The Public School Insights Blog
Editor’s note: This post is from our partners at Special Olympics Project UNIFY. Each week in January, we will feature a new article on a topic related to the social inclusion of youth with intellectual disabilities. Through this effort, we hope to inform the public of the importance of such inclusion as well as offer educators and parents resources to implement it.
Haylie Bernacki , the newest member of the LFA team, is currently a student at American University in Washington, DC, majoring in International Relations (focus on International Development) with a minor in Special Education. Haylie’s professional goal is to work in international education policy, specifically special education.
Haylie presently works at Special Olympics International in the Project UNIFY division. Project UNIFY works directly with students in K-12 to enhance school climate and create school communities of acceptance and inclusion for all students regardless of ability level. She also serves as a board member for the National Coalition for Academic Service Learning (NCASL). NCASL supports state education agencies and education professionals by providing leadership and resources that lead to the intentional and sustainable use of academic service-learning as an engaging pedagogy in the instructional setting. ...
To close out the 2012 calendar year, the Learning First Alliance is pleased to bring you the five most viewed success stories from our collection of more than 160 stories housed on our site. Criteria for inclusion is relatively straight forward – the story must show that a school, district or state identified a challenge, addressed it and produced positive results through their efforts. These results are measured in a variety of ways, from increased graduation rates or decreased dropout rates, to improved standardized test scores or positive outcomes in student health and behavior. Other indicators may revolve around parent engagement or improved classroom performance.
These stories were selected based on our Google Analytics numbers that reflect our audience views from the past year. We wish you happy reading and a Happy New Year!
As we look ahead to what we hope to accomplish in education in 2013, it behooves us to also reflect on 2012. We reelected a president whose administration is committed to the issue (but whose policies we do not always agree with) and has granted many states waivers to key aspects of the nation’s top education law, No Child Left Behind. We moved closer to a vision in which students in Mississippi learn to the same high standards as those in Montana and Massachusetts as we worked to implement the Common Core. States and districts across the nation navigated new terrain in teacher evaluation and tenure. Educators continued exploring how to best take advantage of new learning technologies – flipping classrooms, starting one-to-one iPad initiatives, preparing for a shift to online assessments and more.
With all that happened in 2012, what garnered the most attention from you, our readers? Here are our top five posts of 2012 (as indicated by our trusty Google Analytics tracking system). Enjoy!
5. Rethinking Principal Evaluation. Principals are second only to teachers among the in-school influences on student success. Yet we don’t hear much about how to measure their performance – and the little research that exists on the issue suggests that current evaluation systems are far from adequate.
4. Can Arts Education Help Close the Achievement Gap? Research suggests that arts education can help narrow the achievement gap that exists between low-income students and their more advantaged peers. But ...
We often hear that the United States has dropped to 16th in the world when it comes to the percentage of adults who earn college degrees – it is a talking point used consistently by both U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama. And the Administration is calling for us to regain the lead in this arena, for the good of the nation.
But is the situation really so simple? As with so many education claims, do we do ourselves a disservice when we accept these statements and goals at face value? In a recent report, Getting Back on Top: An International Comparison of College Attainment, Where the U.S. Stands, the National School Boards Association's Center for Public Education unpacked the data behind these talking points. And some of their findings were a bit surprising.
It turns out that the United States ranks second in the world – behind only Norway – when it comes to the percentage of adults age 25-64 with a bachelor's degree or better (32%). However, we rank 18th in the world in the percentage of adults with a two-year degree (10%). Without differentiating between the two, we rank 5th in the world among the percentage of adults with degrees, at ...
The power of collaboration seems, at times, to be the best kept secret in education reform. Despite district variance, efforts to increase student achievement levels often see higher levels of success when all stakeholders work together. Studyville School District (the name has been changed to preserve anonymity) is just one such example. It is a story of collaboration and compromise in which stakeholders came together to design and implement a more effective teacher evaluation system. We live in an era where evaluation and accountability dominate the national education conversation and where student outcomes are being tied to merit pay and teacher performance. It is imperative, given the high-stakes nature of evaluation, that such systems are put in place with fidelity and the buy-in of all actors. ...
Updated 12/17/12 & 12/18/12
All children deserve to be safe at school. But sometimes, as on December 14, 2012, the unthinkable happens. The deepest sympathies of the entire education community go out to those in Newtown, Connecticut, as they deal with a horrendous tragedy.
As American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said on the day of the incident, "The entire AFT community is shaken to its core by this massacre of young children and the educators and school employees who care for and nurture them. … We grieve for them all, and our prayers are with the Sandy Hook Elementary School community and all of Newtown, as well as the AFT nurses caring for victims at Danbury Hospital, following this heinous act.” Read the complete statement…
The Association for Middle Level Education grieved the tragedy, pointing out that "As educators, we care deeply about our students, and while we struggle to make sense of such an event, students struggle as well. It is particularly important to help students as they process the emotions generated by a traumatic event. ... We need to help calm their fears and bring back a sense of security and help parents and caregivers understand the importance of attending to their children with respect to the fears and anxieties that such a situation invokes." Read the complete statement...
National Association of Elementary School Principals Executive Director Gail Connelly mourned the tragic loss of life resulting from the shooting at the school, including that of the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was a member of NAESP. As she pointed out, “Elementary schools are meant to be safe havens that nurture and support our nation’s children, which makes ...
Editor's Note: Our guest blogger today is Derryn Moten. Derryn is a Professor of Humanities and Co-President of the Faculty-Staff Alliance at Alabama State University. He serves on the AFT* Teacher Preparation Task Force, which recently released a report entitled “Raising the Bar: Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession.” Here, he shares his thoughts on why this report is so important.
What will it take to ensure that all new teachers are prepared to teach a diverse student body in the rapidly-changing 21st Century? I teach at a historically black university with the oldest state-supported college of education in the nation, so I’m very interested in having an open dialogue about how to answer this question. Those of us who collaborated on the AFT’s recent report, Raising the Bar, are all striving to answer that question, too.
Our work on this report was guided by two assumptions. First, if teacher preparation matters, then assessing student teacher performance throughout their matriculation in teacher training programs matters. Likewise, to paraphrase AFT President Weingarten, teacher preparation standards should be done by us rather than done to us. Our schools of education have graduated many wonderful teachers, whose service to the nation’s students is of immeasurable value. But in order to help the next generation of teachers reach their fullest potential in their work with students, we must make sure our teacher preparation programs are of consistently high quality, and we as educators must reclaim ownership of ...
If you are ever curious about the nuances and challenges of local policy-making and governance, look no further than the U.S public education system. When you consider the statistics and actors – nearly 14,000 school districts, 95,000 principals and more than 90,000 school board members – it is no wonder that public schools see higher levels of success when local leaders come together to collaborate and develop solutions.
The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) represents the state boards of education that govern and design education policy at the state level. These bodies set the tone, agenda, and overall vision for their state. One area in which their leadership is urgently needed: education technology. To that end, NASBE recently commissioned a study group, whose core composition consisted of 18-20 state board members, that produced Born in Another Time: Ensuring Educational Technology Meets the Needs of Students Today – and Tomorrow. This report puts forth a vision for education technology in our nation’s public schools, along with key recommendations on how to get there. In essence, it takes a big, bold vision for 21st century learners and ...
We’ve all heard about the fiscal cliff that the nation will go over in January unless Congress takes action. Included in that cliff: Sequestration, 8.2% budget cuts to all federal discretionary spending programs – including education programs like Title I (which targets money to low-income students), IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which sends money to special education students), Title II (which provides money to improve teacher quality) and the Rural Education Achievement Program (which helps small, rural school districts).
According to a July survey by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), school administrators are planning for these budget cuts in a variety of ways. If the cuts come through, they will be reducing professional development, increasing class size, reducing academic programs (enrichment, after-school, interventions and so on), deferring technology purchases, laying off staff (both non-instructional and instructional), cutting bus transportation and more.
These cuts would be devastating to schools and students. But they would not be shared equally: New data from AASA shows that sequestration would disproportionately impact disadvantaged youth. ...
When implemented well, expanded learning time (lengthening the school day, school week and/or school year) has led to impressive results in schools around the country. And U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has long called on more schools to embrace the policy, both because he believes that American students spend less time in school than students in the nations we are competing with (though some evidence suggests that might not be the case) and because he believes that the hours between 3pm and 6pm are the peak hours for juvenile crime (which evidence supports).
The Secretary was on hand yesterday at the introduction of the TIME (Time for Innovation Matters in Education) Collaborative, a partnership between the National Center on Time in Learning (NCTL) and the Ford Foundation that will allow participating schools in five states (Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee) to add 300 hours of instruction and enrichment for all their children. To be a part of the collaborative, states and districts had to agree to use a mix of federal, state and district funding to cover the costs ...
Click here to browse dozens of Public School Insights interviews with extraordinary education advocates, including:
- 2013 Digital Principal Ryan Imbriale
- Best Selling Author Dan Ariely
- Family Engagement Expert Dr. Maria C. Paredes
The views expressed in this website's interviews do not necessarily represent those of the Learning First Alliance or its members.
Excellence is the Standard
At Pierce County High School in rural southeast Georgia, the graduation rate has gone up 31% in seven years. Teachers describe their collaboration as the unifying factor that drives the school’s improvement. Learn more...
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