Reinforcing the standardized model of low-level learning and schooling
I’m sitting in a workshop today about early literacy supports. The presenters are personable, the resources aren’t horrible, the intent is good, and there are 45+ well-meaning educators in the room learning, talking, and thinking about early literacy success for students.
But all of our conversations are around systems and processes that reify and strengthen our traditional emphases on low-level learning. For instance, we’re discussing laws and policies (that emphasize standardized data), screening instruments (based on standardized data), ‘evidence-based interventions’ (based on standardized data), progress monitoring (based on standardized data), and data-based decision-making (based on standardized data).
This morning I also received a pitch for a new book, Deliverology in Practice, which purports to show leaders how to
- Set clear goals for students, establish a Delivery Unit to help your system stay focused on them, and build the coalition that will back your reforms.
- Analyze the data and evidence to get a sense of your current progress and the biggest barriers to achieving your goals.
- Develop a plan that will guide your day-to-day work by explicitly defining what you are implementing, how it will reach the field at scale, and how it will achieve the desired impact on your goals.
- Monitor progress against your plan, make course corrections, and build and sustain momentum to achieve your goals.
- Identify and address the change management challenges that come with any reform and attend to them throughout your delivery effort.
To which I say, ‘Meh.’ #terriblyunexciting (for students and educators both)
The evidence is quite clear that schools’ low-level learning focus has been a problem for decades. The last thing we need is MORE emphasis on lower-level learning (see, e.g., the economic data and the student engagement data). Yet the workshops and books and policies continue…