This Hunt Institute video discusses the rationale behind the development of the Common Core State Standards.
"These standards now being implemented by more than 44 states across the nation were built upon strengths and lessons learned in states. They were informed by other top performing countries and grounded in research and evidence," says the Hunt Institute. Learn more with ASCD Express.
Whether you are a parent, educator, or community member, you can help turn political rhetoric about "investing in the future of our children" into reality. Join ASCD in helping your school, district, and community move from a vision for educating the whole child to sustainable, collaborative action. States and school districts across the country are adopting policies and practices to better educate the whole child, but we can do more.
Updated with critical research and real-world examples of education policies and practices that ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child (PDF) is a free advocacy tool that you can use as you work with policymakers, the media, and other groups. You can also add your local statistics and success stories so that decision makers in your community understand the difference a whole child education can make.
Since 2006, ASCD has worked to support educators, families, community members, and policymakers in implementing a whole child approach to education that ensures students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. The latest issue of ASCD's Policy Priorities examines how much progress has been made at the federal and state levels in creating more whole child–centered policies and practices and shares insight from several education leaders and policymakers, including Rudy Crew, Oregon's chief education officer; Senator Al Franken (D-MN); former Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville; and Council of Chief State School Officers President Tom Luna.
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.
Educators have a unique opportunity to reset the playing field and make the Common Core State Standards work for them. We can implement the standards, align them to a whole child approach to education, and ensure that both support and enhance each other. The Common Core standards and a whole child approach are not opposites, and they do not and should not have to be in opposition.
Join us throughout December and January as we investigate how the standards integrate and align within a whole child approach and how a strong framework can support a well-rounded education that prepares students for college, career, and citizenship success. Overall, we will highlight how now is the time for educators to take control and become empowered in the process. The outcomes will depend on what you decide to do for the Common Core standards within a whole child approach and how you decide to do it.
In the past three years, 36 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have changed their teacher evaluation policies, mainly to qualify for federal Race to the Top funds or No Child Left Behind waivers. States are drafting, implementing, and using new systems that incorporate measures of student achievement, levels of performance, classroom observations, and performance-based tenure decisions. All these elements must come together to produce results relevant to the improvement of teaching and the development of teachers themselves.
Teachers matter. They have an extraordinary, positive, and lasting effect on their students. Students with high-performing teachers can progress three times as fast as students with low-performing teachers, and each student deserves access to highly effective teachers in every subject.
So, how do we know which teachers are effective? All teachers deserve a fair and accurate assessment of their skills, how they perform in the classroom, and how they can improve. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on these accurate and fair evaluations that are based on multiple measures, including—but not solely based on—their students' performance in the subjects they teach.
Unfortunately, and despite what appears to be a concerted effort across the last several decades, the assumption that a picture of educator skill and practice can be gained through observation alone simply doesn't work. In the final analysis, this simplistic approach to teacher evaluation most certainly results in neither teacher improvement nor increased accountability. Teachers don't value or trust their own evaluation, administrators view it as merely one more bureaucratic hurdle to check off, and it has no credibility with parents and other stakeholders.
So, what can we do about the abysmal state of teacher evaluation? Firstly, we need to recognize what's wrong, and secondly, we need to fix it. In the first post in this series, I discussed how observation does not equal evaluation. Today's post is about purposeful, data-driven evaluation.
Teacher quality is the most important in-school factor that influences student learning and achievement. Research shows that students with high-performing teachers can progress three times as fast as students with low-performing teachers and each student deserves access to highly effective teachers in every subject. In turn, all teachers deserve a fair and accurate assessment of their skills, how they perform in the classroom, and how they can improve. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on accurate and fair evaluations based on multiple measures, including—but not solely based around—their students' performance in the subjects they teach.
Teachers should be evaluated based on their performance in their own subject area using a range of criteria, including observations, peer reviews, parental or student input, and analysis of agreed-on student learning evidence. In this episode, we discuss effective teacher evaluation that produces results that truly benefit students, schools, and educators. You'll hear from
Teacher evaluation, throughout most of our recent history, has been practiced religiously with the intent—or, at least, hope—that it will improve performance. The assumption underlying much of teacher evaluation practice goes something like this:
We know that this system does not work. A picture of educator skill and practice cannot be gained through observation alone, and not all evaluation processes promote professional growth and affect student achievement. In this series of blog posts, I attempt to offer an analysis of three contemporary teacher evaluation practices within a problem/solution framework.