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Williams Valley’s after-school program garners national interest

TOWER CITY – A national spotlight will shine on Williams Valley School District’s after-school curriculum.

Just as the district’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is coming off the success of its first Mini-THON event, the Vikes’ program received news that it has been selected for nationwide attention.

Superintendent Donald Burkhardt and Elementary Principal Caitlin Mohl announced at the March 13 school board meeting that Williams Valley was chosen to represent Pennsylvania as a featured Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program in a “virtual showcase” sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

“I am honored to have been chosen for this prestigious award. It is shaping up to be quite an event,” Williams Valley Site Coordinator Susan Diegert said.

According to Diegert, a team of professional videographers was to come to Williams Valley Elementary School on Wednesday to create a video for the U.S. Department of Education for national release. This recognition is a STEM award, presented by the U.S. Department of Education to Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29, who then chose Williams Valley’s 21st CCLC as the site for a virtual showcase of STEM activities.

Meeting needs

At Williams Valley’s CCLC program, activities are aligned to the classroom curriculum. That means instructors cover the topics in the curriculum, but in a different manner to meet the students’ needs. The after-school program is completely free and open to students, regardless of their current academic scores or progress. It’s hoped, however, that students will boost their academic scores in math, reading and science; reduce the number of discipline incidents; and improve their attendance records as a result of attending the program.

At Williams Valley Elementary, the program is open to fifth- and sixth-graders and homebound busing is provided for them every evening. The 21st CCLC program is popular – there are approximately 80 students registered for the program, which runs from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Staff

Those responsible for operating the after school curriculum include Diegert, and a staff she hand-selected, including Matt Fickinger, high school science, STEM coordinator; Kathi Welsh, junior high reading, Title I reading specialist; Kristina Miller, elementary Title I reading specialist; Wendy Hueston, assistant coordinator, all subjects, 3rd grade; Sharon Scheib, science camp coordinator, lead teacher for grades 4, 5, 6, all subjects, fourth grade; Carmen Moore, science/health, fifth grade; Mandi Jobe, U.S, history/social studies, fifth grade; LeAnn Unger, math, fifth grade; Morgan Williard, PSSA prep, grades K-6; Edie Tanner, special education, grade 4; Jen Minnich, third grade, all subjects; and Joel Guldin, instrumental/vocal music, grades 4, 5, 6-band, all other grades-vocal.

Mini-THON

One of the more recent activities that Williams Valley’s 21st Century staff and students coordinated was the district’s first Mini-THON held March 8 in the elementary cafeteria and gym. So far, $3,686.25 was raised for the Four Diamonds Fund at the Children’s Hospital of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Diegert and Michael Leiter Sr., Tower City, presented the request to host the event to the school board and it was approved. The district will submit its donations in memory of the late Michael Leiter Jr.

Leiter’s son, Michael, 19, died after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

Leiter and his wife, Christy, assisted at the Mini-THON.

“I’d like it to be an annual event because I benefitted from it and I’d love for it to grow,” Leiter said. “It’s been seven years since Michael passed away.”

“One of the things I like about the Four Diamonds Fund is that you know where the funds go,” he said.

Students purchased T-shirts for a $10 donation to the Mini-THON, collected dimes and had an opportunity to earn raffle prizes. Students could dance in the cafeteria, or gymnasium, and time-slots for participating were based on grade-level. Disc jockey Melanie Yeager donated her time to spin the tunes.

Jennifer Miller, Tower City, joined in the Mini-THON with her son, Rayce, 8.

“He really likes to dance,” she said, noting her son had special needs, was premature and doctors thought he may never walk. “He’s an amazing, little guy. He just wanted to help others.”

A crowd of peers gathered by Rayce, while he glided across the floor to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.

School board Director Christopher Stroup brought his daughter, Madilyn, 9, and twins, Ella and Emma, 7, to show support.

“I think this was a nice way to get the kids involved, and Mr. Leiter and Mrs. Diegert deserve the credit for putting this together,” Stroup, Williamstown, said.

Delivery

Diegert delivered 161 new teddy bears and other assorted stuffed animals to the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. She was assisted by her daughters, Lauren Beaston and Morgan Diegert, a freshman at Williams Valley, and her friend, Tianna Yanoscak, a Williams Valley 10th-grader.

“Both locations were very grateful to receive the donations and thanked us for thinking of them and the children,” Diegert said.

Diegert reports she’s still in the process of finalizing a grand total for the Four Diamonds donation.

“We can collect through May first, and we have two additional fundraisers going on now,” she said.

Volunteers will be taking orders for $10 ticket vouchers to any future Harrisburg Senators game or for their Mini-THON night on April 25. For each voucher purchased, the Senators will give a $4 donation to the Four Diamonds Fund.

Williams Valley is also running a Scentsy Buddy Sale through Karestin Davis, Tower City. Anyone can purchase a Scentsy Buddy animal to be donated and receive a free scent pack of their choice. For every Buddy purchased, Karestin will give a $5 donation to the Four Diamonds Fund, also through the Williams Valley Mini-THON. Anyone who is interested in either Senators tickets or Scentsy bears may contact Diegert at sdiegert@wvschools.net.

Article source: http://republicanherald.com/news/williams-valley-s-after-school-program-garners-national-interest-1.1655576

Imperial County adult literacy still a challenge

When Monica Woo came to the United States from Korea 15 years ago, the English language was as foreign to her as the country she was arriving in.


Even after becoming a citizen, it still took the El Centro resident a run-in with immigration officers before deciding to take on the task of learning the language.

“Two years ago I went to Korea and when I came back, immigration asked me what I had to declare, and I couldn’t answer,” Woo said.

So with the help of Adult Literacy Services at the Imperial Public Library, she embarked on a mission to not only speak, but read English as well, a decision that she says has left her feeling happier and more confident.

With the most recent Imperial County statistics available showing an illiteracy rate dangerously close to 50 percent, stories like Woo’s could likely be found throughout the Valley.

Last conducted in 2003, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy is a representative assessment of English literacy among American adults age 16 or older, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

During the assessment, 41 percent of Imperial County’s population at the time was lacking basic prose literacy skills; almost triple the national rate of 14 percent.

Prose literacy is the knowledge and skill to perform tasks such as searching for, comprehending and using information from continuous texts.

If the results of a 2013 U.S. Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy study of adult literacy in the nation are reflective of what individual counties look like, then those numbers haven’t changed much in the 10-plus years since the last NAAL.

But according to Monica Reyes, literacy coordinator for the Imperial library, there is a logical reason for the unusually high percentage.

“It’s because we’re so close to the border,” she said. “A lot of people speak Spanish so people don’t feel the need to learn English.”

Reyes explains that very few participants in her program cannot read because of a learning disability, rather they are there because English is their second language.

“The realization that they need to learn the language occurs when they need to find a job or want to help their children with homework,” said Reyes.

The Imperial adult literacy program is just one of many throughout county libraries working to help adults become literate in English.

Some, like Calexico’s Camarena Memorial Library, even offer distance tutoring, where a learner is helped by a tutor in a library from another part of the state.

“We’ve partnered with libraries in Northern California to do online tutoring, using a program kind of like Skype,” said Sandra Tauler, director of library and cultural arts for Calexico.

Tauler explained that the program is funded by a grant from the State Library for one-on-one tutoring for adults 16 years or older not enrolled in school, and after being matched up with a tutor, they then receive lessons using material relevant to their specific interests.

“If they want to read the Bible, they use the Bible to learn. If they want to get their license, they’ll use that. It’s more relevant and makes it more interesting and participants are more willing to learn,” Tauler said. “It’s a life skill. The better reader you are, the more you can accomplish.”

Staff Writer Heric Rubio can be reached at 760-337-3442 or hrubio@ivpressonline.ccom

Article source: http://www.ivpressonline.com/news/local/imperial-county-adult-literacy-still-a-challenge/article_e0727536-99e1-11e3-9b9b-0017a43b2370.html

Alder’s John Jones wins environmental educator award


Alder’s John Jones wins environmental educator award


Written by Staff Reports


Wednesday, February 19, 2014 03:49 pm




Submitted/John Jones, a sixth grade teacher at Alder Avenue Middle School, is one othe two recipients of the 2014 Outstanding Environmental Educator award from The Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education. Pictured with him are the other recipients.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Alder Avenue Middle School science teacher John Jones won an Outstanding Environmental Educator award from The Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education Jan. 24 during an awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Princeton in Plainsboro.

Jones, who won in the formal sector category, was one of three people honored that night. The other two were Roberta Hunter, the recipient of the non-formal sector award, Dale Rosselet, who won the Patricia L. Kane Lifetime Achievement Award.

Alder Principal Joseph Marinelli recommended Jones for the notable prize.




Submitted/John Jones, a sixth grade teacher at Alder Avenue Middle School, is one othe two recipients of the 2014 Outstanding Environmental Educator award from The Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education.

“In my opinion, Mr. Jones is the epitome of what every teacher should aspire to be,” he wrote. “In less than 10 years, he has transformed himself from a successful landscaping entrepreneur into a certified teacher who has been voted Teacher of the Year by his peers, spearheaded efforts for our school to receive the inaugural Green Ribbon Schools Award from the U.S. Department of Education, secured more than $100,000 in grants for his classroom projects and other environmental education projects across the district and formed partnerships with key environmentally-minded companies to ensure ongoing classroom projects and learning opportunities remain intact.”

Along an “army of environmentally-charged” Alder students, the teacher started an ongoing afterschool gardening club, hand-dug two outdoor classroom sites at two township schools to extend learning opportunities to elementary school children in the district, built a six-acre Community Teaching Garden remote classroom site on the grounds of the Egg Harbor Township Historical Society, started a Re-Leaf for Egg Harbor Township tree reforestation program and the first student-led cafeteria recycling program.

Most recently Jones and his students were invited by Egg Harbor Township leaders to develop the missing educational piece of a large restoration project currently underway to restore and transform a 220-acre former sand and gravel mine and large manmade pond into a safe, clean community-friendly nature park and arboretum, now called the Egg Harbor Township Nature Reserve.

Dubbed as the “Great Egg Harboretum ‘Smart’ Trail Project,” their new endeavor will include creating learning trails and renovating an existing small building into a learning center. The students will sculpt smart trails that will guide visitors through a five-acre upland parcel maze of indigenous shrubs and trees.

The idea is for walkers to find additional expanded description of the historic sites, photos and hyperlinks leading to even more information just by scanning the QR codes using their smartphones at each stop along the trail. Visitors will also learn about planting drought-tolerant native trees that attract wild life, need less water, and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides that can eventually pollute the Great Egg Harbor River. Students will use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) practices and GPS software to map out the area, renovate the building, and create the smart trails, signage and maps/brochures for non-smartphone users.

“John has the innate ability to reach students with his easygoing attitude, approachability and can-do attitude,” Marinelli stated. “He believes in educating his students through dynamic interactive lessons that are rigorous, challenging and fun for kids. John is bright, dynamic, motivated and hard-working and continually strives to add to his knowledge base.  He addresses real-world issues every day in his classroom, and encourages his students to think on their own, take ownership of projects, and to apply classroom-learned problem-solving skills to their everyday lives.”


Article source: http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/egg-harbor-twp/eht-people/49502-alders-john-jones-wins-environmental-educator-award.html

Grant gives schools leg up on good health

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In a few months, kids in five Northern Kentucky school districts are likely to be healthier – reaping the benefits from additional exercise and eating more nutritious foods.

Thanks to a three-year, $3.6 million dollar boost from the U.S. Department of Education, students in Newport, Erlanger-Elsmere, Beechwood, Ludlow and Silver Grove school districts are already seeing more physical education equipment and healthier food options in the cafeteria. They’re also getting instruction about the value of physical activity and nutrition.

Will the programs help the nearly 20 percent of Kentucky’s adolescents who are considered obese by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

Participating districts hope they are leading the way, joining with more than 60 organizations nationwide receiving more than $32 million this year alone.

“Health and well-being is an important component in addressing the needs of the whole child,” said Erlanger-Elsmere Independent Schools Superintendent Kathy Burkhardt.

“There is quite a bit of evidence that shows when students are healthy, their cognitive development and academic achievement increase. When we are able to address (those needs), we are better able to prepare them for a bright, successful and healthy future.”

Newport Independent Schools will receive nearly $480,000 each year for three years to fund its new Fit for Life Project.

Erlanger-Elsmere will also receive more than $725,000 each year for its Wellness Alliance, which includes Beechwood Independent Schools, Ludlow Independent Schools and Silver Grove Independent Schools.

Wellness centers are also expected to be established in the second and third years of the program, according to Diana O’Toole, the Wellness Alliance project coordinator. And parents can get in on the action during special events, including Family Fitness Nights.

“It’s all about getting students interested in health and wellness, physical activity and healthy eating as early as possible,” said O’Toole, who helped lead a similar grant project in Henry and Shelby counties. “I’ve seen firsthand what can happen when students are given the proper tools, and it’s life-changing.”

Article source: http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20140204/NEWS0103/302040030

Sussex Tech, Woodbridge partner to provide after-school program for Hispanic …

Sussex Tech Adult Division has been awarded a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant by the Delaware Department of Education. DOE awards these grants to support the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children.

The $158,410 grant will enable Sussex Tech Adult Education to establish an after-school program for Hispanic middle school students at the Phillis Wheatley Middle School through a partnership with the Woodbridge School District. From Oct. 1, 2013 to April 17, 2014, two afternoons per week from 3 to 5 p.m., 80 Hispanic middle school students will have the opportunity to be part of the after-school program. It will provide the students with the opportunity to increase their academic skills in math, reading, and technology.

Research shows that Hispanic students have a wide variety of academic and social needs. The purpose of this program is to specifically target this population in an effort to boost educational levels, reduce the achievement gap and decrease the number of dropouts. The goal of the partnership is to provide experiences that lead to educational success among Hispanic middle school students.

Funding for this 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Delaware Department of Education.

 

Article source: http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/sussex-tech-woodbridge-partner-to-provide-after-school-program-for-hispanic-children/1055396

Higher grad rate could help W.Va. crime costs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A 5 percent increase in the high school graduation rate among males in West Virginia could save $100 million each year in crime-related costs as well as boost the state’s economy, according to a national policy group.

The study by the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education ties the dropout rate among males with an increase in the crime rate.

While dropping out of high school doesn’t automatically result in a life of crime, dropouts are far more likely than high school graduates to be arrested or incarcerated, said the alliance’s president, former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise.

The study found that it costs $12,643 to educate a student and $28,323 to incarcerate an inmate.

“The nation needs to focus dollars and efforts on reforming school climates to keep students engaged in ways that will lead them toward college and a career and away from crime and prison,” Wise said. “The school-to-prison pipeline starts and ends with schools.”

The study cited federal data that shows 56 percent of federal inmates, 67 percent of inmates in state prisons and 69 percent of inmates in local jails did not complete high school.

Nationally, increased graduate rates among males would prompt a decrease of 60,000 assaults, 37,000 larcenies, 31,000 motor vehicle thefts and 1,300 murders, the study said.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, West Virginia’s graduation rate was about 78 percent in 2010. The dropout rate for all male students was 4.4 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for female students.

The study, first reported by the Charleston Daily Mail (http://bit.ly/14V18KS), said West Virginia’s economy would receive a boost of about $5.7 million annually by a higher male graduation rate.

Last year the state Department of Education approved a list of schools in nine counties to receive Dropout Prevention Innovation Zone grants for after-school, community outreach and other programs.

A study released last year also found the number of West Virginia high schools considered “dropout factories” was halved between 2002 and 2010, and the number of students attending such schools also fell during the period. The report released by the children’s advocacy group America’s Promise Alliance defined dropout factories as schools that fail to graduate more than 60 percent of students on time.

___

Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.com

Article source: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/crime/article/Higher-grad-rate-could-help-W-Va-crime-costs-4817529.php

Higher grad rate could help reduce crime costs

CHARLESTON – A 5 percent increase in the high school graduation rate among males in West Virginia could save $100 million each year in crime-related costs as well as boost the state’s economy, according to a national policy group.

The study by the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education ties the dropout rate among males with an increase in the crime rate.

While dropping out of high school doesn’t automatically result in a life of crime, dropouts are far more likely than high school graduates to be arrested or incarcerated, said the alliance’s president, former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise.

The study found that it costs $12,643 to educate a student and $28,323 to incarcerate an inmate.

“The nation needs to focus dollars and efforts on reforming school climates to keep students engaged in ways that will lead them toward college and a career and away from crime and prison,” Wise said. “The school-to-prison pipeline starts and ends with schools.”

The study cited federal data that shows 56 percent of federal inmates, 67 percent of inmates in state prisons and 69 percent of inmates in local jails did not complete high school.

Nationally, increased graduate rates among males would prompt a decrease of 60,000 assaults, 37,000 larcenies, 31,000 motor vehicle thefts and 1,300 murders, the study said.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, West Virginia’s graduation rate was about 78 percent in 2010. The dropout rate for all male students was 4.4 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for female students.

The study said West Virginia’s economy would receive a boost of about $5.7 million annually by a higher male graduation rate.

Last year the state Department of Education approved a list of schools in nine counties to receive Dropout Prevention Innovation Zone grants for after-school, community outreach and other programs.

A study released last year also found the number of West Virginia high schools considered “dropout factories” was halved between 2002 and 2010, and the number of students attending such schools also fell during the period.

The report released by the children’s advocacy group America’s Promise Alliance defined dropout factories as schools that fail to graduate more than 60 percent of students on time.

Article source: http://www.weirtondailytimes.com/page/content.detail/id/604307/Higher-grad-rate-could-help-reduce-crime-costs.html?nav=5006

Higher grad rate could help state crime costs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A 5 percent increase in the high school graduation rate among males in West Virginia could save $100 million each year in crime-related costs as well as boost the state’s economy, according to a national policy group.

The study by the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education ties the dropout rate among males with an increase in the crime rate.

While dropping out of high school doesn’t automatically result in a life of crime, dropouts are far more likely than high school graduates to be arrested or incarcerated, said the alliance’s president, former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise.

The study found that it costs $12,643 to educate a student and $28,323 to incarcerate an inmate.

“The nation needs to focus dollars and efforts on reforming school climates to keep students engaged in ways that will lead them toward college and a career and away from crime and prison,” Wise said. “The school-to-prison pipeline starts and ends with schools.”

The study cited federal data that shows 56 percent of federal inmates, 67 percent of inmates in state prisons and 69 percent of inmates in local jails did not complete high school.

Nationally, increased graduate rates among males would prompt a decrease of 60,000 assaults, 37,000 larcenies, 31,000 motor vehicle thefts and 1,300 murders, the study said.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, West Virginia’s graduation rate was about 78 percent in 2010. The dropout rate for all male students was 4.4 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for female students.

The study, first reported by the Charleston Daily Mail, said West Virginia’s economy would receive a boost of about $5.7 million annually by a higher male graduation rate.

Last year the state Department of Education approved a list of schools in nine counties to receive Dropout Prevention Innovation Zone grants for after-school, community outreach and other programs.

A study released last year also found the number of West Virginia high schools considered “dropout factories” was halved between 2002 and 2010, and the number of students attending such schools also fell during the period. The report released by the children’s advocacy group America’s Promise Alliance defined dropout factories as schools that fail to graduate more than 60 percent of students on time.

 

Article source: http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201309160053

Landrum Elementary School afterschool program earns state recognition

Landrum Elementary School’s Afterschool Program’s Rock Band 13 earned the “Most Innovative Activity” award at the Afterschool Centers on Education state conference.


The program provides science enrichment activities through the use of music and musical instruments.

The innovative program helps students learn science components as they receive instruction on how to play musical instruments, such as keyboard, electric guitar, electric bass guitar and five-piece drum set and is framed around Texas Ace Critical Success Factor dealing with school involvement.

The ACE program is one of the largest statewide afterschool programs in the country, serving more than 180,000 students at nearly 1,000 sites. The ACE program is administered by the Texas Education Agency and is funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative of the U.S. Department of Education.

“Students learn about science as they become knowledgeable about the amplifiers and watts of the different instruments,” Afterschool Program site coordinator Albert Sanchez said. “There is a science to setting up the equipment and having the best sound from each instrument. This helps students learn about instrument’s electrical currents, including amperage and wattage.”

Students have to connect the instrument to the amplifier and then from the amplifier to the soundboard, where different effects and equalizers are used to produce the clearest and loudest sound possible, Sanchez explained.

“They also learn about how sound travels through sound waves and the use of our sound equipment,” Sanchez said.

Using a detailed lesson plan and integrating the use of technology, the school has offered the science enrichment activity for the past three years, allowing third through fifth grade students an opportunity to learn an average of six to eight songs per year.

The program not only teaches students music, it also helps them learn about the importance of teamwork builds their self-esteem.

“Self-esteem also plays a role in the campus needs assessment because the students learn to believe in themselves and in their ability and the confidence to perform in front of people,” Sanchez said. “They begin to learn how to set goals and overcome obstacles to reach those goals.”

Estrella Serna, a fifth grader, has developed a greater sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. She’s thrilled that she learned how to play the bass guitar last year.

“I didn’t know that actually I could do it,” she said. “I never pictured myself with a bass and now, I can, and that’s great!”

Serna, a longtime Afterschool Program participant, wants to learn how to play more instruments with this year’s Rock Band 14.

Another program participant, fifth grader Karen Sanchez, was excited about her involvement in the program.

“I get to play in a rock band because music is my life,” she said.

To learn more about this innovating award-winning program, call 956-361-6800.

Article source: http://www.valleymorningstar.com/education/san_benito_cisd/article_858d0bf8-19cc-11e3-8eb7-0019bb30f31a.html

Obama’s Last Chance on School Reform?

df5eb WideModern classroom 130909620x413 Obamas Last Chance on School Reform?

The start of the school year also marks the end of the congressional recess. And this fall, Congress’s education “to do” list includes updating the federal statute governing America’s public schools. If Congress doesn’t act this year, there may not be any action for another four years (owing to the political pressures connected to the midterm elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016). With the left and the right agreeing that reform of the law is long overdue, there’s an urgent need for action this fall.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, was enacted in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, as part of the War on Poverty. The law sets the parameters for the bulk of federal funding that goes to states and school districts. The 2001 rewrite of the law, No Child Left Behind, focused on accountability for closing the achievement gaps between rich and poor students, as well as between minority and nonminority students. Though the goals underpinning the law were bold and aspirational, they required a fundamental shift in thinking that the U.S. Department of Education simply didn’t have the manpower, time or resources to invest in.

As time went on, pressure to tweak the law was heightened and as a consequence of Congress not acting to update the law, the U.S. Department of Education has granted waivers to 34 states and the District of Columbia (through the 2013-2014 school year), creating a patchwork of less-than-transparent accountability systems that may, or may not, be holding schools accountable for improving the achievement of all groups of students.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

So where does that leave us? To echo the words of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, “America deserves a better law.” The good news is that we have seen some forward progress, with the House passing its version of the reauthorization and the Senate looking towards floor consideration later this fall. Unfortunately, both bills are partisan, with only Republicans supporting the House bill, and only Democrats voting to move the Senate bill to the floor. A recent survey of Washington insiders by Whiteboard Advisors found 85 percent believe No Child Left Behind will not be reauthorized until after January 2015. In other words, everyone is pretty jaded – they’ve seen this movie before and know how it will end.

I happen to be one of the jaded ones but here are three things that could change the direction of this conversation to the benefit of America’s schoolchildren:

  1. Despite all the talk of the law’s bipartisan appeal, its enactment was a byproduct of the Bush administration making it a priority. No Republican would have voted for the bill had it not been for the president asking his party to support it. President Obama can play a similar role in pushing his party to lock arms with Republicans in forging an alliance that would trade some elements of federal accountability for parental choice.
  2. ESEA includes a host of titles and support for activities that are not connected to the accountability framework that has proven so difficult to reauthorize. The smaller components in the law include funding for programs like charter schools, after-school learning communities, and other programs that are not as controversial. Congress and the administration can move these provisions (which also need some tweaks and adjustments) on their own and offer the country some hope that bipartisanship is possible.
  3. I am a big fan of using the bully pulpit. Secretary Duncan is doing just that right now with his “back to school” bus tour focused on promoting the merits of early childhood education. If the Elementary and Secondary Education Act can’t be reauthorized now, the Secretary should focus on putting in place the infrastructure, and building the constituency, needed to advance reauthorization. It’s often forgotten that the building blocks of No Child Left Behind were forged in previous attempts to rewrite the law during the Clinton administration, and much of the thought leadership undergirding it was promulgated before President Bush came into office. Since so many Republican governors and state education chiefs are aligned with the administration’s education agenda, marketing their stories and elevating their call around the need for reform would be an important step on the road to improving the federal investment in our nation’s schools.

Article source: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/nina-rees/2013/09/09/3-ways-obama-and-congress-can-move-school-reform-forward

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    Welcome , today is Wednesday, July 23, 2014