61 Years after Brown v. Board of Education, Many Schools remain Separate and Unequal

FILE - This Aug. 22, 1958 file photo shows Thurgood Marshall outside the Supreme Court in Washington. Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. Many inequities in education still exist for black students and for Hispanics, a population that has grown exponentially since the 1954 ruling. Marshall, the head of the NAACP's legal arm who argued part of the case, went on to become the Supreme Court's first African-American justice in 1967. (AP Photo, File)

School equity has long been an issue in the United States. This year marks 61 years since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case that was designed to give the federal government the authority to enforce school integration. But statistics tell us that despite this case, not that much has changed in many parts of the country.

The Huffington Post recently produced a series of graphs that efficiently show how states across the country are faring in terms of bringing racial equity to their schools.

Needless to say, the picture they show isn’t pretty.

To view the graphs, please follow this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/17/brown-v-board-61-anniversary_n_7293344.html


Can We Interest You In Teaching?

teachers_crop380wFrank Bruni has penned a piece highlighting the teaching shortages that have made the news around the country in recent weeks. The shortages are so acute in some places, both urban and rural, that teachers are being brought in who are not even fully certified yet.

After researching and talking with various noted education professionals, Bruni finds five key factors for why there might be a teacher shortage and what could be done to remedy the situation:

  • This is the obvious one, but that doesn’t make it not true. If college students look at the numbers and realize that they won’t be able to afford a house or pay for their family on a teacher salary, then they won’t go into that profession.
  • Teachers often have little say in the policies that determine their work life. And with so many changes taking place in education all the time, they feel even more storm-tossed.
  • Career Opportunities. Teachers want to know that there will be chances to move up in their profession, not just in terms of money, but in terms of positions that will give them more authority and a chance to pass on what they know to others.
  • Too often, state laws make it very difficult to transfer teaching certifications from one state to another, and this even goes for experienced and fully qualified teachers.
  • Teaching just does not hold the same cultural value as it does in many other countries in the world. Part of changing this might be to make it harder to enter the profession, as happened with the medical field, or it might also involve setting up more incentive programs to help teachers, who will be crucial public servants for decades to come, get started.

For the full article, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/12/opinion/frank-bruni-can-we-interest-you-in-teaching.html


Clinically Oriented Teacher Preparation

utru-logoUrban Teacher Residency United has released a new report titled Clinically Oriented Teacher Preparation. This report examines how preparation programs around the country are adopting core components of a residency model to innovate and improve teacher education through robust clinical experiences.

A brief overview:

Clinically Oriented Teacher Preparation (COTP) shares examples of innovative, clinically oriented teacher preparation practices happening around the country. Featuring Urban Teacher Residency United partners as well as other traditional and alternative route programs, the report describes how preparation programs are innovating the residency model components and placing practice at the center of how teachers are prepared.  COTP illustrates how preparation providers are transitioning their approach to new teacher development that is more clinically rich and dynamic.

From interviews with 22 providers, COTP clearly shows that clinically oriented teacher education is not a “business as usual” approach and necessitates shifts that were described as disruptive and difficult.  

Those shifts include:

  • Rethinking the nature of the clinical experience by positioning teacher candidates as co-teachers; emphasizing candidate performance and accountability through competency-based assessments and the use of district- or state-aligned evaluation tools; increasing mentor selectivity; focusing on mentor development; and devising new, clinically-based roles to accommodate programmatic changes.
  • Reimagining coursework, pedagogies, and pathways to program entry, including tighter theory-to-practice integration, using simulations and rehearsals, and designing unique routes to program entry that attract individuals into the profession who otherwise might not consider teaching as a career possibility.
  • Underscoring the importance of authentic collaboration and partnership between and across schools, school districts, and institutes of higher education.

Further, COTP examines conditions for success, potential barriers, and offers policy recommendations.  Change management in teacher education is not easy or automatic. The programs in COTP are at different stages of shifting toward a clinical approach to teacher education, with some just in their first year of implementation and enduring a steep learning curve.  Across all programs, however, clear conditions made the shifts possible to ensure that beginning teachers are well prepared for the challenges of teaching and learning today.

You can learn more at:  http://www.utrunited.org/research-reports/entry/clinically-oriented-teacher-preparation/


August Issue Brief: Parent Engagement

In Case You Missed It!Research consistently shows that family engagement in learning positively affects a range of student outcomes, including grades, behavior, enrollment in higher level programs, graduation, and college attendance. Parents and teachers want children to succeed, so why is parent engagement such a challenge?

In this month’s issue brief, we explore resources and recommendations related to parent engagement.

What do school and district staff need to know and do in order to effectively engage parents? What do parents need to know and do in order to work successfully with schools? What resources do you recommend on this topic? Please respond to our call for commentary. We’d love to hear from you!

To check out this month’s newsletter and access resources on this month’s topic, please follow this link: http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a4ae2b1b129b9f8a29d50b80f&id=4190968954&e=60969abf82

To ensure you do not miss future issues, we encourage you to subscribe to the monthly newsletter by following this link: http://tinyurl.com/byje6b9


Survey: Most High Schoolers Feel Unprepared for College, Careers

A recent survey finds that more than half of high school juniors and seniors across the country don’t feel they’re ready for college and careers, even though these remain top goals for students.

The survey was a multi-year College and Career Readiness survey of 165,000 high school students conducted by YouthTruth, a San Francisco-based nonprofit. The survey of juniors and seniors was conducted from the 2010-11 through the 2014-15 school years. More than 260 schools across 31 states partnered with YouthTruth. The participating schools represent a cross-section of all high schools in the country, with students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Findings include the following:

  • 87 percent of students want to eventually earn a college degree and land a career
  • 45 percent of students feel positive about their college and career readiness; 55 percent do not
  • 56 percent believe their schools have helped them understand the steps they will need to take in order to apply to college
  • 46 percent said their schools have helped them figure out which careers match their interests and abilities

For more, see: http://edsource.org/2015/survey-most-high-school-students-feel-unprepared-for-college-careers/83752

For information on how to get your school involved in the next Youth Truth survey, see: http://www.youthtruthsurvey.org/


Do we know how to help teachers get better?

TNTPTNTP has spent the last two years trying to answer the question, “Do we know how to help teachers get better?” Their new report,The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development, shares what they found.

The Mirage examines how three large public school districts and one charter school network support teachers’ professional growth-and how their support affects teachers’ performance. It is based on surveys of more than 10,000 teachers and 500 school leaders, and interviews with more than 100 district office staff members.

TNTP wanted to identify what distinguishes teachers who improve from those who don’t, in the hope of creating a blueprint for helping far more teachers succeed in the classroom. Instead, what they found challenged all our assumptions about teacher development and how to achieve it at scale.

Here are some highlights:

  • School systems are making a massive and laudable investment in teacher improvement-far larger than most people realize. The districts studied spend an average of $18,000 per teacher, per year on development efforts. Teachers themselves devote nearly 10 percent of the school year to their development.
  • Yet most teachers do not appear to improve substantially from year to year. Only three out of 10 teachers in the districts studied improved substantially over several years, even though many have not yet mastered critical instructional skills.
  • TNTP found no evidence that any particular approach to or amount of professional development consistently helps teachers improve. They found teachers who improved in 95 percent of the schools studied. But even after an exhaustive search, they were unable to find any common threads that separate these teachers from those who don’t improve.
  • School systems are failing to help teachers understand how to improve-or even that they have room to improve at all. The vast majority of teachers in the districts studied received high marks on their evaluations, even with districts’ multiple-measure evaluation systems. Perhaps not surprisingly, less than half of the teachers we surveyed agreed they had weaknesses in their instruction.
  • The answer is not to give up on teacher development. Rather, the authors believe it’s time for a new conversation about teacher improvement-one that asks fundamentally different questions about what great teaching means and how to achieve it.

To read more visit:  http://tntp.org/publications/view/evaluation-and-development/the-mirage-confronting-the-truth-about-our-quest-for-teacher-development

Also, see: http://www.uschamberfoundation.org/blog/post/teacher-training-worth-it/43539?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=&utm_content=


The 2016 Schools of Character application is now open!

characterdotorg-logo_largeThe Schools of Character program has provided hundreds of schools with a framework and professional feedback that has improved their school culture and climate. In a more supportive environment, students thrive and schools see increased academic achievement and decreased behavioral issues. Every school can and should become a school of character. Apply to join the network by completing an application, open through December 1.

Some of the info you will provide in the application:

  • A narrative of your character story: your history and areas of improvement
  • Your school’s implementation of the 11 Principles
  • Visual evidence (e.g., artifacts) of your character initiatives
  • Academic, behavioral, and climate data
  • Testimonials of stakeholders

The 11 Principles of Effective Character Education are as follows:

  1. The school community promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation of good character.
  2. The school defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.
  3. The school uses a comprehensive, intentional, and proactive approach to character development.
  4. The school creates a caring community.
  5. The school provides students with opportunities for moral action.
  6. The school offers a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed.
  7. The school fosters students’ self-motivation.
  8. The school staff is an ethical learning community that shares responsibility for character education and adheres to the same core values that guide the students.
  9. The school fosters shared leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative.
  10. The school engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.
  11. The school regularly assesses its culture and climate, the functioning of its staff as character educators, and the extent to which its students manifest good character.

For more information visit http://character.org/schools-of-character/preparing-to-apply/


High School Rigor Matters to Students Who Don’t Attend College, CPE Study Finds

Center for public educationThe Center for Public Education has released the second in a pair of reports focused on high school students who do not continue their formal education after graduation and factors that contribute to positive outcomes and future success.

A rigorous high school program boosts the chances of success for both college goers and students who do not attend college after high school. High school graduates who do not attend college are more successful later on if they have taken high-level math courses and focused vocational training in high school.

The results of the second study of a series, “The Path Least Taken II: Preparing Non-college Goers for Success,” reinforce the essential role of high school preparation in students’ success, regardless of the paths they chose after graduation. The study by the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education (CPE) looks at the credentials and high school experiences of non-college going graduates to identify the factors that lead to success after school in both work and life.

Drawing on data from the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES’s) Education Longitudinal Study (ELS:2002), CPE’s report examines the 12 percent of high school graduates who had not enrolled in a two- or four-year college by age 26.

Non-college goers did much better in the labor market if they had completed high-level math and science courses; earned higher grades; completed multiple vocational courses focusing on a specific labor market area, and obtained a professional certification or license.

The Path Least Taken II: Preparing Non-college Goers for Success, is available at:  www.centerforpubliceducation.org/pathleasttakenII.

The first report, The Path Least Taken: A Quest to Learn More About High School Graduates Who don’t Go on to College, is available online at: www.centerforpubliceducation.org/pathleasttaken


State Standards and Assessment Landscape is Continuing to Shift

Education. First. - Education FirstAs we move into the 2015-16 school year, the standards and assessments landscape is continuing to shift. State legislative and executive actions over the past year have resulted in changes to how, when – and in some cases, if – districts and schools will implement Common Core and aligned-assessments. An overwhelming majority of states are continuing Common Core implementation despite dozens of bills aimed at delaying or repealing the standards; some will continue or begin reviews of the standards with an eye toward revising them. A number of states’ assessment plans, on the other hand, are likely to change heading into the new school year.

Education First’s new CCSS and Assessments Status Maps detail these changes, looking back to last year and forward to next. Reference these maps to better understand which states are reviewing their standards, which are moving to new assessment vendors and which had Common Core repeal bills that failed or passed during 2015 state legislative sessions. There’s little doubt that policymakers will continue to tweak their states’ standards and assessment policies over the next months and year, and Education First promises to keep these maps current as changes ensue.

Access the maps here: http://bit.ly/1J4tOD1


New Code of Ethics for Educators

nasdtecThe National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) released a new code of ethics recently for educators.

The effort was supported by Educational Testing Service, University of Phoenix College of Education and the National Network of State Teachers of the year. Phillip Rogers, executive director of NASDTEC, said one purpose of the code is to assist in preparing “new educators who will continue to face more complex issues in the future.”

The Model Code of Ethics for Educators (MCEE) is made up of 5 main principles and 18 sub-components:

  • Principle I: Responsibility to the Profession
  • Principle II: Responsibility for Professional Competence
  • Principle III: Responsibility to Students
  • Principle IV: Responsibility to the School Community
  • Principle V: Responsible and Ethical Use of Technology

MCEE includes glossaries with definitions of terms and rationale.

In today’s education climate where teachers are so much more interconnected to colleagues, students, families, and community by technology, MCEE provides a welcome update to a profession that seeks to help mold the next generation into ethical American citizens.

For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/1Hhgiv2