The US National Education Policy Center and the Education Deans for Justice and Equity have jointly released a Policy Statement on the “Science of Reading”. It is reprinted here in the interests of promoting rational debate.
For the past few years, a wave of media has reignited the unproductive Reading Wars, which frame early-literacy teaching as a battle between opposing camps. This coverage speaks of an established “science of reading” as the appropriate focus of teacher education programs and as the necessary approach for early-reading instruction. Unfortunately, this media coverage has distorted the research evidence on the teaching of reading, with the result that policymakers are now promoting and implementing policy based on misinformation.
Continue reading “Statement on the “Science of Reading” from US Think Tank”
Larry Cuban, Emeritus Professor of Education at Stanford
University, recently drew on his extensive study of technology in education
over many years to draw some key lessons about the use of technology in the
classroom. The following are extracts from his article which is available on his
Continue reading “Lessons Learned From Technology in the Classroom”
Finland has been in the spotlight of the education
world since it appeared, against all odds, on the top of the rankings of an
international test known as PISA, the Program for
International Student Assessment, in the early 2000s. Tens of thousands
visitors have traveled to the country to see how to improve their own schools.
Hundreds of articles have been written to explain why Finnish education is so
marvelous — or sometimes that it isn’t. Millions of tweets have been shared and
read, often leading to debates about the real nature of Finland’s schools and
about teaching and learning there.
We have learned a lot about why some education
systems — such as Alberta, Ontario, Japan and Finland — perform better year
after year than others in terms of quality and equity of student outcomes. We
also understand now better why some other education systems — for example,
England, Australia, the United States and Sweden — have not been able to
improve their school systems regardless of politicians’ promises, large-scale
reforms and truckloads of money spent on haphazard efforts to change schools
during the past two decades.
Continue reading “What is really going on in Finland’s school reform?”
Doubling down on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent claim that students “can learn better with larger classes, with more students to collaborate with, to learn with,” President Trump this morning bragged that the U.S. will lead the world in class size. “Under President Trump, our classes will be huge. They’ll be the biggest, most beautiful class sizes you’ve ever seen, believe me!”
Continue reading “Class Sizes will be “The Biggest Ever” Boasts President Trump”
Following a year of
teacher strikes where educators in West Virginia, Los Angeles, Denver and
beyond called for wage increases and reduced class sizes, Sen. Jeff Merkley
(D-OR) has introduced a new bill to
incentivize smaller class sizes in kindergarten and first, second and third
grades. The legislation, which would allocate $2 billion for competitive grant
funding, primarily to high-poverty school districts in the United States, is
co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY),
Elizabeth Warren (MA), Cory Booker (NJ) and Michael Bennet (CO). The bill is
also endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education
Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, and First Focus Campaign
Continue reading “US Senate Bill Proposes Smaller Class Sizes for High-Poverty School Districts”
A new study comprehensively refutes the claim that phonetics is little used in teaching reading in Australian schools. It shows that the large majority of teachers in Australian primary schools use a combination of methods in teaching reading, including phonetics.
Continue reading “New Study Undermines Case for a Year 1 Phonics Test”
It was reported in The Age this week that the elite Melbourne private school, Scotch College, has been on a $25 million spending spree over the past 20 years buying up surrounding properties to expand the school. It is part of the facilities arms race between wealthy private schools to market the school and lure students.
What The Age report did not mention is that this spending spree was directly and indirectly supported by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments. Continue reading “Scotch College Property Buying Spree Supported by the Taxpayer”
East Asian countries dominate the education arms race. Singapore,
Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan regularly get the highest
scores on international tests such as the Trends in Mathematics and Science
Study (TIMSS) and the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment
(PISA). Other countries, including Australia, seek to emulate their test
However, a key factor behind the success of these countries
is the cultural emphasis on studying at the expense of other activities outside
school. This brings costs in terms of student well-being and health which are
Continue reading “The Hidden Cost of East Asian Test Results”
Student absenteeism is a well-documented factor in poor
performance at school. Students who skip
school, skip classes and arrive late for school tend to have lower test scores
[OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What
Makes Schools Successful? Resources, Policies and Practices (Volume IV),
2013, p. 60].
It is likely to be a factor behind the high proportion of Australian
students who do not achieve expected international standards in reading,
mathematics and science. Data from PISA 2015 show that a much higher percentage
of Australian students skipped a day of
school at least once in the two weeks prior to the PISA test than in other
high performing countries and the OECD average.
Continue reading “Student Absenteeism is High in Australia”
Earlier this week principals in Victorian government primary schools were stunned to learn that as from the beginning of 2017 that all students would have to be able to swim 50 metres continuously by the time they finished year 6. Swimming would become a mandatory part of the new Victorian Curriculum as part of the Andrews Government’s aim to prevent deaths by drowning.
It didn’t help that principals found this out via the media.
There is no disagreement about the goal – having all children competent in swimming is a no brainer. But, as is too often the case, the devil is in the detail and in this case the detail doesn’t stack up. More’s the pity because with some meaningful consultation between the government and school principals, so many of the self-inflicted obstacles to potential success with this initiative could have been avoided and the government would have been on a winner.
Continue reading “Schools in Deep Water Over Mandatory Swim Lessons”