Klingbrief April 2013
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Crossing Over
What Business Execs Don't Know - but Should - About Nonprofits, by Les Silverman & Lynn Taliento

In this very important essay for non-profit leaders, the authors interview 11 crossover executives--that is, 11 CEO's who had extensive for-profit experience before crossing over to lead a nonprofit. As for profit executives continue to populate non-profit board rooms, it is important to create a dialogue about the vital differences between running each type of organization in order to create a shared understanding of the challenges and commitments needed from board leadership and institutional leadership alike. The execs identify five core challenges that most business people fail to appreciate. First, nonprofit CEOs wield less authority and control than their for-profit counterparts while answering to a wider range of stakeholders. Nonprofits also lack straightforward performance measures - there are no analogs to profit in social change - and yet they are under greater scrutiny from politicians and the press. Finally, compared to the corporate world, the nonprofit sector is underfunded, understaffed, under-resourced, and undertrained. By communicating with our boards the challenges we face as non-profit leaders, and not resting on the assumption that they understand these challenges, we may achieve stronger buy-in and commitment from all members of our school communities, not only the board members themselves.

Eric Temple, Lick-Wilmerding High School, CA

The Stanford Review, Summer 2006
Klingbrief is a free, monthly publication of recommended articles, books, research reports and media selected by and for independent school educators.  The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership provides graduate programs and professional development for independent school educators throughout their careers. For information about submitting to Klingbrief, please click here.
April, 2013 VOL 37

Coordinating Editor, Associate Head of the Brearley School, New York, NY

Klingenstein Center Director, New York, NY

Head of the Park School of Buffalo, NY

Assistant Head, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM

Principal, The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto, Canada

Principal, Bruce A. Shaw Consulting, LLC     Essex, MA        

Head of Lick-Wilmerding High School,
San Francisco, CA

Communications Manager, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

Coordinating Editor, Assistant Head, Upper School, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

04_Next_generation_Science New Additions to the Science Core
Next Generation Science Standards

Just released by the organization Achieve, the Next Generation Science Standards specify what all students should master to prepare for college and careers as well as compete with global peers. The standards provide coherence across grades, favor depth over breadth and focus on critical thinking through scrutiny of scientific evidence, primary investigation and hands-on learning. The intent is to engage students in formulating questions and problems, allowing them to work through problems that promote understanding of the content and scientific processes. Sure to rile religious conservatives, the guidelines state that children must learn about evolution as a central organizing idea in the biological sciences and call for introducing climate science into the curriculum starting in middle school. The public debate sure to be precipitated by the science standards provides an opportunity to engage students in understanding and respecting different perspectives. Both students and teachers may offer their feedback on the standards prior to a final draft. Twenty-six states and their teams worked together for two years with a 41-member writing team and organization partners to develop these standards.

Pearl Rock Kane, Klingenstein Center, NY
Achieve Inc., April 2013
04_LongRunEffect High School Gender Balance and Quantitative College Majors
The Long Run Effects of High School Class Gender Composition, by Massimo Anelli and Giovanni Peri

(The link is http://www.nber.org/papers/w18744, but it is only free to certain groups)

Given the tight labor market and fears about global competitiveness of American students, there is increasing focus on students choosing college majors associated with higher paying careers (economics, engineering, sciences, etc.). Another component to that focus is the persistent gender gap in those majors. Two Italian researchers used a 30,000 student dataset gathered from 1985 to 2005 to show that the gender composition of high school classes has an impact on whether students choose majors in quantitative fields. They found that a larger share of same-sex peers in schools or classrooms increases the probability of students majoring in economics, science, and engineering for both male and female students. Further, a higher percentage of female classmates led to better long run performance and future earnings for female students in those quantitative fields. This research illustrates a potential benefit of single-gender classrooms or at least opt-in access to a single-gender classroom at the high school level, particularly for female students. An implication for mixed-gender schools and classrooms is that students benefit from balanced gender ratios, which give students of both genders the incremental advantages on par with same-sex peers environments.

Michael Arjona, Walker School, GA
NBER Working Paper No. 18744, Issued in January 2013
04_the_Boys_at_theBack Does Evaluating the Work of Young Boys and Girls on Common Behavioral Standards Cause Damage Upstream?
The Boys at the Back, by Christina Hoff Sommers

It is no secret that there are gender disparities in education and that girl achievement is on the rise while boy engagement in schools declines. Christina Hoff Sommers reminds educators of these disparities and points us to new research that shows discrepancies between boys' achievement on standardized test scores and the grades they are given by their teachers. The research is novel not only because it follows students beginning at the primary grade levels, but because it shows that teachers may be assessing boys as well as girls on non-cognitive skills more developed in girls at early ages--to the obvious disadvantage of boys. In the research described by Sommers, the findings were less focused on test scores and more focused on teachers' grades. Skills such as how well each child engaged in a classroom, how often a child externalized or internalized problems, or how often a child lost control were all attributes teachers used to evaluate student performance. In an age when the qualities of grit, zest, and self-control are integral parts of conversation in many independent schools, this research suggests it is important to stay mindful that each gender demonstrates these behaviors in different ways and at different times.

Meera Ratnesar, Harbor Day School, CA
New York Times, February 2, 2013
Women, Education and Ambition
Why Isn't Better Education Giving Women More Power?, by Garance Franke-Ruta

On the heels of Sheryl Sandberg's recent book release, Lean In, there is much discussion about gender inequality in the work place. In this article, Garance Franke-Ruta addresses the reasons women, who often obtain higher levels of education and experience greater success in academia, are often unable to achieve the professional success they desire. She attributes the discrepancy between women's success and their ambition to the habits that many women exhibit once leaving school, such as a lack of risk taking. Ambitious women often pursue advanced degrees believing that credentials will put them on equal footing with men. However, Franke-Ruta examines the messages women receive from a very young age that condition them against properly marketing themselves and which eventually undermine their chances for success in leadership. Inequity in pay and sexism continue to be real issues in the workplace. Education alone will not help women reach the top. Women who strive to be leaders may need to couple their credentials with qualities like assertiveness to counter these subtle messages.

Keira Rogers, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, NY
The Atlantic Magazine, April 2013
04_ParkDayTom A Tour of Progressive Schools

Ask any two progressive educators what the word "Progressive" means in the context of education and one will more than likely hear two very different definitions. Tom Little, the Head of School at Park Day School in Oakland, California, is putting this notion to the test by visiting nearly 40 progressive schools around the country and interviewing the educators he finds at these schools. His blog captures these visits and his ruminations regarding the current state of progressive education in the America. Each entry offers homey insights into a specific school, replete with photographs of school leaders and other visual evidence from curriculum or campus. As the current President of the Progressive Education Network, Mr. Little will most likely follow up on these visits with a publication that chronicles what Progressive Education looks like in the 21st Century. Until then, his blog serves as a wonderful repository of progressive practice in schools across the nation.

Christopher J. Lauricella, The Park School, NY
Park Day Blog, 2013
04_Schooling_makes_you_smarter Heritable Intelligence and the Wisdom of Intervention
Schooling Makes You Smarter: What Teachers Need to Know About IQ, by Richard. E. Nisbett

In this comprehensive review of the current research about IQ, Richard Nisbett, the co-director of the Culture and Cognition Program at the University of Michigan, definitively and decisively refutes all the biased and destructive views outlined in The Bell Curve by Herrnstein and Murray, theories which have haunted American cultural beliefs about intelligence as it correlates with race for the last twenty-five years. In a meticulous synopsis of research on IQ, Nisbett demonstrates the strong impact that environment has on heritable intelligence, the effects of stereotype threat, and the clear correlation of higher IQ with access to high quality teachers and enriched educational environments. This article is essential reading for all teachers and administrators as a potential corrective to the continuing influence of Herrnstein and Murray's work; it also reinforces the necessity of pushing for interventions to close the achievement gap for poor children in this country.

Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, NM
American Educator, Spring 2013
04_twenty_little_poems Rescuing Poetry from Pedantry and Compulsion
Twenty Little Poems that Could Save America: Imagining a Renewed Role for Poetry in the National Discourse - and a New Canon, by Tony Hoagland

In this pithy essay, excerpted from an upcoming book, poet Tony Hoagland rails against all the ponderous didactics that are always drawn to poems "that require a priest." When we teach poems with such affectation, we inadvertently leave poetry in the classroom, instead of liberating it to the world at large. Hoagland imagines poetry spurring us toward enhanced ethical deliberations in public policy debates, scaffolding reflection during critical moments of our lives, inspiring us to tell the truth better, to see better, to rage against "fake culture" which "makes us passive, materialistic, and tranced-out." But we have to be willing to teach poems that speak to us and to our students. Hoagland doesn't want to throw away the "old chestnuts" like Frost and Shakespeare; he simply wants students' first experience with poetry to be so vibrant, and so wonder-filled that they want to read all poems, rushing headlong back in time and text. That Hoagland initially trains his eye on public schools should not deter us. Hoagland's message about poetry, about how we might use it to deepen the quality of our attention, is surely relevant to independent schools, where efficiency and pragmatism are often inadvertently championed by those who wear too many hats, attend too many meetings, and celebrate overachievement.

Stephen J. Valentine, Montclair Kimberley Academy, New Jersey
Harpers.org, retrieved on 4/15/13
04_how_middle_school_failures Medical School and Middle School
How Middle School Failures Lead to Medical School Success, by Jessica Lahey and Tim Lahey

Jessica Lahey, independent school teacher and contributing writer to The Atlantic Magazine, teams up with her husband Tim Lahey, Associate Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, to compare notes on the importance of resilience. As educators working at two different points on the learning spectrum, the authors argue that Middle School is the time for students to learn the most difficult lesson of all: how to fail. The long term effects of proper dealing with failure translate into a resilient attitude and a more compassionate nature - two desirable qualities for both medical students and medical practitioners. Relying on the research of Carol Dweck, students with a growth, rather than fixed mindset, are poised for dramatic personal gains in a multifaceted approach to learning, which includes authentic failure. The authors encourage parents and teachers to create an environment where failure is an accepted and necessary part of the learning process. Of course the way that the authors define failure may be, in the independent school context, C+ or more alarmingly a B. If students and parents define failure as merely an average score, how will they negotiate the inevitable experience of an authentic failure? Since many of our students (and their parents) have aspirations in the medical field, this exploration serves as a microcosm for a larger application.

Gina Sipley, Buckley Country Day School, NY
The Atlantic Magazine, March 19, 2013
  Unfettering the Next Generation of Innovators
Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, by Tony Wagner

Consider this statistic: in 2009, 51% of US patents were awarded to non-US companies. Agreeing with Tom Friedman of The New York Times, who warned that only the jobs of innovators will be immune to outsourcing or automation, Harvard's Tony Wagner considers how educators can develop students' skills that matter for our country's future and their own well-being. While innovation is certainly about what happens (the pill that cures cancer, an energy source that doesn't pollute), it is more importantly about how it happens (the process or approach by which new thinking can unfold or scale up). For Wagner, this is why schools matter. Shaping tomorrow's problem-solvers requires that teachers also cultivate an attitude that enables these students to pursue new methods for resolving vexing dilemmas. In schooling, exploration and discovery, more than knowledge, define what is consequential. Wagner contemplates STEM and social innovators, and challenges educational institutions, which he describes as "deeply and inherently conservative," to teach students to create new knowledge and then apply it in fresh ways. Using Microsoft Tag Reader throughout, anyone with a smartphone can link to a profusion of videos that expand and enhance the text -- some mini-TED-like talks by important thinkers and others that feature young innovators.

Bruce Shaw, Bruce A Shaw Consulting
Trustee, Glen Urquhart School, MA
Scribner, 2012
  Memory and Learning--Some Counterintuitive Claims in the Digital Era
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer

With the ubiquity of personal technology and the increasing accessibility of information, using your memory seems to be going out of style. In the midst of this trend, Joshua Foer delves into the world of memory. He details ancient techniques for memorization and highlights the latest research on memory as he recounts his training for and participation in the US Memory Championships. One may wonder, though, how memorizing a shuffled deck of cards in less than two minutes or a string of 1500 random digits in an hour relates to educating children in the 21st Century? Foer even argues that memorizing is almost as antithetical to 21st century learning as is corporal punishment. However, in the course of his journey, Foer challenges the idea that memorization has no place in modern education. He illustrates that effective memorization is connected to a creative process of visualization and reminds us that a strong memory of facts and details forms a necessary basis for critical thinking and analysis. Though the book is intended to be an entertaining account of a journalist's journey into the subculture of competitive memorization, along the way it engages with essential questions about the nature of learning.

Michael Arjona, Walker School, GA
The Penguin Press, 2011
  The Tribal Basis of Schooling
The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment & Learning in the Classroom, by Louis Cozolino

As individuals reflect upon their schooling, the vivid memories that usually emerge have little to do with a curriculum mastered. Instead, the poignant experiences were social moments, moments in which individuals were part of or isolated from a group and either felt a sense of joy or pain. In Democracy and Education (1916), John Dewey described education as a social, communicative experience. In The Social Neuroscience of Education, Cozolino provides brain-based evidence for the social construction of knowledge and the importance of relationships and emotion to both learning and neural plasticity. Building upon the concept of tribe--rooted in cooperation and consensus building with power earned through service to others--Cozolino advocates for better exploration of social learning, which includes the application of knowledge to new situations, because these are the ways in which the brain constructs and reconstructs meaningful knowledge. Equally important passages underscore inhibitors to learning including insecure attachments, dangerous environments, and chronic stress. The Social Neuroscience of Education will benefit educators and administrators alike who seek to create the optimal environment for teachers' satisfaction, student engagement and achievement by providing for the most basic needs of our gregarious natures.

Lynn D. Casto, Charlotte Country Day School, NC
W. W. Norton & Company, 2013

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