September 30, 2011

Who are the real education reformers?

Even though it was a lone comment, I was honored when a teacher called results-only learning and narrative feedback the "kinds of reforms that will make a transformation in education."

Other people who know me personally have often told me that they think the kind of progressive education that I advocate should be used in all schools. Some even wonder aloud why it isn't. Of course, that's a different story entirely.

This got me wondering, though, who are the real education reformers, and what changes are they making, if any, in American education? And how does a legitimate reform movement begin?

I know people love Sir Ken Robinson, but most of his work has been done overseas with governments and Fortune 500 companies. Don't get me wrong; I think Robinson is inventive and entertaining, but he's never even been a K-12 educator.

Some people believe Michelle Rhee is a reformer. Rhee is more of an opportunist and is not a real teacher -- her training coming at Teach for America. Regular readers know how I feel about Teach. . . .

Still others favor Salman Khan and his Khan Academy. Again, there's some good stuff here, but Khan is not and never has been a teacher. Calling his video site education reform is sort of like calling "Obamacare" healthcare reform (hold your fire, democrats; I voted for him).

Some people, although I don't know who they are, believe that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is a reformer. Duncan loves merit pay, charter schools and and more standardized testing. Is this what will improve education in our country?

So, even if it's a bit self-serving, I'm going to cast my vote for results-only learning. I think this is the best reform possible, and all it needs is a legitimate movement.

Any ideas on how to get more progressive, results-only learning in school districts across America?