Learning as potential energy

I’m a humanities person with an interest in science inspired by the curiosity that drives scientific method. Potential energy is a alluring concept and I suspect I relate to it because of how much potential my teachers told me I have. I’m thinking about it now because of the time I’ve been spending on Twitter (@alliedstudies if you care).

I currently follow about 140 accounts which expose me to a wide range of information and opinions. I would guess that about 1000 tweets flow through my feed in any given 24 hour period. I see a good amount of information the reinforces my perspective on learning and education, I see information that I am aware of but disagree with, and I see information that doesn’t yet connect to other ideas I hold. That’s the reason I work to keep up with this torrent of information — I’m really there for the “new” idea that will help make a few more connections in my evolving view of the world. I’m there for the potential…

Setting the stage…

There are significant changes coming to public K-12 schools in the form of Common Core State Standards and ongoing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) discussions. High stakes testing cheating scandals have emerged as state-wide issues in at least two states, suggesting fundamental flaws in both the concept and the system.

Locally, the Cleveland Heights – University Heights Schools where my children are currently enrolled have removed gifted programming and resources form most elementary schools while announcing K-5 restructuring designed to fill only part of the gap left by pulling the Gifted programming. At the same time the district administration is moving toward the “K-12 Pathways” proposal that asks parents and students to choose a school based on three vague areas of student interest. There is minimal information available about this pending program, and it is a huge initiative coming directly on the heels of the One-to-One Laptop program.

In both the Gifted changes and the One-to-One initiative, the district has shown minimal foresight or evidence of planning. This trend continues with the K-12 Pathways, particularly when one stops to ask about the rationale or wonder how an incoming Kindergarten student can make a choice about their area of interest.

Oh, there’s a levy on the ballot as well…

Stay tuned for postings about change in education at the local and national levels. You can subscribe to the RSS feeds, follow @AlliedStudies on Twitter or Like us on Facebook. While there will be lots of information flowing out, I hope it inspires meaningful dialog both in the comments and in face to face forums.