Posted on 10/15/2018 at 12:37 PM by Blog Experts

Many of the initiatives we are seeing in the state of Iowa continue to be rooted in the traditional system of K-12th school from the late 1800s.  Therefore, any effort to close the gaps that been in existence for more than 50 years continue to persist in spite of attempts to use research- and evidence-based practices. 

The kind of disruption we need to allow for those learning innovations to take place demand a transformation of the educational system (Schwahn & McGarvey, 2012).  Just in the past month, we have spent time reviewing the state’s structure developed to support school improvement and district accountability, under the umbrella of MTSS – a multitiered system of support.  The criteria established in areas of leadership, social/emotional learning, testing and proficiency measures, and achievement gaps among student populations (socio-economic, ethnicity, and learning disabilities) were the same things education has been using for years with no success. 

When we will start having enough voices at that table who will perpetuate the changes necessary to embrace those systems that have demonstrated success for all students such as project-based, problem-based learning, personalized learning, standards-based, competency-based, and performance-based real-world student achievement?  When will we begin to challenge the tools and suggest that we take time to make revisions prior to release?  We cannot continue to measure students using age-level and grade-level, deficiency-based assessments.  I believe it is never too late for that to happen, even in the tools that state is beginning to release.  If not now, when – if we are really committed to making a difference for our students?



Schwahn, C. and McGarvey B. (2012). Inevitable: Mass customized learning, learning in the age of empowerment.No publisher.

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