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Category Archives: Roots of the Low-Performance Problem

Inattention-to-the-Roots-of-the-Problem

Noteworthy Confirmation of Persistent Futility || John Merrifield || June 27, 2015 We have another high level confirmation that we have not addressed the roots of the K-12 low performance problem. Whether the roots of the low performance problem differ from my diagnosis, or not, we have definitely not addressed them with the decades-long, expensive […]

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Great TPS Rare, Really

High-Performing Traditional Public Schools are Rare, Really || John Merrifield || November 30, 2014 This is going to be a tough sell. I recognize that. But sadly, this is a very important, painful reality check. My assertion that high-performing traditional public schools are very, very rare flies in the face of some deeply-rooted human tendencies, […]

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Dis-Engagement on Student Engagement

Disconnect on Student Engagement || John Merrifield || June 15, 2014 In the June 5, 2014 edition of the Diplomas Count special edition of Education Week, the official forum of the education establishment, Sarah Sparks’ “An Age-Old Problem Gets New Attention,” reveals the establishment disconnect on the imperative of attaining high levels of student engagement […]

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Differentiation Revisited

Differentiation Delusion: More Exposure Needed || John Merrifield || February 7, 2015 To even credibly imagine that one size could come close to fitting all, it must be possible to effectively ‘differentiate’ instruction, which is ability grouping by subject on steroids. ‘On steroids’ because with the classroom diversity that can result from our current system’s […]

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Differentiation of Instruction Delusion

Differentiation Delusion: More Exposure Needed || John Merrifield || February 7, 2015 To even credibly imagine that one size could come close to fitting all, it must be possible to effectively ‘differentiate’ instruction, which is ability grouping by subject on steroids. ‘On steroids’ because with the classroom diversity that can result from our current system’s […]

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Another Superintendent Bites the Dust

Another Superintendent Bites the Dust || John Merrifield || April 25, 2015 The latest example of a dis-employed school district superintendent is a Starr (literally and figuratively), Joshua Starr. The Education Week article that reported Superintendent Starr’s demise – written by John Mannes, a former member of the School Board that employed Mr. Starr – […]

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Ability Grouping By Subject, Re-Visited

Ability Grouping By Subject, Re-Visited || John Merrifield || January 13, 2015 Hurray for the New York Times. I never thought I’d say that. But they earned it with their focus on the importance of ability grouping by subject, though their June 4 article fails to emphasize the critical ‘by subject‘ element that could cause […]

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Ability Grouping

Doing Ability Grouping Right || John Merrifield || June 12, 2013 A June 9 NY Times article on the resurgence of ‘Ability Grouping’ is good news, and it illustrates why this resurgence in our public school system will yield much smaller benefits than if ability grouping by subject results from schools’ need to be choiceworthy […]

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A Key Myth About the Roots of the Problem

Still Widespread Cluelessness on Roots of the Problem || John Merrifield || February 19, 2014 Sadly, we have another example of good guys ‘stepping in it’; a major fallacy embedded in an attack on a major fallacy. In, The Myths of School Vouchers, Then and Now, Casey Given asserts this myth: “Poverty, not teacher quality, […]

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2012 PISA Results

The Wall Street Journal’s “U.S. High-School Students Slip in Global Rankings” (12/3) noted a widening gap between the U.S. and other countries, and it’s not because we improved more slowly than the countries with better test scores. Every three years, the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests a sample of 15-year-olds from countries […]

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