Jun 182012

Education Reform: How to push for reform without alienating teachers

Education Reform: Michael J. Petrilli / June 7, 2012

For all of its victories over the last couple of years, including Scott Walker’s on Tuesday night, the school reform movement finds itself in a pickle. To succeed in creating world-class schools and raising student achievement, it needs education’s front line workers—a.k.a. teachers—to feel motivated, empowered, and inspired. And yet, according to the recent MetLife survey and anecdotal reports, many teachers are down in the dumps.

Sure, low morale might simply reflect tough economic times; when (or if) state and local coffers finally recover, higher morale might too. But let’s be honest: The message we reformers are sending isn’t all peace, love, and happiness, and that’s probably having an impact, and not for the better.

We think many teachers are dumb (look at those SAT scores!); greedy (look at those gold-plated healthcare and pension plans!); racist (look at those achievement gaps!); lazy (look at those summers off!); ill-prepared (look at those crappy ed schools!); uncaring (look at all that bullying!); unnecessary (look at what computers can do!); and incompetent (look at those low value-added scores!). Or at least that’s how many teachers hear it, I suspect. We love teachers—we just hate everything about them.

One option, according to union leaders, Diane Ravitch, and others, is to stop pressing for reform. Stop complaining about unaffordable pensions or healthcare plans. Stop worrying about across-the-board raises. Stop measuring teachers’ contributions to student achievement gains. Stop pressing for LIFO and tenure and collective bargaining changes. Stop obsessing about online learning.

education reform



Tom McDonald’s Comments:


The research is overwhelming that things need to change within Education.
https://mcdonaldsalesandmarketing.biz/category/education-reform/  (98 posts within this single category)

Change is always difficult, especially with the level of change needed here.

We need to:

(1) Educate the teachers what research proven learning change is needed [change management] and why
(2) Empower the teachers with the tools to enable students to individually learn
long term, the most effectively and efficiently
(3) Remember, always, that the most important ingredients in education are the students

…”instead of mandating the nearly-impossible strategy of “differentiating instruction. (DI)”  In other words, remove the obstacles (often ideological in nature) that are getting in the way of teachers achieving success in their classrooms”.

I believe you have really missed the most critical and most important educational issues that learning research copiously validates:

(1) Students, at-risk, traditional and gifted are not learning, transferring and applying long term, critical, must know information effectively and efficiently because traditional teaching is one to many and all of the proven learning research points towards teacher facilitated, differentiated instruction (truly personalized instruction) , in a blended learning environment, supplemented by truly personalized learning technology.

(2) TPL/Teacher facilitated DI [truly personalized learning technology] has been around since 2000 and has helped 1,000’s of at below grade, ELL, Special ed, at risk students, in ELA, Math, to get to grade level , to pass exit exams, to graduate HS and use that information, long term, in new situations (this is research proven, fluency learning)
(3) TPL has benefited traditional students to learn more effectively and efficiently
(4) TPL can be easily modified so gifted students (really all students) can learn subjects of choice most effectively and efficiently (adaptive learning)

Re – Read your post specific to the third party, proven learning research – (differentiated instruction, over time and differentiated reinforcement over time) – and the educational articles (including what Fordham Institute recommends) and you will see that your suggestions are not in sink with the learning research, as is so much discussion specific to educational reform.

Arguments that are not in sink with the proven learning research, directly inhibit change, along with inhibiting student learning performance improvement

Lets again visit what are organizational objectives are for learning (education).

The traditional educational reform arguments, historically that are made, do not follow the proven learning research, consistent with the defined strategic organizational objectives that are listed here:

“Individual student, long term: learning to fluency, transfer, adaptive reasoning skills to apply information to new situations; Better learning, more graduations, less drop outs, better trained students empowered to apply the learned information for personal and societal gain”.

We need to follow the learning research consistent with the organizational goals and objectives.

This is what it’s all about.



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education reform, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC