The Common Core State Standards aren't an enemy. They're a smart way of saying to the public, "This is where education is going. This is what your child needs to know and be able to do as a future worker, citizen, and leader." To that end, the Common Core standards are helping to advance what we already know to be solid, holistic learning for our schools. This includes providing teachers the breathing room to get creative about focusing on integrity at every turn.
It's hard to believe that the trees are just about absent of leaves and the school year is well under way. As a parent of a 3-year-old, I spend time talking about the change of seasons as we listen to the sound of the leaves as they crunch beneath our feet. My husband and I take any opportunity that comes our way to explain the world around our son to help prepare him for his future in school and life. In essence, this is a nice comparison to the intent of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Post written by Lora M. Hodges for Northeast Foundation for Children/Responsive Classroom, a whole child partner organization.
Crafting powerful solutions for educating all children is an evolutionary and continuous improvement process. Educators and all those responsible for education must always be focused on innovating and pushing boundaries, digging deep, and searching wide for ideas to advance high-quality teaching and learning and to improve student outcomes. These are high-stakes outcomes, and clearly the wide adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is the most far-reaching evolutionary change in 21st century American education that can help us achieve these outcomes.
Post written by Madeleine Rogin for Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, a whole child partner organization.
Leading education theorists, such as Howard Gardner and Tony Wagner, have written about the importance of cultivating our students' abilities to communicate across "networks"—skills that are crucial to success in our new global reality. And indeed, there's already been a popular acceptance that teaching around the topics of race, racism, and communicating across differences is an essential part of education in the 21st century. But in many classroom conversations, racism is framed as something of the past rather than a present reality. In addition, white children often think of slavery or the Jim Crow laws as something horrific that happened to "them," but do not see these events as something that is bad for "us" as a whole. To avoid this mistake, we can focus on empathy in the classroom as a way to prevent exclusionary behavior and "othering," which may move students to stand up against bias and prejudice.
Looking toward the future, the next step is to ask ourselves, as educators and parents, how do we go about these conversations in a way that promotes values such as inclusivity and empathy?
A whole child approach to education ensures that each child, in each school, and in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. With our interactive Whole Child Examples Map tool, you can find examples of schools and communities worldwide that are implementing a whole child approach to education, including these early childhood education programs. Each example highlights a program, focus, or achievement and includes links to more information.
According to current statistics, more than 30 percent of our school-age young people—approximately 5.7 million children—are bullied in schools, on playgrounds, and in recreational facilities each year. Research shows that these numbers can be reduced by nearly half through the use of effective bullying prevention programs.
During the month of October, in observance of National Bullying Prevention Month, schools and organizations across the country will join STOMP Out Bullying to encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying and to increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on children. As part of the observation, the week of October 21, 2013, is dedicated as STAND UP for Others Week. It's a week-long commitment to stand up for victims of bullying that ends on Friday, October 25, the internationally observed STAND UP to Bullying Day.
Post written by Janet Brown, Senior Early Childhood Program Specialist, and Kwesi Rollins, Director of Leadership Programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership
In Lifelines for Poor Children, economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman argues that quality early learning programs represent our best national education investment, due to evidence of societal benefits from longitudinal studies of Perry Preschool and Abecedarian early childhood programs.
The Perry Preschool Project and Abecedarian programs worked extensively with families in their home and community contexts. Successes from such early learning and family support efforts suggest that cross-sector community collaborations, such as those in community schools, are ideal contexts for scaling up early childhood programming for low-income children and families. Such schools share program approaches with Perry Preschool and Abecedarian, including home visits and follow-up supports for children and families in their communities.
Post written by Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance; Sarah Pitcock, interim CEO of the National Summer Learning Association; and Gina Warner, executive director of the National AfterSchool Association
There's no getting around it—to stack the odds in favor of career success and a competitive nation, kids today must embrace and develop proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. Nearly 80 percent of future careers will require some STEM skills. Regardless of eventual career choice, skills required to master STEM subjects—analysis, problem solving, and critical thinking—are universally valuable.
But with increasing demands placed on teachers and the limited hours available, how are students supposed to secure relevant knowledge and skills? The truth is, schools simply can't do it alone nor can they fit it all in the already-packed school-year schedule.
Post written by Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor, codirectors of the Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, a whole child partner organization.
Anyone working with children and youth these days is familiar with words like strengths, assets, and resilience. This reflects the progress made in moving beyond a deficit or problem-focused bias to incorporate approaches that build on motivation and promote resilience.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States. Research shows that childhood obesity puts kids at greater risk for health problems—including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease—and, once a child enters school, can undermine classroom and overall lifetime success. Encouraging new research indicates we are making some progress to reverse this epidemic: a new report on childhood obesity shows obesity among low-income preschoolers has declined slightly in 19 states and territories, and a new report on school health shows there have been improvements in the way we teach nutrition and physical activity in schools. But there is still a lot of work to be done.