My ideal summer read is some great young adult fiction or a good mystery, but I have also been keeping an eye on education in the news. Here are a few articles worth checking out.
1. Is Congress set to revise the education laws?
Congress is set to debate revisions to ESEA, the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act. This law, previously known as No Child Left Behind, has HUGE implications for public education. Education Weekly is covering the debate, and Lauren Camera has outlined several important proposed changes:
"Among other things, the bipartisan rewrite, which the Senate education committee passed unanimously in April, would eliminate the current accountability system, known as adequate yearly progress, and give states much more flexibility in creating their own. At the same time, the proposal would maintain the annual federal testing schedule and the requirement that states report disaggregated student achievement data."
(Read the whole article at Education Weekly)
The proposed changes hit the major hot button issues in education. The proposal impacts accountability testing, the role of the Department of Education, school choice funding, protections for LGBT students, the Common Core and more. There is a lot of pressure on legislators to update the law, but just which changes make it into the final version is very much up in the air.
Emma Brown writes more about the upcoming debate for the Washington Post.
I plan to follow the act's progress and am happy to research answers to any questions.
2. What can be done to improve high school graduation rates?
Given the amount of negativity in the press about education, it is nice to read an article full of solutions. NPR's Anya Kamenetz complied experts' suggestions for improving graduation rates. The suggestions sound promising, and she also touches on the importance of looking beyond a single number or statistic to measure student success.
3. A glimpse at the challenges facing our schools
Huge issues in education are being debated in Washington this week. But it is so often the little things that impact the day to day functioning of schools. A scan of the education news turned up this New York Times article about students in schools without air conditioning. The best curriculum and teaching in the world aren't much help when students are miserably hot.
I have taught at schools without reliable air conditioning, spotty internet coverage, no working water fountains and limited access to copiers, printers and technology support. Yes, great teachers can do great things in most basic of settings, but why should they have to?
I will step off my soapbox for a moment. What do you think?