Education Week - September 23, 2015 - (Page 20)
To the Editor:
With students across the nation now back for a new
school year, and last year's graduates navigating the job
market, we continue to overlook a vital area that can
boost academic skills and help our economy sustain full
Geography-related jobs-a sector that features high
salaries and low unemployment-will grow rapidly over
the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Employment of geographers is projected to
grow by 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, compared with
an anticipated 11 percent increase for all occupations.
Employment of geoscientists is projected to rise 16
percent from 2012 to 2022, and a 14 percent increase
is expected for surveying and mapping technicians.
Yet, the American Geosciences Institute's "Status of the
Geoscience Workforce 2014" report predicts a shortage of
around 135,000 geoscientists by the end of the decade.
We are not preparing our young people to claim these
jobs and advance innovative ways to use technology. Only
27 percent of 8th graders nationwide are proficient in
geography-unchanged from 2010 to 2014, according
to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or
Geography is not simply recalling state capitals and
reading maps. It involves knowledge crucial to everyday
living, and there are dozens of related careers. So how do
we change the focus?
First, local and state officials can ensure a robust
geography curriculum spanning all grades, and protect
geography courses from budget cuts.
Second, more educators should recognize that
geography is among the constellation of subjects that
constitute STEM (science, technology, engineering, and
mathematics), making it possible for related technologies
to be introduced in such classes.
Finally, we can encourage more business leaders in
geography-related fields to get involved and work with
local K-12 schools and colleges to develop mentoring
programs, internships, and teacher training.
NAEP informs us of our academic progress. Now it is up
to policymakers and educators to lead.
National Assessment Governing Board
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Chicago Community Trust
Zachary Robert Dulli
Chief Executive Officer
National Council for Geographic Education
When Talking About 'Jeb!,'
Don't Neglect His Education Record
AP U.S. History and Constitutional Law
Community School of Naples
Fort Myers, Fla.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24
Why Are SAT and ACT Scores Dropping?
To the Editor:
Regarding your article "SAT-ACT Performance for
2015 Graduates Called 'Disappointing' " (Sept. 9, 2015),
here is a quiz for readers.
SAT and ACT scores have "mostly held steady or
dropped for the last five years" because of (choose as
many as applicable):
a) poorly designed federal and state policy
b) inappropriate accountability measures
c) declining state and local funding
d) underprepared teachers
e) proliferation of smartphones and social media
f) overemphasis on high school sports
g) doubts about the return-on-investment of college
h) preoccupation with the Common Core State
i) overemphasis on testing
j) insufficient school choice
k) income inequality
l) (and/or) _____________
m) all of the above
James H. Lytle
Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
Student Potential, Not 'Indoctrination,'
Should Rule Classroom Learning
To the Editor:
It seems obvious that the focus of any system of
education should be to meet the student's need for
fulfillment of personal potential, whatever that may be.
The reality, however, is very different. My experience as a
high school student-and as as someone who has taught
theater, drama, and communications over a 44-year career
at the elementary through college levels-has shown me
that the existing system leans more to indoctrination than
to education in the Socratic sense.
It is a system designed to meet the needs of the society,
as opposed to one that meets the personal needs of each
student. It is a system designed to equip the corporate
world's bottom-line mentality with an adequate and
Education's purpose should be to preserve a natural
curiosity that leads to creativity. The student must be
provided with an adequate means of reaching his or her
potential for personal achievement and fulfillment, in
concert with the innate talents he or she may possess.
This is the only source of true happiness.
A truly just system of education would be one that,
before we ask how to educate, asks, why we educate.
If we "ban" the fixed mindset, we will surely create false
growth-mindsets. (By the way,
I also fear that if we use mindset measures for accountability, we will create false growth
mindsets on an unprecedented
scale.) But if we watch carefully
for our fixed-mindset triggers,
we can begin the true journey to
a growth mindset.
What are your triggers?
Watch for a fixed-mindset reaction when you face challenges.
Do you feel overly anxious, or
does a voice in your head warn
you away? Watch for it when
you face a setback in your teaching, or when students aren't listening or learning. Do you feel
incompetent or defeated? Do
you look for an excuse? Watch
to see whether criticism brings
out your fixed mindset. Do you
become defensive, angry, or
crushed instead of interested
in learning from the feedback?
Watch what happens when
you see an educator who's better than you at something you
value. Do you feel envious and
threatened, or do you feel eager
to learn? Accept those thoughts
and feelings and work with and
through them. And keep working with and through them.
My colleagues and I are taking a growth-mindset stance
toward our message to educators. Maybe we originally put
too much emphasis on sheer
effort. Maybe we made the development of a growth mindset
sound too easy. Maybe we talked
too much about people having
one mindset or the other, rather
than portraying people as mixtures. We are on a growth-mindset journey, too. n
HOW TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS
What to say:
What not to say:
"When you learn
how to do a new kind of
problem, it grows your math
"Not everybody is
good at math. Just do your
"If you catch yourself
saying, 'I'm not a math
person,' just add the word
'yet' to the end of the
"That's OK, maybe
math is not one of your
"Don't worry, you'll get it
if you keep trying."*
of math being hard is
the feeling of your brain
isn't to get it all right
away. The point is to grow
your understanding step
by step. What can you try
*If students are using the wrong
strategies, their efforts might not work.
Plus they may feel particularly inept if
their efforts are fruitless.
You tried your best."*
*Don't accept less than optimal
performance from your students.
Education Week takes no editorial positions, but publishes
opinion essays and letters from outside contributors in its
Commentary section. For information about submitting an essay
or letter for review, visit
20 | EDUCATION WEEK | September 23, 2015 | www.edweek.org/go/commentary
To the Editor:
Many pundits ask former Gov. Jeb Bush about his
support for the Common Core State Standards, but
none questions him about his major gaffe as governor of
Florida: eliminating the state's long-standing graduation
requirements that students successfully complete courses
in American history and government. I find it downright
bizarre that this elimination happened in the year after
9/11 and at roughly the same time that numerous surveys
reported students lacked basic knowledge of history,
civics, and geography. That student performance on social
studies assessments is not compared on the National
Assessment of Educational Progress could explain why
many states do not prioritize civic understanding in the
classroom. It could also clarify why Jeb Bush might have
felt comfortable eliminating such courses as high school
Worse still, policies adopted in Florida during
Bush's governorship resulted in American history's
disappearance from the elementary level as well.
The Economy Depends on Good
When Bush's 2003 education plan passed the Florida
legislature, he was excoriated in the U.S. Congress,
criticized by conservatives, and quietly rebuked by others.
None of it stuck, and he remained undeterred. Florida
should thank its history teachers and not Bush for the
fact that its students today must once again successfully
complete coursework in American history. The truth is,
Bush fought restoring the above requirements every inch
of the way.
For those wondering why young Americans today know
so little about our nation's past or its form of government,
I suggest some future pundit simply ask "Jeb!"
Jori Bolton for Education Week
SOURCE: Carol Dweck
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 23, 2015
Education Week - September 23, 2015
Research Agency Faces Deep Cuts In Budget Bills
Schools Seek Split From Confederacy
English-Learner Tests Moving to Digital Realm
Despite Research on Teens’ Sleep, Change to School Start Times Difficult
News in Brief
To Combat Inequity, Ferguson Panel Urges K-12 Changes
Study: KIPP Confers an Edge in Academics But Not in Attitudes
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Online Credit Recovery in Need of Overhaul, Study Says
Blogs of the Week
From Pre-K to Higher Ed., Duncan Tour Touts Priorities
GOP Presidential Debaters Give Glancing Mention to Education
In Wide-Ranging Discussion, Duncan Mulls Issues, Agenda
ANN MYERS & JILL BERKOWICZ: STEM Doesn’t Narrow the Curriculum
MARY ANN ZEHR: Can a Former Journalist Teach English-Language Learners to Write?
GREG MILO: Why Do Students Hate History? Some Thoughts on the ‘Boring’ Social Studies
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
CAROL DWECK: Growth Mindset, Revisited
Education Week - September 23, 2015