LME 737 Responses

    Here I will post my responses in the comments for the LME 737 class.  All responses will be posted in the comments.  PLEASE continue to scroll to find post for Blog 2 and 3 in comments.  Thanks!

    BLOG 4:
    Reform Versus Standards Based Education

    Edited to Add:

    (Due to difficulties I am posting Blog 3 here:

    Zhao says, “China cannot have a Steve Jobs”, and he goes on to explain why. What drastic changes would China need to make in their educational system so that an entrepreneur like Steve Jobs could survive and start a company like Apple? Could the 826 Valencia program work in China? Explain.

    In order for an entrepreneur like Steve Jobs to survive the education system in China and start a company like Apple, the entire system would need to be discarded and a new system put in place. As Zhao describes the Chinese education system as one that requires rote memorization and a high emphasis on academic achievement holding the ability to “calculate the area of a triangle” but cannot answer “why” one would need to calculate the area of a triangle. A Forbes article once said that, “If Jobs had lived in China, I think he could not have succeeded…Jobs was a scrupulous perfectionist, while Chinese culture emphasizes the middle path.” In China…you also need to make compromises.” To produce a “Steve Jobs” the education system would have to be drastically different. For starters, the Chinese system promotes achieves to the best school and underachievers go to the less desirable schools. It is almost similar to a caste system in that once you’ve been put into a category you may move down but almost never move up. This idea of achievement is the lifeblood of the culture. Furthermore with no room for personal interests, the Chinese system would severely limit Jobs’ ability to even succeed despite his circumstances. Rather the environment to breed a entrepreneur would need to be student centered and open to student led discovery. Programs similar to 826 Valencia would only work if there was a dedicated set of volunteers who would put in the face time and if the education system would honor those who make gains by promoting them into more desirable schools. The schools in turn would also need to be open to closing the gap between the highest and lowest performing students. Recently CNN reported that “the Chinese government is attempting to tackle the challenge. In 2010, China released a 10-year national education reform plan. Among other objectives, it plans to focus less on tests and get the best teachers into the rural communities that desperately need them.” However there is little hope that these reforms will make a difference. Many believe that the rich and powerful in China will detach themselves from the pubic school system and a new set of schools will rise up that will cater specifically to those who have the resources.

    Eggers, D. (2008, February 1). My wish: Once upon a school. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_eggers_makes_his_ted_prize_wish_once_upon_a_school#t-1031880

    Montlake, S., & Mac, R. (2012, July 25). China’s Steve Jobs? Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/global/2012/0806/feature-technology-lei-jun-smartphones-china-steve-jobs.html


    Stout, K. (2013, December 17). Mind the gap: China’s great education divide. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/17/world/asia/china-education-gap-stout/


    Zhao, Y. (2012). World class learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press, a Joint Publication with the National Association of Elementary School Principals.


    Zhao says, “The US economy is three times as large as the second largest economy in the world, China which has four times the population…the United States is still viewed as the hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship…American education operates under the same paradigm as the Chinese education system.” So what are differences in the two countries’ school systems? Don’t forget to use sources other than Zhao to support your response.


    American children are not expected to spend all of their time studying, rather extracurricular activities such as music, sports, and individualistic interests are encouraged.   In China, the students spend 10-13 hours a day studying and extracurricular activities are only permitted when they have a direct connection to an admission test. Chinese students are not permitted to do anything except study, including performing household chores. Zhao says that the American education system honors the child and respects individual differences. The Chinese system focuses on the student receiving knowledge and not outputting creative products. In 2013, USA Today published findings that indicated why Chinese students score better on tests than American students and their findings were that, “the difference between Asian and American education systems is cultural. Throughout much of Asia, education is seen as the only path to success. Parental demands, fear of failure, competition and pride are fueling Asia’s academic ascension. Simply put, children in Asia study with a purpose.” This supports what Zhao says about the two systems. Forbes published an article in 2012 in which they state that, “Chinese parents are acutely aware that the Chinese educational system focuses too much on rote memorization and doesn’t give students enough training in morality and extracurricular activity. Prepping students to get high test scores does not translate into teaching them to think critically.” Finally, Zhao points out that while China tries to figure out how to emulate what America is doing to create entrepreneurs, America is trying to become standardized, centralized and more like China. In the end maybe China will end up with the next Steve Jobs if they truly embrace the type of system that created him and America will loose the one thing it has that is even more valuable, its entrepreneurial spirit.



    Breitenstein, D. (2013, August 4). Asian students carry high expectations for success. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/04/asian-students-carry-high-expectations-for-success/2615483/


    Rein, S. (2012, June 20). China Needs American Education. Here’s How to Bring It There. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/06/20/china-needs-american-education-heres-how-to-bring-it-there/


    Zhao, Y. (2012). World class learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press, a Joint Publication with the National Association of Elementary School Principals.


6 Responses to “LME 737 Responses”

  • Admin:

    1. Before reading any farther, how would you predict that an “entrepreneurial mindset” (Zhao, 2012, p. 5) would change education today? What would be some specific changes at your school if we truly embraced this mindset toward education at your school?

    First, it is important to emphasize that Zhao says that even is the entrepreneurial mindset were adopted, “making entrepreneurship education a part of the formal curriculum may do more harm than good”. With that being said, if the entrepreneurial mindset were to be implemented in the same fashion education implements most everything else it would be a hollow shell of the potential that would actually make an impact. In actuality, schools should adopt a mindset similar to the new survival skills described by Tony Wagner in The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need—And What We Can Do About It. It is a fantastic book I read a few years ago that Zhao also cites which surmises that “effective communication, curiosity, and critical thinking skills” are what will push us forward as a society. Educating these ideals is tricky and there is no “one size fits all solution”. One particularly interesting take on the subject is Nikhil Goyal, who at 17 years old wrote the book One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School. Goyal says, “Our current learning culture is stale and reeking of industrialism. We educate children like they are blank slates and passive vessels. We pry out their talents and gifts until there are none left. And we cage them up like livestock for at least twelve years of their lives. And then we throw them into the scary and uncomfortable world of the unknown.” If these changes were to take place in the schools I work at (disclaimer I work at many schools, private and public as a private clinical reading and education specialist) students would learn how to succeed in their own individual ways. As it is the students I work with are for the most part exceptionally intelligent, they however do not fit into the “box” at school. Many are dyslexic or have other language processing disorders and think differently and more advanced than their peers. Because of this they are also more likely to fail at the standard prescriptive school setting. If the emphasis was moved from teaching to the test, rote memorization and useless busywork and more about developing effective communicators, engaging in curiosity and teaching critical thinking, the success and confidence of these individuals would knock most individuals socks off. These are the students that Zhao points out do not succeed because of their school experience but despite it.
    Goyal, N. (2012). One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School. Bravura Books.

    Wagner, T. (2008). The global achievement gap: Why even our best schools don’t teach the new survival skills our children need–and what we can do about it. New York: Basic Books.

    Zhao, Y. (2012). World class learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press, a Joint Publication with the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

    2. Compare and contrast the Common Core Standards CCS and the concepts at the Tinkering School. If the Tinkering School were a full academic year program, predict end-of-grade assessment results at a CCS school and the Tinkering School and justify your answer.

    The Common Core Standards determine what each student should be taught in the subjects of reading, writing, speaking and listening, language, media and technology and mathematics. At the Tinkering School “children are given abstract, open-ended building projects and problems. Trained to use the tools required for success, they have the freedom to fail and the time to persevere. Trusted with real tools and real supplies, kids are put in an environment where constraints breed creativity and foster problem-solving that will expand into every area of their lives. Kids learn to trust themselves and their curiosity. They develop new skills and vocabulary with projects that call on their creativity and ability to persist.” With the common core standards, children do not have the freedom to fail and failing is not honored in the learning system but rather a sign of something to be fixed. If the Tinkering School were to become a full academic year program, the end of year assessment results would most likely be at or above the same age peers at a CCS because students at the Tinkering School would have more developed critical thinking skills.
    Preparing America’s students for success. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2014, from http://www.corestandards.org

    Tulley, G. (2014, January 1). About. Retrieved September 20, 2014, from http://sf.tinkeringschool.com/about/

    Tulley, G. (2007). Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do. [video] Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/gever_tulley_on_5_dangerous_things_for_kids#t-546098 [Accessed 20 Sep. 2014].

    Zhao, Y. (2012). World class learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press, a Joint Publication with the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

  • You bring an interesting perspective to this discussion as you work at various schools and see various issues regarding learning differences. I am still on the fence as to whether this approach would truly work (entrepreneurial approach) without a true discussion and examination of individual student needs. I am specifically concerned with the population I teach, at risk urban youth. While I understand the theory behind the research, I am at the basic level of getting my kids to think about opportunity in general. Often times they see situations that are “no win” and hence “no opportunity.” Moving them out of that mentality and toward one where they can even engage in discourse about the possibility of their ideas taking flight is the preeminent challenge that I face. You provide a great discussion here, however, and I look forward to learning more about your perspective throughout this course.

  • You are absolutely right that with CCS there is no honor in failing and it’s a problem that needs to be fixed. If you’re too afraid to fail, you will be too afraid to take risks. In one of Gever Tulley’s other videos on TED talks he says “Nothing ever turns out as planned … ever. And the kids soon learn that all projects go awry — and become at ease with the idea that every step in a project is a step closer to sweet success, or gleeful calamity.” I think that’s a philosophy every teacher should implement in their classroom.

    You can watch the video at http://www.ted.com/talks/gever_tulley_s_tinkering_school_in_action?language=en. The video is about 5 minutes long and very interesting to watch!

  • Goyal says, “Our current learning culture is stale and reeking of industrialism. We educate children like they are blank slates and passive vessels. We pry out their talents and gifts until there are none left. And we cage them up like livestock for at least twelve years of their lives. And then we throw them into the scary and uncomfortable world of the unknown.” WOW what a description of education. Most students feel this way and I agree education should be just the opposite if we are to recognize students’ individualism and prepare them for the scary world.

  • Denise, I love all of the extra resources that you pulled from in your post. I especially loved the quote that you took from the book written by Goyal. When I think about education, I do have to ask myself, why am I asking students to do what they are doing? Why does a student who wants to be an actor need to learn how to multiply and divide fractions? The worst part is I cannot always reason with the idea myself. We cage students up in the system, teach them the same standards, assess them in the same ways, and then we expect them to go out into the world and become amazing leaders, innovators, and world changers that we haven’t even prepared them to be! Crazy to really think how different schools would need to be in order to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset.

    I also really agree with you observations about the CCS and the Tinkering School. The CCS give students specific standards to learn and specific skills to master, where as the Tinkering School gives students open ended problems and they really guide their own learning. The best way to teach students to be creative and problem solve, is to let them do it!

  • Admin:

    Blog 2: What makes an entrepreneur?
    1. Discuss two points on which Robinson, Pink, and Zhao would agree about the entrepreneur spirit and developing this disposition in youth.

    The first point that Robinson, Pink and Zhao would agree on is that, as Zhao says, “the lack of entrepreneurial spirit is a result of an educational tradition that has been focused on producing employees who are taught to look for jobs and wait for orders” (Zhao, p. 70). Robinson says that “We have built our education systems on the model of fast food.” He goes on to say that “we have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education, and it’s impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies” What Robinson is implying is that there is such an emphasis on getting the education “thing” done that we have standardized and cheapened the experience of education and in doing so crushed any chance of students finding and nurturing their own entrepreneurial spirit. Pink goes further to explain that “what’s alarming here is that our business operating system — think of the set of assumptions and protocols beneath our businesses, how we motivate people, how we apply our human resources — it’s built entirely around these extrinsic motivators, around carrots and sticks. That’s actually fine for many kinds of 20th century tasks. But for 21st century tasks, that mechanistic, reward-and-punishment approach doesn’t work, often doesn’t work, and often does harm”. The current state of the entrepreneur is that the “system” as it were, sets individuals up for failure by depriving them of the opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial spirit and disposition. Dan Meyer, a high school math teacher who takes an Albert Einstein approach to teaching mathematics and says that Einstein, “talked about the formulation of a problem being so incredibly important, and yet in my practice, in the U.S. here, we just give problems to students; we don’t involve them in the formulation of the problem” (Meyer, 2010). Meyer’s point is that we give students all the information and steps and therefore, we deprive students of the ability to become patient problem solvers. The second point I believe Pink, Zhao and Robinson would agree with is that, in the end, an entrepreneurial spirit is essential to the future of society. As Chris Smith said in his blog post on The Harvard Business Review, “Entrepreneurial spirited individuals are motivated by, and can find success in, the everyday activity of the company and the opportunities their role affords to grow the business. The entrepreneur’s answers will focus on personal achievement and independence” (Smith, 2013). However, in order to get these entrepreneurial employees, we must nurture entrepreneurial students with the ideals Zhao, Pink and Robinson have discussed.

    Meyer, D. (2010, May 1). Math class needs a makeover. Retrieved October 11, 2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_meyer_math_curriculum_makeover/transcript?language=en#t-400000

    Pink, D. (2009, July 1). The puzzle of motivation. Retrieved October 11, 2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation?language=en

    Robinson, K. (2010, February 1). Bring on the learning revolution! Retrieved October 11, 2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution

    Smith, C. (2013, February 1). Don’t Hire Entrepreneurs; Hire Entrepreneurial Spirit. Retrieved October 11, 2014, from http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/02/dont-hire-entrepreneurs-hire-e/

    3. Zhao discussed many aspects of our changed world and the reason for such high unemployment rates all over the world, even among those with a college education. Research some changes in education over the last 25 years and discuss how they have affected the unemployment of many teachers and/or why many leave the profession.

    There are several factors for the unemployment of many teachers and why many leave the profession. As one of those people, I can speak from personal experience that acquiring employment was a hefty task with no real hope. 4 years after graduating at the top of my class with all the accolades I could have achieved with my education degree the best job I could find was teaching preschool. A year later I helped the program create a kindergarten program for special needs children that I ran for 3 years. However, I quickly became burned out and frustrated being the conductor, and lead chair in every section of the orchestra. At the beginning of my 4th year I decided enough was enough and set on a path to find my true passion. It took months of networking and self-educating but I landed my dream job in a private reading and cognitive developmental clinic. All this is to say that many teachers, myself included, leave the profession due to a lack of fulfillment. I was expected to purchase all of my curriculum and materials, write grants for everything I needed, and produce miraculous learning outcomes singlehandedly. My internal drive to create and refine my craft was reduced down to painstaking exhaustive processes that in turn ended up creating an apathetic teacher. So what has changed over the last 25 years and how has this affected teacher turnover? As someone who was just starting school 25 years ago, not much has changed except for the advent of technology. However, as the world has changed, schools have only modernized the same thoughtless mechanisms (taking a multiple choice test on a computer rather than a scantron for example). Blogger Patrick Ledesma states that “strangely enough, education was a focus for these early home computer commercials, but education itself has not changed very much in 25 years” referring to the home computer commercials for the commodore 64. Think about it for a moment, in every segment of life we interact with technology but in the school system we are restrained from using technology for its full potential, keeping students, and teachers in a box of retro education.

    According to the American Institute for Research, it has been 25 plus years since A Nation at Risk was written and for the most part, data suggests that both in the areas of reading and mathematics, students have not made any gain but have remained stagnant . Teachers are forced to work within a broken system and are powerless to change it. Personal creativity and innovation are cut down and hampered in the name of high sakes testing. Teachers find themselves in a rut before the even have the opportunity to make an impact in their field and give up because the struggle is just too great.

    Birman, B., Bohrnstedt, G., Hannaway, J., O’Day, J., Osher, D., Phillips, G., & Salinger, T. (2013, October 30). Three Decades of Education Reform: Are We Still “A Nation at Risk?” Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://www.air.org/resource/three-decades-education-reform-are-we-still-nation-risk

    Ledesma, P. (2010, November 29). 25 Years of Computers in Education: What Has Changed? Retrieved October 10, 2014, from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/leading_from_the_classroom/2010/11/as_black_friday_and_cybermonday.html

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