Learning First Alliance

Strengthening public schools for every child

Top Posts of 2012

obriena's picture

As we look ahead to what we hope to accomplish in education in 2013, it behooves us to also reflect on 2012. We reelected a president whose administration is committed to the issue (but whose policies we do not always agree with) and has granted many states waivers to key aspects of the nation’s top education law, No Child Left Behind. We moved closer to a vision in which students in Mississippi learn to the same high standards as those in Montana and Massachusetts as we worked to implement the Common Core. States and districts across the nation navigated new terrain in teacher evaluation and tenure. Educators continued exploring how to best take advantage of new learning technologies – flipping classrooms, starting one-to-one iPad initiatives, preparing for a shift to online assessments and more.  

With all that happened in 2012, what garnered the most attention from you, our readers? Here are our top five posts of 2012 (as indicated by our trusty Google Analytics tracking system). Enjoy!

5. Rethinking Principal Evaluation. Principals are second only to teachers among the in-school influences on student success. Yet we don’t hear much about how to measure their performance – and the little research that exists on the issue suggests that current evaluation systems are far from adequate.

4. Can Arts Education Help Close the Achievement Gap? Research suggests that arts education can help narrow the achievement gap that exists between low-income students and their more advantaged peers. But data from the federal government shows that low-income students are less likely than those peers to have access to it.

3. The Facts: Poverty Does Matter. Sadly, school poverty is correlated to student achievement. In looking at the ten poorest high schools in the United States, we see that this holds regardless of the school governance model – it is true in traditional public schools, charter schools, and virtual schools.

2. Are Teachers as Important as Doctors? We are not willing to send loved ones into the operating theatre under the care of surgeons who are not Board certified, so why should we be willing to send our children to schools with teachers who may or may not be skilled in their practice?

1. The Economic Impact of Early Childhood Education. Evidence suggests that early childhood education has not only academic benefits for children but economic benefits for society. Research out of Kansas shows that for every $1 invested in early-learning programs, $1.68 is generated in spending.

Image by Ikluft [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons