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What to Watch: Colbert and Duncan Top Ten Lists

By November 7, 2014December 30th, 2021No Comments
We all make lists – grocery shopping lists, to do lists, wish lists – which we use to make our lives easier by focusing priorities. For people that live by lists, the ultimate satisfaction is crossing-off items on the lists. The most publically known list is David Letterman’s Top Ten List. Over the years, millions of late night viewers have paid attention to Letterman’s lists and his roasting of public figures and attention to current controversial topics.
A Google search reveals that lists abound in public education:
  • The Top 10 Issues in Education
  • The Top 10 Challenges Facing Education
  • The Top 10 Things Students Should Learn in School
  • The Top 10 Things Parents Should Know When Selecting a School
  • The Top 10 Things Right with Public Schools
  • The Top 10 Things Wrong with Public Schools
  • The Top 10 Things Students Should Learn in School
  • The Top 10 Best Schools in America
  • The Top 10 Mistakes in Education
  • The Top 10 Technology Resources for Education

On April 11th, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan outlined his list of priorities in a 30-minute interview with Education Week. Michele McNeil reported that chief among the topics were transition to new standards and tests. Duncan also indicated further necessary changes to education including new teacher evaluations tied to test scores, preschool expansion, overhaul of teacher preparation programs, and college affordability.

Also this spring, Ross Brenneman reported that the Common Core States Standards “continue to trickle into the public consciousness” and that the pseudo-conservative character played by Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report “ripped into the common-core-aligned tests, which have many parents and teachers worried.” Colbert described the case of a 2nd grader whose response on a test to give a written explanation for how he reached a math solution wrote, “I talked to my brain and I agreed with the answer my brain thought of.” “Folks, this child has a bright future,” Colbert said, “He is only in 2nd grade and can already clearly explain what it feels like to think,” Colbert said. “Now we just need to get him to explain what that feels like to whoever wrote the common-core questions.”

When Stephen Colbert replaces David Letterman on late night TV it will be interesting to see if he keeps the Top 10 List as a staple and if education will be one of the topics. Public awareness of current issues in education should be the top of everybody’s list.

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