Tagged “Policy”

Steven Weber

Common Core: An Educator’s Perspective

If the state of North Carolina decides to pull the plug on the Common Core State Standards, it will be a slap in the face to the teachers and administrators who have spent countless hours (most on their own time without reimbursement) preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards to maximize learning for 1.5 million students.

On June 2, 2010, the North Carolina State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which were implemented during the 2012–13 school year. The CCSS represent K–12 learning expectations in English language arts and mathematics. They reflect the knowledge and skills students need to be college and career ready by the end of high school. Over the past few months, elected officials across the United States are beginning to question the CCSS. On June 4, 2013, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest posted a YouTube video outlining his concerns.

While standing in the car rider line at an elementary school, I was approached by a classroom teacher. She asked, "Are we going to align our curriculum, instruction, and assessments to the Common Core State Standards next year?" I replied, "yes." Then I said, "The Common Core is not going away." The teacher replied, "The Lieutenant Governor is discussing eliminating the Common Core." I replied, "Which Lieutenant Governor?" The teacher said, "The North Carolina Lieutenant Governor, Dan Forest."

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Early Childhood Education: Balancing Expectations and What Young Learners Really Need

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What does "education" mean for our youngest learners? The first years of school are as important for an educated population as any other period, perhaps more. Additionally, research shows that implementation of high-quality preschool programs can be beneficial for the lifelong development of children in low-income families and that an upfront commitment to early education provides returns to society that are many times more valuable than the original investment.

With the current focus on standards and academic achievement, is learning and testing coming too early? Curriculum and assessment should be based on the best knowledge of theory and research about how children develop and learn, with attention given to individual children's needs and interests within a group and in relation to program goals. In this episode, we discuss the importance of early childhood education and the specific social, cognitive, and emotional needs these learners have that are different from those of older learners. You'll hear from

  • Thomas Armstrong is an award-winning author and speaker with more than 40 years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level. More than 1 million copies of his books are in print on issues related to learning and human development, including the 2012 ASCD book, Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Achieve Success in School and Life.
  • Laura Bornfreund is a senior policy analyst for the New America Foundation's Early Education Initiative. Bornfreund examines early education (birth through grade 3) studies and policies and researches and writes original policy papers. She contributes to Early Ed Watch, the Early Education Initiative's blog, writing on a variety of education policy topics including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; federal education grant programs; teacher preparation, retention, and support; kindergarten; and early childhood assessment.
  • Walter McKenzie is a lifelong learner, teacher, leader, and connector. A director of Constituent Services for ASCD, McKenzie served 25 years in public education as a classroom teacher, instructional technology coordinator, director of technology, and assistant superintendent for information services. He is internationally known for his work on multiple intelligences and technology and has published various books and articles on the subject.
  • Jennifer Orr is a 1st-grade teacher at Annandale Terrace Elementary School in Fairfax County, Va. A National Board Certified Teacher in middle childhood, Orr has taught 4th, 5th, and 1st grades since 1998. In 2012 she received the International Society for Technology in Education's Kay L. Bitter Vision Award for being a K–2 educator bringing technology into the classroom effectively and with innovation. She is also an ASCD Emerging Leader and member of its 2013 class.
  • Wendy Ostroff is a cognitive psychology, child development, and metacognition expert and author of the 2012 ASCD book, Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bringing the Science of Child Development to the Classroom. Ostroff has been developing curricula on children’s learning for the past 15 years in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University; in the Department of Education and Child Study at Smith College; and, most recently, as associate professor in the program for the Advancement of Learning at Curry College.

If early childhood is where we begin to build skills and behaviors such as persistence, empathy, collaboration, and problem solving, are we teaching in developmentally appropriate ways?

Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: Where Does Early Childhood Education Fit Within Our National Priorities?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. Recently the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll addressed where quality early education falls within U.S. priorities and goals.

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Melissa Mellor

Answers to Your Top Six Shutdown Questions

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.

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Melanie Olmstead

Redemption for Educators!

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.

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Melissa Mellor

ASCD Kicks off August Recess Campaign

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.

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Leader to Leader

A Generational Shift in the Value of Institutions

At the recent ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) conference, attendees had a series of passionate unconference conversations. Several groups refined their thoughts into a series of presentations to share with other attendees in an "idea marketplace." During the idea marketplace, unconference groups presented for four rounds of 10-minute sessions, giving their peers the opportunity to learn from several groups in one session.

This post, written by Mike Rulon, a member of ASCD's Whole Child Faculty and facilitator for the Assessment for Learning ASCD Professional Interest Community, shares his group's experience. Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #ASCDL2L.

There has been a dramatic shift in young peoples' thinking about the value of institutions. For example, they are more comfortable with changing jobs; the research states that newcomers to the job market say they expect to change jobs about every three years. This is a drastic change in thinking from my generation. We believed that we would have one or two jobs in our lifetime and with the same company or school. We believed this idea represented stability and we found comfort in having our benefits and retirement secure.

At the L2L conference we discussed other shifts in thinking about the value of the institution of education. These points were made:

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Melanie Olmstead

ASCD Advocates for Multiple Measures

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.

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Dawn Imada Chan

The Whole Child Movement: A Journey Between Two Nations

I have often been asked about the differences between teaching in the United States and Canada. That's often a difficult question to answer because I now consider both countries "home" and doing so often elicits a predictable follow-up question of which education system is better. This post is not an attempt to rank one over the other, as education systems between countries will have to be different to meet the needs of their given communities.

However, no matter where we are located in the world, we see in our own classrooms the practice of compare and contrast. Doing this work with our students can elicit powerful reflections about complex ideas. Having had the experience of being a teacher in both settings, and most recently as an administrator in Canada, reflecting on both the similarities and differences between the two countries has provided me with a more comprehensive picture of what can work well in education.

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Bob Seidel

Summer Learning Day Is a Day of Action!

Summer Learning Day, June 21, is just around the corner. It is a grassroots movement to spread awareness among parents, the public, and policymakers about the issue of summer learning loss for children. Hundreds of events will take place across the country, celebrating local programs and providing a platform for policy advocacy.

The summer learning movement is part of a whole child approach to education. Children live their lives 12 months a year, not just when school is in session. They learn less or even lose what they've previously learned if they don't have stimulating experiences during the summer. Many need, but don't get, federally-subsidized meals for nutrition and structured opportunities for healthy exercise 12 months a year.

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