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Top Posts of 2012

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By Anne O'Brien, Deputy Director of the Learning First Alliance (LFA)

2012 was a big year for public education. The federal government granted a number of states waivers to the nation's top education law, No Child Left Behind. States and districts implemented a wide variety of education reforms, such as new teacher evaluation systems based on student standardized test scores and new high school graduation requirements including online courses (though some of these reforms were overturned when put to voters in the November election). We saw many education budgets slashed — and we nervously await news as to whether we will go off the fiscal cliff and see even more cuts. Educators continued to explore how to take advantage of new learning technologies and how to implement one of the most important education reforms of our time: the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Of all that happened, what caught the attention of you, our readers? Our top 10 posts of 2012 cover an eclectic range of topics. Enjoy!

10. Digital Culture Before Digital Textbooks. NASSP's Bob Farrace believes that transformation on the order of a "digital conversion" cannot take place without creating a school culture that can sustain it.

9. The Purpose of Educators. Instead of wasting energy on reforms aimed at solving problems that don't exist, ASCA Executive Director Kwok-Sze Wong argues that we should focus on preparing students for a productive life in the global economy.

8. Controlling the Message. ASCA Executive Director Kwok-Sze Wong urges the education community to work together to dispel the negative images of all educators once and for all.

7. Engaging Students...Dangling the Carrot. AMLE Executive Director Will Waidelich reminds us that successful teachers engage students by presenting them with opportunities to embrace their own learning and giving them the chance to explore what they take an interest in.

6. The Seven Most Surprising Findings of the 2012 PDK/Gallup Poll on Public Schools. PDK Executive Director Bill Bushaw shares seven surprising findings from this year's PDK/Gallup poll on the public's attitudes towards the public schools.

5. Finland's Secret Sauce: Its Teachers. Kappan Editor-in-Chief Joan Richardson examines Finland's teacher education system, which is one of the key factors leading to the nation's success on international assessments.

4. The U.S. Education System Is Not Failing. NASBE's Steve Berlin believes that while we should aspire to greater success for our students, the nation's schools as a whole are succeeding.

3. Keeping Kids Academically Sharp During Summer. National PTA's Sherri Wilson reminds us of the important role that families play in their children's education and shares resources they can use to help keep students learning over the summer break.

2. Top Five Lessons for the Digital Age. After a decade at the helm of a vibrant and increasingly international association, former ISTE CEO Don Knezek is more convinced than ever that we must move our education system into the digital age.

1. Finding the Middle Ground on Bullying. NSBA's Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., is encouraged by new guidelines showing ways that students can safely share their views and discuss religious and political differences in environments that prohibit discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

Views expressed in these posts are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the endorsement of the Learning First Alliance or any of its members.

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