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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

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« What's driving health care costs | | February unemployment: 5 percent »
March 24, 2006

Growing children

The Oakland school district is shutting down of its charter schools for poor academic performance. The school's principal says that's unfair:

Growing Children Principal Susan Harman said standardized tests are not the best way to gauge the performance of her school's 150 students in kindergarten through sixth grade because she does not emphasize test-taking.

Her school encourages students to learn by doing, and field trips and experiential learning are at the center of the school's curriculum.

Instead of having a teacher point out parts of a plant on a classroom slide, for example, students at Growing Children learn to identify a stamen after planting flowers themselves, Harman said.

You would think that students who master the parts of plants by experiencing them in the world would be able to answer simple multiple-choice questions about those plant parts on a test, perhaps even better than students who try to memorize the material from worksheets and chalkboard notes. The story does not say what kind of evaluation Harman says would be fair.



At Crossroads, a panel of experts and the public debate the future of health care in California. We'd like you to join the conversation.

Daniel Weintraub


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