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

History Matters, We Think

“A large majority (75%) agree that a strong understanding of U.S. history is needed for successful citizenship, yet the same survey finds that only 43% say today’s high school graduates possess this necessary knowledge of national history.

“Furthermore, Americans place English, math and science higher than history when asked to rank how important they feel each academic subject is for today’s high school students to be successful in college or in their career. English topped the rankings at 71%; history garnered 57% of the very important vote; only foreign language came in lower than history.”

From a Patch article reporting on the latest survey from dear ol’ Eduflack’s Driving Force Institute. The full article can be found here – https://patch.com/district-columbia/washingtondc/do-high-school-students-know-what-electoral-college-does-nodx

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

Making What is “Boring” Interesting Again

“If as an adult the lesson makes you a little nervous, content-wise, then it has the potential to connect with learners. The best thing the Driving Force Institute is doing is using provocative videos that have students asking why they hadn’t learned it before and what else have they not been taught.”

From a Twinkl exploration on how make unpopular academic subjects more exciting, discussing Eduflack’s Untold History initiative

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/

Campaigning is the Easy Part …

It’s very easy to focus civic engagement and civic education on voting. As such, we could take real satisfaction that the hard work is over, what with the 2020 elections behind us.

But the real work is must beginning. Now educators must focus on what comes next and who best to keep students engaged.

We explore the topic on TrumpEd for the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/the-election-is-the-easy-part-the-challenge-is-what-comes-next/

Casting a Wide Net for EdSec

“Safe choices like Eskelsen Garcia, Hrabowski, or even U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott of Virginia would all be solid nominees and cabinet secretaries in the Biden Administration. But what if we tabled the safe, solid considerations for a moment and began to consider the bold, the innovative, and the atypical. At such a time of change and uncertainty in both our nation and our educational systems, considering the alternatives may be just what our schools, our educators, and our learners need.”

From Eduflack’s latest on Medium (and also published on Project Forever Free and The Education Post)

What We Have Is a Failure to Communicate Civics

In recent years, we’ve seen that “civic education” is the new hot topic in public ed. With politically diverse states from Massachusetts to Florida now requiring civics instruction, many are seeing civics as the new STEM.

But with all of the talk about civics, and all of the dollars spent by philanthropy on civic education, we are seeing very little when it comes to concrete actions and measurable outcomes. Not only do we not know how to measure progress, but we likely see funder interest in the subject shrinking if the 2020 elections turn out a certain way. After all, then the voters may have addressed the need themselves.

Why are we struggling so with this supposedly important topic? One major reason may be our collective inability to define what civic education actually is. To some, it is government and politics. To others, civic activism. And to others, a watered-down version of history light.

Over on the BAM! Radio Network, we discuss the topic and how we need a common understanding if we are to take the subject seriously. Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/are-we-paying-enough-attention-to-civic-education-should-we-care/.