Now that the Waiting for Superman trailer has been seen by over half a million people and NBC finished devoting one whole week concerning the issues of education, America is in panic mode, again. Let’s all step back and take a deep breath and count to three. 1…..2…..3…… now exhale. Feel better?
Public schools are being scrutinized. By 2014, we will all be labeled “failing schools” according to NCLB guidelines. Teachers are accused of not preparing our students for the future. The government is being asked to fund more for education with its limited resources. What will it take for our students to become successful global citizens?
By taking these four steps, we can ensure student success
- Common Core Standards: Close to 40 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core provides us with specific skills that we can teach our students to better prepare them for post-secondary opportunities. We must use the Common Core as the cornerstone of our curriculum.
- Common Assessments: As teacher-teams agree upon the skills to be taught, these teams must create assessments that measure student proficiency of the targeted skills. This piece forces us to assess for learning as opposed to assess of learning. Analyzing common assessments of students is powerful. It promotes healthy conversations as to how to improve instruction.
- Curriculum: We live in a world where we can Google an answer in under ten seconds. It is time to strip away the unnecessary content that has been our curricula. There is no need to rush through content. It is more important to provide students with an opportunity to get deep into a text so that they can make connections to their lives. Match the content to the skill being learned, not the other way around.
- Instruction: We have years of research that has been done by experts in the field of education. We know what works and what does not work. Take the time to read the following books:
John Hattie – Visible Learning (2009)
Robert Marzano – What Works in Schools (2003)
Douglas Reeves – Standards, Assessment and Accountability (2011)
Share these resources with your colleagues. Begin dialogues regarding best practices, not fun activities.
We cannot wait around for Superman to appear. If each one of us takes the steps to focus on skills, analyze and discuss student assessments, negotiate on the most important content to teach, and use only proven, effective strategies, collectively we will build a stronger, more powerful, and invincible superhero. Let’s take the initiative to develop tomorrow’s leaders today.