Mystery Education Theater 3000

Tag: achievement

BlackBoard Exercises for March 22nd

BlackBoard

A new community organization zeroed in on the academic achievement of African-American students in the West Contra Costa Unified School District has started up. What’s promising about this group is that the lead is being taken by someone else besides the usual players, school officials and professional advocacy groups. Of course, they’re involved, just not in the driver’s seat.

Of the two main contacts, I know Scottie Smith. She’s a totally solid person and has a lot of experience dealing with these issues. Hopefully, this group will achieve some success.

Their first forum will be on March 22nd. One thing that strikes me about this event is how much thought has been put into the process itself to allow everyone to participate. Look through the agenda in the “packet” below and see for yourself. (There’s also a single-page flyer you can download.)

NCLB Op-Ed: "Get Congress Out of the Classroom"

One of my favorite writers on education, Diane Ravitch, recently had an op-ed published in the New York Times about the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. What’s interesting in her take on this is to look at part of NCLB’s failure as a failure in how federalism should work. Her suggestion is to make the federal role one of defining a common base of information that the states can use in how they run their own school systems. If states want to adopt the millenarian Second Coming approach to education, they could do it on their own, but without being able to blame the federal government.

A Different Approach to Student Success (Meditation)

I came across a great story in the NY Times about the use of meditation in schools to help students calm themselves to enable them to better focus on things (like school). Its’ called In the Classroom, a New Focus on Quieting the Mind. It discusses programs in Oakland and in Pennsylvania.

I like the idea of secularizing techniques like meditation and yoga, developed over thousands of years, for use in schools. It’s certainly not a silver bullet, but it is one more “tool” for improving the education of children.

I can see two potential problems that need to be addressed to get something like this going. Obviously, the secularization of the techniques must be complete because separation of Church and State is a constitutional requirement. Related to this, it’s important to stress that the use of these techniques is not an attempt to ween kids away from their own religious backgrounds. The article didn’t mention either of these as issues, so maybe these aren’t big problems.

Anyway, I will check into the program mentioned in Oakland to see how something like this can be brought into WCCUSD.

Update

Here are some yoga-related links to some controversy-type articles:

Yoga causes controversy in public schools

Parents getting bent out of shape over yoga in schools. Why?

Here is a link to just a regular article about a specific program:

Time for ‘Yoga in Schools’

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