Six months ago I started my website/blog and one of my posts included strange education vocabulary. Some of the words used to mean something relevant and different from their meaning today. But most of these words have been used by education reformers to change the nature of public schooling.
Many of the words or phrases today are rather amusing if not bizarre. Often they are subtly or boldly critical of teachers and public schools.
Consider “student-centered.” If you are a teacher when are you not student-centered? It reminds me of “teaching and learning” which, where I live, has been heavily used. Don’t you just presume a student will learn if a teacher teaches?
Some of these are tech related and I got them from Meris Stansbury of eSchool News http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/11/08/education-buzz-words-218/2/. The interpretations are my own.
Some new education reform words and acronyms along with my interpretations include:
- Anchor papers
- Arts integration—A euphemism for we have stolen your art programs but really we have art and music included in reading somewhere where we can test it. We have enough drama.
- BYOD (Bring your own device) and BYOT (Bring your own technology)—These sound too party-like for me.
- Common Core aligned—No comment needed.
- Digital Natives—The natives are restless!
- Flipping—Adults and teens might think differently about this term—neither of which is correct.
- Focus on learning—Don’t daydream.
- Future-proofing—I have absolutely no idea.
- Innovation skills—As opposed to the old dull skills of times gone by….
- KUDS (Know Understand and be able to Do)—as opposed to DUDs or DUH.
- Mission driven—What mission?
- MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)—Good luck!
- Sage on the stage and Guide on the side—Bore students by blathering on in a lecture. Or bore students by guiding them on the side.
- Sputnik moment—Quick call NASA or whoever.
- Tech-savvy—As opposed to not tech-savvy.
- Thinking out-of-the-box—I am guilty of saying this much too much.
- Tipping point—A bit worrisome if you tend to think negatively.
- Transparency—Really? Oh please!
- Tripod—I added this one in honor of Tennessee parents. What does it mean? Anyone? Hint. It has nothing to do with photography.
- Project-based—Instead of micro-managed school work you work on a project 5 minutes in-between test prep. Or you take it home and make your parents do it for you.
- Right-brain thinking—As opposed to left-brain thinking or no brain thinking or in the middle of the brain thinking.
If you have some strange education words to add, or your own interpretations, let me know. Here are the words. Enjoy the day.
- Academic goals
- Accelerated reading
- Across content areas
- Achievement gap
- Advance organizer
- Advanced placement
- Arts integration
- Assessing student learning
- Assistive technology
- Balanced literacy
- Basal alignment
- Best practices
- Big data
- Blended learning
- Building blocks
- BYOD (Bring your own device)
- BYOT (Bring your own technology)
- Career ready
- College and Career Ready
- College career
- College ready
- Common Core Aligned
- Common Core Alignment
- Common Core State Standards
- Community of learners
- Complex information
- Concrete examples
- Core beliefs
- Core knowledge
- Creative economy
- Critical analysis
- Critical thinking
- Curriculum framework
- Customer service
- Data class
- Data mining
- Deep understanding
- Deeper learning
- Defiant children
- Developmental Delay
- Differentiated instruction
- Digital literacy
- Digital Natives
- Disparities in funding
- Disruptive Technology
- Drill down
- Dual intensity
- Dynamic Indicators
- Early Learning Challenge
- Educating the Whole Child
- Education enterprise
- Education industry
- Education sector
- Education Trust
- Educational reform
- Excellence for All
- Exemplar materials
- Exit ticket
- Explanatory text
- External sources
- Failure is not an option
- Flip the classroom
- Focus on learning
- Freedom is
- Fully prepared
- Functional goals
- Global Competitor
- Global Economy
- Government schools
- Grade band
- Grade band ranges
- Graphic organizers
- Guide on the Side
- Healthy school
- High achievement
- High cohesion text
- High expectation
- Higher order thinking skills
- Higher performance
- Highly qualified
- Hyperbolic claims
- I can statements
- Informational text
- Innovation skills
- Key points
- KUDS (Know Understand and be able to Do)
- Learning cottages
- Learning intelligence
- Learning progressions
- Learning quotient
- Lock down
- Low expectation
- Media Center
- Media Specialist
- Merit pay
- Mission driven
- Mobile learning
- MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)
- Most effective models
- Natural learning systems
- New Leaders for New Schools
- No Child Left Behind
- No excuses
- Oppositional children
- Outcome driven
- Outcome-based instruction
- Peace Officers
- Perfection learning
- Performance indicators
- Performance pay
- Performance tasks
- Personalized learning
- Private sector
- Product descriptors
- Professional learning
- Programming comprehensive
- Project-based learning
- Public sector
- Push the envelop
- Qualitative dimensions
- Quality indicators
- Quantitative dimensions
- Race to the Top
- Reading First
- Recording observations
- Reflective assessment
- Renaissance learning
- Resource Officers
- Response to Intervention
- Rewards and Sanctions
- Right brain thinking
- Rigorous or rigor
- Rote learning
- Sage on the Stage
- Shape instruction
- Short-cycle assessments
- Simple graphics
- Skills gap
- Snapshot data
- Soft bigotry
- Special populations
- Sputnik moment
- Stand for Children
- Standards-based growth
- Standards guidance
- Status quo
- Strategic data
- Student-negotiated standards
- Student teaching design
- Summative assessment
- Targeted prescriptions
- Teach for America
- Teacher preparation
- Teacher quality
- Teaching and learning
- Test savvy
- Text complexity
- Tier 1
- Tier 2
- Tier 3
- Tipping point
- Top performing
- Top performing country
- Twenty-first century skills (21st Century)
- Universal preschool
- Unpack the Standards
- Using Outcomes Data
- Vision or visionary
- Whole brain
- Zero tolerance
I just discovered your website. It’s terrific. As to the edu-jargon, here’s my attempt to define a few.
1) Academic goals – arbitrary numbers related to students’ scores on standardized tests
2) Accountability – a means of placing the blame on anything that ails public schools squarely on teachers
3) Complex information – typically a monotonous “informational text”
4) Common Core Alignment – a yoga routine designed for body balance
5) Data-driven – using data to add bureaucratic burden to teachers and to create sweet-paying district jobs
6) Educating the Whole Child – a turning away from the decades-long practice of educating only students’ toes
7) Gap – Mind it
8) Mission driven – fond of posting educational bromides on school letter heads and websites
9) Push the envelop – the means by which corporations and billionaires dictate education policy by pushing an envelope with a big check inside across a table to policy makers
10) Rigorous or rigor – the adjective du jour for Common Core
11) Rote learning – the frowned upon practice that is generally foundational to developing the capacity for higher-level thinking
12) Tripod – 5% of a teacher’s evaluation resting on students’ replies to questions like “Does this classroom feel like a family?”
Nancy Bailey says
Thank you, Jorge. I will have to re-post this soon and give you credit for this.
Charlotte Vrooman says
Don’t forget “unpack the standards”
Nancy Bailey says
I will add, Charlotte. Thank you!
Robert D. Shepherd says
Some terms from Rheformish, aka Rhephormish, Rheeformish, an Deformish, one of the dialects of Goblish:
Common: base, low, vulgar
Core: indigestible; syn.: from the core, or pit
State: of the Leviathan, the totalitarian regime, top down
Standards: specifications for invariant, rigidly controlled outcomes; the bullet list to which education is to be reduced (see Powerpointing)
C.C.C.C.R.A.P.: Common Core College and Career Readiness Assessment Program
PARCC: CCRAP spelled backward
C.C.C.C.M.T.: Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth (MiniTru)
the Coleman: (weights and measures), a measure of co-incidence of arrogance and ignorance
DEFORMY MAGIC: (brand name), cure-all, magic elixir for ending failure (see failure)
failure: what schools in the United States have been doing
bee eater: unqualified but dependably Reformish sociopath in position of authority
radical: one who supports the imposition of top-down authority by oligarchs via the state
charter school: mechanism for diverting funds and the best students from public education and enriching the cousins, siblings, and golfing buddies of well-placed politicians and bureaucrats
public-private partnership: backroom deal; more generally, any mechanism for subverting or circumventing democratic processes
Secretary of Education: wind-up toy for plutocrats
union: universal scapegoat (see, however, AFT and NEA)
AFT and NEA: propaganda ministries of the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth
Race to the Top: mechanism for coercing compliance with the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth just within the legal limits (perhaps) of federal law prohibiting involvement of the Department of Education in mandating curricula
plutocrat: one who has “no seat whatsoever” at the policy table (definition from Arne Duncan)
data chat: local-level meeting to enforce the will of the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth; see waterboarding
inBloom: cradle-to-grave repository of all information about citizens, including disciplinary records, psychological records, cognitive and affective responses; see Total Information Awareness
computer-adaptive curricula: worksheets on a screen keyed to responses in the inBloom database and to the bullet list of standards from the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth; replacement for teachers
virtual school: school in which costly, difficult-to-control teachers have been replaced by computer-adaptive curricula (Teaching, there’s an app for that)
learning: mastery of the bullet list
teaching: punishment and reward via summative testing and feedback delivered to students via computer-adaptive worksheets on a screen
rigor: difficulty purposefully placed in the way of students
complex text: text that is intentionally beyond the ability of a student
readability: what a Lexile tells you, a determination based on word frequency and sentence length (e.g., Dylan Thomas’s “Time held me green and dying” is 1st-grade reading level)
education reform: see edufad
Common Core: Common name for Son of NCLB, aka NCLB Fright Night II: The Nightmare Is Nationalized
teacher: pimply adolescent from a wealthy private school given five weeks of training prior to spending two years doing Great Grates with dark-skinned children before going on to his or her real job in investment banking; (Archaic usage: whiny union member with ersatz degrees from an education school, responsible for failure)
The Bell Curve: the Rephormation bible
technocratic Philistinism: replacement for quaint old values of humane scholarship and research, teaching and learning
Nancy Bailey says
Robert, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! I am going to re-post this eventually and I will give you credit for this.
Máté Wierdl says
Nancy, thanks. The funny comments make it even clearer, how nonsensical this ed reform culture is.
Do people have the impression that this officious, overly verbose language is coming from business?
Nancy Bailey says
It certainly looks like that’s where it is coming from, but I don’t know how many understand that. Education has always had wordiness, but it’s worse. Thanks, Máté!
Susan Lee Schwartz says
Love it… I cross posted it a Oped news.with the comment copied below…. although the embedded links do not appear… so go here: http://www.opednews.com/Quicklink/More-Weird-New-Words-for-t-in-Best_Web_OpEds-Education_Education-Language_Educational-Crisis_Reform-161006-448.html#comment621486
I can’t wait to see what the teachers and the parents who read and write at the Ravitch Blog have to say about this.
I taught from 1963 to 2000 and I have survived the jargon of endless seminars and administrative lectures, but nothing that incorporates the mendacity and lies that have Orwell turning over in his grave (“Student’s First” says Michelle Rhee…. hahahahah or lOL as they say these days!)
Every now and then, however, some ‘jargon’ becomes part of what I say. When I was the NYC Cohort, for the Pew research on the National Standards ( using Harvard’s PRINCIPLES OF LEARNING) I attended seminars for 2 years, given by the staff developers of the LRDC) who teach the nation’s school sytems staff developers.
Talk about jargon. Good jargon repeated often, helps one to grasp a concept. Here are those I incorporate into my writing when I SPEAK AS A TEACHER because WORDS MATTER!
WLLL (my acronym) for What Learning Looks Like.
They began every seminar with that focus do we teachers actually recognize what learning looks like? Teachers who do this can explain to parents what real learning actually resembles, and CAN TEACH IN WAYS THAT KIDS LEARN… and you can bet IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE a child sitting ‘centered’ in front of a computer.
It does not look like a pretty room with lots of bulletin boards, but no real library of interesting, informative, books that children can read.
It does not look like a classroom where children sit as a teacher bullies them into listening and paying attention, as we see in some of the reformed charter schools.
WITT is another of my acronyms, from those years when i was privileged to be the cohort and to learn better PROFESSIONAL ‘practice’, even after 4 decades of teaching.
What It Takes To Teach, are those supporting practices of ADMINISTRATION and PARENTS. They are the TOP, and what they do, is passed DOWN to the BOTTOM, where the TEACHER is either aided or obstructed by
* Huge classes,
* No materials and,
* Anti-Learning MANDATES from non-educators and business people who run the show from above.
* Parents who make excuses for bad behavior, and who blame teachers
* Media that repeats lies about those bad teachers, and never reveal to the public WLLL… what learning Really looks like she a ‘real ‘teacher is in that classroom.
WORDS MATTER (as we have seen in this election cycle where a serial liar dissembles in public!
Duncan and clones of the top dogs in the EDUCATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, sold the narrative about ‘teaching’ (not learning) and the ‘reformers’ deformed a working public education system that raised millions of Americans into the middle class and beyond.
Cynthia B MannLCSW says
Thank you this fit for me perfectly!
Michael Fiorillo says
There are some terms that should be used far more frequently in the era of so-called education reform, but aren’t. They include:
Malanthropists (those who use taxpayer-subsidized non-profits to advance their financial and political interests).
Educational Vandals: see above.
Privateers/Profiteers: see above
Colonizers: bright, perky young things who helicopter in for a cup,of coffee in the classroom, want to “save” their students (usually by forcing them to withstand a punitive, boot camp, behavior modification-type classroom environment) and then leave to “go on to better things.”
Naifs: those who uncritically accept the premises of so-called reform, See Recruits, TFA and Colonizers, above.
Opportunists: those who uncritically go whichever way the wind blows, and are an essential cog in the so-called reform machine. See AdminBots.
Monsters: see Malanthropists, above.
The list goes on, and on, and on…
Toni Aldrich says
Please add growth mindset to your list…it is big in Washington State
Toni Aldrich says
I forgot to add AVID to your list…another acronym taking over Washington State…
Cynthia B MannLCSW says
Grit- because our traumatized, lunch program eligible, homeless kids living in foster care or with relatives don’t have enough GRIT?!
Mark Twain VI says
Grit is the key to student success. IF students eat enough grits each day at breakfast time starting in kindergarten, especially cheese grits with shrimp, then they will improve their SBAC/PARCC standardized test scores at least 100 points each year and be college and career ready by their senior year. Eric Hanushek’s research using VAM proves that this will happen.
Scholar – a child who is only worth his/her test score
(I am a preschool teacher and I laugh out loud when I see charter schools call their preschoolers “scholars”- like the older children. Then I cry. 🙂
My system has embraced “Personalized Learning” which means small group digital instruction that has to be developed by the teacher. The key jargon of “P.L.” is “Voice and Choice.”
Michael Fiorillo says
Indeed, the “voice and choice” of none other than Bill Gates.
Ann McCormack says
Anyone have any thoughts on/experience with the “mastery-based” vocabulary?
Do you know the meaning of the word ‘hyperlearning’ ‘hyperlearners’? If you find the meaning, please add it to the list. Your blog is super awesome!
Nancy Bailey says
That’s a good one. I will look it up! Thank you, Christal!
Nancy Bailey says
Wiki gives this definition: “A form of self-directed, non-linear learning using modern information technology.” Meaning the child teaches themselves. Hyperlexia is interesting. A student reads earlier than expected but has other verbal and social disabilities with comprehension.