I'm in Calgary at the Calgary Teachers' Convention and I am listening to David Berliner and Pasi Sahlberg talk about The Roots of Success for All Children: It's in the context of their lives, not just in their classroom experiences.
- Despite what you might hear, teachers do not affect standardized test scores very much
- Teachers do affect student's lives but not their scores
- Standardized test are influenced by socio-economic circumstances and less by classroom instruction.
- Want to improve scores? Improve children's lives outside of school.
- As the context of children's lives changes, so do their standardized test scores.
- Children who live in chaos tend to be chaotic. Remove the chaos --
- Societies affect on children's performance is intense.
- The Problem is Poverty.
- There are many school variables that teachers can't control: class size, administrators, collective empathy of the faculty, teacher turn over, students coming and going.
- We can not trust standardized tests to tell us what we want to know about our schools.
- Want to find the school with the highest test scores? Buy an expensive house.
- When governments cut education, they make inequality and inequity worse, and the poorest people pay the most.
- There is a huge difference in the number of books in the richest homes and the poorest homes.
- Affluent parents tend to speak more with their children than the poorest parents who are struggling to make ends meet.
- The best education systems care as much about what happens outside of the classroom as what happens inside.
- Standardized tests are insensitive to teacher instruction.
- Alberta needs to pay closer attention to the research on school improvement
- Here are all of my posts on David Berliner
- In 2000, many school systems thought that they had found the secret elixir to fix all schools: Accountability through standardized tests. PISA's influence was born.
- Since 2000, the focus of school improvement has been focused intensely on teachers.
- The United States is a good example of how not to improve education.
- Finland's reaction to school improvement and PISA is unique and paradoxical.
- Finland did not react or allow PISA to affect their system until 2008. 8 years after they were lauded as the best in the world. Finland was reluctant to share their story.
- Two Global Paths of Inquiry: What makes education systems perform well? What prevents system-wide improvement?
- Traditional Policy Logic: Should we focus on quality or equity? We know that we don't have to choose.
- Canada does very well with high quality and equity, but we are going in the wrong direction.
- While Canada and Alberta has traditionally compared well with their equity and equality, they are going in the wrong direction.
- Finland has had an inclusive education system for two decades.
Five things to learn from Finland:
- Resourcing Policy: Schools with more needs, need more resources.
- Early Childhood Care: This isn't really about education -- it's about childcare.
- Health and Wellbeing: Universal healthcare inside and outside of school. In the US, the number 1 reason why students miss school is because of problems with their teeth.
- Special Education: A system that is proactive and preventative with students with special needs. Prevention is always cheaper than repair.
- Balanced Curriculum: Children need to learn about the arts and physical education as much as numeracy and literacy.