Here’s why out-of-school time learning programs need federal funding

With the allocation of over $15 billion from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARPA/ESSER III) to Texas public education, including almost $3 billion for out-of-school time learning, we find it imperative that afterschool and summer programs in the Central Texas region receive the funding they need to continue providing and expanding learning recovery opportunities.

It is particularly important that this funding reaches the local schools and educational agencies that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those communities in which the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequality. Due to the pandemic, many students–especially those of color and those living in low-income communities–are struggling with learning loss, social isolation, hunger, and mental health challenges. Students need to feel safe and supported to re-engage in learning, rebuild relationships, and emerge from this crisis strong, resilient, and hopeful; and we need whole community engagement to make this happen.

We need a comprehensive ecosystem of support to help youth and families recover, and out-of-school time learning is a vital component of that ecosystem. As well as adapting to additional health and safety measures to continue offering in-person care during the COVID-19 pandemic, out-of-school time staff are already helping youth recover academic, social, and emotional learning, and community-based organizations continue to connect families to critical services and resources such as food, technology, and healthcare.…Read More

5 skills for future success–and how to help students develop them

From the classroom to the district director level, and eventually my own desk in the principal’s office, I have served in many different roles in K-12 education.

However, in the midst of my career, I left public education to spend 2 years in corporate America.  That experience, working in what some call the “real world,” has given me a somewhat different perspective from many of my peers.  By working the corporate world, I’ve seen the connections between what is taught in the classroom and how that knowledge is applied in the workplace. 

Perhaps more importantly, I believe I have pinpointed five abilities all students need to develop before leaving K-12 schooling behind and moving into the world we call adulthood. …Read More

New Mexico Public Education Department Names Curriculum Associates to Its High-Quality Professional Learning Marketplace List for 2021

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., July 6, 2021— The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Classroom Mathematics and Ready Reading programs to its High-Quality Professional Learning (HQPL) Marketplace List for 2021. The list acts as a guide for teachers, schools, and districts across the state to identify professional learning provider programs that support orientation and ongoing implementation of high-quality instructional materials. Today, Curriculum Associates’ programs are used by more than a dozen districts across the state, including Las Cruces Public Schools, Gadsden Independent School District, and Grants Cibola County Schools.

According to NMPED, the HQPL Marketplace List includes provider professional learning programs that were reviewed and vetted to ensure they demonstrate evidence-based strategies and results. Local education agencies can use the list to begin the selection process for professional learning needs at the local level. Both Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Classroom Mathematics and Ready Reading received the highest “green” rating, signifying the programs met the review criteria without any reservations.

“We understand that ongoing professional development is necessary for educators to be successful in the classroom and when using our programs,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “As such, we work to provide educators with a robust set of materials and supports to help facilitate their teaching and to help them create an engaging learning environment for all students.”…Read More

Cheers and questions as some states and big school districts remove virtual learning option for fall

Cheers and questions as some states and big school districts remove virtual learning option for fall” was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: ckbe.at/newsletters

After a school year marked by stops and starts, New York City’s top schools official drew a line in the sand this week: This fall, there will be no virtual learning option.

“We know our schools have been safe and we need our children back,” the city’s schools chancellor, Meisha PorterCheers districts fall for learning noopener option questions remove school some states virtual”>, said in an interview. “Nothing, absolutely nothing, replaces the interaction and the learning that happens between a student and teacher in our classrooms.”…Read More

Equity and equality are not the same

A rising tide raises all boats. However, it is hard to guarantee equal outcomes in education when students are not starting from the same place, nor are they exposed to the same quality of instruction. People throw around the term “equity in education” so frequently that it has lost significance. Inclusion and respect for diversity is a virtuous and necessary goal for public education, but what exactly is equity?

Writer Robert Longley explained how equity and equality have been misconstrued over the years. Longley states: “Equality refers to scenarios in which all segments of society have the same levels of opportunity and support. Equity extends the concept of equality to include providing varying levels of support based on individual need or ability.”

Writer Ellen Gutoskey added, “Equality has to do with giving everyone the exact same resources, whereas equity involves distributing resources based on the needs of the recipients.” Gutoskey points out, “equality is about dividing resources into matching amounts, and equity focuses more on dividing resources proportionally to achieve a fair outcome for those involved.” Gutoskey and Longley both put forth excellent analysis. However, the communist slogan is similar, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” was put forth by Karl Marx in Critique of the Gotha Program.…Read More

Parents want post-pandemic online learning options

The pandemic has changed the way parents look at their children’s education, and most want more choices–including an online learning option–going forward.

According to a survey conducted by Stride, Inc., parents believe schools should now be equipped to quickly and effectively move online if necessary, and that students should have a variety of learning options available to them.

“There’s no question that the pandemic turned the public education system completely on its head. The events of the past year forced parents and schools across the country to recognize that the future of education is digital – a trend we saw coming two decades ago,” said James Rhyu, CEO at Stride. “As with any large scale digital innovation, there’s little wonder why parents don’t want to go back to the way things were.”…Read More

3 considerations for differentiation in the classroom

Differentiated classroom instruction has always been part of U.S. public education, but today’s focus on tailoring each lesson for each student can overwhelm teachers. There are, however, best-practice approaches to differentiating instruction that enable educators to provide customized learning experiences for students without creating an unmanageable burden for teachers. Here are the top three considerations for doing differentiation in the classroom right.

1. Redefine ‘differentiation’

Too often, educators are encouraged to implement a personalized approach for each individual student instead of recognizing the benefits that groups of students can enjoy from similar modifications to the curriculum. Teachers can adopt a manageable approach to differentiation in the classroom by identifying clusters of student needs and then classifying the most beneficial ways to differentiate instruction for these groups. The goal is to understand what will work for most students, while creating more than one entry point or path for individual student learning.…Read More

Reimagining schools as remote employers

In 2020, working from home became “the new normal,” with workers across all sectors figuring out how to do as much of their work as possible online. Long before COVID, sectors outside of public education began embracing remote work. A U.S. Census Bureau survey from 10 years ago found that remote work was growing everywhere except the public sector, where the percentage of remote workers remained low. In public education, that changed suddenly and dramatically in 2020. But what does the normalization of remote work mean for schools?

To think about retaining employees, schools need to think about retaining women, and particularly working moms. Women represent a majority of the workforce in schools, and educational services is among the most popular career path chosen by working mothers. Yet women also exhibit a stronger preference for working from home. One recent survey found that women placed “flexibility” at the top of their list of priorities when selecting a job, and ranked both “ability to work remotely” and “flexible schedule” on their top 5 needs from a job. Over 80 percent of working moms who opted not to work say they would have continued working if there had been an option to work from home.

While some roles within schools will continue to feel very rooted in the buildings, people will be looking for ways to inject more flexibility into their jobs. Educators, administrators, and service providers evolved and adapted to a remote working environment for over a year, and moving forward we need to consider where remote work may be able to continue beyond the pandemic.…Read More

ALAS Applauds the Appointment of ALAS Member Dr. Miguel Cardona as U.S. Secretary of Education

The Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents (ALAS) applauds the appointment of ALAS member Dr. Miguel Cardona to the position of U.S. Secretary of Education.

“Dr. Cardona’s appointment is a breath of fresh air for educators across this country,” said ALAS Board President Dr. Francisco Duraìn. “I am so proud that President-elect Joe Biden has selected someone with experience in public education who will bring the issues of educational equity for all students to the Department of Education.”

ALAS, which has more than 7,000 members in 23 states, sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden earlier this week supporting the nomination of Dr. Cardona, who currently serves as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education. He is also a member of the Connecticut Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.…Read More

New “Testing America’s Freedom” Podcast from NWEA Examines Equity in Education

NWEA, the not-for-profit educational assessment provider, announced today the launch of its new podcast, Testing America’s Freedom. Hosted by Dr. Aaliyah Samuel, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs & Partnerships at NWEA, the episodic series explores the role of race and assessment in American public education through thought-provoking interviews with current and future leaders in education.

Testing America’s Freedom delves deep into the lesser-known history of laws and policies that have perpetuated and exacerbated racial inequities within the education system. Samuel and her guests explore topics such as school funding, the importance of diversity in the education workforce, assessment purposes and design, and their link to modern-day systemic racism, discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by these urgent issues.

“The inequities within our public education system do not exist by accident, they are the result of carefully orchestrated policies that used tools like school funding, divestment and testing to perpetuate achievement and outcome gaps for students of color,” says Samuel. “Although the past may be grim, as educational leaders, we have the opportunity to use these same tools to reimagine systems of learning and teaching so we can construct a more equitable future. My hope is that this podcast can be a catalyst for our education and policy communities to think about how we can collectively move toward change at a time when education policy is evolving so rapidly.”…Read More