The pandemic is over–but American schools still aren’t the same

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

On a recent Friday at Gary Comer Middle School in Chicago, you had to squint to see signs of the pandemic that upended American education just a few years ago.

Only a handful of students wore face masks, and even then, some put them on to cover up pimples, staff said. The hand sanitizer stations outside every classroom mostly went unused, and some were empty. Students stopped to hug in the hallway and ate lunch side by side in the cafeteria. …Read More

A tale of three cities: Emerging from the pandemic…or not

New York City, New York. Cleveland, Ohio. Williamston, South Carolina.

In the height of the pandemic, nearly every community looked similar. Schools were closed.  Restaurants were closed. Families stayed home. 

As our world is emerging from the pandemic, there is a distinct division in our communities that was clearly articulated by the three librarians who participated in a recent panel for publishers who create content for schools and public libraries.…Read More

Want to improve your leadership development? Use simulations!

American schools are facing a crisis in the lack of professional learning for school leaders.

These leaders are required to be licensed, which usually entails a two-year program at a university or college. However, once they actually begin their careers, most of them will tell you that any further professional learning comes on the job. This vacuum of professional learning among principals and superintendents means many have to stub their toes by learning from mistakes, leading sometimes to grave consequences and almost certainly to less-than-optimal outcomes.

In my research, I’ve worked extensively with simulations that help our school leaders continue their professional growth well past their licensing requirements. Effective simulations present relevant scenarios that offer leaders the opportunity to listen and learn from their peers and to gain experience without risk.…Read More

3 ways the modern school is becoming more like the modern workplace

There was a time when American schools, like American offices, were drab and stuffy places. But things are changing.

As the office has evolved to allow a more creative and collaborative workplace, many educators have taken note, bringing those same features to classrooms, school libraries, lunchrooms and other common areas.

Today’s schools, are now being equipped with outlets from the floors to the walls allowing students to easily plug in and charge laptop computers, phones and other devices wherever they work. They have furniture designed for the way students sit and stand. And they have collaborative spaces designed to allow them to work together in small groups and in teams.…Read More

Esther Wojcicki: “American schools are becoming more like classic Chinese schools”

Hysteria. That is what I predict will be happening in education circles next year, EdSurge reports. 2014 may turn out to be frightening for education in America: we will likely see national hysteria over US students’ falling scores, both in the recently released PISA test scores (Programme for International Student Assessment) and as a result of the new generation of Common Core assessments. We will see districts scrambling for silver bullet solutions. But the biggest concern I have is those  such quick fix efforts could just make our education system bleed even more. The PISA scores showed that the American students are falling even farther behind other countries… in spite of our obsession with testing and teacher accountability…

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