Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Public Schools Are Transforming Education in the Twenty-First Century

Overview


While education reformers and policy makers grapple with big fixes and the politics of national initiatives, most teachers and parents share the simple and urgent desire for students—especially those from low-income communities—to be on the road to college and ultimately to develop into people who will be equipped to thrive in the unpredictable future ahead of them. Nevertheless, the great majority of American schools do not respond to this urgent need. And just what this sort ...
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Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Public Schools Are Transforming Education in the Twenty-First Century

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Overview


While education reformers and policy makers grapple with big fixes and the politics of national initiatives, most teachers and parents share the simple and urgent desire for students—especially those from low-income communities—to be on the road to college and ultimately to develop into people who will be equipped to thrive in the unpredictable future ahead of them. Nevertheless, the great majority of American schools do not respond to this urgent need. And just what this sort of education looks like, day to day, remains elusive.

In Deeper Learning, education strategist Monica R. Martinez and sociologist Dennis McGrath take us inside eight schools that have set out to transform the experience of learning. In these schools, we meet teachers and students who show us just what "Deeper Learning" looks like. The examples from these pages—from high school kids developing energy-saving solutions alongside engineers to young people discovering the complexities of sustainability on an oral history expedition to Appalachia—offer an inspiring and expanded vision of what’s possible in schools today.

An accessibly written showcase of schools and practices designed to empower educators and students alike, here is a book for all who are concerned with the dual need for American schools to be genuinely innovative and to embrace what works. Deeper Learning demonstrates how students in their teen years can become passionate learners and global citizens ready to take on a world increasingly defined by new technologies, economic shifts, and profound social challenges.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/28/2014
The inspirational tone Martinez and McGrath (The Collaborative Advantage) take in their presentation of the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Deeper Learning initiative masks a reliance on qualitative rather than quantitative evidence. Deeper Learning, as defined by the authors, develops “the single most important ability students should possess: the capacity for learning how to learn.” Anecdotal examples from schools using project-based learning, co-opted here under the Deeper Learning umbrella, demonstrate the advantages of combining experiential education with traditional methods, but the sample group is unrepresentative. Of the eight schools mentioned, half are charter or magnet schools, and all are substantially smaller than average. While the fewer than 300 students at Portland, Maine’s Casco Bay High School no doubt love the experience of camping in yurts and kayaking with teachers, would that be realistic for a high school serving 4,000 students? Evidence of academic performance and college achievement would have been helpful in determining whether, once students learned how to learn, lasting knowledge was the result. (June)
From the Publisher

"It is a fast read and will interest educators who want to produce self-motivated, passionate learners with a goal that looks beyond passing tomorrow's quiz."
Library Journal

"In the tradition of Ted Sizer, Pedro Noguera, Gloria Ladson-Billings, and other innovative thought leaders, Martinez and McGrath provide inspiring examples of what deeper, student-centered learning looks like in practice. Communities across the nation must use the principles outlined in this book to fundamentally transform schools into places where Deeper Learning flourishes as a rule rather than an exception."
—Warren Simmons, executive director, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University

"What do 'reinvented' schools look like—schools that prepare all students for college and for an innovation economy? This fascinating series of portraits offers a road map for the future of education. Deeper Learning is a wonderful book that should be read by every educator, parent, and policy maker."
—Tony Wagner, Harvard University, and author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap

"Deeper Learning is both informed and informative. From California to Maine, eight exemplary public schools show us how teachers and principals are finding creative ways to impact the learning and life chances of high school youth. This book is a clarion call to celebrate the imagination and commitment of educators in these and other stellar public schools."
—Mary Brabeck, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

"This compelling book reveals how eight schools are navigating the transition from industrial-era teaching to twenty-first-century learning. A rare blend of inspiration and practical action."
—Tom Carroll, president emeritus, National Commission on Teaching and America's Future

"Deeper Learning is a refreshing reminder that the best schools are defined by a commitment to motivating, challenging, and connecting students to their own lives and their own learning."
—Elena Silva, senior associate, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-06
The authors contend that learning how to learn is the most essential skill for 21st-century students."Deeper Learning" is the term education advisers Martinez and McGrath (The Collaborative Advantage: Lessons from K-16 Educational Reform, 2005, etc.) use to describe the educational goals they advocate. "Deeper Learning," they write, "is the process of preparing and empowering students to master essential academic content, think critically and solve complex problems, work collaboratively, communicate effectively, have an academic mindset, and be self-directed." It's hard to imagine any school system arguing against these laudable aims, but the authors assert that most American schools fall short of achieving them. Setting Common Core State Standards, they believe, is a step in the right direction, but implementing those standards has been challenging, and they serve as only "one element" in getting students to acquire the knowledge and skills they need. The authors cite eight schools that have met the goals of Deeper Learning, including the Avalon Charter School in St. Paul, Minnesota; Impact Academy of Arts & Technology, a charter high school in Hayward, California; Science Leadership Academy, a magnet high school in Philadelphia; and High Tech High, a charter school in San Diego. These schools represent diverse ethnic and economic populations but are "slightly smaller than the norm" for American high schools. Indeed, with all having fewer than 600 students, the schools selected are far smaller than high schools in many U.S. cities, which serve thousands. Six chapters show how each school meets Deeper Learning goals: establishing collaborative learning communities; fostering students' self-direction; contextualizing and integrating subjects; taking education outside of the school and into the community; motivating students to discover their own interests; and incorporating technology to enhance learning.The anecdotes are uplifting, but the authors are not persuasive about the ease of adapting these schools' strategies to larger, financially strapped settings.
Library Journal
05/15/2014
The Deeper Learning (DL) movement stresses student-directed, collaborative work, critical thinking, mastery of essential content, effective communication, and problem-solving skills over education delivery methods used in schools today, which are portrayed as outdated, passive, and boring. Martinez (educational researcher and strategist) and McGrath (sociology, Community Coll. of Philadelphia; coauthor, The Collaborative Advantage: Lessons from K-16 Educational Reform) highlight eight public secondary schools, each with significant minority enrollments and free and reduced-price lunch populations, to show the DL principles in action. Flexible schedules, independent student work time, less teacher oversight, mentoring, networking with outside experts, and finding hooks that draw students into their own educational process are all discussed. One chapter speaks to technology, which is deemed an essential tool that ideally adds to, rather than interferes with, the educational process. VERDICT This book offers a clear introduction to DL ideas and methods and the motivation behind them. It is a fast read and will interest educators who want to produce self-motivated, passionate learners with a goal that looks beyond passing tomorrow's quiz.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch., Fort Worth, TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595589590
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/17/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 428,712
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Monica R. Martinez, PhD, is a former president of the New Tech Network and was previously vice president of Knowledge Works. In 2011 she was appointed by President Obama to serve on the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. A Colorado native, she currently lives in the Bay Area. Dennis McGrath, PhD, is a professor of sociology at the Community College of Philadelphia where he won the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. He is the author of The Collaborative Advantage: Lessons from K-16 Educational Reform, among other works. He lives in Philadelphia.
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Table of Contents


The schools featured in the book are:
MC2 STEM High School in Cleveland, Ohio
Impact Academy of Arts & Technology in Hayward, California
Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
King Middle School and Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine
Rochester High School in Rochester, Indiana
High Tech High in San Diego, California
Avalon School in St. Paul, Minnesota
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