November 2 - November 9, 2014

A great, broad selection this week.  Two highlights, amid many:

The feature article on the myth of Chinese super schools is a reminder that measuring ourselves by tests stifles the growth we most seek.  The first half of the article lays out the growing culture of testing in the US, and the second half describes what happens when that trend is amplified (i.e. China).  A worthy  read for teachers and leaders from all schools.  (Notably, articles about this topic appeared in multiple publications this week.)

The second feature, on letting kids teach themselves, affirms the effectiveness of student-driven teaching.  It, too, addresses tests, but from the other side--from what good teaching looks like.  A worthy, inspiring, and wide-reaching read.

Lots of other interesting developments, as well.

Cheers to one year of the Educator's Notebook!


          Chinese Test Success ≠ Educational Success
          New York Review of Books, 11/20/14
          "China has the best education system because it can produce the highest test 
          scores.  But... it has the worst education system in the world because those test 
          scores are purchased by sacrificing creativity, divergent thinking, originality, and 

          On Letting Kids Teach Themselves
          Wired, 10/15/13
          "Juárez Correa had mixed feelings about the test.  His students had succeeded 
          because he had employed a new teaching method, one better suited to the way 
          children learn.  It was a model that emphasized group work, competition, 
          creativity, and a student-led environment.  So it was ironic that the kids had 
          distinguished themselves because of a conventional multiple-choice test."

          Do We Need To Teach Algebra?
          NPR, 10/9/14
          "The material covered in the courses, which do include some algebraic topics, was 
          vetted independently by the Mathematical Association of America, the American 
          Statistical Association and other groups... [and] a report released in July showed 
          that Pathways students, when given the same final exam as other college-level math 
          and statistics students, scored as well or better."

          The Rise of the AP Art Portfolio
          New York Times, 10/31/14
          "Students are tested not by their mastery of the material but by their skill, a far 
          more subjective area of evaluation. 'Readers' must make judgments about 
          competence and inventiveness as they work their way through some 48,000 
          portfolios of student artwork.  That's more than double the number submitted 
          a decade earlier... But the growth does not necessarily signal artistic aspirations.  
          According to a 2007 survey by the College Board, only about 13 percent of the 
          students major in art.  So why take A.P. studio?  To try impress a college 
          admissions office, of course, or perhaps to make a rest stop along the academic 
          autobahn or, maybe, art is really a labor of love."


          How to Avoid Choking in Clutch Moments
          Pacific Standard, 11/4/14


          New Skills Needed for Social Innovators and Entrepreneurs
          Stanford Social Innovation Review, 11/6/14

          Harvard Engineering & Applied Sciences Surpass Arts & Humanities
          Harvard Magazine, 11/3/14


          On Being an Affluent Minority in Privileged Communities
          Washington Post, 11/6/14

          Six Tips for Talking About Race Issues with Students
          KQED, 4/4/14


          University of Texas Starts Designing Competency-Based Programs
          University of Texas, 11/3/14


          20 Ways to Read a Poem
          Atlantic, 11/2/14


          4 Steps of Organizational Partnerships and Collaboration
          Stanford Social Innovation Review, 11/4/14


          Some Pedagogical Reminders for Keeping it "Real"
          KQED, 10/31/14


          Five Great Teachers on What Makes Great Teachers
          NPR, 11/8/14

          Harvard Announces Teacher Training Degree Program
          Harvard, 11/3/14


          This Book Shows How Space Has Been Mapped Over History
          Brain Pickings, 10/31/14

          Elon Musk Has an Hour-Long, Wide-Ranging Conversation at MIT
          MIT, 10/24/14


          4 Different Paths to Social Change
          Stanford Social Innovation Review, 11/6/14

          Solar Soon To Be Cheaper Than Oil?
          Bloomberg, 10/29/14


          Half of Teens Use Voice Search.  Here's What They Use It For:
          Google Blog, 10/14/14


          An Essay on Burnout, and Learning to Say No
          Elle, 11/5/14

          Several Classroom Layout Details That Affect Learning
          New York Magazine, 11/4/14


          How Focusing on One Person Increases Generosity When Giving
          NPR, 11/5/14

          What Happens When Teachers Get Paid $125K?
          Atlantic, 11/4/14