I am currently reading The Learning Edge: What Technology Can Do to Educate All Children by Alan Bain & Mark E. Weston as part of my personal growth plan. Click below for summaries of previous chapters
Chapter 4: Transforming Districts
The most powerful part for me in this chapter was at the beginning, as the authors describe what happens so often when test results are low and, consequently, stakeholders at every level begin pushing those below them (e.g. parents & school board members to superintendent; superintendent to principals; principals to teachers) to fix the problem.
The “fixes” that happen are typically decided at a much higher level than the classroom, resulting in teachers feeling unheard and overwhelmed with mandates that came from conversations in which they had no part or input. In the vignettes, the school leaders also introduce a 1:1 laptop initiative, resulting in teachers feeling even more overwhelmed. Not surprisingly, the 1:1 initiative has little impact on teaching and learning.
The authors then go on to describe how a Type-B district would go about solving the problem. I won’t give away the ending, but suffice to say that this has been my favorite chapter thus far.