Pacing guides turn teachers into assembly-line bosses, writes Kim Farris-Berg, guest blogging on Eduwonk. But “our students aren’t widgets,” writes Farris-Berg. “They’re humans who vary in their readiness, aptitudes, interests, and rates of learning.”
In Trusting Teachers with School Success: What Happens When Teachers Call the Shots, she looks teacher-run schools.
With authority and accountability, teacher partnerships design stunningly different approaches to teaching and learning. Many forego grade levels, opting instead to place students in multi-aged groups based on skill level. Teachers move through curriculum at the pace appropriate for each group. Other teacher partnerships, recognizing the difficulties of individual progress in group settings, empower students to self-direct their learning using a mix of projects and seminars. To these teachers, equity isn’t about “sameness.” It’s about doing whatever it takes to help every student move to his or her personal next level of achievement.
“Teachers could be the social entrepreneurs we need for K-12,” Farris-Berg concludes.