Monday, January 31, 2011

Arne Duncan On a Journey to Bring More Black Men to America's Classrooms

One in 50 teachers is a black male. According to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, “This is a national problem...when the nation’s teacher workforce does not reflect the diversity of its students." So what is Duncan doing about it? He is traveling the nation to appeal to students of color at colleges and universities to come make a difference in their communities through teaching.

Duncan said that if schools could increase the pool of mentors, drawing from the community as a whole, “mentors who could really get behind that child not at age 15, but at age 5, the impact could be powerful. We know in kindergarten which students are struggling. We don’t have to wait for high school.”  

Read the full article HERE

Thursday, January 27, 2011

America's Students Struggle to Be Proficient in Science

President Obama, in his State of the Union, addressed the need for America to improve in the area of science in order to compete with other nations of the world. The most recent nationwide science test gives statistical validation to the President’s comments. According to the government, “only one or two students out of every 100 displayed the level of mastery that the federal panel governing the tests defines as advanced.” Deficiencies occurred at every grade level from fourth graders to 12th graders.

Why the lack of proficiency in science?

To learn more, read the full article at The New York Times

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Highlights on Education from President Obama’s State of the Union

Last night, the President addressed topics such as technology, energy, taxes, immigration and more, but here are a few highlights on what he said about the education of Americans:

“If we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”

“Think about it. Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school education. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.”

“When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test.”

“Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning.”

“Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math."

What do you think of what President Obama said about education? Let us know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Education Reform in President Obama's State of the Union Address

Today, The Huffington Post published an article about what specific education issues President Obama might address in his State of the Union Address this evening. High on the list is equity in the education of all students.
Kati Haycock, author of The Huffington Post article, explained, “President Obama needs to clearly signal that schools will be held accountable for the performance of all of their students and for closing the longstanding gaps that threaten our future. We can't have educational reform without equity; we can't get the changes in achievement we need nationally without educating all of our children.”

With everything from the nation’s lowest performing schools to improving teacher quality forecasted for this evening, it will be interesting to see what he actually does address and what his approach will be.
Read the full article at The Huffington Post

Monday, January 24, 2011

Should Students Make the Choice?

What if students were able to choose the school they attend? This week is National School Choice Week and advocates for educational freedom are taking full advantage of this opportunity to highlight the effectiveness of school choice for children. One program that supports school choice is the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, which allows a child to receive a voucher to attend a D.C. private school instead of public school. Although students who have received the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship have had positive experiences in the private schools they attended, the program is getting phased out.

Will other school choice programs get phased out?
Is school choice a good idea?

Learn more at The Boston Herald

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Secretary Duncan Tells Principals What to Expect in the Future of U.S. Education

In a recent conversation with Dr. Gerald Tirozzi, executive director for the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Secretary Arne Duncan shared his view on what is being asked of educational leaders across the country. As Duncan recognized the present tough financial times, he was sure to make a point that budget constraints shouldn’t affect the quality of education American students receive, but rather provide an opportunity for creativity in eliminating unnecessary costs. Specifically, he mentions deferring construction projects, cutting under-utilized bus routes, lowering the costs of textbooks and health care, and more, as more productive ways to improve budgets.

To learn more and listen to the interview Click Here

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mathemusician Determined to Make Math Fun for Everyone

Math is getting a makeover thanks to Vi Hart, a self-proclaimed recreational mathemusician. As a Stony Brook University graduate in music this might seem like an unlikely profession, but Ms. Hart is determined to make math fun for everyone. Starting with simple ideas, Hart began making YouTube videos demonstrating to viewers how by drawing stars one can learn about geometry and polygons and by doodling snakes they can learn about graph theory. With her unique work in mathematics, Vi Hart has attracted the attention of multiple demographics, but the most surprising is teenage girls.

Learn more about the mathemusician, Vi Hart, at The New York Times

Monday, January 17, 2011

High School Students Run Credit Union and Gain Real World Skills

National Academy Foundation High School students are taking advantage of an opportunity many kids their age don’t get. Thanks to MECU, a credit union created for members of the Baltimore City community, students are learning firsthand about financial responsibility and preparing for their futures in the real world. The only one of its kind in Baltimore, this student-run branch of MECU has 14 student-tellers, who manage more than 140 accounts. Running successfully since October 2008, this program for National Academy Foundation students has been a positive tool to help them prepare for college and the work force, while teaching important skills such as being on time, dressing appropriately, and maintaining a professional demeanor in the work place.

Learn more about this student-run credit union at The Baltimore Sun

Friday, January 14, 2011

Governor Christie's Agenda to End Teacher Tenure

On Tuesday, Governor Chris Christie created some controversy with the agenda he proposed in his State of the State address. Among the most controversial points was his call for an end to teacher tenure. Although Christie’s proposals are nothing new, he has gained the kind of media attention that others before him may not have had, which could be an asset as he pushes for major changes in the New Jersey’s educational system.
Learn more at The New York Times

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Days Won't Stop This School

With snow and ice bombarding the eastern United States, schools have had no choice but to shut their doors until local roads and highways are cleared. However, a school in Gainesville, Florida is not letting the snow determine their class schedule. On Wednesday, Lakeview Academy piloted a “remote school” where students worked on class work from home on computers. Through online assignment planners and providing lessons in real time, this “remote school” could be the solution to snow days across the country.

Learn more at the Gainesville Times

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rhee and StudentsFirst Set Out to Make Changes

On Monday, Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of schools in Washington D.C., released the blueprint for what she hopes to accomplish with her new advocacy group, StudentsFirst. Initiatives include giving students government-funded vouchers to attend private schools, rating principals based on student achievement and getting rid of teacher tenure. In addition to those initiatives, she is also calling for districts to get parental consent before putting their children in classrooms of low-performing teachers. With Rhee’s recent conversations with multiple state governors, this is surely only the beginning for StudentsFirst.

Is Rhee headed in the right direction?
To learn more about Rhee’s changes go to The Wall Street Journal

Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Curriculum for Advanced Placement Courses

A.P. Biology and A.P. United States history students and teachers now have a reason to celebrate. Starting in the 2012-13 school year, these two tests will require less study material and have all new exams. The changes being made to the A.P. exams are designed to help students focus on bigger concepts, and in biology, allow for more creative experiments in order to stimulate thinking. The curriculum creators hope that this shift in focus will give students the opportunity to better apply the knowledge they gain in A.P. courses and be more prepared for a post-secondary education.

Learn more at The New York Times

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Special Education Teachers Missing Mentors

Teacher mentoring has become prevalent in schools all across the country. It is proven that teachers with mentors transfer more of what they learn in training to the actual classroom. Unfortunately, the same benefits from teacher mentoring are not available to all teachers. A study referenced in an article by Education Week revealed that special education teachers reported 20% less access to a teacher mentor than general education teachers. If it is proven that long-term mentoring can improve student achievement, why should special education students benefit any less than general education students?

Read the full article at Education Week

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Enrichment Model Changes the Classroom Experience

What if having a chocolate fondue party or mashing ice and dirt were part of a regular school day? At Skyview Elementary in Texas they are. One of two elementary schools experimenting with a “school-wide enrichment model” of teaching, Skyview is hoping to engage students in learning by using activities they might be interested in while continuing to focus on curriculum. Once a week, the students have the opportunity to participate in clusters where they learn about things such as measuring ingredients or what comets are made of, but through non-traditional methods.

To learn more about the enrichment model Click Here