Tag Archives: education policy

As Fifty States Reimagine Education Policy, Four Are Ready to Offer Guidance

What makes a mind come alive?

How can one community impact every child?

What do schools need to be changing from, and to?

And how can states set the conditions for lasting change?

In theory, these questions have always mattered. In reality, they are about to matter a lot more now that the United States Congress is poised to reauthorize its central education policy for the first time in thirteen years – and usher in an era of state authority on everything from school accountability to teacher education policies.

Now that the balance of power is shifting back towards the states, what should they do with it?

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Categories: Assessment, Equity, Leadership, Learning, Teacher Quality

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New PBS documentary tells a story about education we don’t ever hear

In the small town of Hartsville, South Carolina, which sits just about two hours from anywhere you’ve ever heard of, Monay Parran and her two young sons – eight-year-old Ja’quez, and eleven-year-old Rashon – begin each day in the darkness of the pre-dawn hours.
Parran, a single parent who works two minimum-wage jobs in two towns that are almost an hour apart, must drop her boys off at the bus stop early enough to make it to her first job on time. By the time she sees her sons again, after her second shift wraps up, it will be almost midnight.

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Categories: Learning

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New Orleans is an all-charter city. Is that a good thing?

This week, the last five traditional neighborhood schools in New Orleans’ Recovery School district were closed – making it the country’s first district made up entirely of charter schools.

That’s a good thing, right?

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Categories: Democracy, Leadership, Learning

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OK, Brown v. Board is 60; Now What?

As I travel around the country this month, participating in public conversations about the promise and peril of school choice, it seems fitting that right as we marked the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, I would end up having lunch with Michael Alves.

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Categories: Democracy, Equity, Learning

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Something’s Happening Here . . .

In the span of a few weeks, all of DC seems to be abuzz with the prospect that our elected officials may actually try to ensure greater racial and socioeconomic equity in the city’s public schools — apple carts be damned. First, there was the Op-Ed two colleagues and I published in the Washington Post, […]

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Categories: Equity

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Turning School Chance Into School Choice

There are a lot of smart people in Washington, D.C., and one of them is Evelyn Boyd Simmons.

A longtime D.C. resident, an effective parental advocate, and a firm believer in the unmatched promise of public education, Evelyn has a way of cutting to the quick on complicated, contentious issues. And so it was when in a recent conversation, she summarized the state of affairs in American public education with a clever turn of phrase.

“What people like to call school choice,” she said flatly, “is nothing more than clever marketing. What folks really have is school chance.”

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Categories: Democracy, Equity

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Should Integration Be a Goal of DC Public Schools?

From 2000 to 2010, the white share of the District of Columbia’s population grew from 30.8 percent to38 percent . And from 2000 to 2012, the median household income in the city rose 23.3 percent while the nation saw a 6.6?percent decline, adjusted for inflation. This rapid gentrification provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create racially and socioeconomically integrated public schools. The D.C. Advisory Committee on Student Assignment, which is redrawing school boundary lines and feeder patterns, should seize this opportunity.

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High Stakes Tests For 3-Year-Olds?

If you’re a parent of a young charter school student in DC – or just someone who cares about early education – you need to know what’s happening here in the nation’s capital, and fast.

In less than a week, all charter schools that serve young children will start being held accountable to their students’ test scores on reading and math.

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Categories: Learning

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Reimagining Our Schools, NOW

It’s a presidential election season, which means we can all be sure of two things: conversations about education will take a backseat to more “pressing” issues like the economy and foreign policy, and Congress will once again do nothing to address our desperate need for a new federal education policy.

However, just because our elected officials can’t get the job done doesn’t mean the rest of us are powerless to be the change we wish to see in the world. In fact, local educators could do a lot to sidestep national policymakers by committing to do just three things this coming school year:

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Categories: Assessment, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Change

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How Should Teachers Spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

For the past several years, conversations about American public education – and how to improve it – have grown increasingly loud and contentious. In fact, there’s only one issue on which it seems all sides can agree: when it comes to the learning environment, nothing matters more than a great teacher.

It’s ironic, then, that as a society we act as though nothing matters less. We internalize the notion that “Those who can’t, teach.” We speak in two-dimensional terms that portray educators as either mythical saviors or selfish laggards. And we accept the notion that the best way to address the needs of our poorest children is to temporarily drop our smartest, most inexperienced educators into the center of communities that are not their own.

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Categories: Learning, Organizational Change, Teacher Quality

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