American Students Rank #1 In Confidence…What Does It Mean?

This weekend I took my wife on a date.  I love date night!  This date night was especially nice; both of us being educators have been eagerly waiting to see Waiting For Superman, and that is exactly what we did!

Let me start by saying that this movie is well put together and if you miss the message then please watch it again.   The message is not that charter schools are the answer, the message is that the public education system needs reform and we must take steps to reform it now.  Let this be stated; I am not writing this post as a review of the movie, or to stress all of my thoughts and opinions.

I am writing to reflect on one part of the movie:

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at

When I first saw this part of the movie I chuckled and wanted to cry.  Wow, #1 in confidence but we are at the bottom in mathematics among developed countries.  What does this mean?  How should leaders react to this statistic?  There is no one right way to respond to this stark fact, what we need to do though is help students use their confidence to push their growth as lifelong learners.  We must meet our students gusto with high expectations and challenges that truly push learning into uncharted territory.  Two areas we must focus on is master teaching and meaningful work.

The work students should be engaged in should be meaningful and engaging.  The work should challenge our students and should allow them to feel the appropriate amount of frustration in order to grow as learners.  Check out this great article from Educational Leadership (September 2010) – click the magazine picture below:

So how do we push for master teaching in this “Race to the Top” environment? Check out this great white paper that Marzano and his peeps published:

Creating an Aligned System to Develop Great Teachers within the Federal Race to the Top Initiative

Chew on these nuggets and feel free to leave a comment or two.  Let’c continue the conversation!

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