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Whole Child Symposium

Equity: The Driver for School Improvement?

What will drive school improvement in the future? Some believe that it will be choice—ensuring that students have choice in what and how they learn; allowing teachers to have greater autonomy in the classroom; and, possibly, providing families expanded choice of schools.

For others the key driver may be ensuring equity. Proponents argue that the biggest barrier to effective education is equity of resources and opportunities. Pasi Sahlberg, currently a visiting professor at Harvard University and the former director general for the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation (CIMO) in Helsinki, has made the case that Finland's meteoric rise has been as a result of a focus on equity, and that this has been consistent across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) high performers (Korea, Canada, and Japan).

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Whole Child Symposium

Choice Versus Policy?

What are we currently doing in our schools that will affect—negatively or positively—the future?

The ASCD Whole Child Symposium addressed what the "schools of the future" will look like and how the decisions we make today will shape what and how students learn tomorrow. Over the course of three events, we asked thought leaders, authors, practitioners, and students what they think currently works in education, what we need in the future to be successful, and how this can be accomplished.

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Whole Child Symposium

Teachers Are Not a Problem. They Are an Opportunity.

Written by Andy Hargreaves, the Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. This article originally appeared on Education Week's Finding Common Ground blog.

Woody Allen quipped that when we face a crossroads in life that leads to utter hopelessness or total extinction, we should choose wisely between them. Yogi Berra said that if we come to a fork in the road, we should take it. When Eric Clapton went down to the crossroads, he just fell down on his knees.

In 2014, the future of teaching is at a gigantic global crossroads, but the choices need not be as oddball as the ones that the ABC's of Allen, Berra and Clapton offer us! Last week, the Unite for Quality Education movement, organized by the global teachers' union organization, Education International, met in Montreal to advance its campaign of providing universal and free access to quality teachers to all students. This is a bold goal—not just access to education, good or bad, in huge classes or less, with properly qualified teachers or not; but access to quality education and quality teachers for everyone.

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Whole Child Symposium

The Dilemma of Choice

The decisions we make today—for our systems, our schools, and our classrooms—will affect what all of our tomorrows will look like. This spring, ASCD hosted its inaugural Whole Child Symposium, a series of in-person and online events in which experts, policymakers, teachers, and students discussed education policies, processes, and practices and their influence on children, societies, and economies in the future.

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Whole Child Symposium

Self-Selecting, Real-World Learning Communities

Post written by Walter McKenzie

Imagine in your mind, a map of your community. Nothing detailed; just the boundaries and general lay of the land. Got it? Now add in the major areas in your community where people live and work and play. You know, to give yourself some bearings with a few landmarks. Still with me? Good! Now convert this mental image into a heat map. You know, where the hot spots flare up in bright yellows, oranges and reds? Picture in your mind hot spots that indicate places people go to learn new things and practice skills that are important to them. Where are those heat surges? Athletic fields? Dance studios? Book stores? Parks and beaches? Art galleries? Theaters? How about school buildings? No? Why aren’t school building hot spots on anyone's heat map?

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Whole Child Symposium

Transforming Schools to Become Innovation Ready

Post written by Laura Varlas

Because tests don't require connection and collaboration, classroom education is being driven in one direction, while technology enables creation, curation, and connection.

Educators are up against a global achievement gap, Tony Wagner explained in his 2014 ASCD Annual Conference session, "Graduating All Students 'Innovation Ready.'" That is, the gap between the skills students need and the skills that are driven by the testing culture dominating U.S. education.

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Whole Child Symposium

Virtual Panels Discuss Choice, Equity, and Change

Building on the conversation started at the earlier Whole Child Symposium Town Hall and Live events, last week's Virtual panel discussions went even further to identify what currently works in education, what we need in the future to be successful, and how this can be accomplished. Watch the archived sessions below and let us know how we can improve the symposium experience.

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Whole Child Symposium

A Matter of Choice

Post written by Walter McKenzie

Perfect Choice Logo CircuitWhat if I told you the answer to all that ails public education is choice? Not dollars. Not standardization. Not test scores. Choice. Surprisingly effective in its simplicity.

The current education equation is not simple by any stretch of the imagination and it doesn't reference choice nor children:

  • Education is a public enterprise funded by taxpayers.
  • Government reports to taxpayers on its performance.
  • Elected officials craft policy and practice in the name of accountability.

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Whole Child Symposium

Today on the Whole Child Symposium Virtual: Classroom Instruction and Students

ASCD's inaugural Whole Child Symposium concludes this week with a series of virtual panels featuring school leaders, policy experts, teachers, and students. You can register, participate live, and join in the discussions on social media. Each panel will discuss what currently works in education, what we will need in the future to be successful, and how this can be accomplished.

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Whole Child Symposium

Today on the Whole Child Symposium Virtual: Education Policy and Schools

ASCD's inaugural Whole Child Symposium concludes this week with a series of virtual panels featuring school leaders, policy experts, teachers, and students. You can register, participate live, and join in the discussions on social media. Each panel will discuss what currently works in education, what we will need in the future to be successful, and how this can be accomplished.

Read more »

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