National PTA President Otha Thornton discusses why his organization supports the Common Core, dispelling myths and sharing resources to help parents learn more and support successful implementation of the standards.
Editor’s note: Our series of guest blogs in which accomplished teachers offer ideas for how to spend stimulus funds concludes with Susan Graham's thoughts. The opinions she expresses are, of course, her own and do not necessarily represent those of LFA or its member organizations.
Bob Woodruff, the ABC news correspondent who suffered traumatic brain injury in Iraq, didn’t plan to be a journalist. In a recent address to students he recalled that he took a pay cut when he went into journalism, but he went on to say, "I really believe in doing what you want to do. Especially at a young age, do what your heart tells you to do."
What does this have to do with innovative efforts in public school? Before stumbling into journalism, Woodruff spent four years in college and four years in law school. The vast majority of ...
French explorer and filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau has spent his life campaigning for the health of the world's oceans. He has produced over 75 films on oceans and the environment, involved thousands of young people in hands-on environmental education programs, and met with dozens of world leaders--including nine U.S. presidents--to press the case for stronger environmental protections.
Cousteau recently spoke with us about his work at the Ocean Futures Society to protect the world's oceans through science and education. The overarching message of this work: "if you protect the ocean, you protect yourself."
Download the entire interview here or listen to brief interview highlights (6 minutes):
(A transcript of these highlights appears below)
Or listen to excerpts from ...
National Geographic filmmaker and writer Jon Bowermaster has long chronicled the declining health of the world's oceans. He has traveled the world by sea kayak, seeing first-hand troubling environmental changes in places as far-flung as Antarctica, the Aleutian Islands, South America, Vietnam, French Polynesia, Gabon, Croatia and Tasmania
Bowermaster recently spoke with us via satellite phone from a beach in the Maldives, a group of low-lying tropical islands in the Indian Ocean. He told us about us about the threats this island nation faces from rising sea levels and pollution--and why other nations like the United States should care about them. Environmental crises on distant shores can herald environmental, social, or political crises at home.
Bowermaster argues that his work holds critical lessons for educators and students. Why learn about the Maldives? Their present may well be our future.
Listen to highlights from our conversation here (6 minutes):
A transcript of these highlights appears ...
Editor's Note: Yesterday, Hollywood producer turned Montana educator Peter Rosten sent us the following remarks about his school's innovative filmmaking program:
Greetings from Montana!
A friend of mine, Jan Lombardi, is the education policy advisor for Montana’s Governor, Brian Schweitzer. Recently Jan forwarded me a “Learning First” newsletter and pointed to an article titled “Learning in the Community: Teen Filmmakers Talk About Their Work and Its Impact on Their Lives”.
After reading this inspiring story, I reached out to Claus von Zastrow. Perhaps he’d be interested in a pretty cool media program here in the Bitterroot Valley in rural Western, Montana.
Last week, teen filmmaker Jasmine Britton told us about the impact of her filmmaking on her life plans and academic prospects. Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization, has reinforced Britton's academic skills and strengthened her motivation to go to college.
This week, we're sharing our recent conversation with Reelworks filmmaker Isaac Schrem, who expands on themes introduced by Britton. Shrem describes how his school's arts programs, together with filmmaking opportunities through Reel Works, shaped his professional aspirations.
Listen to approximately 5 minutes of highlights from our interview (or read through the transcript below):
PUBLIC SCHOOL INSIGHTS: Tell me about the film you made, The Other Side of the Picture.
ISAAC: I was always interested in filmmaking, but I didn't know exactly what I wanted to with it. I went with the phrase, "Write what you know." The one thing that I knew or wanted to understand, at least, at the time, was the situation with my parents, and my father leaving us and going away to Paris. So I went with that story.
It was a very rough topic for me to tackle because I still ...
In his March 10th speech before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, President Obama repeated his campaign pledge to help states expand and improve early learning programs.
In defiance of skeptics who question the value or feasibility of early childhood education, the National Association of State Boards of Education points to Obama's home state of Illinois. The Illinois program can boast both strong acadmic results and cost-effectiveness, NASBE argues in a recent policy brief:
Illinois met nine of its 10 benchmarks for pre-k quality, ranked... 12th in access for 4-year-olds and first in the nation for 3-year-olds, while spending slightly more than ...
The 146-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer is the latest newspaper to run its own obituary. It followed closely on the heels of the Rocky Mountain News, which bid adieu to its Denver readers after 160 years. More newspapers and journals are sure to follow. Just this morning, I received an alarming email solicitation from The Nation, ominously titled "1865-??", requesting donations to forestall its own demise.
The implications of this situation for education are not hard to grasp.
For one, it reflects and exacerbates the erosion of civic education in this country. As Kathleen Parker notes in a recent Washington Post editorial, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press recently "found that just 27 percent of Americans born since 1977 read a newspaper the previous day." Young people don't seem to have much appetite for serious newspapers. Many educators feel they don't have much time to whet that appetite.
Yes, young people get some news on line, but ...
All the recent talk about 21st-century learning has sparked heated debate about curriculum and instruction. The broader implications of this debate are important. The way we describe 21st-century demands on schools and youth can have a profound impact on the fate of the liberal arts in our schools.
The skepticism about recent 21st-century talk isn’t surprising. I suspect many educators who champion the liberal arts see them as a bulwark against the 21st century’s worst influences. I know I did when I taught literature and philosophy. Thoreau offers a healthy antidote to rampant consumerism. Langston Hughes’s poems aren’t trying to sell you anything. James Joyce’s novels demand the kind of sustained attention required by few blog postings and no Twitter messages. Mary Cassat’s women have no place in an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue.
We value such work for its timelessness, but also because it stands against so much that disappoints or outrages us about current times. It reinforces certain decidedly nineteenth-century (and older) values, habits and skills that can fortify young people against the worst 21st-century dangers: dangers like shrinking attention spans, growing consumerism, the sexualization of children, etc. People understandably recoil from the slightest suggestion that pre-21st-century skills are passé or unequal to the demands of a new century.
Still, schools cannot wall students off from the technologies and media that amplify both the best and the worst the 21st century has to offer. They face an important challenge: How do they help students use technology and new media responsibly? How do they acknowledge and incorporate 21st-century influences while helping students master a long intellectual tradition? How do they use that tradition ...
The share of U.S. public elementary schools teaching foreign language has fallen by almost 40% over the last decade. You know--the decade when 9/11, globalization, and growing diversity at home fueled calls for greater knowledge of other languages and cultures.
The EdWeek article lays out some of the decline's more sobering implications:
The decline of foreign-language instruction at the elementary level could make it harder for the United States to create a pool of language specialists who can speak both English and those languages deemed critical to the country’s economic success or national security, such as Chinese and Arabic.
CAL's data reflect the state of elementary foreign language instruction in 2008, before the nation's economy went from bad to worse. I shudder to imagine ...
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!