Well, we are coming to the end of a year that was consumed by presidential politics, public fights over anti-teacher and anti-union policies in the name of education reform, and school violence that broke our hearts. One year ago, I dared to get into the prediction business and offered up 10 predictions. Now, it is time to see how right or wrong I was. Here is my report card.
These Predictions get an “A” for being totally accurate.
1. No Child Left Behind (ESEA) will not be reauthorized, and the Department of Education will use waivers very liberally in exchange for their core reforms.
2. Mitt Romney will wear down the conservative wing of the Republican Party and win their nomination in June of 2012.
These predictions get a “B” for being right on the major point but a little off on the details.
1. President Barack Obama will win re-election with less than a majority of the popular vote due to independent candidates like Donald Trump and a strong Libertarian.
(NOTE: While no independent candidate received significant support and President Obama received 50.8 per cent of popular vote, it was a convincing victory for the President.)
2. Every state and school district will embrace the concept of 21st Century skills and integrate these skills into their curricula aligned with the common core standards.
(Note: “Every” was a little ambitious, but the increase in school districts who have embraced 21st century skills has been enormous. It is just a matter of time.)
These predictions get a “C” for early indications that these will happen, but details and research have not been fully developed.
1. Those schools receiving a school improvement grant and having a labor-management collaborative agreement will become the models for the greatest school improvement.
(Note: I have not seen any definitive research on this, but anecdotal information is positive.)
2. The number of teacher-led schools will at least triple as test scores show the success of this management structure.
(Note: There are more teacher led schools, but I am waiting on final numbers to see if we met the tripling mark.)
3. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards will emerge as the “north star” for the teaching profession with an expanded influence and outreach.
(Note: This has been a great year for leaders recognizing the potential of the NBPTS to be the AMA or the ABA for the teaching profession. The organization seems primed to move forward to make this a reality.)
4. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers will begin merger talks as they realize it is in the best interest of sustainability and power as well as an efficient use of members’ dues dollars.
(Note: This one gets me in trouble, but I know that Wisconsin and North Dakota are close to merger, and there seems to be more joint efforts by the national unions. One can only hope.)
These predictions get a “Not Yet” because the obsession with testing continues and sanity has not yet arrived even though voices of reason are gaining public support. I am not going to give up.
1. More school districts will balance their obsession with tests with a culture of school-based decision making under-girded by core values as well as a shared purpose and vision of what is best for every child.
2. Investment in diagnostic testing and formative assessments will increase two-fold as school management and policy-makers recognize these as better drivers of student achievement than high-stakes tests (summative asessments).
I invite you to grade my predictions and offer any comments. If 2012 was not your best year, get ready to make 2013 the best year ever.
The opinions expressed in John Wilson Unleashed are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.