Monday, February 23, 2009

Today's Random Thoughts

-A brief follow-up on yesterday's commentary. For most of the traits I discussed, you could argue that there's a dichotomy between urban and suburban/rural schools. I didn't bring rural schools into the discussion b/c they're a whole different ballgame in so many other ways.

-Matthew Ladner has a somewhat similar reaction to the one I had to the NY Times article about statistics and basketball over at Jay P. Greene's blog. He also think that teachers should be rewarded for things that help the entire school, though he adds that it can't possibly be too hard to improve on what we currently have. Of course, just because you don't like the current system doesn't mean that designing a new, but haphazard, system will make things any better.

-John Thompson makes a fantastic point over at This Week in Education. During WWII we asked the pilots who survived what the biggest problems were -- which meant that we knew the biggest problems of those who survived. What we neglected to realize was that it was more important to know the biggest problems of those who didn't -- we want to keep people from dying more than we want to make life better for those who don't. The same problem plagues us with school -- rather than asking those who succeed what the biggest problems are, we should be asking those that fail -- in order to prevent more failures in the future. This is one idea I intend to steal.

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