If you are not reading some of the online topical threads on current education topics, you are missing an opportunity to follow the thoughts of an interesting variety of people who are interested in education. One group I follow is the LinkedIn “CCSS – Common Core State Standards Network, which anyone can join and follow. Over the last few weeks, a discussion on PISA test results began, and it has been an illuminating read for me to see so many divergent opinions on the Common Core, the meaning of the recently released PISA results, and the role of teachers, administrators, unions, politicians, test publishers, and educational profiteers in the reform movement. There are many back and forth entries between contributors, and many of the entries include web links to newspaper articles, blogs, online commentary, or research reports that support contributor points of view. I’ve enjoyed posting a few times myself, and I have downloaded articles and saved links from this long discussion for my own edification.
Participants come from the ranks of teachers, administrators, graduate students, professors, retirees, other bloggers, and more. Several are regular contributors to threads and maintain their own blog sites in addition to their primary professional responsibilities. While the discussion can frequently be polemical, many of the entires are backed by the kinds of data each writer believes supports his or her opinion. It’s a great example of folks attempting to use critical thinking while discussing the meaning of PISA results. As a social studies educator, the different interpretations of the same data are also a great example of why schools need to offer more opportunities to analyses data and place greater emphasis on critical thinking and developing a grounded point of view.
I suggest reading this discussion is a good way to understand why our schools are currently so significantly influenced by non-educators who have other agendas. A few entries highlight the divergent views found on the thread and suggest that the discussion demonstrates the inability of educators to agree on the meaning of PISA results, on teacher assessment, and on educational reform. These entries, I think appropriately, suggest this has opened the door to the many business and politically driven critics of education today: Non-educators have used the intellectual paralysis among educators about how to reform schools to successfully impose their own untested measures.
This link goes directly to the thread PISA scores just out!
I’m not sure you can go directly to the discussion if you are not a LinkedIn member and/or a member of the LInkedIn Common Core network. If the link doesn’t work for you, a few simple steps will get you there. Simply go to www.linkedin.com and become a member. Then under the Interests tab, go to Groups and join the CCSS – Common Core State Standards Network. Once you have signed up for the group, go there and click on the Discussions link–as of this writing, there are only 2 discussions, so select the “PISA scores just out!” discussion and start reading!
This level of LinkedIn does not require a premium, paid membership, and I’ve found the resources I find here from other education professionals are often interesting and supplement the kinds of information I seek out and pay for elsewhere. Yes, many of the entries are promoting individual products, but many of the self-promoters have useful information worthy of your consideration hidden within their advertizing.
Happy New Year, everyone. Perhaps 2014 will be the year in which educators get better organized to regain control of our profession.