Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cure for No Child Left Behind: Let's Pretend!

Who has a a solution to the failure of our schools? See Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani's special report Solving the Education Crisis in America below...

Most schools could face 'failing' label under No Child Left Behind, Duncan says (By Nick Anderson, Washington Post)
Obama's plan calls for schools to be rated on how much academic growth their students achieve. Those that excel would be rewarded, the vast majority in the middle would be given more flexibility to choose strategies to improve, and the lowest performers would face a stricter federal mandate to adopt a stringent school turnaround program.
The No Child Left Behind brand has deteriorated since Bush left office in 2009, but many educators agree that the law's focus on standardized testing and minority achievement gaps shined a critical spotlight on problems that public schools have long sought to avoid.
There is also widespread agreement that the typical school will never attain the ideal enshrined in the legislation - that all students should become proficient in math and reading.
In a special report for the performance-based after school program All Stars Project, Fred Newman PhD and Lenora Fulani PhD say pretending can solve the education crisis in America.  Children, who have developed the "capacity to pretend to be who they are not", which in this case is a good learner, will also develop the "capacity to become the thing they are pretending to be."
Is this idea as ridiculous as it might seem at first glance? At the risk of seeming ridiculous, our answer is an emphatic “no.” Because the most innovative researchers and practitioners have come to discover that pretending, or “creatively imitating,” or performing in social contexts, is how human development is produced.1 Harnessing the uniquely human capacity to perform someone or something we are not, underachieving kids can pretend their way to growth. We have seen the repeated success of this approach – not only in our after-school programs at the All Stars Project, but also (perhaps unknowingly) in school settings now applauded as the most successful interventions into the “achievement gap” (so-called), like the Harlem Children’s Zone.

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