January 2011

An interview with Bentley Richert, Inman Elementary School

by Steve Wyckoff on January 26, 2011

Below you will find an interview with my friend Bentley Richert. Bentley now teaches at Inman elementary school that was a coworker for many years. Over those years we spent many hours discussing school change. Bentley decided to go back to the classroom and see if all those ideas really make sense.

I think you’ll enjoy our conversation that ranges from authentic engagement to standardized tests. Bentley expreses his ideas about individualization and customization, learning by doing, and the use of technology in the 21st century.

Bentley teaches at Inman Elementary School and has a background as an educational specialist at ESSDACK, teacher at a charter school and as a classroom teacher in the Haven school district.

What’s Become Clear w/ Bentley Richert from Steve Wyckoff on Vimeo.

What’s Become Clear w/ Bentley Richert from Steve Wyckoff on Vimeo.

This is a repost from Because Our Future Depends On It, Deb Haneke’s blog. I think she’s right on!

Will another great crisis go unexploited?

January 11, 2011

For some reason it seems to me that educators lack the where-with-all to seize the moment and make use a good crisis to redefine how we do business. Despite finding ourselves in the spotlight on many occasions, where demands for educational reform were prolific, we responded with ‘more of the same.’

From the launching of Sputnik by the Russians in the late 50s, to the release of the report “A Nation at Risk” in the early 80′s, to the implementation of “No Child Left Behind” under President Bush, our response has been to do MORE of the same when educational reform is being demanded. Add more time, more standards, more required classes for college admissions, more high-stakes one-shot tests, more graduation requirements…. You get the picture.

So here we are today in 2011 with an economic crisis like none we’ve seen in America since perhaps the 1920′s. Revenues from taxes continue to fall far short of meeting the demands of a system that has grown ‘fat,’ at all levels of government–local, state, and federal. Public education in Kansas and many other states has not been spared the discomfort of deep cuts and more are likely on the horizon.

Yet, through all this, the primary response from education has been to try to protect current funding. Very few educators or leaders outside of education have asked if we were to take advantage of this financial crisis and make REAL changes in the educational system, what might be possible with less money. I have long contended that many ‘educational’ decisions are made based on the need for custodial daycare.

Maybe it is time to recognize the core business of education and make decisions that support the mission with which we are charged. In our current system, time is fixed and learning is variable. What would an educational system look like if learning were the constant and time as well as delivery systems became the variables?

Thanks Deb! – Steve Wyckoff

McPherson Kansas, a school district going the right direction.

January 4, 2011

The C3. That’s what they’re calling them in McPherson USD 418. So what are the three C’s, how did they get there, and are they really leading to school change? They got there through a multiple year process of asking their staff, parents, and community what they collectively want for each student. The C3 are […]

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My “Educational Leaders” of the year

January 3, 2011

I decided to write this post to honor those educators that I believe are actually doing something to change the educational experiences for significant numbers of kids. So my criteria was, did they actually do something that changed the educational experience for their students for the better? These leaders are actually engaged in school change. […]

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The myths of standards and standardized testing

January 3, 2011

The federal government, through No Child Left Behind, has set the direction for school change in America. The NCLB act appears to be focused on two issues; develop a set of national standards that are adhered to by all schools, and raise standardized test scores. There is a fair amount of rhetoric around innovation and creativity […]

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