Best practice tells us that schools should be run like businesses. To develop students with grit and growth mindsets who are college- and career-ready, teachers should collaborate in data-driven Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to unpack academic standards and create rigorous yet authentic learning experiences which will foster student engagement. Yet, instead of teaching to the test and treating children as data points, teachers should differentiate their instruction and use flipped classrooms to add value to their instruction.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. According to your votes, the above paragraph includes the 16 educational words and phrases which represent the most obnoxious, dreadful, and overused buzzwords of the 2017 education season.

While our profession is rife with atrocious and meaningless vocabulary, these 16 terms rose through the stench to take their position as the “worst of the worst” – the SOUR Sixteen, so to speak.

If you missed the opportunity to participate in round one, you still have a chance to help us narrow the field into our FOUL FOUR and award the champion of the “Worst Education Buzzword of 2017.”

From your selections, I have taken the top four from each of the original categories (student-centered, classroom-based, reform-based, educational phrases) and placed them in a 16-word bracket, similar to the approach taken by the NCAA for selecting and ranking the March Madness teams.

The term “Rigor/Rigorous” enters the Sour 16 as the number 1 seed, receiving votes from nearly 60% of respondents. The number 2 seed is “Unpacking the Standards” with 53.1%.

Will one of these two terms win the prize as worst buzzword or will one of the other terms or phrases pull the upset?  That depends on you! Every buzzword that made the SOUR 16 is certainly worthy of the honor.

For this next round, your vote is important in selecting the “FOUL FOUR.” You’ll do this by voting for the worst buzzword from each the following pools. The term which garners the most votes of the FOUL FOUR will be named the 2017 champion.

Here’s are the final brackets:

Pool A:

  • Rigor
  • Student Engagement
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Data points

Pool B:

  • College and Career Ready
  • Value-Added
  • Teaching to the Test
  • Best practice/Research says …

Pool C:

  • Unpacking the Standards
  • Flipped Classroom
  • Schools should be run like businesses
  • Growth Mindset

Pool D:

  • Data Driven
  • Grit
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Authentic Learning / Assessment

Voting ends at 6:00 p.m., Monday, March 20.