Liked No. 263 by Audrey Watters (HEWN)
It’s worth remembering, of course, that A Nation at Risk wasn’t so much a fact-finding commission as it was a carefully constructed (and statistically suspect) narrative about “failing schools” – a narrative that continues to be wielded in sequel after sequel after sequel after sequel after sequel after sequel.
Replied to Child-led learning has dragged Australia down (The Sydney Morning Herald)
The reasons why Australian students underperform has little, if anything, to do with funding. Compared to stronger performing education systems, Australian classrooms have been forced to adopt a dumbed down, overcrowded curriculum that lacks academic rigour.
I find this all problematic Kevin. I feel that deciding that the supposed ‘child-led’ approach is at fault is no different to me questioning the ‘effect on what’ of the evidence-based approach. I wonder if what is really at fault is teacher agency. We need ‘evidence’, but surely this needs to be informed by context as well. I think that Dr. Deborah Netolicky captures this best when she says:

A multiplicity of research approaches provides diverse ways of understanding education, but we need to interrogate the approaches and arrive at conclusions with caution. Teachers’ wisdom of practice and immersion in their own contexts needs to be honoured.

Bookmarked Does the old school report have a future? (Australian Council for Educational Research - ACER)
When considering the utility and purpose of student reports, it is important to distinguish what it is exactly that teachers are asked to report. The words ‘achievement’ and ‘progress’ are often used interchangeably in student reports and conflated to mean the same thing. Indeed they are highly related concepts; it is often through tracking one’s achievements that a sense of one’s progress can be measured. However, if achievement is taken only to mean the grades, scores or marks received on summative assessment tasks, then progress often appears only to mean whether the child’s standard of achievement (their grades) is improving, maintaining or declining. Where progress is understood differently – to mean ‘increasing “proficiency” reflected in more extensive knowledge, deeper understandings and higher-level skills within a domain of learning’ (Masters, 2017) – an emphasis only on reporting achievement on summative assessments would give very little sense of a child’s progress from where they began.
Hilary Hollingsworth and Jonathan Heard provide some background to student reporting in Australia. One of the challenges that they highlight is the difference between progress and achievement. I have a long history with reporting, one challenge not addressed in this post are the constraints put in place by the platforms and providers of the reporting packages. It would seem that ongoing reporting provides more flexibility. My question is what the future of biannual and ongoing reporting?
Bookmarked Beyond Champions and Pirates by Benjamin Doxtdator (Long View on Education)
If we’re serious about making schools better, then we can’t concede the topics of equity and social justice to the neoconservatives while re-shaping schooling to make it even more congenial to the structures that make people increasingly precarious. Makers and entrepreneurs aren’t the answer to the questions we have about equity. We’re not all pawns in some power struggle between the neoconservative and neoliberal movements, between the Champions and Pirates, as if there has only been one game in town, a match to which we must all buy tickets and watch.
Benjamin Doxtdator takes a look at Teach Like a Champion and Teach Like a Pirate. He questions the place of equity within all of this. In a second post, Doxtdator focuses on empowerment and its history. He continues his look at the work of Couros, Juliani and Spencer.

The concept of empowerment has more radical roots. In The Will to Empower (1999), Barbara Cruikshank argues that we can distinguish two different uses of ‘empowerment’: “the left uses empowerment to generate political resistance; the right, to produce rational economic and entrepreneurial actors.” I think the educators that I just surveyed complicate this left/right division since Robinson, Ferriter, and Richardson definitely occupy an identifiable strand of progressivism. Nonetheless, it’s a progressivism divorced from a call for political resistance


Ian O’Byrne also provides a useful breakdown of ’empowerment’ theory.

Liked 'Pools with moveable floors': the private school arms race intensifies by Henrietta Cook (The Age)
The data, released by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority and an accurate snapshot of spending in the nation's schools, shows the state's independent schools shelled out $552.8 million on capital works in 2016. This compares with $326.9 million for Victorian state schools, which educate 63 per cent of all students, and $343.7 million for Catholic schools.
Listened The EduProtocol Field Guide: By Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebern from The TeacherCast Educational Network
In this episode of “Ask the Tech Coach,” we sit down with Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebern to discuss their new book Bring Your Teaching into Focus: The EduProtocol Field Guide