No Child Left Behind becomes every student’s success

I had the great pleasure of attending the Hawaii Education Summit 2016 at the Convention Center in Honolulu July 10. There were over 1,000 in attendance, or as Gov. Ige said, “Our task force has grown from 19 to 1,019.” We were a diverse group of people who had heard about it through various means. I heard about it through my connection with the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai.

There were teachers and educational staff, students, parents, community members, political representatives, and others. We were all united in our one goal of wanting our students to receive the best and most appropriate education for themselves, one that would prepare them for a future that we cannot even foresee. Think about it. When the graduating class of 2016 was in kindergarten, many of the careers available now were unheard of, as in productions of drones rotary windmills, solar devices, robotic surgery arms, self-driving cars. Facebook started in 2004, Google was created in 1998. Only the wealthier homes had computers, now nearly every pre-schooler can use an iPad or smart phone.

Gov. Ige stated in his keynote address that soon 70 percent of new jobs will require a degree. He said that “We must meet or exceed the rate of change in the world … We must prepare students for a life of adaptation that will last their whole life long.”

Secondly, specialists have realized that the best way for kids to learn is to have local boards and give more power to the communities in the area that know what the needs are for their students.

He ended with. “We need to change and be change agents.” It’s a huge job. He said that in the past the “No Child Left Behind” model treated education as a “one size fits all” mode. The goals were mostly focused on math, science, English, and social studies to some extent.

The Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 15. Each state is supposed to have a plan by July 1, 2017. Hawaii is leading the other states, in that they have a task force, had a summit of 1,000 people, and are planning on going all around the different districts, for input. Be thinking everyone. This is planning for our future!

Addressing the change was my favorite speaker Ken Kay, chief executive officer of EdLeader21, a professional learning community for education leaders committed to 21st century education. Google him. He said that “in the 20th century classroom the teachers did most of the work. In the 21st century classroom, the children will be doing most of the work.”

Teachers will present their students with questions or ideas, and ask the kids to figure out what it means to them, sharing with their friends. It could possibly be followed up with a learning project that they come up with or at least have a hand in deciding parts of it.

He mentioned one high school class whose teacher had asked each child to create a business plan for a company that would make a positive difference in their schools. Students met in groups of two, then four, then eight, etc. to figure out who had the best project. The girl who won was responding to a big problem. Some students had snuck in vodka in their water bottles, so the Board of Education banned water bottles from school. The kids suffered. The girl’s project was that she had found a way to create and put a device in the top of the bottle that would flash on if vodka was in it. The school itself ordered 400, and then other high schools followed.

When Google was asked what best qualified people to be hired, they responded that they weren’t so much into grades and statistics, but more about how the person would be an innovator, problem solver, and a self-directed learner. When asked about supervision they were told that if a person needs a supervisor, they really don’t belong in Google. I get it. The innovative employee would probably have more information about his project than any supervisor. They did work in groups however, to help each other with their projects. So collaboration is also an important skill for the student of the 21st century to have.

Is some of this sounding familiar? The Hawaii Department of Education GLOS! (General Learner Outcomes) Children from elementary age on up have them plastered on the walls. However, when teachers were asked if these were truly reflected in their classrooms, only about a dozen hands went up. That will have to change. Let me list them here:

w Self-directed Learner (The ability to be responsible for one’s own learning)

w Community Contributor (The understanding that it is essential for human beings to work together)

w Complex Thinker (The ability to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving)

w Quality Producer (The ability to recognize and produce quality performance and quality products)

w Effective Communicator (The ability to communicate effectively)

w Effective and Ethical User of Technology (The ability to use a variety of technologies effectively and ethically)

Ken Kay only added one more to his list. “Creator and Innovator”.

There was talk, however amongst some groups about considering them Global Learning Outcomes, preparing our students to become members of one world. Already American college students are going to college in Slovenia and Norway where education is free if they can pass the exams. It’s also because college education is so high here, but I just received an email from Bernie Sanders that Hillary Clinton is working on a plan for free college tuitions.

I attended two student-led break out workshops, and I honestly felt that Kauai was a bit out of the loop. Let’s get ourselves back into it. Let’s have effective student councils in our middle and high schools, and an islandwide student council. It’s time to take responsibility for your life, and you have a lot of help. The words “from the cradle to the grave” were used to describe how we would look at education now.

Next week I’ll continue sharing the best of what I heard, to start you all on your ideas about how you might educate ALL students, including homeless, those attending public, or charter schools, immigrants, those suspended from class, brilliant, average, disabled, etc. The plan is in our hands.

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Hale ‘Opio Kauai convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org For more information about Hale ‘Opio Kauai, please go to www.haleopio.org

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