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K12 Department of Education Redesign



The Federal Department of Education needs a vision that will allow the education market to sell billions of dollars of product to the customers. BUT you have to START WITH THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND work backwards to the technology. Are we talking about school districts? Are we talking about Children? Who is this customer?

Stanford Professor Linda Darling-Hammond's winter, 2008 presentation on international practices of performance-based assessment, and how these practices compare with American assessments. Rife with implications for NCLB reform (or better still, abolition).




Temple University. 2341 S. Lambert St. Philadelphia PA USA 19145

In this paper I re-examine Dewey's important but neglected account of listening. I draw on Dewey's formulations to establish a direct connection between listening and democracy.
The paper is organized in two parts. In the first I explain Dewey's crucial distinction between one-way or straight-line listening and transactional listening, and then demonstrate the close connection between transactional listening and what Dewey calls “cooperative friendship”. In the second I establish the further link between cooperative friendship and democratic society.
LISTENING - Listening in One-Way or Straight-Line Communication
Readers of School and Society, Dewey's lectures on the ideas that shaped his laboratory school, will remember the charming passage in which he attempts to find movable furniture for his school and discovers that all available furniture is good only for “listening”:
Some few years ago I was looking about the school supply stores in the city, trying to find desks and chairs which seemed thoroughly suitable from all points of view--artistic, hygienic, and educational--to the needs of the children. We had a great deal of difficulty in finding what we needed, and finally one dealer, more intelligent than the rest, made this remark: "I am afraid we have not what you want. You want something at which the children may work; these are all for listening”.
It would be a serious mistake to write this passage off as a cute anecdote, because Dewey uses it to introduce “listening” as a term of art that extends beyond listening in an ordinary sense to include other forms of passive information reception.
The attitude of listening means, comparatively speaking, passivity, absorption; that there are certain ready-made materials which are there, which have been prepared by the school superintendent, the board, the teacher, and of which the child is to take in as much as possible in the least possible time.
He sheds further light on this notion of listening by noting that most school reading - e.g., reading from textbooks and basal readers - is also a kind of listening: students listen in their minds' ears, so to speak, to reading contents that are predetermined without regard to their present interests and are not inter-active with their responses as individual readers.6

If everything is on a "listening" basis, you can have uniformity of material and method. The ear, and the book which reflects the ear, constitute the medium which is alike for all. There is next to no opportunity for adjustment to varying capacities and demands. HEAR this is one way to do it.

Teacher talk, which monopolizes classroom time, suffers from the same faults. Both school reading and teacher talk convey ready-made, second hand materials, which even when heard remain unassimilated, not understood: just so many words standing “on a dead level, hostile to the selective arrangements characteristic of thinking . . . ; existing as verbal symbols to be mechanically manipulated”. Such materials, he says, “inevitably (have) a disintegrating intellectual influence”
Indeed, on Dewey's account neither lectures nor books can convey ideas or thoughts from teachers to students, because as he conceives them, ideas are plans for action and thoughts are efforts to work out the implications of ideas. Both presuppose that students are engaged actively while the listening mode is passive. Ideas stemming from schoolbook reading or student listening thus remain “pulpy and vague”; they can become definite only as related to the action-orientation of the students, and the students then find expressive outlets for their use. Ready-made, fixed contents, moreover, are particularly objectionable because by supplying allegedly ready-made solutions without even taking stock of concrete concerns and problems, they merely interfere with whatever thinking the listeners are already actually doing in the inner milieu, reducing it to soliloquy, broken and nullified.
Sadly, this reliance on „listening, Dewey tells us unequivocally in School and Society, “tells the story of the traditional education”. He repeats this indictment in Democracy and Education:

“Almost everything” about the traditional education, he states there, “testifies to the great premium put upon listening (and) reading . . . It is hardly possible to overstate the contrast between such conditions and the situations of active contact with things and persons in the home, on the playground . . .” ; the fundamental distinction between traditional and progressive education lies may be said to lie in the latter's attempt to recreate the communicative conditions of homes, playgrounds and workplaces.

As one-way, straight-line communications leave no room for response, listeners habituated to them remain passive and lax, irresponsible, thoughtless, fickle, emotionally susceptible, shortsighted, amusement-seeking, and shiftless, imbued neither with courage or energy to speak nor intellectual power to say anything worth listening to. This, as we shall discuss in part two, makes them incapable of democratic living and vulnerable to despotism.

Public education is all about academic smart people and the rest who aren't. Kids know having a degree doesn't guarantee you'll have a job and a better life. World-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award.


  • Useful
  • Innovative
  • Aesthetic
  • Understandable
  • Honest
  • Unobtrusive
  • Friendly
  • Consistent in Detail
  • Long Lived
  • Good design is as little design as possible.
  • Education product design is useful for the child and by extension the 21st century consumer society.

Collaborative Creativity

K12 Industrial Model Design Problem

A Better Way to Teach Physics Nobelist Carl Wieman. First at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and now at an eponymous science education initiative at UBC, Wieman has devoted the past decade to improving undergraduate science instruction, using methods that draw upon the latest research in cognitive science, neuroscience, and learning theory. Any physics professor who thinks that lecturing to first-year students is the best way to teach them about electromagnetic waves can stop reading this item. For everybody else, however, listen up: A new study shows that students learn much better through an active, iterative process that involves working through their misconceptions with fellow students and getting immediate feedback from the instructor.
An educational approach, called "deliberate practice," that asks students to think like scientists and puzzle out problems during class. The results were dramatic: more engaged attendance rose by 20% in the experimental section, according to one measure of interestand a post-study survey found that nearly all said they would have liked the entire 15-week course to have been taught in the more interactive manner.
"It's almost certainly the case that lectures have been ineffective for centuries. But now we've figured out a better way to teach" that makes students an active participant in the process, Wieman says. Cognitive scientists have found that "learning only happens when you have this intense engagement," he adds. "It seems to be a property of the human brain."
While previous studies have shown that this student-centered method can be more effective than teacher-led instruction, Wieman says this study attempted to provide "a particularly clean comparison ... to measure exactly what can be learned inside the classroom." "It provides evidence of the benefits of increasing student engagement in their own learning," she says. "It's not just gathering data that matters but also using it to generate relevant discussion of key questions and issues." She also notes that "the attendance results remind us of the importance of providing the right opportunities to learn."

This is a great argument for using folklore to get things get done and discovered.


The CCC did a better job with literacy than the Department of Education which should have been shut down in 1945.

People realized their gov't jobs were in jeopardy so the department of education mounted a campaign to kill off the CCC and they did. Sadly for America they won the battle - we still have the incompetent department of noneducation.

The Federal Department of Education model should be dissolved and redesigned for the 21st. century in order to actually design a K12 curriculum model for the 21st. century.

More than 10 years into standardized tests, and there is no significant growth in actual learning. Charter schools on the whole, no better - and many times worse, than the public schools they are supposed to replace. Firing teachers will not turn around "failing" schools.

You Don't Fire Soldiers when a country lost a war you fire the Generals. The President's who "appoint" the "Generals" who set the agenda of the K12 Department of Education aren't tested, measured and evaluated by teachers and fired, when their policies don't work, instead the soldiers, the teachers are fired.

Politicians, School District Administrators, who back reform will all be voted out by the public because they are sick of it, and know that it has made us vulnerable to despotism. The reform movement is dead in 2010.



K12 Education Redesign

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