Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thirty Records About America—A Mixtape

I used to post quite a bit about music here on the Where The Blog Has No Name, so please excuse the interruption of blogs on education and politics.

I’ve slowly been working my way through Bob Dylan’s Complete Album Collection Vol. 1 the past year while reading Bob Dylan: Writings 1968-2010 by Greil Marcus. This is not a project I want to rush.

Marcus’ book includes a particularly inspired piece from the May 28, 1998 Rolling Stone, “Thirty Records About America.” Below is a link to a Rdio playlist based on the article (minus a great record by Fastbacks “In America” that is not available).

And, if you’re not into the old stuff, here’s a link to my favourite non-Dylan tunes released in 2014:

Call for chapters: Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity

Call for Book Chapters

Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity
Editor: Cory Wright-Maley, Ph.D.

The book is intended to provide a space for scholars and practitioners to reconsider how we prepare students to engage in a democratic society as well as the state and nature of democratic education as a whole. In doing so, this text will seek to draw from thoughtful scholars in the social studies as well as from related fields who can shed new light on the challenges of democratic education in the twenty-first century. In doing so, this volume is intended to help practitioners reconsider their practices in attending to education for democracy. We welcome scholars and practitioners who approach this issue from a variety of directions and theoretical or philosophical perspectives (see the attached document for details).

Scholars and practitioners are invited to submit on or before September 30, 2014, a 400-600 word proposal clearly explaining the central argument and outlining the content of the proposed chapter, including implications for teacher practice, and providing a rationale that connects the proposal to the theme and purposes of the book. Please indicate the section (or sections, if multiple proposals are submitted) for which you are proposing your chapter. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by November 14, 2014 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by April 3, 2015. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project. Feel free to send a quick email noting your interest in advance of your submission.

Please send proposals and inquiries to Cory Wright-Maley (Cory.WrightMaley@stmu.ca). Here is a detailed description of the book: Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity – A Call for Chapters

New review of research on class size by David Zyngier (Monash U, Australia)

Class size and academic results, with a focus on children from culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised communities

David Zyngier
Senior Lecturer in Curriculum and Pedagogy
Monash University

Abstract
The question of class size continues to attract the attention of educational policymakers and researchers alike. Australian politicians and their advisers, policy makers and political commentators agree that much of Australia’s increased expenditure on education in the last 30 years has been ‘wasted’ on efforts to reduce class sizes. They conclude that funding is therefore not the problem in Australian education, arguing that extra funding has not led to improved academic results. Many scholars have found serious methodological issues with the existing reviews that make claims for the lack of educational and economic utility in reducing class sizes in schools. Significantly, the research supporting the current policy advice to both state and federal ministers of education is highly selective, and based on limited studies originating from the USA. This comprehensive review of 112 papers from 1979-2014 assesses whether these conclusions about the effect of smaller class sizes still hold. The review draws on a wider range of studies, starting with Australian research, but also includes similar education systems such as England, Canada, New Zealand and non-English speaking countries of Europe. The review assesses the different measures of class size and how they affect the results, and also whether other variables such as teaching methods are taken into account. Findings suggest that smaller class sizes in the first four years of school can have an important and lasting impact on student achievement, especially for children from culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised communities. This is particularly true when smaller classes are combined with appropriate teacher pedagogies suited to reduced student numbers. Suggested policy recommendations involve targeted funding for specific lessons and schools, combined with professional development of teachers. These measures may help to address the inequality of schooling and ameliorate the damage done by poverty, violence, inadequate child care and other factors to our children’s learning outcomes.

Class size and composition most important public policy issue in BC teachers dispute

Cross post from Institute for Critical Education Studies blog.

Class size and composition is arguably the single most important public policy issue in the current dispute between BC teachers and government.

The educational and economic implications of class size and composition policies are huge, but in the context of collective bargaining and related court cases public discussion of the costs and benefits of class size reduction has been cut short.

Class size is one of the most rigorously studied issues in education. Educational researchers and economists have produced a vast amount of research and policy studies examining the effects of class size reduction (CSR).

What is the research evidence on CSR?

Since the late 1970s, the empirical evidence shows that students in early grades perform better in small classes and these effects are magnified for low-income and disadvantaged students. Most studies have focused on primary grades, but the relatively small number of studies of later grades also shows positive results of CSR.

Randomized experiments are the “gold standard” in social science research. One such study, known as Project STAR, involved 11,500 students and 1,300 teachers in 79 Tennessee schools produced unequivocal results that CSR significantly increased student achievement in math and reading.

A CSR experiment in Wisconsin illustrated student gains in math, reading, and language arts. In Israel, which has high, but strict maximum class size rules, a rigorous study of CSR produced results nearly identical to Project STAR. Studies in Sweden, Denmark, and Bolivia find similar results.

Do all studies of CSR produce unequivocal positive results? No, but the vast majority of research, including the most rigorous studies, leave no doubt about the positive effects of CSR.

The research evidence on CSR led to class-size caps in California, Texas, Florida, and British Columbia, before the BC government stripped them from the teachers’ contract in 2002.

Why are smaller classes better?

Observational research in reduced size classes finds that students are more highly engaged with what they are learning. That is, students have higher participation rates, spend more time on task, and demonstrate more initiative.

In turn, teachers in smaller classes spend more time on instruction and less time managing misbehavior. They also have more time to reteach lessons when necessary and to adapt their teaching to the individual needs of the students.

One, perhaps counter-intuitive, finding from the research is experienced teachers are better able to capitalize on the advantages of smaller classes than more novice teachers.

How small is small enough?

Project STAR reduced class size from an average of 22 students to 15. Previous research found significant positive effects of CSR at below 20.

Based on these findings some have argued that CSR is not effective unless these levels are attainable. But, the broad pattern of evidence indicates a positive impact of CSR across a range of class sizes.

What about the costs?

There are demonstrable costs involved in reducing class size. As with all public policy questions both benefits and costs must be considered. The potential future costs of not creating smaller classes in public schools also must be taken into account.

Reduced class size boosts not only educational achievement, but has a positive impact on variety of life outcomes after students leave school.

Results from a number of studies show that students assigned to small classes have more positive educational outcomes than their peers in regular-sized classes including rates of high school graduation, post-secondary enrolment and completion, and quality of post-secondary institution attended.

Additionally, students from small classes have lower rates of juvenile criminal behavior and teen pregnancy; and better savings behavior and higher rates of homeownership than peers from regular-size classes.

What are the policy implications of CSR research?

Class size in an important determinant of a broad range of educational and life outcomes, which means policy decisions in this area will have a significant impact on future quality of life in the province.

The money saved today by not reducing class size will be offset by more substantial social and educational costs in the future, making class size reduction the most cost-effective policy.

Sample of CSR Research Articles:

Angrist, J.D., & Lavy, V. (1999). Using Maimonides’ rule to estimate the effect of class size on scholastic achievement. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114(2), 533-575.

Browning, M., & Heinesen, E. (2007). Class Size, teacher hours and educational attainment. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 109(2), 415-438.

Chetty, R., Friedman, J.N., Hilger, N., Saez, E., Schanzenbach, D.W., & Yagan D. (2011). How does your kindergarten classroom affect your earnings? Evidence from Project STAR. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 126(4), 1593-1660.

Dynarski, S., Hyman, J., & Schanzenbach, D.W. (2013). Experimental evidence on the effect of childhood investments on postsecondary attainment and degree completion. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32(4), 692-717.

Finn, J., Gerber, S., & Boyd-Zaharias, J. (2005). Small classes in the early grades, academic achievement, and graduating from high school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2), 214-223.

Fredriksson, P., Öckert, B., & Oosterbeek, H. (2013). Long-term effects of class size. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(1), 249-285.

Krueger, A.B. (1999). Experimental estimates of education production functions. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(2), 497-532.

Krueger, A.B., & Whitmore, D. (2001). The effect of attending a small class in the early grades on college test taking and middle school test results: Evidence from Project STAR. Economic Journal, 111, 1-28.

Krueger, A.B., & Whitmore, D. (2002). Would smaller classes help close the black-white achievement gap? In J.Chubb & T. Loveless (Eds.), Bridging the Achievement Gap (pp. 11-46). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Molnar, A., Smith, P., Zahorik, J., Palmer, A., Halbach, A., & Ehrle, K. (1999). Evaluating the SAGE program: A pilot program in targeted pupil-teacher reduction in Wisconsin. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(2), 165-77.

Word, E., Johnston, J., Bain, H.P., et al. (1990). Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR): Tennessee’s K-3 class size study. Final summary report 1985-1990. Nashville: Tennessee State Department of Education.

Urquiola, M. (2006). Identifying class size effects in developing countries: Evidence from rural Bolivia. Review of Economics and Statistics, 88(1), 171-177.

Teacher Reflections on the Relationship Between Creativity and Standardized Testing in Ontario

Critical Education
Vol 5, No 3 (2014)

Accountable to Whom? Teacher Reflections on the Relationship Between Creativity and Standardized Testing in Ontario
Catharine Dishke Hondzel

Abstract
This paper describes the reactions and emotions teachers experienced when asked to discuss the impact standardized achievement testing in Ontario has on creative classroom practices. Using an interview guide format, eight teachers were asked to consider their perspectives on, and practices related to fostering creative behaviours in children, and their own creative teaching methods in light of accountability legislation. The responses teachers provided varied from bitterness and disappointment with the way standardized achievement testing influences their schools and classrooms to acceptance and optimism for the children’s future academic success. The results of this examination are framed with reference to accountability legislation in Canada and the United States, and the potential lasting effects of a high-stakes testing environment.

Keywords
Creativity; Standardized Testing; Accountability; Educational Reform; Ontario; Canada; Education Quality and Accountability Office; No Child Left Behind; Legislation; Teachers

‘Out of the Ruins’: The Emergence of New Radical Informal Learning Spaces

Below is a call for chapters that is sure be of interest to folks interested in both resisting the authoritarian, hierarchical, and standardizing approaches to education that dominant public education and creating new radical informal spaces for learning.

Rob Harworth and John Elmore, two of the folks behind the fantastic Critical Theories in the 21st Century Conference at West Chester University, are putting together a new edited book titled:’Out of the Ruins’: The Emergence of New Radical Informal Learning Spaces and they are looking for chapters on the following broad topics:

  • The Purpose of Education and The Politics of Learning
  • Developing Theories of Transformative Possibilities and Radical Informal Learning
  • The Emergence of Radical Informal Learning Spaces
  • Learning from Our Experiences: Sharing Narratives of Resistance

The complete call for chapters, with an extended framework for the book and detailed chapter topics, timeline and contacts please take a look at this PDF: Out of the Ruins CFP.

Good luck to Rob and John on what is an exciting project!

Class Struggle and Education

Critical Education
Vol 4, No 10 (2013)
Table of Contents
http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/issue/view/182467

Articles
——–

Class Struggle and Education: Neoliberalism, (Neo)-conservatism, and the
Capitalist Assault on Public Education
Dave Hill

Abstract

In this article I examine the nexus, the mutually reinforcing connection between neoliberal and neoconservative ideology and social and political forces, and variation between countries such as Britain, the USA and Turkey. This analysis is then applied in particular to neoliberal/ neoconservative education `reform’ in England, focusing on marketisation, high-stakes testing, privatization and pre-privatisation, and the increased surveillance of teachers as a result of new public managerialism in education, as reinforced and enforced by the school inspection system. These effects are then related to the lived work experiences of specific teachers, using their own word. I conclude the article by examining and calling for resistance, for teachers and critical education workers to educate, agitate and organize in various arenas, and to consider the importance of political programme- in particular to consider the utility of the transitional programme as advanced by Trotsky.

Constructing a Bakhtinian/Freirean Dialogic Pedagogy for the College Composition Classroom

New issue of Critical Education includes Sean McAuley’s article “Constructing a Bakhtinian/Freirean Dialogic Pedagogy for the College Composition Classroom”.

Critical Education is a open access journal published by the Institute for Critical Education Studies at the University of British Columbia. Check out the journal and register to become a reader, reviewer, and/or author.

Constructing a Bakhtinian/Freirean Dialogic Pedagogy for the College Composition Classroom
Sean J McAuley

Abstract

Author McAuley discusses the perception of dialog in the field of Education and argues for a more complex and comprehensive understanding of the term. The discussion identifies two camps of dialogic pedagogy based upon the theories of either Mikhail Bakhtin or Paulo Freire and teases out the differences and commonalties between the two theorists’ understanding of dialog. In particular, the author contrasts Bakhtin’s socio-psychological aspects of dialog with Freire’s socio-political ones. The discussion then moves to a review of practitioner research based in Bakhtin, Freire or a combination of the two in order to show how the theories can work in concert within a dialogic pedagogical stance. The discussion concludes with a consideration that a dialogic pedagogy based in both theorists clarifies the discussion and mutually edifies both educators and student through a more comprehensive understanding of dialogic pedagogy.

Keywords

critical pedagogy; dialogic pedagogy; bakhtin; freire; dialog

Coring the Social Studies within Corporate Education Reform

Critical Education has just published its latest issue at http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled. We invite you to review the Table of Contents here and then visit our web site to review articles and items of interest.

Thanks for the continuing interest in our work,
Stephen Petrina
Sandra Mathison
E. Wayne Ross
Institute for Critical Education Studies
University of British Columbia
wayne.ross@ubc.ca

Critical Education
Vol 4, No 5 (2013)
Table of Contents
http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/issue/view/182404

Articles
——–

Coring the Social Studies within Corporate Education Reform: The Common Core State Standards, Social Justice, and the Politics of Knowledge in U.S.
Schools
Wayne Au, University of Washington, Bothell

Coring the Social Studies within Corporate Education Reform: The Common Core State Standards, Social Justice, and the Politics of Knowledge in U.S. Schools
Wayne Au

Abstract

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted in 45 U.S. states. Driven by a wide coalition that includes both major U.S. political parties, the business elite, for-profit education corporations, cultural conservatives, and both major U.S. teachers’ unions, the CCSS have mainly garnered glowing praise in mainstream U.S. media and widespread acceptance amongst political figures and public school districts nationwide. This paper undertakes a critical analysis of the origins and political tensions found within the CCSS, arguing that the CCSS will inevitably lead to restrictive high-stakes, standardized testing similar to that associated with No Child Left Behind. Further this paper specifically examines the treatment of the social studies within the context of CCSS and questions the likely outcomes of the recently drafted College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards within the current political and cultural context of the United States.

Keywords

Social Justice; Common Core; Curriculum; Education Reform