Developing deeper learning competencies in the United States

Guest blog written by Rholyn Barnhart

I was born in a very small town in the Philippines. Majority of the source of income in our town relates to fishing and trading goods. My family is one of the many families who wanted to go out of our current state of life – working just to survive. My mom’s hope is for my siblings and I to earn as much education as we can and read so we understand… It has been my dream to go to Harvard.

When I signed up for the course, I was in a great deal of frustration. I am starting to develop revulsion in “the system” and an internal chaos to my preferred profession. I thought, I have been teaching for almost eighteen years and have moved from country to country, yet the problem in the education system seems to revolve around political, legal, organizational, or personal authority gaps. For that reason, I started reaching out to people in “the system”. I was not aware that some authority figures follow a very rigid communication protocol. Before this course, I have an initial assumption that when an authority figure is tasked to function in a certain role, they would welcome ideas that would potentially provide a positive influence on authentic student outcomes. My assumption was wrong. It led me to a state of hopelessness, and I felt that I was on a ‘big stuck’.  

My implementation challenge is around Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) – a data driven approach that centers whole child metrics in responding to student’s individualized needs. It aims to ensure that the newly revised educational law in 2015, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), promote innovation, flexibility, transparency, accountability, and to reduce burden, while maintaining essential protections for all students.

Before I signed up for this course, I have been reading and compiling plenty of research, playbooks, guidelines, handbooks, and policies both international and local resources. The more I read, the more I am trapped. I felt that the mythology about Sisyphus felt the same way I felt. On the other hand, I did not stop. I thought that there should be a way to make ‘progress’ somewhere, somehow. Then, my Implementing Public Policy journey began. I felt hopeful again to explore and adapt the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) toolkit – A DIY Approach to Solving Complex Problems. Through this process, I have learned that this journey is just the genesis of what is yet to happen.

Continue reading Developing deeper learning competencies in the United States