School Board News Today, an online publication of NSBA, provides timely and relevant stories and analysis from NSBA and other news outlets to school board members, administrators, and all others interested in K-12 education.
From a school librarian who’s blog of book selections is read around the country to a kindergarten teacher turned top executive at a major digital education resources company who’s extolled the value of educational social networking along the way, this year’s “20 to Watch” list are movers and shakers in the education area who are as cutting edge as the technologies they utilize.
Check out these remarkable individuals and their impressive biographies. They will be recognized at next week’s T+L Conference in Phoenix.
Bryant will be a panelist on Tuesday’s “Talking to our Policy Makers” closing session moderated by NBC’s Brian Williams. The session, scheduled for 11:30 am EDT (time subject to change), airs live on MSNBC and MSNBC.com.
The session will include teachers, students, parents, and engaged community members sharing their big ideas in testimony to local and national leaders (including NSBA) to assist in their crafting of education legislation and policy.
From an entertainment standpoint, and thanks to an almost unparalleled marketing campaign, Guggenheim has ramped up the debate about our nation’s public schools in a way that the best films do. He hitches the narrative to sympathetic, interesting characters and draws them into a sort of good vs. evil battle with the highest stakes of all the education of our children. But in doing so, he also misses the mark.
By casting teachers, and more specifically, teachers unions as the film’s villains, Guggenheim goes for an easy target. Examples of school boards and traditional administrators are shown in films made in the 1950s and ’60s. And while the brush is not quite broad enough to paint charter schools as the be-all, end-all for public education more than 80 percent underperform their traditional counterparts the only success stories shown in the film are charters.
William McGurn, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal explores the need for pension reform to reform education. McGurn argues that “[w]hen it comes to shaking up the status quo, however, the most potent education reform may be the one that’s too often considered a side issue: pension reform. That’s right, pension reform. Over the past 25 years, the private sector has moved from having four of five workers in a defined-benefit pension to having just one of five workers in such a plan. Mostly this means a shift to 401(k)s and the like, where payouts are related to what employees pay in. Like most government employees, teachers have not made this shift. Their unions fight bitterly to retain the defined benefit plans underwritten by taxpayers. While these plans allow some lucky folks to retire in their 50s with a generous payout, they also feature perverse incentives that punish the young (more on this below) and encourage people to hang on for dear life even when they’d much rather leave.”
Here is a video of McGurn explaining his position:
“‘Reforms’ have disappointed for two reasons. First, no one has yet discovered transformative changes in curriculum or pedagogy, especially for inner-city schools, that are (in business lingo) “scalable” — easily transferable to other schools, where they would predictably produce achievement gains. Efforts in New York and the District to raise educational standards involve contentious and precarious school-by-school campaigns to purge “ineffective” teachers and principals. Charter schools might break this pattern, though there are grounds for skepticism. In 2009, the 4,700 charter schools enrolled about 3 percent of students and did not uniformly show achievement gains.”
Let us know what you think, has school reform been successful on the federal level?
Over the weekend, the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina dominated many of the news stories, including this one in the Christian Science Monitor and if you were like us, you were still stunned by the devastation in New Orleans and the surrounding area. While it may be five years, and a lot of great work has been done (including some celebrities building very “green” housing there that may be groundbreaking for the rest of the county), education and schools were also inserted into the dialogue.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, guest host Brian Williams hosted a discussion that included praise for the New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD). It was stated that in an awkward and somewhat perverse way, the hurricane was the best thing that happened to New Orleans Schools (we’re not paraphrasing here).
So we decided to go back into our archives a bit to get some perspective on what BoardBuzz was saying five years ago. We have about six postings of coverage about how school boards associations in the effected states were handling things, how local school boards were pitching in, and efforts nationwide while many of us watched what was happening on TV.
Educators around the country have been watching and will continue to watch what happens in New Orleans schools. A new study said the city is the most reform friendly city in the U.S. for education, and while the scores and graduation rates continue to go up, there is still debate over whether the strategies used there would work in other urban districts around the country. Meanwhile, take a trip back in time and see how this city has captivated us since 2005.