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Category Archives: Roots of the Low-Performance Problem

TPS Principals

District School Principals: Unsurprising Recruiting Difficulties || John Merrifield || July 11, 2014 Who would want to do a job with mediocre pay, high expectations, and little authority in many of the areas quite likely to significantly impact their effectiveness? For examples, the vast majority of district school principals have little say in their school’s […]

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Test Score Spin

Test Score Spin Defying Reality || John Merrifield || Nov 9, 2013 “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.“ — Thomas Jefferson The Obama Administration recently celebrated that the 2012 National Assessment of Educational Progress scores are up slightly […]

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Taking Flak for Being on Target

Taking Flak for Being on Target: Vague Denunciation SOP by Defenders of the School System Status Quo || John Merrifield || November 11, 2016 Jesse Ortiz and I recently co-authored a chapter in, Improving Lives in Alabama: A Vision for Economic Freedom and Prosperity. On the basis of school system facts like persistent low performance […]

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STEM Stuff

The Root of the STEM Problem || John Merrifield || July 30, 2013 A tour of any major university, including meeting the faculty, will establish the STEM problems. Interviewing department heads or even perusing the faculty directory may be sufficiently insightful. You’ll find that in the “STEM” fields of science, engineering, and math, and a […]

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Sources of Extensive Terrible Experiences with the System

Arons, Stephen. 1997. Short Route To Chaos: Conscience, Community, and the Re-constitution of American Schooling.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Gatto, John Taylor. 1993.  The Exhausted School. Oxford: The Oxford Village Press. McCluskey, Neal P. 2007. “Why We Fight: How Public Schools Cause Social Conflict.” Cato Institute Policy Analysis #587. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa587.pdf Powell, Arthur G, Eleanor […]

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School District Superintendent

School District Superintendent: The World’s Most Difficult Unnecessary Job || John Merrifield || Sept 26, 2013 “The truth is incontrovertible.  Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” — Winston Churchill The evidence is there on both counts (very difficult, unnecessary), as is the basis to believe it. […]

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School District Superintendent Churn

School District Superintendent Churn || John Merrifield || October 23, 2013 Earlier this month, I argued that school district superintendents have a very difficult, but unnecessary job. Today, because I am little behind – okay a lot behind – on my Education Week current events due diligence, I happened to grab the May 15, 2013 […]

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Persistent Failure to Address the Roots of the Problem

Persistent Failure to Address the Roots of the Low Performance Problem || John Merrifield || February 16, 2015 A recent journey through my archives produced a 2009 Ronald Wolk (founder of Education Week) article marking the 25th Anniversary of the first ‘Nation at Risk’ report. Wolk discussed the five assumptions he thought caused us to […]

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Nation at Risk VI

Nation at Risk VI, Including a Partial Misunderstanding of the Risk || John Merrifield || March 2, 2015 Here it is, ‘Nation at Risk’ VI: America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future. How many prominent, well-grounded proclamations of doom and gloom do we need before we widely recognize that the changes we’ve made since Nation […]

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Let the Differentiation Wars be Public

Let the Differentiation Wars be Public || John Merrifield || March 1, 2015 The James Delisle declaration that “Differentiation Doesn’t Work” in a back-page Education Week Op-Ed (very prominent) was a public assault on a key rationale for the public school system. I immediately noted its significance and strong language based on research. It’s hugely […]

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