My name is Eduflack, and I am a captain of negativism. I often like to tease that I’m not a glass half full or half empty sorta guy, I just want to know who took my damned water. So last evening was a fascinating exercise for me. As luck would have it, I had a three-and-a-half hour school board meeting last night, meaning I missed the State of the Union live. But from all of the updates on Facebook and on Twitter, it seemed like President Obama had delivered a truly rousing state of the education union speech, fulfilling all of the hopes and dreams that ed reformers and status quoers alike have for education in the United States. All those negative feelings I have, year in and year out, about how education gets short shrift in the SOTU would be replaced by an unnatural and unfamiliar sense of joy and happiness in dear ol’ Eduflack.
Sometimes (and rarely) I see the need to use Eduflack to pass along some interesting information. No opinion. No soapbox (OK, almost no soapbox). No critique. No snark. This is one of those times.
As is typical for this time of year, most of Washington is eagerly awaiting tomorrow evening’s State of the Union address, delivered by President Barack Obama. (Of course, Eduflack will be in a school board meeting, discussing local school budgets, but I’ll be listening to the SOTU in spirit). And just about every year, the education community eagerly awaits to see how big a role education policy will play in the SOTU.
At its heart, is e-learning about improving educational opportunity or lowering instructional costs? Last week, Eduflack was talking with a school district in West Virginia. Following a growing wave, school districts in the Mountain State are prohibiting new textbook purchases in a tough budget environment. As an alternative, districts are being directed to use e-learning to replace textbook adoptions and ensure students have up-to-date learning materials.
Is there real, honest-to-goodness innovation entering the K-12 education space? We seem to use the term “innovation” a great deal, but few seem to know what it really means. The dictionary definition is “something new or different introduced.” When the U.S. Department of Education issued its Investing in Innovation (i3) program last year, innovation was driven by what was research proven and evidence based.
As a nation, we tend to give a great deal of lip service to the idea of a 21st century education. Such a notion is particularly popular when international achievement rankings come out, when we see how the United States stacks up to other industrialized nations, and we all seem to preach on the need to provide a 21st century education to lead to 21st century jobs and a 21st century economy.
Today, the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the central leaders of the civil rights movement. While much can be written and much can be said about Dr. King, his actions, his impact on our community, and even its modern-day applications for issues like education reform and school equity, none of it can really match MLK’s words themselves.
Yesterday, Education Week released its annual edu-stats extravaganza, Quality Counts. The 2011 edition of Quality Counts, Uncertain Forecast: Education Adjusts to a New Economic Reality, hits on all of the usual topics, with a special emphasis on the economy and its impact on education.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will begin the day today by reading the U.S. Constitution into the record. Experts say that this is the first time that the Constitution will be read, in its entirety, before the people’s Representatives.
Today, the 112th Congress officially takes its seat. Anyone who watched the November elections realizes that a major change in philosophy takes the gavel in Washington, riding on the momentum of the “Tea Party” movement.