I really try to read a substantial amount of articles related to Education from news sources each week. I also subscribe to a few newsletters and "like" many education advocates and groups on Facebook. Here is what I have been reading this week:
1. Teachers' Colleges Upset by Plan to Grade Them: "Grades are the currency of education — teachers give them to students, administrators grade teachers and states often assign grades to schools. Now U.S. News & World Report is planning to give A through F grades to more than 1,000 teachers’ colleges, and many of the schools are unhappy, marching to the principal’s office to complain the system is unfair."
My Response? We grade our students, we grade our school districts, and we grade our teachers in some way shape or form so why shouldn't we grade teacher training programs. As a college student, not too far removed from the college search/application process I would want to know how my program ranks nationally. I would also want to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses before I apply. I think it is important for colleges to have an outside perspective on their programming---constructive criticism (and/or praise) will ultimately make teacher training programs better.
2. Teacher, My Dad Lost His Job. Do We Have to Move? "Statewide, 43 percent of Ohio public school students are disadvantaged, as measured by free and reduced lunches, compared with 33 percent in 2005, according to a recent survey by KidsOhio, a nonprofit educational organization based in Columbus. A sign of how deep this recession has reached into the middle class: here in Franklin County, 44 percent of the disadvantaged attend suburban schools, compared with 32 percent five years ago."
My response? This article looks at middle class families who have been hurt by the recession and the effects it has on students. So often we do not think of suburban schools having to deal with money problems or students on free and reduced lunched, but it is a very real problem. I am a student that though due to slightly different circumstances identifies with the families in this article. It was difficult to be a low-income student in a high-income, suburban school district. I often felt pressured to try to have the same opportunities as my class mates (school dances, senior pictures, and art fees to name just a few) even though it was not necessarily the best thing for my or my families budget.I believe that educators we need to be aware of students in these circumstances, use our resources wisely (to eliminate as much extra costs for their students), take advantage of resources, and most importantly learn to support and accommodate this increasing population of students. (A magic wand to fix the economy would be helpful as well...).
3.The Princess Wears Plaid "Here’s the start of a list of books for young girls that turn more than a few stereotypes on their heads while remaining fun reads"
My Response? I have no problem with "girly" things, but I do believe many of the things that boys and girls are attracted to are direct results of societal and parental influences. Regardless of if your child is a "girly-girl" or a "Tom-boy" the books on this list look like they will be great reads! I can't wait to check some of them out!
4.Creating a Corps of Change Agents "While much of the debate around Teach For America (TFA) in recent years has focused on the effectiveness of its nontraditional recruits in the classroom, the real story is the degree to which TFA has succeeded in producing dynamic, impassioned, and entrepreneurial education leaders. From its inception as Wendy Kopp’s senior thesis project at Princeton more than two decades ago, TFA has sought to bring more teaching talent to some of the nation’s most disadvantaged communities and create a corps of change agents like Rhee, Feinberg, Levin, and Johnston. How well has TFA fared on that second score? Here, in a new line of research, we seek to answer that question."
My Response? I find it really interesting to see evidence of the other side of TFA's mission. I feel lucky to be entering this program!
5. Facebook Questions for Secretary Duncan "Secretary Duncan answers a couple of Facebook questions for the week of February 4, 2011"
My Response? I like what Secretary Duncan has to say about changes that need to be made in our education system. I also like the new US Education Dashboard.