Sunday, January 24, 2010

RIP Bill Demmert

Knowledge Alliance celebrates the extraordinary life of Bill Demmert , the father of American Indian education, who was a role model, mentor, hero, friend for so many. We will miss him dearly

Saturday, January 16, 2010

50% under 18

As we move into a week of commemorations for MLK and BHO, our thoughts and prayers are aimed southward on Haiti and the search, rescue and recovery efforts that have been so courageously undertaken by so many. Our emotions play tricks on us as we search for ways to explain why and how: from deep sadness to utter helplessness to undirected anger and back. While the immediate recovery efforts are for the trained professionals in that domain, the long-term transformation of a whole society will be dependent on the skill and knowledge of many organizations. Education becomes all the more critical in response to this unimaginable catastrophe since a stunning 50% of the Haitian population is under 18 years old. Our collective cause has taken on new meaning and sense of urgency over the past week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Evidence as Central, not Peripheral to Excellent Policy

by Guest Blogger, Candice DePrang

An NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel met last week to hear from different stakeholders regarding the restructuring of the preparation of teachers. The Council is looking for a clinical component – field experience like other practice-based professions such as nursing – in order to equip aspiring teachers with, not only experience, but an understanding of their work that reaches beyond text books and theory.

Clinicals, NCATE suggests, will mean “more extensive use of simulations, case studies, analyses of teaching…as well as sustained, intense, mentored school-embedded experiences.” Additionally, student teachers will be evaluated on performance, not simply test scores and grades.

New vision is important, and raising standards for teachers is a significant piece to ensuring that every child learns because s/he has an excellent teacher. However, the partners in this initiative must not weigh the research of clinicals on the periphery, but gather more data where current studies cannot determine which practices in teacher preparation are actually successful.

Research is one piece of NCATE’s look into clinicals, and must be central in moving forward so that excellent, sustainable policies emerge from these forums. Evidence-based policy ensures that groups don’t have to use rhetoric like “clinicals could help with X problem” or “experience in the field may mean…” Rather, the education community can walk forward confident that new standards for teacher preparation are an effort that will be long lasting because it’s proven to work, and that as higher education folds in field-training, that teachers will be better prepared, and students will be better served.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Good-bye Aughts. Hello Oughta Be

As Ellen Goodman says in this terrific retirement editorial, "January, after all, is named for the Roman god of beginnings and endings. He looked backward and forward at the same time." So, on this morning full of ones (1/1/10) we do the same. For our retrospective-prospective from our Knowledge Garage perspective, we have chosen to take the long view gazing way back 10 years ago to the start of the Aughts and then leaping way forward to the beginning of the next Roaring 20's with a stop in the here and now. It's an interesting time-journey. Jump on board and let us know what you think here:

Federal education policy as a national priority

2000 --- Judging from the presidential primaries underway during this month, education ranks in the top three in domestic policy.

2010 --- The rhetoric is high but the polls show education off the radar screen, getting trumped by the economy, health care, energy, jobs, etc

2020 --- Education is back on top this time as part of major new domestic and global initiatives focusing on sustainable development.

Standards-based reform as the framework for federal education policy

2000 --- Policy positions in both parties embrace standards-based reform and share a big focus on alignment challenges and strengthening accountability provisions.

2010 --- Heavy debate around common core standards, multiple measures for determining AYP, and state capacity. The stimulus funding, appropriations priorities, and ESEA reauthorization all build on the standards based reform framework but some questions begin to emerge from the innovation arena about speed and relevance.

2020 --- So long to standards based reform as it is discarded for being too slow and ineffective as a theory of change and replaced by technology-based learning infrastructures, grass roots capacity building, and free market innovation.

Education R&D as a stimulus for change

2000 --- New initiatives in the late 90's (eg comprehensive school reform, reading excellence act) requiring a research basis to program funding open up new possibilities for transforming education into an evidence-based field.

2010 --- NCLB's scientifically based research provisions and IES's focus on rigor create greater awareness (and controversy) about research's potential role in ed reform. But R&D for education is left out of the stimulus package (while other sectors net a cool $18 billion). The i3 program raises the possibility of the federal government as a venture capital partner for public school reform and innovation.

2020 --- The quality improvement movement in health care is applied to education through new catalyst R&D networks, intermediary research-to- innovation organizations, and a digital knowledge ecosystem. Web 4.0 processes using next generation social networking platforms inspire an "every day, everywhere R&D" movement for teachers and schools.

Innovation as an education reform strategy

2000 --- Almost a dirty word.

2010 --- An overused concept but also underused when spoken in the same sentence with knowledge and R&D in education.

2020 --- Knowledge, R&D, innovation and transformation are inseparable in concept and in practice as in other sectors.

Federal funding for education

2000 --- $38.4 Billion (see here)

2010 --- $120.4 Billion (includes $57.7 for ARRA)

2020 --- $120 Billion (after the cliff effect of ARRA)

Political strategies in education policy

2000 --- Triangulation

2010 --- High-partisanship (as opposed to post-partisanship)

2020 --- Tri-partisanship with the emergence of a new independent party