The OECD has released the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results. Visit our collection of resources to help you interpret them in context.
By Betty Edwards, Chair of the Special Olympics Project UNIFY® National Education Leaders Network
The film “Cipher in the Snow,” a true story written in 1964 by teacher/guidance counselor Jean Mizer, tells the story of an ostracized teenager, Cliff, who has no friends and becomes a withdrawn "cipher" or nonentity. (Cipher is the mathematical notation for zero—something without weight, importance, or value.)
One day, Cliff asks to get off the school bus, collapses, and dies in the snow beside the road. Cliff’s math teacher is asked to write the obituary but realizes that hardly anyone recalls the student. When he tries to get a small group together to attend Cliff’s funeral, he can’t find 10 people who knew the student well enough to feel comfortable going. He vows to never let another student in his class feel unimportant and be unknown.
We wish we could say that this story could not be written today, but that’s not true. Many students in our schools feel insignificant, disengaged, and ...
In the past, teachers needed training in the mechanics of e-mail and PowerPoint, just like today many need training in the basics of social media and tablet use. But these trainings are not necessary for everyone. Most of those entering the teaching force today never knew life without a computer. They grew up with e-mail, Facebook and YouTube. They operate easily on PCs, Macs, tablets and phones, and they adapt quickly to technological changes.
Young teachers instinctively incorporate ICT (information and communications technology, for those not familiar with the lingo) into their work to the extent that they are often hindered by school, district and/or state policies around it. But their ability to use new technologies is useless if ...
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 ...
Learning the art of preparing effective teachers never ends for the teacher education community. Each day, we discover new ways to review, modify and apply the best methods that will ultimately address the learning needs of all students. But what are the core ideals and characteristics that serve as the foundation beneath this evolving knowledge? I asked Alison Hilsabeck, who leads a successful program at National Louis University, to answer the question, "What do we know about teaching teachers?" Her insightful response follows.
-Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
The educational research community has devoted significant energies toward the goal of codifying the research on learning and teaching, and on translating that research into effective practice. Those efforts continue a legacy of scholarly practice extending back to Plato and Aristotle. Recently, there have also been a number of substantial reports (e.g. the National Research Council's Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education's Transforming Teacher Education through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers) that have informed the national dialogue about the mechanics and organizational arrangements of educating teachers. It would be presumptuous of me to even begin to summarize all of this work.
Instead, I write from the perspective of an education school dean, working to maintain a 126-year-old institutional mission to prepare teachers who actually know what to do on their first day as the teacher-of-record. At National Louis University (NLU), we are focusing much of our work on the preparation of effective and resilient teachers for low-performing schools. This has challenged us to rethink assumptions and build stronger and deeper field partnerships. Our experience suggests the importance of some key factors with ...
Part of my job as executive director of the Learning First Alliance (LFA) is to attend meetings here in Washington, DC, where new K-12 education reports or projects are released or introduced to policymakers, educators, parents, and interested stakeholders. Over the past week I attended two such meetings, which provided a stark contrast to approaches used by education leaders and researchers in addressing changes that could benefit both the US public education system and the students it serves.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report authored by Allan Odden titled Getting the Best People into the Toughest Jobs: Changes in Talent Management in Education. The underlying assumption on which this report’s recommendations are based is that the current workforce in public education is not very talented, should be held accountable for their poor performance, and removed from classrooms and schools. Indeed, Odden points out what we know is true: the effectiveness of the teacher and ...
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.” ...
By Gail Connelly, Executive Director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
Communications scholar Marshall McLuhan once said, "We don't know who discovered water, but we know it wasn't the fish." Water shapes a fish's existence so profoundly — and, swimming right in the middle of it, the fish can't grasp how water impacts them. In education, a school's "water" is its culture, that complicated combination of shared values, norms, beliefs, and expectations. It manifests in actions as simple as the way a principal recognizes staff accomplishments, and as complex as the processes staff members use to mediate conflict or the ideas that shape student motivation.
School culture is hard to characterize and cultivate, but it's arguably the defining factor in school change. Shifting culture could prove to be the trickiest — but most essential — piece of today's most pressing education challenge: implementing the Common Core State Standards.
Schools in most states across the country spent the last school year dipping a toe into the Common Core, learning about the new benchmarks, mapping curricula to uncover gaps in learning, and reshuffling schedules to facilitate discussion of the standards. But if last year, for many districts, involved wading in the shallow end of the pool, this year schools will need to fully dive ...
Ask practitioners and administrations on the ground in the education system about state education agencies (SEAs), and you may encounter skepticism. SEAs need not be considered antiquated bodies, as they are the heart of leadership in a state’s education system. SEAs monitor compliance and accountability, but they also provide support for policy design and implementation. These entities are well positioned to use high quality research in policy and practice, but there is variation in efficacy and capacity for doing so among states; an understanding of how SEAs use research provides useful insights when it comes to best practices. ...
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 VISION FOR GREAT SCHOOLS
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