More than Covid Reopening …

Yes, it is important that we get all our k-12 public schools open and ready to educate all of our kids. But reopening cannot be the sole focus of the US Department of Education, particularly now. There is just too much that can, should, and must be done.

Over at the BAM! Radio Network, we explore how the time is now to multitask and set a real agenda with real goals.

Give it a listen here — https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/vaccinations-state-testing-school-reopening-sel-getting-ready-for-the-classroom-ahead/.

Let’s Put Reading First Again!

We need to make sure we are investing in all five of the core components of the science of reading, particularly vocabulary and comprehension. We need to invest in our teachers, ensuring they have the data, knowledge, and skills to be effective literacy instructors to all students, regardless of age or current reading level. And we need to hold our K-12 schools accountable for reading proficiency.

Literacy is not mastered in the fourth grade. Those who are proficient at that stage still have a lot of work to do. Those who do need extra work, extra attention, and extra intervention. The science of reading has a lifetime of application. It has been proven effective. And we have waited far, far too long to make it a priority. The science of reading needs to be our new national literacy plan.

From Eduflack’s inaugural essay for Educate

Did We Learn? Do We Care?

The last year of public school has been an exercise on crisis learning. Yes, it made sense not to administer state tests last spring, as so many learners moved into a virtual setting for the first time. But this spring, our states, districts, schools, and educators need real data to understand the impact of our Covid year.

In the latest episode of Soul of Education on the BAM! Radio Network, dear ol’ Eduflack opines on why it was so important for the Biden Administration to declare testing will resume this spring, virus be damned.

Give it a listen here: https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/what-did-your-students-learn-this-year-how-do-we-know/

Say Yes to the Test

“If we believe in the strength of the public education system in New Jersey, if we believe in a strong education (including literacy skills) as a key to success in both career and life, and if we believe that a high-quality public education is a civil right, then we must demand every piece of data available so that we can determine how to better support classroom teachers, how to better disperse state aid, and how to provide every learner the education that is promised to them.”

From Eduflack’s latest for NJ Education Report

Embracing the Science of Reading

These approaches work. They have worked in schools and classrooms throughout the nation for generations. They can produce the most extraordinary results in student learning and make those results ordinary, expected, and predictable. The evidence about how students learn to read bears this out. Our struggle remains in that far too few classrooms are using these approaches and far too few education schools are preparing teacher candidates in science. This research only needs to be put to work to provide every child with a good start in reading.

From Eduflack’s latest from The Faculty, Using the Science of Reading as a Roadmap to Student Success

Come Back, NAEP, Come Back!

As learning gaps grow and we wonder about those students who are being denied a qualify education (whether because of Covid or other reasons), we should be doing all we can to measure learning and understand where we fall short. That means measuring student progress, no matter how ugly.

We discuss the issue and how eliminating another year of student assessment is the the wrong answer over at BAM Radio Network.

Two Years Without Standardized Testing? Why It Matters

Yes, America, We Are Suffering from Learning Loss

How do we make up the “lag” for special education students, struggling learners who have experienced years of growing lags that were only being addressed by IEPs and 504s that took years to win? How is the latest lag addressed as school districts suspend many of those IDEA-protected rights because of virtual school, the very rights fought for because of school district failures to address other learning losses?

How do we make up the learning “lag” for English language learners who are now isolated in a plastic bubble in the classroom or in their own kitchens at home? How do we make it up for the 14 percent of k-12 students who do not have internet access at home? Or for those who lack the hardware to join virtual classes? Or even for those who lack the motivation to study in a virtual or hybrid environment when social engagement and interaction is essential to their academic development?

From dear ol’ Eduflack’s latest for Project Forever Free (which has been reposted on New Jersey Left Behind.

The full piece can be found here: https://projectforeverfree.org/call-it-like-it-is-we-are-experiencing-learning-loss/

No, Public Education is Not Equal

A recent survey has provided yet another “duh” moment, as the majority of Americans say the know public education is “unequal” in the United States. Yes, we know not all children have access to a high-quality public education. The question we should all be asking is what we can and should do to remedy it.

I explore the topic on the BAM Radio Network.

Give it a listen at https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/are-we-really-committed-to-equal-education/

No, “Balanced Literacy” Doesn’t Work

“No, we don’t need to rebalance balanced literacy. Whole language was discredited because it didn’t work. It was a philosophy, an approach, to literacy that lacked a proven curriculum that actually taught kids to read. Rebranding it as balanced literacy may have ensured sales and boosted the number of school districts enrolling their teachers in workshops, but it has similarly done nothing to teach kids to read. Balanced literacy needs to be cast aside, not rebalanced.

“With all we know about research and cognitive science, with all of the data we now hold on effective teaching and learning, with what we know about learning disabilities and English language learning, it borders on educational malpractice if we are focusing classroom instruction on approaches that lack evidence. Too much is at stake – for both our learners and our society – to waste our time and instructional dollars on snake oil and well-intentioned, yet unsuccessful, philosophies or beliefs.”

From Eduflack’s latest for Project Forever Free, Lucy, We Told You So

Don’t Call It a Gap Year

In dear ol’ Eduflack’s community, too many parents are willing to write off the 2020-21 school year already, wanting to dub it a gap year and pleading with parents and educators not to expect too much from our learners in such uncertain times.

Writing of the year a few weeks in is essentially educational malpractice. And it reeks of privilege. For every student who is struggling to read, for every ELL student, for every special education learner, a gap year is a lost year … and a year that will never be made up later.

We can’t, and shouldn’t, write off any school year or any school children. I explain why on the latest episode of TrumpEd over at the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here.