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What Winter 2015 Can Teach Us About Education

This article originally appeared in WBUR's Cognoscenti.

This winter has tested me. In the past four weeks, eight feet of snow and six snow days have held my wife and me hostage with two young children. As an educational researcher, I have spent these house-bound days wondering why our schools’ testing programs do not better resemble this winter’s comprehensive assessments.

Consider my captivity: Reading “The Cat in the Hat Came Back” on a continuous loop with my son and daughter, while they invent new and creative ways to induce mutual meltdowns. Does a better way to measure control over one’s emotions exist for any parent?

Snow shoveling is a (repeated) trial of my strength and physical endurance.

Figuring out how to stem the water dripping from our ceiling (complex problem-solving, in education lingo) rounds out the evaluation.

While the quantity of snow is a freakishly rare occurrence — the experience of graduating from our schools with few life skills is all too common.

All my years of schooling provided no formal preparation for these events. While the quantity of snow is a freakishly rare occurrence — the experience of graduating from our schools with few life skills is all too common. ...

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