July 2012 Archives

Note: Alan Blankstein, president and founder of the HOPE Foundation, shares some of the work he has been doing to transform public schools with a guest post today. Building relational trust with school staff is a precursor to sustainable success. In the HOPE Foundation's work in thousands of schools and districts, this trust has been built by the leader using the following approaches: 1. Listen First. The new-leader syndrome, however, often entails changing things quickly to establish authority. Many veteran leaders, on the other hand, may feel they already know what is best and may move forward without building consensus. ...


It is no secret that I think the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards(NBPTS) is the best hope for building and sustaining a true teaching profession for the United States of America. I support the proposition that National Board Certification should be the norm for teachers, not an elite status. Can we make teaching a profession like all others? Yes, if we are willing to embrace and pay for needed changes. Last week I learned of two NBPTS partnerships that I think are game changers for teacher quality. Even better, they are game changers for student learning, and I ...


At a recent institute sponsored by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, I heard a well-known researcher and thought leader give his definition of 21st skills. His definition had three parts: the curriculum and pedagogy of the most prestigious, elite schools of the world, like Eton College; information technology (IT) skills; and, access to these skills and strong teaching by every student. His definition made me think of the critics of 21st century skills who insist that we have always taught critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. The truth is that we have taught these skills in the most prestigious, ...


It has often been said that changing the National Education Association is like turning around a large battleship, but that has not stopped Dennis Van Roekel, the current president, from working to forge a consensus around changed policy among his constituents. In the face of declining membership, Democratic reformers who push an agenda that teachers find hard to embrace, and Republican governors who have gone after NEA affiliates with a vengeance, NEA has reached a point of change or perish. Well, that may be a little dramatic. Let's say this instead: NEA must reinvent its mission and vision to align ...


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