Judy Seltz, ASCD's new executive director, outlines her plans for the association and her vision for education in a wide-ranging interview with Education Week blogger Peter Dewitt. In the process, Seltz details some of the association's policy priorities and recent successes. Read on for highlights from the interview.
Research shows that students with access to good nutrition have higher school attendance records, are better able to focus, and are consistently more engaged than students with poor nutrition. Even so, Congress approved and President Obama signed a farm bill reauthorization that cuts funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.
Teachers are increasingly embracing leadership roles that allow them to use their skills and expertise outside of the classroom. Yet many schools are facing challenges in implementing distributed leadership models that empower teachers to become influencers and decision makers. ASCD's latest Policy Priorities examines teacher leadership and the obstacles practitioners face from the classroom to the central office in cultivating programs that expand and enhance professional growth and leadership.
ASCD's 2014 Legislative Agenda urges a shift from the overreliance on high-stakes testing in determining student achievement, educator effectiveness, and school quality to a broader, more meaningful vision of success that supports each student from early childhood through graduation. Recently released during ASCD's Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA), the agenda is developed by ASCD's Legislative Committee and establishes the association’s policy priorities.
Educators throughout the United States convened in Washington, D.C., last week to attend ASCD's legislative conference. Attendees gathered to tell their elected officials that it is time to shift from a narrow reliance on high-stakes testing in determining student and educator proficiency to a broader, more meaningful vision of success that supports each student from early childhood through graduation.
With so much attention being paid to college and career readiness, the importance of early childhood education should not be overlooked. In the new issue of Policy Priorities, ASCD explores the significance of early childhood education and details the challenges of expanding access and ensuring equitable services for all children. The brief also provides updates on how educators and policymakers are working to improve the quality of early education through standards implementation, rigorous licensing, new accountability, and greater alignment with K–12 systems, all while recognizing the importance of developmentally appropriate strategies. Read the full issue.
Do you worry that the rush to implement new educator evaluation systems puts excessive strain on educators and compromises the systems' effectiveness? You aren't alone. In his latest column, ASCD Executive Director Gene Carter writes that evaluating educators "must occur alongside efforts to improve school climate, raise expectations for all students, and boost family and community engagement." Read the column to see why ASCD believes all educator evaluation systems should evaluate teachers only in the subjects they teach, include multiple measures, and inform personalized professional development.
New one-page profiles of the 2013 National Blue Ribbon schools highlight each school's mission, demographics, culture, and goals.
The 286 schools—210 elementary schools, 22 middle schools, 53 high schools, and one K–12 school—represent promising ideas in different settings, from rural areas to major cities. Schools were recognized in one of two categories: Exemplary High Performing, based on overall academic excellence, or Exemplary Improving, grounded in improving student achievement. Now in its 31st year, the program celebrates schools that serve as admirable examples of the United States' vision and commitment to education.
Educators may bear the brunt of school performance criticisms, but the public's opinion of educators is on the rise, with the majority of Americans believing that educators teach students well and keep them safe. More than 70 percent of Americans have trust and confidence in the men and women who teach in public schools, according to the 45th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll (PDF) on the public's attitude toward public schools. Eighty-eight percent of parents feel their children are safe at school—the highest figure ever recorded by the poll—compared to the 66 percent who believe their children are safe playing in their neighborhood.
No student, teacher, or school's performance should be determined using a single measure. As Congress attempts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), it has the opportunity to fix the currently exclusive emphasis on state assessments as the sole means of measuring student performance and school quality.