Archives for category: Kris Harrison

Math Curriculum Report – 12/2/2003

See page 15, which lists criteria for adoption of a math curriculum in IUFSD.

“Constructivist approach with modeling”

This was 2003, 12 years and 3 superintendents back. “Constructivist” was a requirement for every math curriculum the district considered. Nobody even looked at Singapore Math. Or Saxon Math, or any of the other “instructivist” math curricula available on the market. 

Constructivism isn’t new.

It’s old.

The word “constructivism” has replaced “progressive education,” but it’s the same thing, only worse.

Constructivism is worse because after the 1960s, progressive education merged with postmodernism to produce radical constructivism

The progressive education movement, which began in the 1890s, was always anti-intellectual. But after the 1960s, progressive education became anti-“truth” as well. From the standpoint of radical constructivism, everything is relative, and there are no right answers. (And the right answer can be wrong.)

What’s different about what Kris and Raina are doing is that most administrators give lip service to constructivism while continuing to tolerate teacher-centered classrooms in practice. 

Kris and Raina intend to make classroom reality conform to ideology.

That’s what’s so dangerous.

Right answer is wrong - 10533__Standardized_Testing
Source: Facebook

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.

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Kris Harrison’s plan for the district

2013

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

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2014
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

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2015

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

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

I’m told a video of Tony Wagner was shown at last night’s Community Forum.

Tony Wagner’s ideology is antithetical to liberal education (which Wagner seeks to “redefine”) and to the findings of cognitive science (see: The Science of Learning). 

Ironically, given how difficult the district’s transition to Common Core has been, Wagner’s work is also incompatible with CC. 

The Common Core has its problems, but one problem it does not have is Tony Wagner. Nowhere in Common Core documents will you find a reference to “21st century skills.” The phrase “21st century skills” is a marketing slogan invented by the “Partnership for 21st Century Skills,” an advocacy group created by technology companies and the NEA.

The Common Core is attempting to improve the level of academic rigor in public schools. CC has gone about this task wrongly, at least in the case of English literature, and the testing regimen is a mess. But the goal is right.

Tony Wagner’s goal is to eliminate rigor altogether. To be fair, his stated goal is to “redefine” rigor. But he is not qualified to redefine rigor in the disciplines, and his attempt to do so eliminates rigor altogether. .

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This is the Wagner article Kris Harrison and Raina Kor are using to transform the district:

Rigor Redefined by Tony Wagner

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And this is a letter to the Enterprise re: Kris Harrison’s adoption of Wagner the consent of the people:

To the Editor:

At the September 23, 2014 meeting of the Board of Education, Superintendent Kris Harrison briefed the board on his plan for the district.

His plan is drawn from Tony Wagner’s 2008 opinion piece, “Rigor Redefined,” available here: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/Rigor-Redefined.aspx

Wagner believes the world is changing so rapidly that by the time today’s children reach adulthood, most of the knowledge they learned in school will be obsolete.

Thus the school’s traditional mission of imparting knowledge to a new generation should be subordinated to a new mission: helping students master seven “21st century skills” Wagner claims to have identified. (Wagner spends the second half of his essay denigrating Advanced Placement classes and their teachers.)

Two years later, the superintendent has acted on at least five of the seven “skills.” This has had the effect of actually increasing the need for tutors, because teaching knowledge is not the district’s priority. Teaching “21st century skills” is. That’s why we now have flipped classrooms, learning stations in 6th-grade math, children sitting in pods peering at iPads and Chromebooks, guidance counselors ordered not to help students draw up lists of colleges, and a Shark Tank project in the middle school. (The last two innovations fall under skill number 4: “Initiative and Entrepreneurialism.”)

What unifies Wagner’s list of seven “skills” is the absence of knowledge, and that’s the first problem. Cognitive scientists have spent years trying to explain that knowledge stored inside long-term memory is different from knowledge stored on Google. To think critically, you need the former. When you think without knowledge, all you’re doing is taking your clichés for a walk.

A second problem: Wagner’s piece was published before the crash. It was wrong then (as a few minutes on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website reveals), but it’s even further off base today. The 21st century Wagner imagined, with its happy, humming global society and its ever-increasing “abundance,” is not the 21st century we got. Our children got world recession and Charlie Hebdo.

But the most important problem is the fact that all of these changes are being made without the consent of the people. No member of the board has expressed enthusiasm for changing the mission of the school to the teaching of 21st century skills, yet three members of the board have allowed the superintendent to proceed.

I hope the next board will have the strength to change course.

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How Kris Harrison has interpreted Tony Wagner’s 21st century skills so far: 

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: flipped classrooms; stations in math class

Collaboration and Leadership: students are seated in pods; teachers “facilitate”

Agility and Adaptability ( ? )

Initiative and Entrepreneurialism: teachers “are encouraged to take risks”; Innovation Fund; Shark Tank project; “leadership coaching”; guidance counselors forbidden to help students draw up lists of colleges because students need to take ownership of the process

Effective Oral and Written Communication: writing taught outside subject-matter courses in violation of what we know about effective practice

Accessing and Analyzing Information: Chromebooks, iPads, Google replaces textbooks

Curiosity and Imagination (“we want kids to make mistakes”… )

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

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9-7-2015 KMH Employment agreement

14-15 Code of Conduct
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What we have:

3/5/2013 – Definitions of Success  
9/24/2013 – “Focus and success”
9/24/2013 – “Rigor Redefined” by Tony Wagner  
1/28/2014 – Creating an IUFSD Vision for Technology 
1/2014 – “I am a child-centered professional” (Flipped classrooms)
6/15/2015 – Adopted – District Technology Plan 2014 – 2018

Teacher-centered v. learner-centered 10.10.2015
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What we don’t have:

Core Knowledge: A liberal education for K-8
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School board:

Whitney, President
(914) 591-9175
phil.whitney@irvingtonschools.org

Catherine Palmieri, Vice President
914) 693-6896
Catherine.Palmieri@irvingtonschools.org

John Montgomery
(914) 591-9352
John.Montgomery@irvingtonschools.org

Bob Grados
(914) 231-6365
Robert.Grados@irvingtonschools.org

Michael Hanna
(917) 750-8790
michael.hanna@irvingtonschools.org

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seven_myths_about_education_-_Google_Search

A Game-Changing Education Book from England
by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
July 2nd, 2013

Order Seven Myths about Education

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And see:
Do we want to be a constructivist district?
Curriculum and property values
Technology