This week, PR News magazine recognized its PR People of the Year. One of the leading communications publications in the nation, PR News seeks to honor the best of the best in the field, everything from community relations to media relations, social media to agency leader, top agency to top PR team.
Yesterday, educators across the country participated in “A Day of Action,” a series of events across the country that, according to Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post, “sponsors hope will draw national attention to the problems of corporate-influenced school reform and to build a national movement to change the public education conversation and to increase funding for schools.”
On the latest installment of BAM Education Radio’s Common Core radio program, we take a look at last week’s PISA scores release and their implications for CCSS implementation across the country.
It looks like we won’t “Light My Candle” in Trumbull, Connecticut. Last week, the principal at Trumbull High School canceled the school’s Thespian Society’s plans to perform the musical Rent. Principal Marc Guarino has the final say in such decisions, so spiked the students’ decision to put on the award-winning musical.
In 1990, I had the honor and privilege to be at Spelman College as the nation’s historically black colleges and universities came together to honor Nelson Mandela. Mandela had just been released from prison. HBCU after HBCU presented him with honorary degrees, both in recognition for his sacrifice and for the hope and promise he was now to bring to his country and to the world.
Just about everywhere, it seems discussions on the Common Core State Standards (particularly their implementation and assessment) are fairly nasty. No, CCSS isn’t going anywhere (despite the wishes of some). But instead of focusing on the implementation and how we do a better job, it seems to be all about fights and absolutes and final lines in the sand.
As my daughter was enjoying her kindergarten year, I used to cringe whenever I spent time in her classroom. She had a caring teacher, walls full of books and other learning materials, and a relatively small class. So why my reaction? Each time I was in the room, my eyes were drawn to a large handwritten sign that was the focal point of the wall. And in the middle of that sign was a significant grammatical error.
“We are no longer completing book essays. Instead, we are completing weekly reader responses. This is handed out on Mondays and are not due to the following Monday. I have required that three entries be completed by Friday as a way to monitor their time. All directions are located on their response log!”
For decades, we have collectively wrung our hands about how to get women (as well as minorities and low-income students) interested in science and math. In the late 1990s, when I was first starting to work in the education space, I remember the controversy over a new Barbie doll that proclaimed “math is hard,” a sentiment that many felt would set progress back another generation.
Too often, we look for easy answers and quick fixes to our problems. And if we can’t find those answers, we look to quickly blame someone else for the problem. We do this because change is hard, and it often requires admitting that the world is not one of lollipops and rainbows.
“we know that American public school students from wealthy districts generate some of the best test scores in the world. This proves that the education system’s problems are not universal–the crisis is isolated primarily in the parts of the system that operate in high poverty areas.”“we know that many of the high-performing public schools in America’s wealthy locales are unionized. We also know that one of the best school systems in the world—Finland’s—is fully unionized. These facts prove that teachers’ unions are not the root cause of the education problem, either.”“All of this leads to an obvious conclusion: If America was serious about fixing the troubled parts of its education system, then we would be having a fundamentally different conversation.
We wouldn’t be talking about budget austerity—we would be talking about raising public revenues to fund special tutoring, child care, basic health programs and other so-called wrap-around services at low-income schools.”
Last week, the good folks over at Politico Education Pro wrote an interesting piece on the discourse in the current public education debates. Written under the header, Name-calling turns nasty in education world, the article by Stephanie Simon rehashed some of the name calling we’ve seen in the name of education and education reform recently.