Austin Scholar #4: Giving Teachers More Work Won't Solve Our Educational Crisis
Re-Uploaded Onto Substack
Welcome back to the Austin Scholar newsletter! At the time I sent out this newsletter, I was still working on getting my Substack reinstated, but that did not hinder my writing. I continued to send weekly newsletters from Austin Scholar, and now that I am sixteen I am able to re-publish those newsletters onto Substack. Apologies for the inconvenience and I thank you for your support and patience.
Today from Austin Scholar...
Giving Teachers More Work Won’t Solve Our Educational Crisis: A critique on a paper by the Carnegie Corporation.
An anecdote about my friend and me that reveals the benefits of having a personalized learning plan.
Three sources displaying current concerns with our outdated educational system.
Giving Teachers More Work Won’t Solve Our Educational Crisis
In 2020, the Carnegie Corporation, a foundation that supports educational programs across the United States, wrote a twenty-page paper outlining the current problems in the education system and the solutions to those problems.
The paper described how "many traditional modes of learning in school are ill-suited to what today’s students need to know and be able to do." To help education evolve and change with the rest of the world, schools must "deeply personalize learning" and "focus on the mastery of core skills and knowledge." These words could not be more true in today's world.
The solution the Carnegie Corporation offered, though, is unfeasible and will not help education evolve: "Our best hope for achieving equity and the transformation of student learning is to enhance adults’ ability to contribute to that learning." The Carnegie Corporation goes on to describe how increasing the involvement of teachers in education is the future of education.
To meet the goals of "deeply personalized and mastery-based learning," each individual student would need their own teacher. Their learning path would have to constantly adapt and change to align with the student's mastery level. If there is a classroom of twenty students and one teacher and five students have mastered the concept being taught, five are missing the fundamentals required to understand the concept, and ten are in the right place, who does the teacher accommodate? If the teacher aligns the lesson with the majority, half of the students are not gaining or learning anything from the lesson: five are bored and five don't understand anything that is being taught.
This is what the classroom looks like:
The solution the Carnegie Corporation offered to fix this problem, which consists of involving the teachers even more in students' education, would require the teachers to create an individual learning plan for every student in every subject. That is at least 50 million personalized learning plans in the US alone. While theoretically a good idea, in reality, this requires already overworked teachers to need more than 24 hours in a day. This is a completely unrealistic ideal for the teachers of America to achieve.
What's the solution, then, for personalized, mastery-based learning?