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 Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, Assistant to the President for Educational Issues, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Last month, AFT president, Randi Weingarten called for a moratorium on the stakes associated with Common Core-aligned assessments. Let me be clear, the AFT has long been a supporter of higher common standards and expectations for all students, regardless of ZIP code.
From the outset, we've maintained that the standards themselves would only be as good as the system that supports them: aligned curricula and classroom resources (including state-of-the-art online tools); meaningful, sustained professional development; time for teachers and other staff to adapt to the new standards; aligned and timely assessments that support college and career readiness and inform instruction; and participation of family and community stakeholders in the awareness-building, advocacy and support needed for the standards to truly change teaching and ...
We're over a decade into the 21st-century and schools across the country are working tirelessly to ensure students are prepared for whatever lies ahead. Rapid changes are afoot in demographic shifts and in the continuing development of new technology and social media platforms. These realities are presenting schools with new challenges and opportunities - sometimes in concert.
Dr. Mary Amanda "Mandy" Stewart has taught and researched English learners, and her recent research highlights how social media use and other out-of-school literacies are boosting language acquisition in this population. The winner of this year's PDK International Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award for her work on Latino/a immigrant students and literacy, her findings lead to several questions.
How can schools support the integration of social media in classrooms as an instructional support? How can homework assignments utilize social media? How can principals and districts support wider use of such platforms and other out-of-school literacies to support their English Language Learning population?
We recently had an opportunity to talk with Dr. Stewart about her research and its implications. In an email interview, she provided advice and insights from her perspective as a researcher and practitioner, emphasizing the importance of expanding our definition of 21st-century learning to include bilingualism and biliteracy.
Public School Insights (PSI): Would you mind starting off with a little background on your research and the study? What led you to research this topic, and what questions were you interested in answering?
Stewart: I began my career teaching newcomer adolescents at the International Newcomer Academy, a public school for new immigrants in middle and high school in Fort Worth, Texas. All of my 6th graders were in their first year in the U.S. I saw the great resources my students from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East brought with them into the class, but also how the effects of NCLB in Texas pushed the students' linguistic and cultural resources out of the academic curriculum. I feared that their linguistic and cultural resources would be ignored, devalued, and underutilized as they went to their home schools.
During my doctoral studies, I became interested of the idea of "whose literacy counts?" Through a pilot study with a 2nd-generation high school student of Mexican origin and reading about other studies of immigrant youth, it became apparent that immigrant students do possess valuable and sophisticated literacies they use out-of-school. However, most schools do not ...
Do you remember when you learned to balance your checkbook, plan a monthly budget, manage credit card use, or perhaps invest wisely for retirement? Did you learn from parents, an older sibling, a seminar, or perhaps a bit by trial and error? In these times of economic uncertainty, responsible money management is an essential skill that the younger generation would do well to attain. April is National Financial Capability Month (also popularly known as financial literacy month) where, according to Presidential Proclamation: “We recommit to empowering individuals and families with the knowledge and tools they need to get ahead in today's economy.” ...
Deeper learning will ensure students possess transferable knowledge, or the ability to use their knowledge and skills to solve problems and navigate new situations. As a 21st century skill set, it should be a core element of the public education academic experience. A recent report from the National Research Council, Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century argues that when facilitated through teaching and learning of academic subjects, this approach to learning pushes students beyond rote memorization of facts and procedure, and prepares them to succeed in work and life. This opportunity ensures that we are teaching and assessing the skillsets that we want our students to acquire as a majority of states work to implement the Common Core State Standards. Emphasizing deeper learning will require several shifts, in teaching methods, curricula, and assessments much like the shifts that are necessary to ensure success for Common Core. ...
We have access to a lot of good sound research and information in today’s information age. Education practitioners, those working in schools and districts, are ultimately responsible for overseeing system-wide changes, but they rarely have time to sift through data and evidence to identify sound research that might offer guidance for their respective district or school. Therefore, those higher up in district administration are more likely to be the ones assessing available research and working to support struggling schools. Taking action on sound research requires strong networks and strong communication among system professionals to move the evidence and information down to the school level. Ultimately, even if the research is good, it does not guarantee change. The system must be prepared to implement the necessary steps to produce changes in student performance. In fact, research suggests that an emphasis on the technical aspects of improvements leads us to overlook the relational component to system-wide change. ...
By Andrea Cahn, Senior Director of Special Olympics Project UNIFY
Editor’s Note: This post is form our partners at the 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.
In recent months, a dizzying number of headlines about the tragedies of school bullying have sent policymakers, educators, parents, and students in search of solutions. While it would be easy to latch on to a targeted anti-bullying campaign, as we’ve done with issues like drug abuse, teen pregnancy, youth violence, and suicide, it’s time to address the root causes. During the past three decades, educators have funneled scarce resources into a fragmented web of school-based prevention programs. However well-intentioned, this approach has focused on symptoms, not causes, and has missed an opportunity to expand the skills and capacities of young people as they grow and develop. ...
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!
Education reform debates increasingly belong to a relatively small number of very loud voices. Hundreds of thousands of other voices get lost in the din. They belong to students and teachers, and their vision for our nation’s high schools varies dramatically from the content in mainstream education reform discussions.
The College Board recently released a supplement to Phi Delta Kappan that highlights key thoughts from students and teachers on both school reform and student engagement. The results are worth summarizing and repeating mostly because the takeaways are remarkably uniform with regard to recommendations and advice for education reformers. The main message is that we need a long-term commitment to a well-rounded, multi-pronged approach to school improvement. ...
The civic mission of schools has a tendency to get lost in the din of other debates surrounding our nation’s education system. Beyond the uproar over teacher evaluations, standardized testing and the role of government, we must keep in mind the fundamental purposes of public education, the heart and soul of a public system.
This civic purpose of public education seeks to empower our nation’s children, and future leaders, with a deep seated understanding of citizenship, civic duty and societal needs. It aims to provide the very tools needed for future generations to participate in the debates surrounding not just education policy, but other critical issues we as a nation – and member of the global community – face in the twenty first century. Education is more than just factual knowledge, and civic engagement and participation depend on a deeper understanding of our culture, society and history. ...
As a constituency, children receive little attention in federal budget discussions. Today in Washington, and indeed leading up to the implementation of the Bipartisan Budget Control Act (BCA) (aka sequestration) next year, federal expenditures will be on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
According to the Kids’ Share 2012 report, just released by the Urban Institute, federal spending on children fell by $2 billion in 2011, the first decline of its kind in 30 years. Of even greater concern, spending is projected to fall again in 2012 as American Recovery and Reinvestment (AARA) money runs out. According the report, “CBO Baseline projections suggest that federal outlays on children will fall 6 percent in 2012 and an additional 2 percent in 2013.” This takes the BCA into account. Public education emerges as the biggest loser as the AARA expenditures dwindle, losing $13 billion, primarily in the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Special Education, and Title I/Education for the Disadvantaged. In total, federal spending for public education is projected to decline from $64 billion in 2011 to $37 billion by 2022, or $47 billion without BCA restrictions. Finally, total federal outlays will increase by ...
A VISION FOR GREAT SCHOOLS
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