February 04, 2009
Unlike other, balmier breezes, the "wind of change...blowing through the Fayetteville School District" is reason to batten down the shutters. Why? Because this Arkansas-bound mistral is wafting the latest edu-fad, "21st century skills." After purchasing 2,000 copies of Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap, which offers anecdotal (and unconvincing) evidence that acquiring such skills will allow the U.S. to catch up to its competitors, the district is swooning over how to use his dubious counsel to guide Fayetteville's schools. We've already explained why this particular trend is worth resisting but please listen to two Arkansan voices (those of Jay Greene and Sandra Stotsky) that do so once again. Stotsky explains Wagner's piffle thusly: "[he] dismisses measureable academic content while embracing buzzwords like 'adaptability' and 'curiosity,' which no one could possibly be against, but also which no one could possible measure. Do we really care if our students are curious and adaptable if they cannot read and write their own names?" Hear, hear. Sounds like Fayetteville Schools ought to listen up and reevaluate before they get blown away by this latest gust of nonsense.
"Schools don't need snake oil," by Jay Greene, Northwest Arkansas Morning News, February 3, 2009
"The global achievement muddle," by Sandra Stotsky, Northwest Arkansas Times, January 27, 2009
"School Board Faces Major Issues," by Rose Ann Pearce, The Morning News, February 1, 2009
"Community Talks New Curriculum For 21st Century," by Rose Ann Pearce, The Morning News, February 2, 2009