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 employment: geography. 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 NAEP. 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. Terry Mazany Chair National Assessment Governing Board President and Chief Executive Officer The Chicago Community Trust Chicago, Ill. Zachary Robert Dulli Chief Executive Officer National Council for Geographic Education Washington, D.C. When Talking About 'Jeb!,' Don't Neglect His Education Record Teacher AP U.S. History and Constitutional Law Community School of Naples Fort Myers, Fla. Growth Mindset, Revisited CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24 Multiple-Choice Test: 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 Standards i) overemphasis on testing j) insufficient school choice k) income inequality l) (and/or) _____________ m) all of the above James H. Lytle Professor Graduate School of Education University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pa. 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 obedient workforce. 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. Hal O'Leary Wheeling, W.Va. deeds. 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 Growth Mindset What to say: Fixed Mindset What not to say: "When you learn how to do a new kind of problem, it grows your math brain!" "Not everybody is good at math. Just do your best." "If you catch yourself saying, 'I'm not a math person,' just add the word 'yet' to the end of the sentence." "That's OK, maybe math is not one of your strengths." "Don't worry, you'll get it if you keep trying."* "That feeling of math being hard is the feeling of your brain growing." "The point isn't to get it all right away. The point is to grow your understanding step by step. What can you try next?" *If students are using the wrong strategies, their efforts might not work. Plus they may feel particularly inept if their efforts are fruitless. "Great effort! You tried your best."* *Don't accept less than optimal performance from your students. COMMENTARY POLICY 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 | :( 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 requirements. Worse still, policies adopted in Florida during Bush's governorship resulted in American history's disappearance from the elementary level as well. Jack Bovee ): The Economy Depends on Good Geography Instruction 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 LETTERS to the EDITOR 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
Report Roundup
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