the mission of Christian teachers to “redeem” the public system one classroom at a time?