The Public School Insights Blog
While poking around the internet today, we encountered what looks like the trailer to Dave Eggers' and Vanessa Roth's planned documentary on the professional lives of teachers. Eggers told me in our recent interview that they intend the documentary to transform public perceptions of teaching and fuel much stronger public support for public schools.
Eggers, a best-selling author, and Roth, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, certainly have the talent and fame to get their film noticed. Still, they have their work cut out for them.
Anyway, I suspect we'll hear more about this documentary in the coming months. ...
The recent dust-up between Senators Obama and McCain over a new "GI Bill" for veterans has drowned out news of a measure in the same bill that could save districts billions in the coming years.
This seemingly arcane measure has very important implications for public schools. As we pointed out in March, a Bush administration decision to prevent schools from claiming Medicaid reimbursements for transportation and administration costs could have an enormous impact on school district budgets across the country.
In late 2007, Congressional opponents of this change managed to delay implementation of the new rules until June 30, which is of course just around the corner. ...
I couldn't swing a cat over the past few days without hitting a reference to the virtues of performance assessment--thanks in large part to the Coalition of Essential Schools' effective promotion of National Exhibition Month, which "promote[s] and celebrate exhibitions as a preferred form of student assessment" ...
Alexander Russo's recent blog posting about the French film that received the Palme d'Or at Cannes last week caught my attention. The Class (Entre les Murs), which depicts a year in a junior high school that serves one of Paris's poorest neighborhoods, won nearly unanimous praise at Cannes--which is no mean feat. Here's hoping that the film crosses the pond soon and finds a large American audience. ...
In this third and final installment of our interview, Eggers announces his plans to create a new documentary depicting the professional lives of teachers. (You heard it here first.)
Eggers and Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Vanessa Roth are collaborating on a film they hope will do for teaching what An Inconvenient Truth did for the environment. Featuring footage taken by teachers themselves, the film aims to offer a first-hand view of the challenges educators face every day--and to inspire greater public support for teachers' work.
In the first installment of our interview with best-selling author Dave Eggers, Eggers told us about 826 National, the network of community-based centers he co-founded to help students with their expository and creative writing skills.
In this second installment, Eggers describes his strategies for motivating reluctant writers. These strategies include: ...
We've received and published five new public school and district success stories in the past weeks. Have a look at these inspiring accounts of what's working in American public schools and schools districts:
- Pateros School District, Washington: Arts Education Broadens Horizons in Washington State, May 5
- Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, Texas: In Texas, a Second Chance at a Bright Future, May 8
- Coachella Valley Unified School District, California: Awareness Initiative Boosts College Attendance, May 12
- Spencer County High School, Kentucky: Changing a Culture by Building Relationships, May 15
- Walker County High School, Tennessee: Innovative Courses in Math & Science Take Students from the Earth to the Sky--and to High Achievement, May 20
Dave Eggers found sudden and early fame when his 2000 Memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, quite nearly won the Pulitzer Prize. Since then, he has produced a prodigious body of work in both fiction and non-fiction, cementing his position as one of the nation's best young writers.
Eggers has also made a name for himself among public educators by founding and promoting 826 National, a network of 8 urban writing programs that offer tutoring to thousands of American students.
Recently, while fighting off a nasty infection, Eggers generously made time to tell me about the program, his strategy for motivating reluctant writers, and his plan to advocate for public school teachers.
Over the next week, Public School Insights will publish the interview in several installments. In today's installment, Eggers describes 826 National, its use of community resources, and its collaboration with public schools in the San Francisco Bay area. ...
On Friday, The Center on Reinventing Public Education and Education Sector released a new report detailing how federal, state and local school funding policies conspire to enrich schools that already have money and further impoverish schools that don't.
The report begins with a comparison of two elementary schools of similar size that enroll mostly low-income students: Cameron Elementary School in Virginia and Ponderosa Elementary in North Carolina. One crucial difference between the schools: Cameron receives approximately $14,040 in combined federal, state and local per-pupil funding, and Ponderosa receives only $6,773. Not surprisingly, Cameron teachers earn much more money than their counterparts at Ponderosa, Cameron attracts and retains many more experienced teachers, Cameron's average class size is substantially smaller, and Cameron's students fare far better on state assessments, meeting or exceeding state averages in mathematics and science. ...
Teacher, author, and Huffington Post blogger Dan Brown sent me the following explanation of his remarks on the dangerous, yet increasingly common, assumption that education reform requires "de-Baathification" of American public education: ...
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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