The Public School Insights Blog
Today, the Learning First Alliance (LFA), which sponsors Public School Insights, released a statement calling for a new federal role in supporting success for all American public school children. Transforming the Federal Role in America's Public Schools offers a framework to help a new president, administration, and Congress align federal policies with the needs of America's more than 50 million public school students.
The statement emphasizes support for students in need, as well as more effective and transparent accountability among key players in the system. The principles also call for greater collaboration among the federal government, states and districts. ...
For parents, staff and students at the John Stanford International School, it's never too early to go global. The diverse public elementary school in Seattle holds classes in Japanese, Spanish and English, focuses on world cultures, and even allows some students to attend school in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. All the while, students maintain impressive scores on Washington State assessments. (See our full story about the John Stanford School here.)
I recently caught up with three teachers from John Stanford, Maria Buceta Miller, Margretta Murnane and JoAnne Uhlenkott. They shared some of the secrets of their success.
You can download the entire 20-minute conversation here. You can also read through a transcript of highlights below.
Alternatively, you can download any of the following excerpts from the full interview: ...
Commentators have noticed that education was absent from yesterday's presidential debate. This just weeks after the masters of the Ed in '08 campaign closed up shop and declared victory in their quest to make education the election's top issue.
Bloggers have suggested credible reasons for Ed in '08's premature demise: The market inferno sucked all the oxygen out of the education debate. Wall Street failures damaged the reputation of business-inspired education reforms favored by Ed in 08's funders. ...
That's the tagline of a new ad campaign to discourage bullying and harassment of gay and lesbian students in American schools. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) teamed up with the Ad Council to launch the campaign, which targets pervasive but offensive phrases like "that's so gay"-a comment teens commonly use to describe anything unappealing: "When you say, 'That's so gay,' do you realize what you're saying? Knock it off."
The campaign is getting off the ground amidst news that 9 out of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (lgbt) youths suffer verbal of physical harassment in school. According to a new GLSEN School Climate Study, more than 1 in 5 report that they have been physically assaulted.
You can learn more about the campaign at http://www.thinkb4youspeak.com. ...
Reading the opinions of some think tank dwellers can get pretty discouraging. Many focus almost all their energies on teacher compensation or hiring models and seldom worry overmuch about how to build teachers' capacity for success.
Luckily, two items yesterday buoyed my spirits.
The first is a current Phi Delta Kappan article by Elena Silva, who attributes the success of Tennessee's Benwood Initiative to strong support for teachers. (See our profile of Chattenooga's "Benwood Schools," which boast impressive, long-term gains in student learning.)
Yes, pay incentives and some new teachers helped. But Silva argues that the district got the biggest bang for its buck from teachers who received "support and recognition from the whole community, resources and tools to improve as professionals, and school leaders who could help them help their students."
According to Silva, supporting teachers already working in low-performing schools pays off: ...
In the past few years, we've heard a great deal about the religious and ethnic intolerance tainting school curricula in Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. We hear less about the growing push in countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to promote tolerance in schools.
I had the privilege of speaking with His Excellency Dr. Hanif Hassan, the UAE's Education Minister, when he was in Washington about two weeks ago. (For those of you who don't know, the UAE is a small, prosperous and progressive country on the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia.) ...
...that has impelled people to respond to our recent interviews with Finnish education official Reijo Laukkanen and PISA assessment authority Andreas Schleicher. Most telephone calls and comments we've received reveal unabashed enthusiasm for Finland's support for teachers, whom Lukkanen and Schleicher credit for Finnish students' success on PISA, one of the most well-known international assessments.
Yet Stanford mathematician James Milgram takes a different tack. In a comment he sent us yesterday, he questions both Finland's preeminence in mathematics and PISA's ability even to detect such high achievement. ...
Every couple of weeks, we give our readers an update on new stories we've published about public schools and school districts that are succeeding against tough odds. Here's our most recent batch:
- A Middle School Aims for a Blue Ribbon in Alabama's Black Belt, 10/3/2008
- An Elementary School is Taking Flight in Queens, 9/25/2008
- Partnership of Expertise and Knowledge is Empowering Teachers in a Virginia School District, 9/17/2008
- A Full-Service Elementary School is healing students and communities in New York, 9/9/2008 ...
Like many others, I've been wondering what lessons educators and students can draw from the current financial crisis. Certainly, schools should do more to teach financial literacy: Americans could stand to know much more about credit. Schools could perhaps also do more to instill character in students: Financial wizards could have done much more to rein in their greed.
But the crisis offers a third--and I would argue larger--lesson, a real teachable moment: We're all in this together.
This fact seems lost on some people who readily understand the first two lessons. One generally thoughtful education blogger argued against big financial bailouts on the grounds that borrowers who lived well beyond their means should experience a chastening dose of failure. Many others have rejected bailouts on the grounds that Wall Street hucksters shouldn't profit from their sins. ...
If there was ever a time for financial literacy, it is now. ...
Click here to browse dozens of Public School Insights interviews with extraordinary education advocates, including:
- Actress/Mathematician Danica McKellar on girls and math
- Best Selling Author Kenneth C. Davis on engaging with history
- Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Danielson on providing health care at school
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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