January 2014 Archives

So are public charter schools a solution to the K-12 crisis in Mississippi? I think it is certainly a topic that deserves some serious discussion and not just in the form of ineffective laws that are not actionable. Allowing the establishment of charter schools in Mississippi could be the answer to the academic underachievement that plagues Mississippi. It certainly couldn't make it any worse.

I wonder what an expanded voucher program would look like in my home state. If parents were not limited by income, a larger obstacle in Mississippi than other states, when choosing the right schools for their kids, what choices would they make?

While a hit against herd mentality, shouldn't individual students have the option of a better school if it exists and is close enough for them to attend? Therein lies one of the major debates in school choice - who knows what is best? Trained educators/administrators - or individual parents?

Instead of being a learning complexity, I believe innovative math learning initiatives are the key to overall K-12 academic improvement. Math is a universal language and one that needs practical applications to really have an impact. That starts with the teachers but needs support from the decision-makers to truly make a difference.

Bottom line: Even without the cash in hand, teachers can and should seek out arts integration initiatives in their classrooms.

Last week, Education Week released its ratings for U.S. public schools by state in its annual Quality Counts report. It was the first year that states did not receive an overall rating, but were scored in more specific areas instead. My home state of Mississippi did not fare well, earning an "F" in student achievement and a "D" in chance for student success.

One of the education issues that President Obama has been the most vocal in reforming is America's need to lead the world in number of college graduates. His administration's Race to the Top initiative has already earmarked $4 billion for 19 states (serving 22 million K-12 students) to reform public education programs to improve technology, raise teacher accountability and heighten learning standards.

As assistive technology continues to integrate with typical technology, the students are the beneficiaries. The technology is not enough to keep them in their seats if they are not comfortable using it.

Though not as flashy as pop culture headlines, public education saw a shift towards advocacy from within. In 2013, laws were not simply handed down—students, parents, teachers and activists pushed back against the decisions impacting the future of their public schools.

Getting parents to the right level of participation will take at least a generation of K-12 students but it is a must for future academic and life success.

Digital technology has taken the world by storm - particularly in the past decade. It makes sense that this trend would have an impact on K-12 learning because there is nothing in modern American society that digital technology has not touched. While the names of the mobile applications and computer programs may change, there are some foundational ways that technology has already changed the face of education forever.

At the turn of every calendar year, it seems that lists abound that remind us of everything that happened in the prior year and give a sneak peek of what to expect in the next. Seeing these often celebrity-heavy lists crowd my social media feeds got me thinking - what would a list of the President's accomplishments when it comes to education look like for 2013?

Strong teaching in America's urban schools is the key to overcoming dropout and achievement gap issues. With the right guidance, urban K-12 students can rise above their circumstances to be stand-outs in academics. They may even return the favor as teachers themselves one day. For urban teachers to succeed, however, they need more support and encouragement from their industry, government and society as a whole.

The latest international report on student knowledge and success worldwide once again paints U.S. pupils in a bad light. This is not the first time American students have lagged behind their peers on the OECD PISA global education survey that tests and compares student outcomes in areas like math, science and reading. The results are really just more of the same.


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