For her leadership in the areas of teacher quality and educational equity and reform, the Learning First Alliance has named Stanford professor and accomplished author Linda Darling-Hammond as our 2013 Education Visionary Award winner.
By Andrea Cahn and Betty Edwards
When you see me, I want you to see that we are alike.
When you see me, I want you to see that I get nervous sometimes.
When you see me, I want you to see a happy dancer.
When you see me, I want you to see a football player.
When you see me, I want you to see someone who tries to be a good friend.
The statements above are from It’s Our School, Too, a play reflecting poignant quotes and perceptions of students who for far too long have felt excluded from the fabric of the school—those with intellectual disabilities. Written by Suzy Messerole and Aamera Siddiqui and commissioned by Special Olympics Project UNIFY®, It’s Our School, Too! is based upon interviews with youth from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area and members of Special Olympics Project Unify Youth Activation Committee. The play provides insight into the world of students with intellectual disabilities and the varying opportunities they have to be an integral part of the school.
Identified as a significant civil rights issue, social inclusion speaks to the needs of all youth to learn and live within an environment that recognizes their strengths and ...
By Nora Howley, Manager of Programs, NEA Health Information Network
March and April bring spring break for millions of students. Summer break is just around the corner. And for too many students, vacation may mean easy access to their parent’s medicine cabinet. From cough syrup to pain killers, too many young people are able to access prescription and non-prescription drugs.
Students might seek to emulate media stars by ingesting a “sizzurp’ (a mixture of codeine cough syrup, fruit flavored soda, and a jolly rancher). Or they may decide to try their parent’s painkillers. Or they may seek out a classmate’s ADHD drug. And they may find themselves in the hospital with a seizure or an overdose.
The 2012 Monitoring the Future study found that 21.2% of high school seniors reported that they had improperly used a prescription drug. So while most young people are making the right choices, too many are putting themselves at risk. ...
The following blog post is from Samantha Huffman and was written in response to a recent article about a special needs student who was bound with duct tape during school.
Samantha is a former National Youth Activation Committee member and current senior, studying Elementary Education at Hanover College. Samantha has been a student leader in Project UNIFY for many years.
I recently went to a conference where a young man with cerebral palsy kept bringing up how we needed to focus on students with disabilities being tied down to chairs or restrained and/or harmed in some other way by educators. I kept thinking to myself how this wasn’t important because this would never be allowed to happen in a school in today’s society. I’m a senior Elementary Education major and never once in my four years of classes have we addressed the idea of restraining students because that’s just plain wrong, isn’t it? Well, apparently I was living in some kind of dream world and this young man at the conference was living in the real world. ...
In the work that the Learning First Alliance (LFA) has undertaken over the past months in gathering data on public attitudes and perceptions of public education, one common assumption among the general public becomes clear:
- Student success and teacher effectiveness are related to a single quality - caring
So, the public and educators alike believe that if teachers care about their students and the students with whom they work believe their teacher cares about them as individuals, the likelihood of learning taking place is high. This doesn’t imply that subject level knowledge and pedagogical skill aren’t important, it just states that those two characteristics don’t work effectively if the educator doesn’t care about the students he or she is working with. ...
By Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
In July, the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) held its first national conference in nearly a decade to remind educators and community leaders of the dire circumstances faced by some of our nation's students. The conference challenged all leaders to “pursue justice for children with urgency and persistence.”
Although the challenges public education faces -- fiscally, economically, politically, and socially -- are complex, there are discrete solutions that we can leverage right now to transform learning.
- Too many of our children are uninsured and, thus, lack access to healthcare.
- Too many of our children lack access to nutritious foods.
- Too many of our children are not college-ready.
Research has demonstrated clearly that health and learning are linked (see Charles Basch’s Healthier Students are Better Learners for incredible detail on the subject). Furthermore, we know that these issues are more acute in our most vulnerable populations: students living in low-income, urban, rural, or ...
A new study that tracks the long-term effects of bullying suggests that intervention efforts are well worth attention and investment. While some consider bullying to be a rite of passage - it is certainly a common occurrence – the behavior adversely affects student learning and can account for higher rates of absenteeism. Nationally, 160,000 students miss school on a daily basis due to a fear of being bullied or attacked. ...
By Annelise Cohon and Lisa Sharma Creighton, NEA Health Information Network
"Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day," that’s the March National Nutrition Month 2013 theme. In celebration of the observance we’d like to share three ways you can work to promote good nutrition at your school by increasing access to school breakfast, ensuring all food sold in school is healthy, and encouraging nutrition education and physical activity at school.
(1) Increase access to school breakfast. Research confirms that eating breakfast at school helps children learn. When students are hungry, they struggle academically and are at risk for long-term health issues. In the U.S., 1 in 5 children struggle with hunger according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Below are important resources for teachers, principals and administrators, and parents to increase access to school breakfast and positively impact hunger.
- Teachers: The NEA Health Information Network (NEA HIN) hears from educators who are on the frontlines of hunger. We created the “Start School with Breakfast: A Guide to Increasing School Breakfast Participation” in partnership with ...
The Commission on Equity and Excellence had a Congressional mandate to provide advice to Secretary Duncan on the disparities in meaningful educational opportunities and to recommend ways in which federal policies can address such disparities. They just released a report titled “For Each and Every Child,” after a two year work period. The distinguished members of the panel, with diverse professional backgrounds and different political ideologies, focused on the inequality in our nation’s public school system as the primary driver behind two achievement gaps, the internal domestic gap and the international gap. Their conclusions and recommendations won’t surprise education professionals, but the report serves as a well-timed call to action for the struggles facing African American students, particularly males, during Black History Month. The opportunity gap also exists for a significant number of Hispanic and Native American students. ...
Congress is in session; the President delivers the State of the Union address; and education groups convene in DC to showcase excellence, visit policymakers, and advocate for 21st century skills. Over the past several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to attend meetings here in the nation’s capital that spotlight strategies for strengthening our public schools and celebrate those that are successful in supporting student achievement. It’s clear that there’s not only lots of work to be done, but that many dedicated citizens are working to improve the lives of all our children. It’s also clear to me that the work is complicated and the challenges varied and localized. ...
By Nora L. Howley, Manager of Programs, NEA Health Information Network
February is American Heart Month, and NEA HIN believes that schools can help build the heart health of students and staff by making the school day more physically active. From physical education to recess, there are many ways for schools to become more “active.” ...
A VISION FOR GREAT SCHOOLS
On this website, educators, parents and policymakers from coast to coast are sharing what's already working in public schools--and sparking a national conversation about how to make it work for children in every school. Join the conversation!