Learning can be fun – Using a ready reckoner – working out compound interest (Photo credit: theirhistory)
I was recently shown this article, about how we measure “School Quality” and the ways it might change in the future. The author brought up some interesting points (What makes one school better than another? Why? Does location matter in determining school success?) that are sure to interest parents and teacher alike. Here are a few ideas I gathered from the article:
- Though school funding is an important factor in determining a school’s quality, you can’t generalize the quality of all schools in a region based on funding. I live in Arizona, a state with one of the lowest per-student funding levels. Even though my hometown is home to quite a few struggling school districts, it’s also known for two nationally-ranked high schools. It’s true that there might be other differences between the struggling schools and the thriving ones- some are charter, some have different course structures, etc.- but the wide disparity among the number of schools in my city definitely proves that we can’t generalize based on location or funding.
- Technology is leveling the playing field. As services like Khan Academy and Coursera grow in popularity, the idea that a good education is linked to certain zip codes is certain to decline. These new services allow students in even the most disadvantaged areas to learn and study from home. If we measure school success by student standardized test scores, it’s easy to recognize the enormous power that new technologies could have over schools.
- Parental Engagement is always a factor. The author writes that parental engagement continues to be essential for student success, “regardless of a child’s socio-economic background or where she goes to school”. Though there are several qualities that may cause us to think one school is better than another- higher test scores, better teachers, nicer facilities, etc.-the roles parents play in their child’s education are often the most important ones.
Do you think that our ideas about what makes successful school-and successful students- are changing? As always, we’d love to hear your ideas!
3. THE technology
As technology continues to transform the classroom, it becomes more and more likely that parent-school communication will be the next area to go hi-tech. Here’s a rundown of a few ways schools and parents currently communicate, as well as why they should change:
Paper and phone calls are what many schools are used to relying on for communication with parents. Even though it’s easy for schools to send out messages through paper and by phone, administrators often find that doing so can use up an inordinate amount of time and resources. For parents, this method is highly inconvenient- sheets of paper can easily disappear in busy household, and missed phone calls can often lead to more trouble than they’re worth.
Many schools have switched to websites and email as their primary methods of communications. Though this represents a relatively quick and easy solution for schools, parents often tire of scrolling through lists of irrelevant emails or website content in order to find what they want.
A relatively new platform, smartphones represent new possibilities for school-parent communication. Schools can easily update apps in the same amount of time it would take to send out an email. Parents can get the relevant information they need in a device that’s always with them. Though they haven’t been tested extensively as of yet, it’s quite possible that smartphones could transform the ways schools and parents interact.
2. THE Economy
The problems with the economy have greatly affected both schools and parents, and, unfortunately, they aren’t likely to clear up anytime soon. Schools will need to find ways to operate despite a dearth of funding and resources. With smaller budgets for flyer-printing and fewer staff members to send out notices, schools will need to communicate effectively on a low budget.
At the same time, many parents may start to work longer and later at their jobs; they may be less available than they were before. With less personal time and more stress, parents won’t be as keen on going to great lengths to communicate or engage with schools. In order to make parents want to communicate, schools need to make things easier for the parents.
So what does this mean for the future?
- Both schools and parents are likely to be facing financial challenges in the future.
- Parents will have less available time for school interactions.
- Schools need to find cost-effective, easily accessible forms of communication in order to reduce expenses and engage parents.