6 Big Problems with Latest “Social Emotional Learning” Report

Last week, the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (the Commission) issued their final report after a two-year process of convening meetings and gathering information. As has been covered many times in this space and others, there are many contradictions in logic and many problems with expanding social emotional learning (SEL) as envisioned by proponents. Here are some of the key issues: 1.) The Commission promotes the care and development of the “whole child” as an individual while simultaneously pushing standardized SEL teaching and assessment via “state standards, guidance, and frameworks” and the trend toward machine

Corporate America Continues to Treat Students as Widgets

Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gave a speech last week on the “State of American Business,” in which he described the Chamber’s views and plans on education: The first big issue centers on the American workforce. We must have a steady supply of talented and hard-working people to do the work of a modern economy so our nation can compete and lead. And we need the right policies, systems, and opportunities in place to prepare those people so that they can compete and succeed. It’s no secret that our nation is currently falling short on both

No More Grades? New Program Looks to Recycle Failed Ideas at U.S. High Schools

A consortium of the most elite high schools in the nation are attempting to build a new kind of computerized high school transcript that will embody more than what they see as the “broken” traditional grades and time-spent model currently in use. The Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) proposes a new transcript model based on three principles: No Required Standardization of Mastery Credits: The performance areas, credit standards (rubrics, etc.) and credits are specific only to the individual crediting school, and will never be standardized across schools. No Grades: Letter grading (or numerical equivalent) will not be used. Consistent Transcript Format: Transcript

DeVos’ Swiss Agreement Overlooks Deep Problems with School-to-Work Model

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with the Secretaries of Labor and Commerce, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss government to collaborate in the area of workforce development. Secretary DeVos visited Switzerland in June of this year and was highly complementary of their school-to-work (STW) system, saying that there was much the U.S. could learn from the Swiss. On her U.S. Department of Education blog announcing the agreement, she also listed 15 facts about the Swiss apprenticeship program. The first fact was that these Swiss students are spending a minority of time learning academics: Most Swiss