Why do high school students drop out? This is the question that +Paul Allison, +Monika Hardy, and +Chris Sloan host on this episode of +Teachers Teaching Teachers. We are joined by some pretty amazing colleagues and
+Mary Ann Reilly was one of the catalysts of this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers. She had shared this video with +Troy Hicks, +Teresa Bunner, and +Buffy Hamilton “in response to the question about how we empower/engage high school students. The video chronicles work that educators at Morristown High School did in developing a classics academy. The film was made by Ben Donnellon.”
This video frames our conversation. In addition we refer to “A 2006 survey, The Silent Epidemic, [which] put these questions [about engagement or the lack thereof in high school] to a group that isn’t usually asked for opinions on American education—high school dropouts. The study found that while some students drop out because of significant academic challenges, most dropouts are students who could have, and believe they could have, succeeded in school.” http://www.gatesfoundation.org/learning/Pages/2006-High-school-drop-out-rate-survey.aspx
In reference to this survey, Troy Hicks had been wondering: “Where we are at ten years into ’21st century learning’ and NCLB. Are the problems with engagement really still just the same? Who are the students that are dropping out and why? Who is actually sticking around and not feeling engaged? Why?”
We also welcome Louis, a student from Bronx Academy Senior High http://bronxbash.com the school where Paul Allison teaches. His stories of staying school or not were a needed grounding for this conversation.
09:39 Paul Allison: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113993022447291199374/posts/AEEBosvafDU
09:41 guest-2598: When and where is the Teachers Teaching Teachers EdTechTalk?
09:43 guest-2598: i am in it… thanks!
09:43 guest-2601: Hello. Who’s here?
09:46 guest-2598: my name is julie geyer
09:46 guest-2598: i am in the google hangout
09:48 guest-2587: Hi everyone!
09:49 guest-2601: Hi Julie. I teach high school English and media in Utah
09:50 guest-2598: I teach a self-contained elementary school in the Bronx
09:50 guest-2598: k and 1st grade
09:51 guest-2125: Hello all
09:55 guest-2599: How exactly does this work?
09:56 guest-2125: Jean – you can watch the hangout here. Most of us are monitoring the chatroom here
09:56 guest-2599: I don’t understand how we participate in this..
09:56 guest-2604: Welcome everyone!
09:56 guest-2606: First time long time
09:56 guest-2125: If you have a comment or question, type it here.
09:57 guest-2601: @Jenn. We chat while the hangout goes on.
09:57 guest-2606: Is this the right place? Is the Google hangout video only?
09:57 guest-2125: Jean and Jeff, can you see the hangout?
09:58 guest-2599: ok this finally worked thanks
09:58 guest-2606: I’d rather watch than have my video up there
09:58 guest-2606: any way to do that?
09:59 guest-2601: The Google Hangout is video, but you can participate without video. There’s a caller on right now, which is where the static is coming from.
09:59 guest-2125: Google hangout is limited to 10 people, so the rest of the us here are watching and interacting via the chat
09:59 guest-2601: You can watch the livestream without being on the screen
10:01 guest-2604: Speaking of the SOTU address and educational politics… did anyone get a chance to hear Arne Duncan’s announcement today?
10:01 guest-2125: No, I was out of touch today. What did he say now?
10:02 guest-2604: There was something about reforming teacher education… I’ll try to get a link.
10:02 guest-2603: Hi I am Kathleen. I teach 5th grade CTT and I am the Special Education Teacher.
10:02 guest-2604: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2012/0215/The-next-Race-to-the-Top-Arne-Duncan-outlines-vision-for-teacher-reform
10:02 guest-2598: Are we going to see the video?
10:02 guest-2125: Hello, Kathleen. Welcome to EdTechTalk
10:03 guest-2604: “The program, dubbed the RESPECT Project (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching), would be structured like another version of Race to the Top: a competitive grant program that would ask states to submit proposals.”
10:03 guest-2601: Video link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIsjZaeG-zI&feature=youtu.be
10:04 guest-2601: Classics Academy feature that Mary Ann is talking about
10:05 guest-2598: I wish the link for the video and more information about it would hev been posted on the Classroom live 2.0 site
10:06 guest-2599: I agree Julie
10:06 guest-2598: Three of us teach in the Bronx!
10:06 guest-2604: Here are some of the bullet points for the teacher education reform, again copied from the CSM site:
10:06 guest-2604: • Reforming teacher colleges and making them more selective. • Reforming compensation – including tying earnings to performance, paying teachers more for working in tough environments, and making teacher salaries more competitive with other professions. • Creating new career ladders for teachers (in which they could develop some leadership and administrative skills but still be in the classroom). • Reforming tenure. • Improving professional development, giving teachers more time for collaboration, and giving some teachers more autonomy. • Building teacher evaluation systems based on multiple measures.
10:06 guest-2603: Same here about the link
10:07 guest-2125: I made it through HS, but dropped out of college 3 different times.
10:07 guest-2125: …but have finally finished. 🙂
10:07 guest-2598: congrats Scott!
10:08 guest-2604: What caused Louis to feel “backed up” in the first place? In what ways was he being engaged on a day-to-day basis in each of his classes? Whose responsibility is it to support a student in this situation?
10:08 guest-2598: I wonder what kinds of opportunities his school offered him in high school?
10:09 guest-2599: I already see the kids that I have now and their work ethic/behavior and could forsee them dropping out…quite sad..
10:09 guest-2601: The last couple of bullet points look reasonable Troy
10:09 guest-2606: How do we raise our hands to ask questions here without being rude?
10:09 guest-2587: Why do we try to force kids to conform to one model instead of offering choices to build on their interests, passions, gifts?
10:09 guest-2604: As I listen to Louis’s experience about music, I keep thinking about the age old question about how typical structures of school offer students with different skills, experiences, and interests opportunities… what are the purposes of high school?
10:10 guest-2606: High school is a tool to create social conformity above all else
10:10 guest-2598: I agree Troy. We need to have opportunities for all kinds of learners!
10:10 guest-2125: We need to stop trying to make students fit to the school and start making school fit the kids.
10:11 guest-2604: Thinking about the not-so-innocent intentions about how public education has been structured in this country, I encourage you to read John Taylor Gatto: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/
10:11 guest-2601: go ahead and raise your hand Jeff
10:11 guest-2599: @Scott absolutely! This kids are getting so frustrated in elementary school!
10:11 guest-2599: *these
10:11 guest-2587: Troy, thank you for that link
10:12 guest-2604: Another thinker who really pushes on current ideas about effective reform is Ira Socol: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/
10:12 guest-2587: Listening to Louis reminds me of how the discourse of school privileges some voices but silences others
10:12 guest-2125: @Jean Agreed! That’s one of the reasons I teach elem.
10:12 guest-2606: I read Gatto… ruined me as a teacher. I see my daughter being stifled as a middle schooler… it makes me sad
10:13 guest-2598: @Scott- even in elementary, it is all about “thee tests”
10:13 guest-2604: I agree, Jeff. My wife and I have both been teachers, NWP TCs, and now I am in teacher education… and we wonder if school is the best place for our children…
10:13 guest-2125: I try to teach my kids to create an environment that works for them…. even if they have to do it covertly
10:13 guest-2606: Covertly … exactly
10:14 guest-2601: But what about Mary Ann’s Classics Academy. not covert
10:14 guest-2125: (Monika could never be a poker player)
10:14 guest-2604: Chris — I think that more time for PD and multiple measures for teacher evaluation are all smart… just wondering how those ideas will get implemented.
10:14 guest-2601: Yes, sounds good in theory, but it’s not how we do things at my school
10:14 guest-2598: It is so important for students to build a love of learning at all ages. With whatever topics interest them.
10:15 guest-2601: however, we are given some flexibility for PD
10:15 guest-2604: So, what do we know works — feeling personally connected at school, that the work is engaging and meaningful, that there is some choice in the matter.
10:15 guest-2599: True Julie…they also have to realize hat they aren’t going to always learn what they want at all times
10:15 guest-2604: There are models of good schools — like the ones we will discuss soon — that honor students as individuals.
10:15 guest-2598: that is true jenn, but if they can have some choice I would think it helps
10:16 guest-2601: but how to do that on a large scale, systemically
10:16 guest-2604: Listen to Louis — he was getting bored of doing nothing. In school, or out, he felt disengaged. How can we, as teachers, help create spaces in school for Louis to share his feelings about it and still have him engaged academically?
10:16 guest-2606: Accelerated Reader program has ruined readers … just one example
10:16 guest-2125: It seems that many independent and charter schools “get it” because they have the freedom to do so
10:17 guest-2601: but in my area charters seem like they’re geared to be investments, not laboratories
10:17 guest-2125: @Jeff Yes, AR can suck the soul out of reading if not kept in check
10:17 guest-2604: And then, once students get to college, are they faring much better? http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/01/18/study_finds_large_numbers_of_college_students_don_t_learn_much
10:17 guest-2598: With all of the technology out there, why weren’t there ways for him to reach out to his teachers?
10:17 guest-2598: It is sad really.
10:18 guest-2587: And now that class sizes are rising and teachers are given so many duties on top of teaching, it’s increasingly difficult for teachers to get to know students and to get to know them as people and learners in the way they’d like to so that they can be supportive
10:18 guest-2598: I agree Buffy, it is hard to get to know everyone
10:19 guest-2606: Where are the parents in all of this? Lately, I have heard lots of complaints about the lack of parental ownership over education issues.
10:19 guest-2125: Exactly – factory model… But the industrial revolution is over. We need a new model
10:20 guest-2606: Digital Model
10:20 guest-2125: Creative/collaborative model
10:20 guest-2598: Jeff- Unfortunately, there is no parental accountability… it is always the teacher’s fault. =(
10:20 guest-2125: Analog is still valid
10:20 guest-2598: at least where I am teaching
10:21 guest-2604: Indeed, we recognize that we need a new model… and we have known that since the first days of NCLB (if not before).
10:21 guest-2604: And, we have had a decade of “21st century literacies” — collaboration and all that — that were supposed to be infiltrating our curriculum and instruction.
10:22 guest-2604: So, what’s happening? What can we do?
10:22 guest-2598: I find that we do not have the resources to implement the 21st century learning methods…
10:22 guest-2125: My kids are 17/13. This is a very familiar story
10:22 guest-2587: Some of our parents have explicitly told our teachers and counselors that it is the school’s responsibility to educate the child, not theirs (as the parent). I wonder how we can better reach out to parents, engage them?
10:22 guest-2125: the 21st century is 10% over.
10:23 guest-2604: It reminds me of the quote attributed to Rahm Emanuel: “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.”
10:23 guest-2604: What is it that we — teachers, librarians, teacher educators, parents, students — do to make a change?
10:24 guest-2587: School is so test driven, and teachers who try to disrupt that are often labeled as troublemakers
10:24 guest-2598: Buffy- I send home skills that parents can practice with their struggling students and urge my students to ask their parents for help with spelling and other homework… and when I ask them if they do their work at home I always get the same response…”no”
10:24 guest-2587: I try to encourage, support, and help lead disruption 🙂
10:24 guest-2598: hehe
10:24 guest-2125: it needs to be passion driven. Let them follow their internal fire and the learning will happen.
10:24 guest-2125: … it will be more difficult to measure
10:25 guest-2587: Julie, I’ve experienced that, too. In some cases, I think the parents may not have the skills themselves to support; in others, there are sometimes other personal issues that get in the way.
10:25 guest-2604: The school district that our children are in will be going through “reconfiguration” this spring and summer. It makes me think that they really do have an opportunity to do something different, truly different, and stop focusing on all the negatives.
10:25 guest-2598: PBL and creating their own driving questions helps build an interest in their learning
10:26 guest-2604: Yes, budgets are shrinking. Yes, testing sucks. Yes, we will have larger class sizes, online learning, and other threats to “traditional teaching.”
10:26 guest-2598: Good luck Troy!
10:26 guest-2587: I love PBL and an inquiry stance on learning
10:26 guest-2604: Maybe those aren’t “bad” things. How can we reframe them as opportunities?
10:26 guest-2587: Troy, that sounds exciting
10:27 guest-2598: I also wish that students had more of an interest in learning
10:27 guest-2604: I hope it could be exciting… although the public meeting that my wife just returned from earlier this evening suggests otherwise…
10:27 guest-2598: how can we motivate them to want to care?
10:27 guest-2601: reconfiguration. what’s that Troy?
10:27 guest-2587: My night school students loved being in a smaller class and the choices I gave them as learners; they also appreciated that I was like their coach providing support.
10:28 guest-2587: I think a sense of community, belonging, and choice are important to kids
10:28 guest-2604: Chris — a fancy term for shutting down a few schools due to decreasing state funding and dropping enrollments
10:28 guest-2598: our students are bombarded with test prep
10:28 guest-2598: BOOOOOO
10:28 guest-2604: Although, it could be a legitimate opportunity to examine our assumptions about schooling and what we hope to accomplish with and for our students
10:28 guest-2601: the dropping enrollment sounds ominous
10:28 guest-2587: test prep, ack
10:28 guest-2604: Sadly, I am not sure that it will…
10:28 guest-2599: Test prep doesn’t get results…
10:29 guest-2599: I agree about the college and career ready…SOME are not cut out for college..
10:29 guest-2598: i do not see testing changing any time soon, but that does not mean that we have to teach to the test
10:29 guest-2587: I think so often schools label kids who are struggling instead of listening and taking time to find out what is going on
10:30 guest-2598: we should be planning authentic lessons that include the skills necessary to pass the test
10:31 guest-2587: Michael Wesch just talked about that the importance of building relationships
10:31 guest-2604: And, part of it is that you are not just teaching “Romeo and Juliet”…
10:32 guest-2604: … we also need to teach about family, relationships, and power.
10:32 guest-2604: We don’t just want to push (pull? drag?) kids through Romeo and Juliet. We want them to connect with larger themes, issues, and questions.
10:33 guest-2598: kids… that is an important word
10:33 guest-2598: students are forced to grow up more quickly than in the past
10:33 guest-2606: Why teach Romeo and Juliet?
10:33 guest-2598: they do not get to be kids
10:33 guest-2601: I agree with connecting them to larger themes…
10:34 guest-2601: That student I was talking about… when I connected the school learning to what matters to him (he’s currently researching the DREAM Act), then he was engaged
10:34 guest-2603: The push on the students is causing them to change
10:35 guest-2604: I had a colleague forward me some of the recent research on motivation and achievement in HS, and one of the studies talks about the idea of “closure.” The feeling that students feel like they have actually mastered something, not just passed a test.
10:35 guest-2125: I guess I should tell my story… it’s not just a high school problem.
10:35 guest-2598: sadly, the arts are the first things to go
10:35 guest-2601: where can I find that research Troy?
10:36 guest-2604: Of course, we have steered clear of the Daniel Pink book, Drive… maybe intentionally… but that is certainly something to think about, too: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
10:36 guest-2601: @Julie. I also teach photography, and the opportunity to link arts to other learning is powerful
10:36 guest-2604: I’ll send you the links, Chris.
10:36 guest-2601: thanks
10:36 guest-2598: that is great Chris, I also try to build art and musical activities into my classroom schedule
10:37 guest-2601: since arts programs are getting cut, it’s important to bring them in… covertly
10:37 guest-2125: Ninja teaching.
10:37 guest-2601: there’s kind of a push in my area to reintroduce arts in schools.
10:37 guest-2598: you are pretty covert chris =)
10:38 guest-2601: a ripple, but a start
10:42 guest-2604: Ira’s blog: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/
10:44 guest-2604: I wonder if and how we can invite students — in the context of schooling — to really enjoy their experience at school. Flexible/modular schedules, independent studies, online learning, alternatives/opt outs to prescribed curriculum…
10:44 guest-2604: … what else can we do?
10:45 guest-2598: i just participated in a webinar all about STEM resources and PBL
10:45 guest-2598: and it seems like a lot of those things can be planned and implemented, allowing students to work on projects at their own pace
10:45 guest-2598: and reach out to classmates and the teacher when necessary
10:45 guest-2608: I think it’s pretty powerful to share where as learners, we all also struggle as adults too. Thanks for sharing!
10:46 guest-2604: Even Edutopia is thinking about motivation and engagement in their newsletter today: http://www.edutopia.org/files/existing/edutopianews.html
10:46 guest-2598: agreed christina
10:46 guest-2125: I LOVE pbl. It is my fav. way to learn – but is it for every student? Does PBL fit all?
10:46 guest-2598: I am taking STEM classes and sharing resources with my colleagues and they love it
10:46 guest-2606: We do modular scheduling, and when I first started teaching here, I thought it would be a mecca of progressive learning ideas, but in the classroom, it is really just a standard box like any other school I’ve taught at.
10:46 guest-2598: scott- i do not think anything fits all
10:47 guest-2587: Great question, Scott. For some students, it is empowering, but overwhelming for others.
10:47 guest-2598: all of the ways i learned to teach, ar enot even being implemented in NYC schools yet
10:47 guest-2587: Scaffolding is important
10:47 guest-2125: Yes – a universal anything (think tools) fits nothing 100%. Tools have to to individualized to the task. Learning / teaching is mot so different
10:48 guest-2608: permission to think … important. thinking in community/collectively. everyone needs that!
10:48 guest-2598: teachers in nyc are given standardized lessons to plan
10:48 guest-2598: *teach
10:48 guest-2606: ick
10:48 guest-2608: I wonder about the rhetorical power of “permission to think” … hmmmm.
10:49 guest-2125: It is hard to allow time to think when you are hit over the hear with a curriculum map on a weekly basis.
10:49 guest-2604: OK, this is a conversation that has been going on for years, and our hour tonight reiterates many of the main concerns. So, what do we do? Like, tomorrow, what do we do?
10:49 guest-2125: (over the head)
10:49 guest-2604: Challenge each other within the profession to think!
10:49 guest-2598: we add resources to our planning and teaching to meet the needs of our students and find things to engage them in their learning
10:50 guest-2606: I never knew what a curriculum map was… but I do now… and I’m sorry I do
10:50 guest-2604: Hooray! How can we all do that tomorrow?
10:50 guest-2598: and ask them what they like and use that to motivate them
10:50 guest-2598: jeff- agreed
10:50 guest-2125: Lets open a school. who has the cash?
10:50 guest-2598: Not I says Julie
10:50 guest-2587: Teachers and students are taught that compliance=success
10:50 guest-2598: we are teachers… remember
10:51 guest-2604: Teresa — good for you to take the challenge/responsibility to question your colleagues and push them to think.
10:51 guest-2606: Bill Gates #Scott
10:52 guest-2598: not mostly
10:52 guest-2125: Yes, she is doing a great service. But us new (untenured) teachers are not allowed to push back
10:52 guest-2598: Google has $
10:52 guest-2604: Apple has $$$, too
10:52 guest-2125: How does a newbie stir the pot without losing his/her job?
10:53 guest-2587: Where I’m at, veteran teachers don’t have much latitude to push back, either
10:53 guest-2604: Why is it that Gates is involved in corporate reform of education, yet Apple and Google are only involved in token ways?
10:53 guest-2606: Scott=covertly
10:53 guest-2598: Scott- i am also untenured and try my best to stay under the radar while covertly helping meet my students neeeds
10:53 guest-2606: the rule I always followed was ask forgiveness not permission
10:53 guest-2604: They could give out 1 million iPads and Chromebooks tomorrow, if they wanted.
10:53 guest-2606: Troy, that wouldn’t solve the problem
10:53 guest-2598: true Jeff
10:53 guest-2125: But if we close our door and only help our kids, how do we help the kids in the next room… the next hall???
10:54 guest-2587: Many admin want teachers who are passive and don’t think or question to maintain the artificial fascade of “success”
10:54 guest-2606: I love the idea of standards of rationality and compassion.
10:54 guest-2598: i cannot answer that scott, other than collaborate with colleagues
10:54 guest-2604: I don’t think that the iPad or Chromebook would solve the problem.
10:54 guest-2604: It might actually create more, unless implemented in smart ways.
10:55 guest-2125: If I could teach my kids just one skill, it would be creativity. What is your one skill?
10:55 guest-2598: caring
10:55 guest-2604: Check out Warschauer’s Learning in the Cloud: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Cloud-Transform-Schools-Digital/dp/0807752495/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329361493&sr=8-1
10:56 guest-2606: enthusiasm
10:56 guest-2604: Inquiry
10:56 guest-2125: Now imagine if we could teach all of those skills…. 🙂
10:56 guest-2606: I had that Troy, then I changed it 🙂
10:57 guest-2604: Jeff — great minds…
10:57 guest-2604: Scott — what makes you feel that you can’t teach creativity?
10:58 guest-2125: I can – if given the time, flexibility, and freedom to practice my art. That does not exist in public school
10:58 guest-2598: =)
10:58 guest-2587: Me too—these kinds of gatherings tonight bolster my resolve
10:58 guest-2604: Teresa – Couldn’t we gather all of us to do that, at least virtually?
10:58 guest-2598: I always try to remember that the students need to have an adult that cares about them and pushes them to do their best
10:59 guest-2125: … it does exist, but only covertly.
11:00 guest-2603: Thank you for the conversations!
11:00 guest-2598: you too Kathleen!
11:00 guest-2587: I often feel subversive
11:00 guest-2125: me too…. like a secret sub-culture
11:02 guest-2125: yes, but the first one out of the fox hole catches most of teh lead
11:02 guest-2604: Scott — I understand, I really do.
11:02 guest-2604: We want/need to “play school” so we get good evaluations, then get tenure, etc.
11:03 guest-2125: I know. Even though I see a large uphill battle, I’m up for the fight. I wouldn’t be switching careers at this stage of my life if I didnt think it was a worthwile fight
11:03 guest-2604: But, if we are really thinking about ed reform — and Arne Duncan is looking for “multiple measures” of teacher performance — then why don’t we suggest creativity, inquiry, empathy, etc as measures for teachers?
11:04 guest-2604: Thank you, Scott. Let us know how we can help.
11:04 guest-2604: Seriously, let us know. I am not just saying that as a nice way to wrap up the conversation.
11:05 guest-2125: Right now i need to find a job where I can make a difference. I’m ready to be an agent of change – i just need the arena
11:05 guest-2604: Sadly, it is productive for textbook publishers and testing companies.
11:05 guest-2604: Son
11:06 guest-2125: my 13yo daughter is the same way. (she is on this show often)
11:06 guest-2604: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/schools/
11:06 guest-2587: Scott, I hear you–we’re all here to support each other.
11:06 guest-2125: Kids that are successful are creating their own learning outside of school. Not all have the oppertunity
11:06 guest-2604: Think about where our public dollars go in the “service” of education.
11:07 guest-2125: Troy – your twitter ID please.
11:07 guest-2608: Read an interesting article about how social media can actual deter the street/local organizing in reference to Libya. When the online started to be controlled, more people took to the streets (but of course, the online was critical too). Intersting to think about the relationship of the two ad how they impact/intersect each other.
11:08 guest-2604: The testing industry’s big four: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/schools/testing/companies.html
11:08 guest-2604: Scott — @hickstro
11:08 guest-2604: You?
11:08 guest-2587: True, Scott–or know how to even begin. A lot of public libraries are trying to support our causes, too.
11:08 guest-2125: @kd9sr
11:08 guest-2587: @buffyjhamilton
11:08 guest-2601: @csloan
11:08 guest-2604: Libraries as an alternative space for learning — that’s another talk!
11:08 guest-2125: Glad to have the new folks tonight
11:09 guest-2587: Me too! Thanks–and Troy–YES!!!
11:10 guest-2125: goodnight all
11:11 guest-2604: Good night all. Thank you!