Friday, July 13, 2012

Weekend Readings

 Weekend Readings

By Allan Alach

Term 3 is about to commence in New Zealand, and we wait, not particularly enthusiastically, to see what our government has in store for schooling this term. They’ve found, to no one’s surprise except their own, that the system for collection and analysing ‘achievement data’ is unworkable. However we can expect attempts to collate this in some form, either by the Ministry of Education, or the media, so that league tables can be published. Watch this space.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Education Under Attack

(What Schools Can and Cannot Do and How Popular Reforms Hurt Them)

Here is the link to an ebook on this topic. While written for the USA, there is much of value here. Don’t try to read it all at once!

Why Should We Reform Education Using Microsoft's Failed Ranking Policies?

Bill Gates has set himself up as the expert in reforming education, especially via the teacher effectiveness model, performance pay, and so on.  This article about the work culture at Microsoft speaks for itself.

District Announces Value-Added Bazaar

Value Added Measurement (VAM) of teacher performance is a developing meme, as part of the attack on education. Here’s a light hearted look at an ultimate version!

Is Khan Academy a real ‘education solution’?

Education deformers, such as Bill Gates, are promoting the Khan Academy as the future of education. Never heard of this? More homework for you then! Khan produces online educational videos on a wide range of topics. These are delivered, as you would expect, in a lecture style. Note that Khan is not a teacher, just someone who thinks he has found a niche. The danger of this is that deformers will see online tutoring as a way to dispense with teachers, and in fact this is one of the agendas being developed by Murdoch, Pearson Group, McGraw Hill, and not forgetting Bill Gates.

No teacher, no problem

Canadian teacher Joe Bower is an articulate commentator on all things GERM. In this article he discusses the ‘robo - grader’ being trialled in New York. This device is meant to be able to grade written language. No further comment needed!

Singapore Wants Creativity, not Cramming

US anti-GERM campaigner Diane Ravitch is possibly the most powerful voice in this battle, given extra credence because she was once on the other side, before realising the error of her ways. This blog article is about Singapore, which, along with Finland, will prove to be the antidote to GERM. 

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