kitchen table math, the sequel: comments on "Knowledge School"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

comments on "Knowledge School"

original post: what do parents want?

from Paul B.:

All of these isolated success stories seem to have a common thread. Kids go at different (appropriate) speeds. Kids have clear goals. Kids are measured against those goals. The teaching is directed. The focus is restricted to academic excellence not extracurricular social reengineering.

Makes me go hmmmmmm?

Note the technology creeping into this Swedish example. I'd bet that Kunskapsporten is a DI engine. I'd bet that kids are being taught in their 'zone'. Betcha' can make money at this on the $153K per teacher being spent in the U.S. of A.

from Allison:
It does definitely sound like Paul's model for technology that adjusts to rates, and it definitely sounds like they have some actual instruction behind it. I wish we could see the courses, to know what the instruction consists of, and what the assessment looks like. Anyone know anyone in Sweden?

le radical galoisien:
This looks promising -- but of course I want to know how these students compare with other students who aren't in the voucher programme.

former KS student:
Kunskapsskolan has a demo on its Swedish website, where you can at least get a feel for what the portal looks like:

As for results, statistics from 2007 show that Kunskapsskolan performs significantly better than the national average in English and Swedish. 2008 figures are expected to show a similar advantage in Maths as well.
Thank you, former KS student! (tell us more, if you have time)

Ben Calvin:
I assume something's been lost in translation with the "better to do things the same way than to do them well" line ?

I don't think so. It's a pretty common statement when talking about standardizing anything. If you do something the same way, you know how it's being done. There may be a better way, but it needs to be implemented across the board, and not just one person (or teacher) doing something different than what the system assumes.

I went to the Sports Orientation Night at C's new school last week.


We are entering a different world. It's as if we're shipping C. off to Hogwarts. The new school feels magical, and I call myself blessed that my Muggle child will be allowed to attend.

I bring this up here because of Paul's comment about social re-engineering.

At the moment, I suspect that great schools often do have an element of "social engineering," or something akin to it, but I don't know how to describe what they do.

The Sports Orientation Night was all about character & culture. You ktm-ers will love this: "We play to win." That is a Major School Value. "We play to win, but academics come first." I must have heard that about 10 times over the course of 45 minutes.

I suspect that really good schools have a mission.

A new friend of mine, here in town, sent an email a while back saying that the more closely involved with religion a school is, the better that school will be. What he meant wasn't that good schools are churches. He meant that schools run by churches are better than schools not run by churches.

I had never heard that before. Never heard it; never thought it, although I did know something about the research on urban Catholic schools.

Nevertheless, his observation made immediate sense.


Because a school run by a church is likely to have a mission.

John (Ratey) used to talk about that all the time. Kids need a mission, he said. Parents, too. Everybody needs a mission.

Well, parochial schools have a mission. By definition. So do KIPP schools. So do many of the new urban charter schools. With public schools, it's harder. There are so many constraints on a public school, so many competing interests. I think a public school can have a mission - from afar, I would say that the schools Karen H's kids have attended have a mission. (The Race Between Technology and Education explains why, btw.)

And, of course, within any public school you always find teachers who have a mission.

But a teacher with a personal mission is different from an institution with a mission.

The school mission seems always to involve character and culture, but that's about as far as I've gotten with this line of thought.

Steve Levitt summarizes The Race in 2 sentences
Jimmy graduates

The anemic response of skill investment to skill premium growth
The declining American high school graduation rate: Evidence, sources, and consequences
Pushy parents raise more successful kids

The Race Between Education and Technology book review
The Race Between Ed & Tech: excerpt & TOC & SAT scores & public loss of confidence in the schools
The Race Between Ed & Tech: the Great Compression
the Great Compression, part 2
ED in '08: America's schools
comments on Knowledge Schools
the future
the stick kids from mud island
educated workers and technology diffusion
declining value of college degree
Goldin, Katz and fans
best article thus far: Chronicle of Higher Education on The Race
Tyler Cowan on The Race (NY Times)
happiness inequality down...
an example of lagging technology diffusion in the U.S.

the Times reviews The Race, finally
IQ, college, and 2008 election
Bloomington High School & "path dependency"
the election debate that should have been

1 comment:

SteveH said...

Our state legislature has a proposal to fund special academies like KIPP and Achievement First. This proposal was driven by inner city mayors and minority leaders. Note that our state is 7th in spending, but 40th in results, and that there is a moratorium on charter schools.

Our state's teachers' union was caught off guard and immediately bought a full page ad in the major state newspaper. One thing is said was:

"We are sure you will agree that supporters of the proposal are unlikely to be considered supporters of students, public education, or teachers."

One union official said that they shouldn't "experiment with kids".

This is not some sort of suburb voucher proposal. Like the Green Dot School controversy, this proposal is coming from people who should be supporting traditional public schools. Unfortunately, unions still think that what's best for the union is best for the kids. Nobody's buying that anymore.