Archives for category: Board majority

Workplace skills Irvington_Vision_and_Current_Reality10_2015_2-GMK_pdf - BEST

What do we know about the future? Irvington_Vision_and_Current_Reality10_2015_2-GMK_Strategic plan

A slide from the Strategic Planning forum.

College preparation is not included. Nor does the facilitator see knowledge as important to the workplace.

This is constructivism.

Constructivists believe the world is changing so fast that the knowledge students learn today will go extinct by the time they graduate high school or college.

Therefore you should replace knowledge with empty skills that can be transferred to all the new jobs yet to be invented. 

That’s the constructivist position.

Cognitive science tells us that the constructivist position is wrong: empty cognitive skills do not exist.

Instead, skill and knowledge are flip sides of a coin: no knowledge, no skill. This is turning out to be true with athletics, too. Athletic skill draws upon knowledge stored inside long-term memory.

For the record, constructivism is a very old philosophy, dating back as far as 1900.

In one of the earliest manifestations of constructivism, progressive educators argued that working class students should be taught useful skills like sewing instead of Latin and Greek. Working class parents disagreed. They wanted their children to be taught the same elite curriculum wealthy children were taught.

Today progressive educators argue that no one should be taught traditional knowledge — rich, poor, or in-between.

They’ve updated the “skills” they believe children should be taught to a fuzzy array of workplace skills: leadership, “strategic planning skills,” etc. 

Constructivists believe public schools should become pretend b-schools, and that is what our central administrators, supported by a board majority, are doing.


Kris Harrison’s plan for the district


Definitions of Success 3.5.2013 – Superintendent definition & response

Tony Wagner – Rigor Redefined – Harrison vision – 9.24.2013replaces college preparation with “workplace” preparation

Rigor Redefined by Tony Wagner – October 2008

Creating IUFSD Vision for Technology – 1.28.2014 (annotated) 

Creating the Vision for Technology – 1.28.2014 (original)

Response to superintendent technology memo – 2.8.2014

Flipped classrooms in Irvington – Irvington Insight – 1.2014



District Technology Plan – Adopted 6.15.2015no mention of college preparation; no mention of Common Core

9-29_-_strategic_plan_presentation_FINAL “Framework for Strategic Planning”

STRATEGIC PLANNING FORUM: Irvington Vision and Current Reality 10.14.2015.2 – Strategic planing forum – GMKno mention of college preparation; no mention of Common Core

Super’s plan: replace college prep with “workplace” prep
Teacher-centered v. learner-centered classrooms 
“Fast trends”
Teachers “taking risks”

Cross-posted at the Irvington Parents Form

The school board has posted its “District Technology Plan 2014-2018.”

College preparation isn’t on it.

The only goal of “technology,” here in IUFSD, is the propagation of “21st century skills.”

That is a grave mistake, not least because 21st century skills don’t exist.

The phrase “21st century skills” is a marketing slogan developed by the “Partnership for 21st Century Skills,” a lobbying outfit created by the NEA and tech companies that sell to schools.

“21st century skills” are win-win for unions and tech companies.

The union wins because no teacher can be held accountable for teaching 21st century skills.

Tech companies win because schools buy more devices.

You don’t need Chromebooks and iPads to prepare students for college (or law school, or business school, or medical school).

Change the mission to “21st century skills,” and every student needs a mobile device.

Bob Grados, Maria Kashkin, and Phil Whitney have decided that this is our path.

Three people have the power to make this decision for all district children.

Theory of Action

If we provide students with rigorous, authentic learning experiences rooted in a comprehensive curriculum, then they will acquire the knowledge, skills and dispositions of successful 21st Century learners that will prepare them to thrive in a rapidly evolving global society.”

That’s another thing: we don’t live in a “rapidly evolving global society.”

“Rapidly evolving global society” is a slogan created by unions and tech companies.

When you look at the actual data, or live in the actual world, you know that: a) we don’t live in an exciting, fast-paced “global society” (not unless you think Charlie Hebdo and ISIS offer our kids fabulous opportunities for advancement; and b) to the extent that we do live in a “global society,” it’s not “rapidly evolving.” 

The quote-unquote global society is no different today than it was 20 years ago, except that it’s worse in every respect. More financial trauma, more terror.

The simple truth is that our central administrators are completely unmoored from reality, and they are supported by 3 people who know it’s all nonsense but have chosen to impose the will of the central administrators they’ve hired and tenured on the rest of us.

Since the words “comprehensive curriculum” are plugged into the “theory of action” above, I will concede that, yes, of course, the district will continue to “offer” state-required college preparatory courses.

But our central administrators have zero interest in college preparation or in liberal education.

When that is the case, when you’re “offering” liberal education only because the state requires it, you’re not going to do it well.

Time to opt out.


All of this ties in directly with the hours-long interrogation of middle school children who accessed the teacher’s portion of the district website.

Kris, Raina, and Jesse fetishize technology.

They light up when they talk about technology; the delivery of PowerPoint talks and “Think Tank” manifestos on the subject of technology is the only time you hear real excitement in their voices, and see real excitement in their faces. For our central administrators, technology is magic.

If the three (five?) middle school boys who have been treated so harshly had done what they did without touching a computer, they would have been given lunchtime detention and that would have been the end of it.

But these boys broke a rule that involved a computer.

Breaking a rule involving a computer triggers automatic notification of the police. The Code of Conduct says so.


Even worse: reading through the Code, I learned that the punishment for bringing a gun to school is a one-year suspension.

Not expulsion. Suspension. For bringing a real gun in school.

One of the boys was threatened with permanent expulsion for a first computer infraction.

That tells you everything you need to know about our plight.


Do we want to be a constructivist district?
21st-century skills, the document Kris & Raina are using to transform the district