Many Sentences to Ponder


1. Barbic on low expectations in Nashville 

“So, what does it mean when a school ‘isn’t faring that bad’ when fewer than one in four kids can read on grade level? What does it mean when a school ‘isn’t faring that bad’ when the vast majority of kids can’t do simple math equations at a proficient level?”

2. Rage Against the Common Core

“Many teachers like the standards, because they invite creativity in the classroom — instead of memorization, the Common Core emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving. But they complain that test prep and test-taking eat away weeks of class time that would be better focused on learning.”

How many factual inaccuracies / misleading statements can you count in these two sentences? I count 4.

3. What are aliens like?

“Fifth, advanced aliens should be well adapted in both means and ends. … Advanced aliens will be very patient, but also very selfish regarding their key units of reproduction, and quite risk averse about key correlated threats to their existence.”

I wish humans were similar!

4. Jobs prevent crime for high school students

“Research on the program conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and just published in the journal Science suggests that these summer jobs have actually had such an effect: Students who were randomly assigned to participate in the program had 43 percent fewer violent-crime arrests over 16 months, compared to students in a control group.”

5. 10 things political scientists know that you don’t

“Presidential elections can be forecast with incredible accuracy well before the campaign really begins. In fact, if all you know is the state of the economy, you know pretty well how the incumbent party will do.  If you account for a little bit more, like whether the country is at war, how long the president’s party has held the office, and which candidate is more ideologically moderate, you can do even better.”

6. Zadie Smith on Manhattan

“Finally the greatest thing about Manhattan is the worst thing about Manhattan: self-actualization.”

7. What if Finland’s greatest teacher taught in Indiana?

“Finland is not a fan of standardization in education. However, teacher education in Finland is carefully standardized.  All teachers must earn a master’s degree at one of the country’s research universities. Competition to get into these teacher education programs is tough; only “the best and the brightest” are accepted. As a consequence, teaching is regarded as an esteemed profession, on par with medicine, law or engineering.”

3 thoughts on “Many Sentences to Ponder

  1. Eugenie Taylor

    I would love to know more about where you are going with thoughts regarding the statement in common core. I too have a fantasy that teachers, really good high quality teachers do like the creativity and flexibility that the ESL standards invite into curriculums now…am I really just having that? A fantasy? We are about to be in a big cc fight in WV. Yuck- I just want a charter school bill!

    1. nkingsl

      Hey Eugenie – some quick thoughts:

      1. I think the main error with the excerpted piece is that tests are inapposite to learning. There’s a lot of research that shows that good testing increases learning by cementing in recall abilities.

      2. I think standards without assessments are fairly pointless. An assessment item, not a standard, really defines what students need to learn.

      So big picture, I’m skeptical of the argument “standards good, assessments bad”


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