Two keys: uncouple age from standards, magnets instead of charters

Listening to KPFA yesterday and today, two epiphanies: the Standards straight-jacket on instructional methodology gets significantly looser if one decouples the Standards from age: they are no longer lock-step by cohort, but measures of mastery to be achieved when the student is ready. And the “reform” being pushed through as a mandate to open charters is easily finessed by looking at the actual data for success from the magnet school model. Charters, with the notable exception of two-way immersion programs and the many arts-centered charters, are most often efforts to cut costs by union-busting and/or segregate students. Nor do Charters have a credible record of improving test scores. Magnets do.

What brought the Magnet experiments to a close was the bizarre logic of the original end-game: create a wonderful new program, show that it works, then because the program is working, cut off its funding. Magnet programs, and any program that’s going to work in schools, must be able to count on continued if not increased funding when the results are helping students.


Fred is a Teaching Artist, an arts integration advocate & a social justice activist. He is near completing a two-month Residency as String Game Performance Teacher at Calabasas Elementary School in Watsonville, CA, and performed at the 2015 Santa Cruz Storytelling Festival. He also serves as Teacher Consultant for Professional Development with UCSC's Central California Writing Project and as their Technology Liaison to the National Writing Project. He is a Connected Learning Facilitator and coordinates Face To Face Drop Ins on Connected Learning biweekly at Arts Council Santa Cruz County. He teaches self-directed & connected learning via real-world projects & string games through his Original Digital Project, an Associate of the Arts Council.

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