May 2014 Archives

In the four years I've been writing this series, I've profiled a number of teachers, but no teachers union leaders. Given the critical role teachers unions play in shaping the politics, policy, and day-to-day realities of public education in this country, that seemed problematic. So I'm glad to correct it. William Wong is a high school math teacher and the elected president of the San Gabriel Education Association, in San Gabriel, California. He has spoken on education policy and practice issues to statewide and national audiences. A native of Queens, New York, Wong attended New York City Public Schools and ...

Many educators are realizing that the traditional teaching career trajectory--becoming a classroom teacher after graduating college, and continuing in a similar role until retirement--no longer appeals to a new generation of workers. Millennials, who make up the new generation of teachers, highly value opportunities for professional growth and development, as well as increased autonomy. Making the teaching profession attractive to these younger workers--and retaining them once they start--will require changing the structure of the profession, creating new career ladders and opportunities for teachers to grow as professionals and take on new responsibilities while remaining in the classroom. That's what Shakera ...

Educators and policymakers are increasingly looking to personalized learning as a strategy to improve student learning and engagement, but designing and implementing effective personalized learning models is challenging, requiring schools to simultaneously tackle issues of technology, human capital, and how they use time. Elliot Sanchez founded mSchool to help schools and community organizations make personalized learning experiences available to students. Launched in fall 2013, mSchool has since grown to serve hundreds of students in schools and community-based settings. Sanchez, 27, was raised in the New Orleans area, attended Loyola University in New Orleans, and began his career teaching in a ...

Personalized learning models combine new technology with ongoing assessment, data use, and changes in how teachers use time and structure the school day, in order to create dramatically more personalized learning experiences for students. Shauntel Poulson is helping to shape this transition. As a principal with NewSchools Venture Fund (for which my Bellwether colleagues recently led a successful CEO search), Polson identifies and makes investments in technology companies and models that are at the cutting edge of developing new personalized learning models with the goal of dramatically improving outcomes for schools and students. A native of Denver, Poulson, 31, earned ...

Outside of education researchers, University of Southern California Assistant Professor Morgan Polikoff may be best known for his prolific twitter profile and active participation in online debates about education policy and other topics. But he's also an accomplished researcher whose work on standards and accountability is shaping public policy debates on these issues. Unlike many university-based researchers, Polikoff is not content to focus on obscure academic questions, but conducts research that seeks to answer policy relevant questions on issues like Common Core standards implementation and ESEA waivers. Polikoff, 29, was raised in the Chicago suburbs. A former Jeopardy champion, he ...

After a decade of focus on teacher quality, policymakers and education leaders are increasingly recognizing the critical importance of school leaders to student learning. As principal of Liberty Elementary School, a high-performing, high-poverty elementary school in Northwest Baltimore, Joe Manko has lead his school in implementing innovative strategies to meet students' needs, including using technology in new ways to support student learning and taking over a community center to provide wrap-around and community services. Raised in Southern California, where his first job was selling hot dogs at Disneyland, Manko, 34, came to Baltimore as a Teach for America corps member ...

Since 2011, ESEA waivers have allowed a fundamental shift in how many states evaluate school performance and report on these results to parents and the public. No one's been paying closer attention to this experiment than New America Foundation Policy Analyst Anne Hyslop, whose analyses of the impacts of ESEA waivers have played a critical role in shaping understanding of these issues in the field. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Hyslop attended the College of William and Mary and started her career working on early childhood issues for the State of Virginia. Hyslop, 29, lives in Washington, D.C., where, ...

Despite widespread agreement in education policy about the importance of teachers, the voices of teachers themselves are often excluded from debates about public policy. As executive director of Educators for Excellence Minnesota, Madaline Edison is one of a growing number of current and former teachers nationally who are working to change that. I first met Madaline when working on a strategic planning project for Educators for Excellence and was impressed by her commitment to education, her nuanced thinking about policy and teacher voice, her leadership skills, and her ability to successfully launch and lead a new Educators for Excellence chapter. ...

Yesterday the National Institute for Early Education Research released their annual "State Pre-K Yearbook," which profiles pre-k programs, policies, enrollment, and funding across the 50 states and Washington, D.C. I'll say more about the overall findings later, but for now I wanted to flag the report's coverage of pre-k programs in Washington, D.C. Although NIEER has described D.C.'s preschool policies in this past, this year is the first time the yearbook has treated D.C. as a state. When compared to other states, Washington, D.C. ranks first in the country in pre-k enrollment for both ...

Schools are making increased use of technology to support student learning and assess students' progress, often combining a variety of different offerings to meet their students' and schools' unique needs. Many of these technology applications have real potential to make teachers' jobs easier or more efficient by generating data on student progress or streamlining assessment creation or data analysis tasks. But if these different offerings aren't effectively integrated, teachers may not experience these benefits in practice. Dan Carroll founded Clever to address these challenges and make it easier for schools and teachers to use technology-based solutions and track and use ...

Four the past three years on this blog, I've profiled young leaders whose work in education is likely to have a transformative impact on their communities or the broader field in the next 10-20 years. These individuals have included teachers, charter school leaders, non-profit leaders, advocates, policy wonks, researchers, and tech entrepreneurs. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things in the few short years since I first profiled them. Profiling these individuals has also been a great blessing for me; they've challenged my thinking in numerous ways and I've learned a great deal from them. This year ...


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