Another curricular challenge is that we don’t yet know how to teach self-direction, collaboration, creativity, and innovation the way we know how to teach long division. The plan of 21st century skills proponents seems to be to give students more experiences that will presumably develop these skills—for example, having them work in groups. But experience is not the same thing as practice. Experience means only that you use a skill; practice means that you try to improve by noticing what you are doing wrong and formulating strategies to do better. Practice also requires feedback, usually from someone more skilled than you are.

http://weblogg-ed.com/2010/the-assessment-problem/

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The crisis of middle-class America By Edward Luce Published: July 30 2010 1

August 3, 2010

…From the point of view of most economists, the story so far is uncontroversial. Most agree on the diagnosis. But they diverge on the causes. Many on the left blame the Great ­Stagnation on globalisation. The rise of China, India, Brazil and others has undercut wages in the west and put America’s unskilled, semi-skilled and even skilled workers out of jobs. Manufacturing now accounts for only 12 per cent of US jobs. Think of the typical Detroit car worker 30 years ago, who had a secure middle-class lifestyle, good healthcare and a fat ­pension to look forward to. Today, he lives in Shenzhen.

Another group singles out the explosion of new technology, which has enabled the most routine and easily automated jobs to be replaced by computers. Think of the office assistant, who once took dictation and brewed the coffee. She is now a ­BlackBerry who spends half her life in Starbucks. Or the back office person who, much like those shoemakers in the fairy tale, now stitches your accounts in Bangalore while you sleep.

Then there are those, such as Paul Krugman, The New York Times columnist and Nobel prize winner, who blame it on politics, notably the conservative backlash which began when Ronald Reagan came to power in 1980, and which sped up the decline of unions and reversed the most progressive features of the US tax system.

Fewer than a tenth of American private sector workers now belong to a union. People in Europe and Canada are subjected to the same forces of globalisation and technology. But they belong to unions in larger numbers and their healthcare is publicly funded. More than half of household bankruptcies in the US are caused by a serious ­illness or accident….

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1a8a5cb2-9ab2-11df-87e6-00144feab49a.html

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Who are the thought leaders in educational leadership? Jul 30th, 2010 by Jon Becker

August 3, 2010

… If professors of educational leadership truly want to be the thought leaders and to be a part of any sort of school change process, they need to free themselves from the shackles of tradition. They need to stop publishing their high-quality, thoughtful work in journals that nobody who does the work of school leadership reads. They should make it a point to publish in open access journals;  open access is not mutually exclusive from peer-reviewed. Also, they should disseminate their ideas through blogs so they don’t have to wait for the ridiculously long lag-time associated with publishing in journals. My educational leadership professorial colleagues such as Scott McLeod, Justin Bathon and Bruce Baker disseminate their knowledge beautifully and regularly on their blogs. They also regularly engage with educators and educational policy-makers through Twitter. They should be beacons for the future of the educational leadership professoriate. …

http://edinsanity.com/2010/07/30/thoughtleaders/

 

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We spend 80% of our classroom time on the skills needed for 10% of our jobs | Dangerously Irrelevant

August 3, 2010

We spend 80% of our classroom time on the skills needed for 10% of our jobs

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80-10problem

Linda Darling-Hammond notes:

The factory model high school as we now call it was designed in about 1910 or 1920. The idea of that comprehensive high school was to cream off about 5% of the kids for specialized knowledge work. They would go off to college and fill the very small number of jobs that required that kind of thinking. The rest of the kids were supposed to be prepared for the farm, the factory, the mills – for you know, fairly rote kinds of learning. And over time vocational programs were put in place and other kinds of general programs.

The notion of these schools was that they were to select and sort kids, decide who was going to go where in the economy. Most of the work was not going to be thinking work. And we were going to crank them out on this assembly line process.

http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2010/08/we-spend-80-of-our-classroom-time-on…

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If Text Messaging is Cheap, Why Does it Cost So Much?

August 2, 2010

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Static over Statins: Should Young People without Cholesterol Problems Take Statins?: Scientific American

August 1, 2010

Sciam - cover

From the April 2010 Scientific American Magazine | 8 comments

Static over Statins: Should Young People without Cholesterol Problems Take Statins?

New recommendations to expand statin use will save lives but also raise questions about aggressively treating the healthy

By Melinda Wenner Moyer   

Why are we treating the healthy? #whackedouthealthpolicy

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