A moment of self indulgence, if you please. As many know, two weeks ago today, we brought Edudaughter home from Guatemala for the first time. She is now 13 months and one week old, and has immediately become ingrained as the central figure of the edufamily. Again, we have lucked out with a perfect child, a smiling, laughing, happy little girl who sleeps through the night and takes great interest in anything her big brother or parents seem to be involved in.
For years now, we have heard how the cost of college has been increasing dramatically. Higher education costs have risen far higher than virtually every other sector in our economy (aside from healthcare), with increasing easily outpacing raises, cost-of-living adjustments, or savings interest rates for the average family.
Earlier this month, we had the American Council on Education release data showing that today’s students are attaining less education than their parents. At the time, I took that to mean that many students stopping at their BAs have parents with advanced degrees, the kids of BA parents are wrapping up at the associates level, and some children of college grads are settling for just a high school diploma.
ndard we set or the potential we have.
More than a year ago, Eduflack opined on the very real problem of our schools “deskilling” our students. What does this mean? In an era where most kids are multitasking, multimedia fiends, we take away the multimedia learning, strip away the collaboration and student interaction, and place them into a learning environment with rows of desks and educators who read to them from traditional textbooks. In doing so, we are stripping students of the 21st century skills they need to compete, forcing them into a 19th century learning continuum.
At high noon today, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings officially announced her “final regulations” to strengthen No Child Left Behind. Speaking to a wide range of stakeholders in South Carolina, Spellings focused on issues like high school graduation rates, improved accountability, better parental notification of supplemental services, and greater school choice.
Over the last decade, we have seen a real evolution into scientifically based reading instruction. The work of the National Research Council and the National Reading Panel both focused on the research base that was out there, and what the data told us about good, effective instruction. The American Federation of Teachers released a report on reading instruction titled “Teaching Reading is Rocket Science,” hoping to dispel, once and for all, that there was a proven scientific method behind effective reading instruction madness.
Ever since Eduflack got involved in STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) education, I’ve spent a great deal of time talking, writing, and thinking about the ties between public education and economic development. As I’ve said before, education does not operate in a vacuum. By focusing on relevant, high-quality, results-based education, we directly impact student learning. We also greatly affect jobs, economic development, healthcare, the environment, and even national security. Education is the common linkage between all of our national areas of concern, and it is a linkage that deserves our utmost attention.
With both presidential candidates discussing school choice as a plank in their educational platforms, it is only natural to start thinking about the role of charter schools in the coming years. It is no secret that charters were vigorously fought by the educational establishment for many years, seen as a vehicle for taking money from the old-school publics and “diluting” the school district’s mission. As years have gone by, we’ve seen many charters do extremely well (and some still very poorly), as the model has moved into the mainstream and status quoers’ ire has instead been directed at vouchers and similar programs.
We’re all eagerly awaiting the showdown up at Teachers College this evening between the McCain Campaign’s Lisa Graham Keegan and the Obama campaign’s Linda Darling-Hammond. And we can all watch it live on the Web, courtesy of Education Week.
When we talk about education improvement initiatives, we often immediately focus on the role of the teacher. Eduflack is quick to note that teaching, particularly in the 21st century, is one of the most challenging careers out there. Some people are cut out to be excellent, effective teachers. Others simply aren’t up to the challenges and rigors of our current classrooms. One of our most important responsibilities in ed reform is making sure we are getting the right teachers in the right classrooms, and we are helping those teachers that just aren’t up to the challenge.