The Saeculum Decoded
A Blog by Neil Howe
Jul 092010

OK, this is just one most good-news story about a turn-around middle school. But it’s interesting that time and again we notice the same ingredients for success whenever you read these stories.  There’s the fanatical emphasis on structure, even regimentation.  The nonstop checking to make sure every kid is accounted for.  The detailed scripting of lesson plans, including the use of “direct instruction.”  The constant use of testing-not for final evaluation, but to assess the exact extent of learning week to week.  The nonstop feedback to the kids themselves.   Every teacher checks to make sure that every student is accounted for, that every student is busy and engaged. Proper behavior comes first, then learning.  Bars on windows are replaced by bright colors.  And-here’s the Generation X (born 1961-1981) touch I really like-the school principal is fully in charge.  No one looks to “the system.”  It’s the principal who “owns” the school, is captain of the ship.

Principal: “”Children deserve the best, every day, now,” he said. ” ‘Can’t’ shouldn’t even exist in your dictionary. You have to find a way. That’s why we’re getting paid.”

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  • X America

    This reads like so many of the disgusting paeans to DC schools chief Michelle Rhee, who I'm ashamed to call a fellow Gen Xer. Testing, testing, and more testing… Doesn't matter if the kids are actually learning anything or can think for themselves. In fact, it's better for the powers that be if the little rugrats are turned into mindless automatons who can become dutiful debt slaves as adults. Folks, it's coming soon to a district near you, 'cause Arne Duncan (another Xer embarrassment) wants this garbage imposed on every school nationwide, destroying any vestige of local control or parental input.