Former MSU professor at leading edge of reforms

Jun 18, 2012 by

by Tom Watkins – Professor Yong Zhao was a “Distinguished Professor” at Michigan State University until 2011, when he departed to become Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, College of Education at the University of Oregon. He is a full professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy and Leadership.

Dr. Yong Zhao was and is one of the best minds in education today and is making an impact on the global stage. Yet, we let him slip away.

In 2009, he wrote a must-read book, “Catching Up or Leading the Way.”

Today, we are moving to an educational system that is more rigid, standardized, and test-driven when what is needed is a system of learning that is genuine, personalized, project-based and taps the unique interests and skills of each child. Zhao challenges the standardization and test-driven direction education is headed.

There is a major national push for “Common Core Standards.” Zhao believes that this move will make America’s education system, worse off than we are today. And that is frightening!

Zhao fears what we will accomplish is most of our nation’s schools will be teaching to the common tests aligned with the Common Core. This will result in a further narrowing of the curriculum and lack of true learning experiences.

Doing more of the wrong thing will not produce better results for our students and not make us competitive on the world stage.

While we claim we want creative, innovative and entrepreneurial students, we may well standardize and test these traits completely out of the learning experience.

What will be left is a nation of students, teachers, and schools who are compliant with the Common Core Standards, in essence dumbing down our nation and stripping students of experiences and skills necessary to thrive in the 21st Century knowledge economy.

His new book due out soon — World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students” — should also be read and better still, absorbed and acted upon, across America. This new book is about cultivating global, creative, and entrepreneurial talents in schools and why the current trends in reform are taking us down the wrong path.

via Tom Watkins: Former MSU professor at leading edge of reforms | Lansing State Journal |

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