Is data collection and technology really revolutionizing classroom instruction? It depends.
Consider the teacher who snaps open a laptop, and with a few clicks of the mouse has comprehensive achievement data on all her students, reaching back from the beginning of their school careers up to yesterday. The data includes not only results from standardized tests but also information about each student’s educational background, results of coursework, and grade point average.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm. Instead, most teachers find that the software programs given to them to analyze student data contain spotty content that’s hard to understand, let alone useful.
We know this thanks to Education Week’s
annual report, “Technology Counts,” which is recently released for 2006. The report issues a technology report card to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Ohio received a solid grade for making technology accessible to teachers (“A”), but a poor grade for using it (“D-minus”). Overall, the state earned “B-minus,” slightly higher than the national average of “C-plus.” Michigan was the reverse, receiving a “D-plus” for access to technology, and an “A-minus” for use of technology, with an overall grade of “C.”
The report finds that it isn’t enough to build computer systems and then expect teachers and schools to use them effectively. “We will have missed the boat if
June 7, 2006
Harvey Pennick, the late, great Texas golf instructor, once wrote: “If you don’t have a good grip, you don’t want a good swing.” Ohio finds itself in a similar situation in its teaching of world history. The state’s world history standards, documents outlining what students ought to learn, doesn’t have a firm grip on the material, thereby hampering teachers and schools ability to follow through on effective instruction. That’s the finding from a new report authored by the eminent historian and foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead, who gave Ohio an “F” on its world history standards. Mead found Ohio’s content standards “vague” and he noted they “do not specify content to be taught.” Ohio’s instructional methods for teaching history received even greater criticism.
Not that other states are fairing better, Two-thirds of them either failed or were awarded “Ds.” Just eight states—California, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia—earned an “A."
“At a time when the United States faces threats and competitors around the globe, and when our children’s future is more entangled than ever with world developments, our schools ought not treat world history so casually,” said Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Fordham Institute, which published the report. “It is as if Americans are wearing blinders—and happy about it.”
to view the report.
June 7, 2006
On May 10 in Columbus, Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, spoke before a packed room of over 300 educators, legislators, philanthropists, business leaders and reporters with a message of hope for Ohio’s schools. If you were unable to elbow your way through the crowd to see her presentation, check it out here.
June 7, 2006
The education scene in Ohio is brimming with options. But how do parents know which school is best for their children? GreatSchools, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, has produced a valuable workbook to help parents in the Dayton area answer that question. “My School Chooser” profiles 62 district, private, and charter schools in the city, and walks parents step-by-step through test scores, and data on teachers, facilities, and safety, among others. The book was developed by GreatSchools, in partnership with the University of Dayton, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and other national foundations, and was distributed to 20,000 Dayton households on June 1 by The Dayton Daily News.
To obtain a copy, contact Meera Chary at (415) 977-0700, ext. 113 or visit http://www.greatschools.net/