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Leaders present plan to Obama administration

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Recently the HOPE Foundation helped to bring together top educational leaders to present the best thinking available on how to help improve education in America. (Click here for article.)

Here is the core of what Obama and his team have been presented.

1. Assure Readiness: Success in the classroom requires that children arrive ready to learn – cognitively, physically and psychologically.

2. Provide Rich Learning Environments for All Students: All young people in America deserve rich learning environments that challenges their thinking, promotes learning by doing and focuses on higher-order thinking skills that encourage life-long learning and prepare young people to be engaged, collaborative citizens.

3. Improve Overall Standards, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: Policies and systems must be in place to promote best practices in teaching, reward high performers, and provide opportunities for feedback and development for those in need of improvement.

4. Improve Overall Teacher Quality: Policies and systems must be in place to promote best practices in teaching, reward high performers, and provide opportunities for feedback and development for those in need of improvement.

5. Ensure the Development of 21st Century School Leaders: School leadership should be focused on a combination of student learning, progress, and culture building, while enhancing the quality of teaching.

6. Generate and Use Research Effectively: Ensure the use of existing research and advance new research topics that address issues specific to 21st Century challenges.

I think 1 and 2 are the most important items to attack first. But I think 5 is the most important if 4 is ever going to be a reality. What do you think?

Mark Stock

Cross linked at "What's Working in Schools?"

3 Comments

I agree with you on the importance of number 4. The funny thing is I just blogged on a very similiar topic. I compare school systems to professional football teams. The focus is on developing policies and systems that promote learning and progress. It seems as if many of us are on the same page.

http://principalcowart.blogspot.com

I think I will focus on item #1 the in my response: "...children arrive ready to learn - cognitively, physically and psychologically." In my experience, too many students come to the classroom with basic, yet vital needs unmet. They are hungry, exhausted, scared and focused on everything but their education. I know it's not like this everywhere...bigger cities present a unique set of challenges that perhaps smaller communities don't face, but I believe all schools have at least a few students like the ones I'm describing.

The real question is, what do educators do when their students do not arrive "ready to learn" because they live in a car, haven't eaten for days, watched their dad get arrested the night before, and so on? What about language barriers or cultural differences that impact whether a student is ready to learn the curriculum placed before them?

I loved working with the at-risk students when I was teaching. I formed bonds with them that will last for years. But I know that most of the time they didn't come to my classroom to learn the content I was teaching; they came to my classroom to feel safe, and that is where students need to be before they can learn anything.

I agree 1 and 2 are priorities. However, leadership is essential to skillfully execute all six areas.

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