A couple promising stories from the front lines of educational reform:
Miller-McCune offers this story from the academy — a top-down effort from UCLA to effect change amongst lower-income elementary students.
This fascinating TEDtalk takes the opposite tack — the speaker, Charles Leadbetter, spends his time amongst the informal educational programs that exist in international slums, and hopes to apply some lessons to formal education in a bottom-up approach.
What both stories have in common, however divergent their methodology, is a recognition of students’ agency in their own learning. Rather than teaching to a test or offering children cash rewards for their achievement, both stories are about making a curriculum relevant to its students — getting kids to want to learn, rather than simply imposing standards and curricula upon them.