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.
We invite you to participate in ASCD's third annual Whole Child Virtual Conference. Entitled "Moving from Implementation to Sustainability to Culture," sessions will offer educators around the globe leadership discussions and strategies to support their work to implement and sustain a whole child approach to education.
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.
Becky J. Berg is from a family of educators. "My dad was a school board president; my mom was a career educator; and my sister, my grandmother, and my great-grandfather were educators," she says. Despite the genetic pull, Berg wasn't completely convinced she would follow in the family's footsteps until her experience as a summer camp counselor while she was in college. It was then that she realized how much she loved working with kids.
Today, Berg is the superintendent of the Deer Park School District in Deer Park, Wash. During her career, she has served at the middle and elementary levels as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal, as well as an adjunct instructor at Eastern Washington University and Washington State University. Berg earned a bachelor's degree at Eastern Washington University, a master's degree in education from Western Washington University, and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Post submitted by Andy Hargreaves and Pasi Sahlberg
We are entering an age of post-standardization in education. It may not look, smell, or feel like it, but the augurs of the new age have already arrived and are advancing with increasing speed. [This] "Fourth Way" pushes beyond standardization, data-driven decision making, and target-obsessed distractions to forge an equal and interactive partnership among the people, the profession, and their government.
—Andy Hargreaves, The Fourth Way, 2009
Educational systems across the globe are under pressure to change. Many countries are focusing attention on additional accountability, school choice and competition, short-term outcomes, and data-driven decision making (what have been called the "second" and "third" ways). Many high-performing countries and systems, however, are reexamining their structures and policies to move toward greater collective professional autonomy from bureaucratic control, stronger active involvement of local communities, and diversified teaching to respond to today's widely varying populations of learners. This "fourth" way of educational reform heralds the next stage for educational improvement—a movement which reverts educational authority back from centralized bureaucracies to educators and communities, diversifies skills and content taught to suit each community and context, and is driven by the inspiring and also basic belief that there are skills and aptitudes that are just as critical as content knowledge.
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.
Four years ago on the inauguration of the first African American president of the United States, we titled our Whole Child Newsletter "Someday Happens," reflecting a T-shirt I saw at the ceremonies that day. Today, independent of political views, I'm wondering when someday will happen for the millions of kids promised a "free and appropriate public education." Although that phrase was first introduced in reference to children with disabilities, it applies too often to kids from all walks of life in all parts of the United States.
We as educators have a unique opportunity to reset the playing field and make the Common Core State Standards work for us. We can implement the standards, align them to a whole child approach to education, and ensure that they both support and enhance each other to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship success. The Common Core standards and a whole child approach are not opposites, and they do not have to be and should not be in opposition. In fact, they're interdependent. So much so, that they require each other to be successful.
Now is the time for us to take control and become empowered in the process. The outcomes will depend on what we decide to do for the Common Core standards within a whole child approach and how we decide to do it. In this episode, host Molly McCloskey and our guests discuss how our schools are working to better and more comprehensively support student learning so that they meet these enhanced expectations. You'll hear from
Arnold Fege, president of Public Advocacy for Kids and, recently, director of public engagement and advocacy for the Public Education Network where he covered education reform, parental involvement, and community engagement issues on the Hill and agencies, specializing in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Fege has more than 40 years of public education and child advocacy experience as a public school teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and desegregation director. He was the National PTA's director of governmental relations for 17 years and is recognized for his leading work and articles in linking school and community. As a staff person for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, he helped draft provisions in the original ESEA legislation and has been involved in every reauthorization of ESEA since that time.
Craig Mertler, professor and dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., and guest author this month on the Whole Child Blog. Mertler has been an educator for more than 25 years, beginning his career as a high school science teacher, then pursuing degrees in education assessment, research, and statistics. His interests lie in teacher-led action research, teacher leadership, classroom assessment, data-driven instructional decision making, and school improvement.
David Griffith, director of public policy at ASCD who leads the development and implementation of ASCD's Legislative Agenda as well as ASCD's efforts to influence education decision making at the local, state, and federal levels. He has 20 years of political experience as a congressional aide and on several political campaigns. Prior to joining ASCD, Griffith was the director of governmental and public affairs for the National Association of State Boards of Education, where he oversaw the organization's advocacy and political activities as well as media relations.
How are you and your professional colleagues critically examining your practice as we enter the era of Common Core implementation?