Education: Two Approaches

This week if you tuned in to any news medium you would have heard that the first outcome of the standardized test dubbed, Smarter Balanced, was a dismal failure. This set of testing is designed to measure the success of the Common Core teaching curriculum now being used nationally. The Smarter Balanced test is more complex, measures more than previous testing and is designed to provide a more accurate picture of a student’s academic condition. The results of this recent test given to grades 3 through 8 and 11 had students failing to meet a 40% grade-level proficiency in language arts and math.  One educator stated he was disappointed because the school district had put so much effort into preparing for the test. Maybe that is the problem. Shouldn’t more attention be paid to making sure children are engaged in what they are learning and that learning involves thinking and problem solving.

Now we turn to the Design Tech High School, a charter school in Burlingame open to anyone in California. This high school has been so successful that it is now being supported by the  corporation, Oracle. Growth of the high school has been so rapid, that they have been forced to move their location several times since inception. This has led Oracle to design and start construction on a 64,000 square foot building, which will house 500 students and 30 staff members at its Redwood Shores campus. Design Tech open for little more than a year caught the attention of Oracle’s founder, Larry Ellison, because he wanted to champion a school where children are guided to think. The school’s name is misleading because it is not a technological high school. Co-founder and executive director, Ken Montgomery, related that the school’s name is based on the concept of “design thinking”. “Design thinking” is rooted in the belief that all problems even the most daunting can be solved. Mr. Montgomery a veteran in the education field with a doctorate in administration and policy analysis believes this approach is necessary because the world is changing quickly and unpredictably, meaning any specific skill set could become obsolete.

As parents we all have to decide how we wish to encourage our children to learn. Read carefully and do research on the options offered by public educators, charter schools and homeschooling. Assisting children to become creative and critical thinkers will not only spur them to find careers they enjoy, but will also provide society with productive members.

Speak Your Mind