May 2014 Archives

The primary question this blog asks--"what should education become?"--is a serious one. To give the best answer, we must combine some of the best concepts that urban and education research has to offer. It also means looking to the past for viable alternatives to improve the entire system, not just individual schools.

The concept of basic education is taken for granted across much of the civilized world today - but there are still corners of the world where the simple ability to read and write are reserved only for an elite few. Most recently, young girls and women in such countries as Pakistan and Afghanistan have been killed, shot and threatened for simply seeking or supporting literacy rights.

Two education college professors from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and a consultant from the Wisconsin Center for Educational Products and Services have developed a survey-based system that calculates areas of strengths and weaknesses in schools, and creates an action plan for improvement. The Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning, or CALL, does not single any particular educators but rather takes a snapshot of what is happening as a whole entity. It is a smart assessment tool to implement at the end of the year and then brainstorm actionable steps on improvement when school is back in session.

I recently became acquainted with the company Peerless-AV and a wireless projector system that it believes is the key to overcoming technology obstacles in K-12 classrooms. Its Short Throw Projector AV System (projector not included) applies a modern take on the classroom technology of projection that has been around for a few decades.

Earning a college education is something that is a double-edged sword for the nation's youngest adults and for some of their parents too. Society dictates that some form of secondary education is an absolute must for lifetime success but the cost associated with earning those credentials is debilitating. The Washington Post reports that the average college student will graduate with $25,000 in debt. With over $1 trillion in outstanding loans, student debt outweighs credit card debt and is exempt from bankruptcy protection.

As more and more governors and local politicians denounce Common Core initiatives, and more states officially back away from the standards, the debate over the place and effectiveness of Common Core heats up. There is a lot of talk about students, but what about teachers? After all, they are the people who are most accountable for any standards and testing systems that are put in place. They are also the ones who see firsthand how education policies impact students. So what do teachers say about Common Core and PARCC testing?

People who fall outside this fringe group of perceived misfits may wonder why the school-to-prison pipeline should matter to them. Outside of caring about the quality of life for other individuals, it matters in more tangible ways. Each federal prisoner costs taxpayers $28,284 per year, which is about $77 per day. That's a measurable cost. What isn't measurable is the indirect impact those incarcerations have on the economy in terms of those prisoners not contributing to the work force.

College For Every Student (CFES) and Trinity College Dublin will take the lead in a global campaign to help one million disadvantaged youth attain college degrees by 2025.


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