(#151) “You Could Take All Your Courses From Your Kitchen Table”

Sometimes, however, the simplest—and most effective—
thing to do is to go back to the beginning.
Back to the start and focus on what works.

Veteran teachers know that educational “reform” many times is anything but that. Politicians and bureaucrats expound about “redesign”, “standards”, “assessment”, and “reorganization.”  While each of those concepts can hold great promise for genuine improvement, it is common to see such reforms whither.  Sometimes that is because of a lack of adequate funding or other resources.  Other times, a shift in the political winds might bring about a change in direction.

The legacy of many of these reforms can be frustrating. There are human and financial costs.  At times, the cost has been lost time as teachers and students have been saddled with paperwork and mandated scripts to implement new “standards.”

One news article this week described recent action in the Florida legislature that highlighted another “new” approach to educational reform. The House Speaker said that the bipartisan bill (on its way to the governor’s desk) was not watering down standards, it was “redesigning high school standards to give different options to students who may not be interested in pursuing a college degree.”  OK. Sounds good. But just three years ago, the legislature had toughened up the graduation requirements to “help students compete globally.”  My guess is that back then that was also considered “redesigning.”

Image: Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In Texas Rethinking Its Testing Curriculum Standards, Will Weissert reports, “a number of states are considering pulling back” from tougher graduation standards.  “After rounds of raising standards and requiring tests, some legislatures are now swinging back in the other direction.”  Politicians now say they are concerned about bombarding our students with too many tests and too many test-prep days.

I believe the teachers (for the most part) have been saying this all along.  Fire hosing information is not education.

So what is the history lesson here? Does ill-advised redesign lead to retreat?  Or do we make it sound better and say we are simply “reframing” the situation?

Another piece of the educational redesign history has been the proliferation of online education.  The chair of the Florida House Education Committee, excited about online possibilities, recently said, “You could take all of your courses from your kitchen table.”

And this is good, I suppose.  Flexibility. Lower costs. Access.  All very positive pieces of the educational puzzle. But is this one more panacea offered by the decision makers?  Before you accuse me of being a troglodyte, I understand that new ways of envisioning education (like the Khan Academy) have to be explored and embraced. Our students have changed. Our world has changed.


Video recommendation for the week:

Sometimes, however, the simplest—and most effective—thing to do is to go back to the beginning. Back to the start and focus on what works. Forget redesigning for the sake of redesigning for political or economic gain or to check a box on someone’s clipboard.


In education, one of those basic building blocks is the one-on-one personal connections that thousands of teachers make each day with their students. These connections help motivate, educate, and rejuvenate our students and communities.  Do we have deep troubles? You bet.  Will an emphasis on fire-hosed testing, self-secluded education, and politically motivated redesign help?  I doubt it.

A bureaucrat told me at a meeting this week that he “was not responsible for the history.”

That may or may not be correct, sir, but you are most definitely responsible for the present. Moreover, your actions are creating history.

Think about that at your kitchen table.

Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!

On May 4, I will offer a special Saturday edition webinar. Click here to register now for “Habits of Well-being and Balance.”  Or go to my website for registration information.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to friends and colleagues. You also can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli).  If you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Make it a wonderful week!

 Check out the new “Updates” feature on my website.

 ©2013. Steve Piscitelli.

About stevepiscitelli

Facilitator-Author-Teacher
This entry was posted in Education, education reform and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to (#151) “You Could Take All Your Courses From Your Kitchen Table”

  1. Retha says:

    Hi to every , since I am really keen of reading this weblog’s post to be updated regularly. It consists of pleasant data.

    Like

  2. Everything published was very reasonable. However, what
    about this? suppose you were to write a killer headline?
    I ain’t suggesting your content isn’t good, however what if you added something
    that grabbed a person’s attention? I mean (#151) “You Could Take All Your Courses From Your Kitchen Table” | Steve Piscitelli’s Blog is
    a little vanilla. You could peek at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create article titles to grab viewers interested. You might add a video or a related pic or two to grab people excited about everything’ve written.

    In my opinion, it could bring your website a little
    livelier.

    Like

  3. Florencia says:

    I don’t even understand how I ended up here, but I thought this publish was once great. I don’t know who you’re but certainly you are going to a famous blogger for those who are not already. Cheers!

    Like

  4. Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in
    a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
    You have done a wonderful job!

    Like

  5. Wesley says:

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It’s the little changes that make the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  6. Major says:

    Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks

    Like

  7. Corinne says:

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

    Like

  8. I am really glad to read this website posts which carries plenty of useful information,
    thanks for providing these kinds of data.

    Like

  9. This design is spectacular! You definitely know how
    to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own
    blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really loved what
    you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

    Like

  10. We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.

    Your site provided us with useful info to work on.
    You’ve performed a formidable task and our whole neighborhood will probably be grateful to you.

    Like

  11. Very good article! We are linking to this great content on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.

    Like

  12. Lois says:

    Can I simply say what a comfort to find someone that really understands
    what they’re discussing online. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people need to check this out and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you are not more popular given that you surely possess the
    gift.

    Like

  13. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have
    discovered It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads.
    I am hoping to contribute & help other customers like its
    helped me. Great job.

    Like

  14. Excellent post! We are linking to this particularly great content
    on our site. Keep up the great writing.

    Like

  15. I all the time emailed this website post page to alll my associates, since
    if like to read it after that my contacts will too.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s