We Live in a Competency-Based World

The Competency-Based Education Task Force Final Report was released earlier this month.

If you have children who won’t graduate out of the system within the next five years–or are enrolled in one of the ten pilot districts–you may want to read this report plus review the documents available on the Iowa CBE Collaborative page at the Iowa DE website; even though much of the work is yet to be done, plans are already being made for statewide implementation.

Competency-based education may or may not be a great idea–though it seems to me to be an awful lot of effort to reinvent Montessori minus a few essential features–but I am starting to think that there is nothing the DE considers too new or untested that they won’t try to immediately, if not sooner, impose it upon the entire state; if small pilot programs are good, then aren’t Universal Pilot Programs involving every student/school/district in the State even better? See also the Common Core Standards (adopted weeks after the final draft was released), Smarter Balanced Assessments (attempted to adopt before any test items were even pilot tested–and they would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling legislators!), teacher leadership and career pathways, tying teacher evaluations to student assessments, and online classes.


3 thoughts on “We Live in a Competency-Based World

  1. Matt Townsley

    Hi Karen,
    While I can’t speak for the entire CBE task force, I think it’s fair to share some members of the group did want to “require” aspects of CBE for all districts in Iowa. Other task force members were very adamant that it continue to be a grassroots movement. Here’s the best (albeit still vague) CBE explainer I’ve read https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/competency-based-pathways/2013/11/guidelines-pk-12-competency-based-pathways

    I’m admittedly not very well versed in the Montessori movement. Aside from doing some Google-ing on my own, would you have time to suggest a concise explainer of the Montessori philosophy? I am thinking about writing up a side-by-side CBE/Montesorri comparison (similar to this SBG vs. CBE http://mctownsley.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-is-difference-between-standards.html) to begin visualizing the similarities and differences. Do you think this type of comparison would be beneficial for you and/or others to read?

    1. Karen W Post author

      Hi Matt,
      I’ll have to think on the concise explainer of the Montessori philosophy. The very short answer is “follow the child,” but that probably isn’t very helpful.
      I think it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison. If you want, send me an e-mail (the address is in the sidebar) and I could see about putting together something more useful than I can manage in a blog comment.

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