What Matters Now: A New Compact for Teaching and Learning

Various authors, National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future, Dec 15, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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The National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future (NCTAF) has released an update (24 page PDF) on its original report released 20 years ago. "We have squeezed all we can out of the hard rind of econo-metric formulas," they write. "Now it is time to activate the human factor - the motivation and intelligence of students and educators - to reorganize schools around what drives learning." I'm not sure there was any juice in that particular rind to begin with. But the turn is a welcome one. So if for the most part their focus on teachers and teaching - not the traditional people and roles, but a redefined set of activities and relationships between them and the students and the community. The report also appears to recognize that there are many other system-wide factors to consider - a shift in demographics in the U.S., where a majority of students are now people of colour, and the gripping reality of poverty, where 50 percent of students qualify for free or subsidized lunches. The report came out in August but SmartBrief revisited it this week.

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