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.
School Community Communication
While we live in a market-driven economy, where winning and wealth accumulation are desired outcomes, education advocates on all sides of the political aisle currently assert that public schools are failing our children, especially minorities and low-income students. Education is a common good; it is the stepping-stone through which students can make something better of their futures. Therefore, we should not be setting up a system to create winners and losers. ...
By Kwok-Sze Wong, Ed.D., Executive Director of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
When I tell people I work with school counselors, they invariably say something like, "My school counselor did nothing for me. He told me not to bother trying to go to college." And yet, they got a college degree. When I ask how they got into college, who coordinated the transcripts, recommendation letters and other actions required from their school, they admit their school counselor did have something to do with it.
School counselors are certified, specially trained educators who help students succeed by removing the barriers to learning. They collaborate with teachers, administrators and parents not just to counsel but also to coordinate, consult, and to create strategies to help students achieve academically, grow personally and socially, and prepare for meaningful lives beyond graduation. Yet they are often the ...
By Rich Bagin, APR, Executive Director of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA)
The 30th anniversary of the landmark report, A Nation at Risk, occurs this month. We can bet that national and perhaps even local media will use this event to ask, “What has changed?”
And then they will ask the natural follow-up question, “Are our nation’s school still at risk?”
We must be proactive and anticipate how these questions will play out for your local communities. If we do not take the lead on this one, the education-bashing machine will again turn our schools, staff, and leadership into punching bags.
As NSPRA colleague Larry Ascough noted in his Texas daily newsletter:
Anyone who has set foot in a school of late already knows that education today is not anything like it was 30 years ago. It’s improved, and it continues to get better. Teachers and kids are doing things no one could even imagine in 1983. But ...
By Rich Bagin, APR, Executive Director of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA)
Years ago the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) offered a guidebook entitled Making and Marketing Your School as a School of Choice. This was even before the charter movement, open enrollment, vouchers, and the home schooling surge began nibbling at the enrollment of our public schools.
Even then, principals and superintendents saw the need to better identify and define the attributes of their schools. They realized that it was their job to make sure parents knew and understood the benefits and values that their schools could provide for their children and communities. They also realized it was their job to collaborate with parents groups and others to assess their strengths and weaknesses and then set an action plan to improve those areas that needed more attention. By coming together, they realized how their schools were working to improve and why the collaborative climate made their schools a school of choice in ...
The first step in creating a culture of change and innovation is stakeholder buy-in. In education, we often recognize the importance of teacher and student buy-in, but we forget about another critical stakeholder: The community, particularly parents.
What is the best way to get community buy-in for an education initiative? Communication. By communicating directly and honestly, educators can avoid community fears that can ultimately derail efforts to implement new teaching and learning practices.
I recently attended the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ (NASSP) annual conference, where I learned from many principals who have created cultures of innovation. I was particularly impressed by the 2013 NASSP Digital Principals – Dwight Carter (Gahanna Lincoln High School, Gahanna, OH), Ryan Imbriale* (Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, Baltimore, MD), and Carrie Jackson (Timberview Middle School, Fort Worth, TX). ...
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 Steve Berlin, Senior Communications Manager of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
The American education system — inasmuch as it's actually a system — is not failing. For readers stunned by a phrase not often seen in print these days, I repeat: The U.S. education system is not failing. I know that's not a popular position these days, but it is the right one. There are indeed problems that need addressing, but there is significant cognitive dissonance in how the public views K-12 education.
So, why do I say our schools as a whole are succeeding? Well, why not start with what is meant by "failing?" The term is a relic that defines education policy and growth as all-or-nothing propositions. It can be easily traced to 1983's A Nation at Risk, which made "failing schools" a part of the American vernacular. But it was truly burned into headlines and our collective consciousness with the 2001 iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind — a law that uses all stick and no carrot as inducements for improvement, usually with the "failing" schools and districts that were struggling in the first place.
Worse, NCLB pointed to 2014 as the deadline for 100 percent proficiency. If schools, districts and states can't meet that deadline, well, they have failed. Doesn't matter that people are working hard to draft new policies and legislation, and devising new and ...
We all know of school improvement initiatives that failed when they should have succeeded. Technology initiatives, new evaluation systems, even changes to the school calendar – these are ideas that research suggests should improve student outcomes, but for some reason, in some contexts, they don't.
One reason that many education initiatives struggle to succeed is stakeholder resistance – or stakeholder apathy. When education leaders do not take the time to create a trusting culture that supports a vision of excellence and improvement, their reform efforts are at a severe disadvantage, if not doomed. As Bill Milliken, founder and vice chairman of Communities in Schools said, “It’s relationships, not programs, that change children.”
I recently had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Secondary School Principals' (NASSP) 2013 Ignite Conference. There, I had the chance to learn from a number of education leaders who have created cultures that led to true change in ...
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. ...
By Cheryl Williams, Executive Director at Learning First Alliance
The following post appeared on January 31, 2013, as the final LFA entry in the Transforming Learning Blog on Education Week. For the past year, LFA members have contributed postings to the EdWeek blog on a regular basis. Those wise commentaries are archived at Education Week and can be accessed here. This entry also describes the messaging campaign that LFA launched in January and will be featuring on this site and in other venues in the months ahead.
Over the past year, member organizations in the Learning First Alliance (LFA) have shared their perspectives and expertise on the work their members and stakeholders have led in support of public education throughout their careers. If you’ve had the opportunity to read some or all of these postings, you’ll know that public education professionals are tireless in their work to meet the needs of their students and that no silver bullet exists to “fix” what doesn’t work in public schools. With this, the final Transforming Learning post, we reiterate what we know to be true as professional educators and ...
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!