If you liked our recent segment on 8th-grader De’Qonton Davis and his talent for storytelling, help our Student Reporting Labs team make it to South by Southwest (SXSW)! Our proposed panel for SXSWedu focuses on empowering students to tell their own stories through video journalism.
More than half of the high schools in America have a school newspaper or a video production course — but, how can these programs encourage citizenship and improve the media landscape of the future? We’ve developed a curriculum and news platform that enables middle and high school students to produce video reports on important national topics that impact their local communities. In this panel, we’ll share how video journalism can help young people gain confidence in themselves as capable, socially responsible citizens by discovering the power of storytelling.
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If we don’t have purpose, if we’re not teaching young people what the purpose of school is, then they will think of school and college as this very abstract 10th planet kind of idea.
I know there’s maybe a 10th planet out there, but I have never really learned about it. And it’s such an abstract concept sometimes. So college becomes very abstract for young people oftentimes.
And so it’s a matter of providing concrete opportunities, persistent care, persistent programming that teaches them. And, unfortunately, sometimes, young people that come from poverty don’t have those parents that are examples that have gone to a four-year university, let’s say.
And so, because of that, I think it’s our obligation as a society to provide role models that have gone to four-year universities who can teach a more concrete example of what it means to go to college."
Well, you know what? The numbers tell a picture. They — the numbers tell a story, but it’s part of the story.
It’s like that beginning or just the middle or just the end. It definitely doesn’t tell you the whole of what great teachers do with kids.
It would be like going to the doctor and having your temperature taken, and the temperature telling us everything we need to know about you. It doesn’t.
It gives us one number on one day, and it tells us your health and wellness at that one moment. But it’s not really that useful a piece of information taken in isolation.
You know, if you looked at my test scores, I have taught every kind of kid imaginable. I have had gifted and talented. I have had English learners. I have had students who have special needs who have been mainstreamed.
And if you look at their test scores, you will just see a whole host of numbers and information that tell you, with some kids, I’m enormously effective just based numerically on their test scores.
You will see other kids, maybe the gifted or talented kids, who very often are already at the peak of their academic performance and maybe come down a little bit.
But what I have done with those kids and for kids really can’t be measured on such a narrow set of questions and information and parameters. That doesn’t show you the whole picture of me and it certainly doesn’t show you the whole of each child."
We tend to underestimate the value of social capital in trying to assess equal opportunity. A high schooler with two college-educated parents may have very similar aptitude to a fellow student with one parent who finished the sixth grade. When it comes time to prepare for college and apply for admission, the educated parents can provide significantly more help with the hidden, inner game of transcript building, standardized tests, application essays, and school selection…
There is mutually assured damage from continuing the way we’ve been going. The United States needs those young people educated. And those young people need us, concerned adults ready to step out of their daily routine and intrude in the steady production of dropouts who go on to less promising adult lives. We can do better."
— Ray Suarez, Call is Out to Sabotage the Dropout Crisis
Diane Ravitch on teacher evaluations and teaching to the test:
First of all, should teachers be evaluated? Yes. Should they be evaluated by the test scores of their students, as Race to the Top, the Obama program, requires? Absolutely not. That is an unproven and actually a very harmful way to evaluate teachers.
Should teachers be paid more if the test scores go up? No, they should not be, because that puts too much emphasis on very poor tests. It causes teachers to teach to the test, which everybody agrees is a terrible thing to do. It also leads to narrowing of the curriculum, so that schools will drop the arts. They will drop history. They will drop civics, foreign languages. And they will focus only on what’s tested.