July 2010

School change: Gallup’s engagement survey

by Steve Wyckoff on July 20, 2010

I’ve long preached that the measure we should look at when we talk about school change, is the degree to which our students are authentically engaged in the educational process. That isn’t a new thought by me, W. Edwards Deming said it something like this, every child should leave school loving to learn. If they did everything else would take care of itself. I couldn’t agree more.

The other day Dr. John Burke, my friend and superintendent at Haysville public schools, shared with me a student survey developed by the people at Gallup.The Gallup student poll. Check it out, it’s very interesting stuff. Here is the purpose and the three things the poll measures.

Through years of research, Gallup discovered three true indicators of student success; hope, engagement, and wellbeing. These three key factors drive students’ grades, achievement scores, retention, and future employment.
Hope: the ideas and energy we have for the future. Hope drives attendance, credits earned, and GPA of highschool students. Hope scores are more robust predictors of college success than are high school GPA, SAT, and ACT scores.
Engagement: the involvement in and enthusiasm for school. Engagement distinguishes between high-performing and low-performing schools.
Wellbeing: how we think about and experience our lives. Wellbeing tells us how our students are doing today and predicts their success in the future.

And it’s free! I don’t know if this is the best survey, but I know if Gallup created it it is completely research-based and valid and reliable.

It is my hope that in the near future when we talk about measures, and evidence, of school change and student success, that we have some measure of student engagement that has equal weight with standardized tests. – Steve Wyckoff

School change: Enough with the “college ready”

by Steve Wyckoff on July 19, 2010

If we really want school change the first thing we should abandon is the concept of “college ready” for every student. I know, I’ve said it before, and I could feel you rolling your eyes through the internet. I didn’t say we should completely abandon “college ready,” but it shouldn’t be the main focus of our educational system.

So what should it be? Life ready! We should be focusing on helping every child develop a life plan. Not college plan, not a career plan, a life plan. So you want some evidence? Look at this.

  • Only 28% of Americans have a four year degree -National Center for Public Policy & Higher Education
  • Only 23% of all jobs nation wide require a degree – National Summit on 21st Century Skills for 21st Century Jobs
  • 30% of all college freshman leave before their sophomore year with 0 credits – Education Weekly March 2005
  • 80% 0f 2009 college grads live with their parents – Survey by CollegeGrad.com
  • 70% of 2009 college grads couldn’t find a job in their field – Survey by CollegeGrad.com
  • The average college grad is $20,000 in debt if they attended a public university, much more if they attended a private university. – U.S. Education Department

And I could provide more. The myth that a college degree is a path to prosperity is just that, a myth! So when we talk about school change let’s NOT start with the premise that we need to prepare every student to attend “college”! – Steve Wyckoff

School change: To slow for my taste … BUT…

July 16, 2010

As a member of the Kansas Education Commission I remain cautiously optimistic that we may be on the verge of real school change. We’ve met once now as a total commission, and once as a subcommittee for innovation and continuous improvement. I know, and I admit, that we will never change schools fast enough for […]

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School change: College, the tail waging the dog

July 15, 2010

I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who said, “all great ideas began as blasphemy.” Well, here’s some blasphemy for you, when it comes to school change our universities are the tail wagging the dog. We spend at the least 80% of our time in K-12 education preparing kids for a four-year liberal arts degree. […]

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