Educators across the nation are working to improve their students' academic achievement, engage families and communities in learning, and maintain safe and healthy learning environments. But in Washington State's Tacoma Public Schools, educators are being held accountable for all of these responsibilities, not just their students' performance on tests. That's because the district is strategically aligning its accountability system with its overall purpose of supporting the whole child.
The U.S. government shut down this morning because Congress was unable to pass a bill to fund federal programs as the new fiscal year begins. This week's Capitol Connection cuts through the politics and brinkmanship to outline what a shutdown means for the nation's students, educators, and schools.
Don't let your senators go on vacation! Take time during the August recess to ask your senators to become cosponsors of S.1063, the Effective Teaching and Leading Act. This important bill supports induction and mentoring programs and enhances ongoing professional development for teachers and school leaders.
The more cosponsors and support the bill has, the more likely it is to be added to the Senate's Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization bill when it’s considered on the Senate floor.
"As long as some children are routinely assigned the least-prepared teachers, attend schools in disrepair, make do with outdated technology and instructional materials, and have limited access to a broad and rich curriculum, our nation is still at risk," writes ASCD Executive Director and CEO Gene R. Carter in his recent column.
Arkansas Governor Michael Beebe signed a new bill into law that promotes a whole child approach to educating the state's children. The legislation (PDF) establishes a Whole Child Whole Community recognition program and aims to measure the comprehensive well-being of children and how well stakeholders are meeting their needs according to the five whole child tenets (healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged) and their indicators as identified by ASCD.
Can you quantify the effectiveness of a good teacher? How much of that can be determined from student test scores? And how can teachers of untested subjects like the arts, physical education, and social studies be fairly evaluated? These are some of the questions raised in the newest edition of Policy Priorities, ASCD's quarterly policy newsletter, which examines U.S. efforts to transform its teacher evaluation systems.
Fostering trusting relationships between adults and students is the most effective way to improve school safety, a panel of experts told members of Congress during a recent House Education Committee hearing convened in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
ASCD's 2013 Legislative Agenda (PDF) urges Congress to immediately reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace it with a comprehensive rewrite that fixes the current law's flaws; aligns with and supports state and local initiatives; and guides revisions to other federal programs, such as special education and career and technical education.
ASCD recently sent feedback to the U.S. Department of Education on reinvigorating civic learning and engagement across the country. This feedback is a response to the department's call for suggestions on four provisions in its road map for advancing civic learning (PDF).
Research and test scores show that our students lack knowledge of the U.S. government system and their civic responsibilities, but many schools struggle to prioritize civic learning amid competing academic concerns. ASCD believes that civic learning is an essential component of a whole child approach to education that gives students a voice in a safe and supportive environment and ensures that they understand their opportunities in and obligations to their schools, their communities, and the nation.
"We can't narrow the focus of our schools into just math and reading and still expect to graduate students who are ready for college, a career and citizenship," writes ASCD Executive Director Gene Carter in his special commentary for CNN's Schools of Thought blog. "A comprehensive education provides students the opportunity to discover what they excel at and inspires a boost in overall student performance and confidence across all subjects."