Friday, January 31, 2014

Daily Links 1-31-14

In today's edition: Common Core and reading, faithful thinking, Sherlock and male friendship, ditching social media, and more.


Lost in the debate over Common Core standards is that they inhibit teachers' ability to instill a love for reading in students:

How did you develop a love for reading?
Ask George SaundersBarry Hannah, or Andrea Barrett. For each of these writers, their love for reading was realized in a K-12 classroom. For Maya Angelou, it’s thanks in part to Miss Kirwin, a “brilliant teacher” at the George Washington High School in San Francisco. For John McPhee, it’s thanks in part to Olive McKee, an English teacher he had for three years. Of course, you don’t have to look to lauded authors. Most readers, writers, and book-lovers can point you to a moment in their educational journeys where a love for reading was inspired in them by a passionate K-12 teacher. 
However, the ability of schools and teachers to foster a love for reading in students is under assault in today’s educational climate. We live in a time of high-stakes accountability, where quantifiable metrics, namely standardized test scores, are used to judge students, teachers, and schools. Now, we are faced with the Common Core, new standards in Math and English Language Arts that are sweeping the nation. Incentivized by billions in federal grant dollars, 45 states are adopting the Common Core, with some states rolling out their implementations over the last two school years and other states waiting until next school year. 
With these new standards come new tests, namely the Smarter Balanced assessment and PARCC, which are expected to take up to 10 hours for students to complete every year, starting in third grade. These tests will dominate students and teachers’ lives and turn many engaging classrooms into test prep zones. This myopic focus on testing places an extraordinary burden on students and teachers — such an extreme focus detracts from students’ educational experiences and greatly impedes schools and teachers’ ability to foster a love for reading in all students.
This should matter not only to students, parents, and teachers, but to publishers, writers, readers, and booksellers across America. If we want reading to flourish as a pastime and a serious pursuit, schools must be able to devote the necessary time and resources toward reading for pleasure.
Hat tip: Book Riot

The problem with putting so much emphasis on standardized tests as a measure of educational progress is that curriculum then is tailored towards teaching to the test rather than actually educating the child.

The other major flaw in such programs is the inherent desire to treat students as a homogeneous group. As we have discussed here before every student is different and so it should not be unreasonable to think that their education should be tailored to the needs and the learning style of the student.


Seven observations on church discipline from Thom Rainer. These are some good thoughts on an important topic.


Sherlock as an example of male friendship. The author is probably overstating it a bit that it's the best example ever but it is certainly a very good example of what male friendship should look like.


A collection of unique town slogans you are unlikely to see anywhere else.


Dr. Albert Mohler on developing a Christian worldview:

A robust and rich model of Christian thinking—the quality of thinking that culminates in a God-centered worldview—requires that we see all truth as interconnected. Ultimately, the systematic wholeness of truth can be traced to the fact that God is himself the author of all truth. Christianity is not a set of doctrines in the sense that a mechanic operates with a set of tools. Instead, Christianity is a comprehensive worldview and way of life that grows out of Christian reflection on the Bible and the unfolding plan of God revealed in the unity of the Scriptures. 
A God-centered worldview brings every issue, question, and cultural concern into submission to all that the Bible reveals, and it frames all understanding within the ultimate purpose of bringing greater glory to God. This task of bringing every thought captive to Christ requires more than episodic Christian thinking and is to be understood as the task of the church, and not merely the concern of individual believers. The recovery of the Christian mind and the development of a comprehensive Christian worldview will require the deepest theological reflection, the most consecrated application of scholarship, the most sensitive commitment to compassion, and the courage to face all questions without fear. 


Secrets of creative success: an interview with Cheers writer Rob Long.


Food for thought: quitting social media. These are all valid points to consider. Like anything else, you need to be wise in how you use it (if at all). 

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