March 19, 2012
Learn About the Common Core and More at ASCD’s Annual Conference
If you’re attending ASCD’s Annual Conference & Exhibit Show in Philadelphia, Pa., later this week, be sure to check out the following policy sessions!
- Educator Readiness for the Common Core: ASCD Findings from Select States, Saturday, March 24, 1:00–2:30 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, 106
The success of the Common Core State Standards depends on whether classroom teachers can leverage the standards to help students learn. ASCD’s Efrain Mercado and Katie Hill will share findings from the association’s Common Core Symposia in four states related to educator readiness to translate the standards into effective practice and the resources teachers need to support their work.
- Evaluating Teacher Performance, Saturday, March 24, 5:30–6:30 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, 115B
Brad Jupp, the U.S. Department of Education’s senior program advisor for teacher quality initiatives; Maddie Fennell, chair of the Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching and an educator at Miller Park Elementary in Omaha, Neb.; David Mathis, superintendent of South Carolina’s Saluda School District One; and Kevin Eakes, teacher evaluator for South Carolina’s Charleston County School District will share their experiences and perspectives on evaluating teachers and providing them with the support they need to succeed.
- Making the Case for a Well-Rounded Education, Sunday, March 25, 8:00–9:30 a.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center,108A
Deep budget cuts and a continued emphasis on reading and math performance threaten districts’ and schools’ ability to provide students with a well-rounded education that includes challenging and engaging instruction in all core academic subjects. Michael Blakeslee, from the National Association for Music Education, and Ted McConnell, from the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, will discuss the importance of a well-rounded education for preparing students for college, career, and citizenship readiness. They’ll also share effective models, describe how well-rounded education relates to the Common Core State Standards and teacher evaluation, and provide personal steps educators can take for advocating for well-rounded education for all students.
- SMARTER Balanced and PARCC: Understanding the Common Core Assessments,
Sunday, March 25, 1:30–2:30 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, 119B
SMARTER Balanced and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) are building next-generation assessments to measure student understanding of the new Common Core State Standards. Sue Gendron, former Maine commissioner of education, and Penny MacCormack, the chief academic officer at the New Jersey Department of Education, will share the progress of SMARTER Balanced and PARCC respectively, their resources to support educator understanding of the assessments, and how these assessments will provide nuanced information on student understanding and growth.
- Advocating for Your Students and School, Monday, March 26, 8:00–9:30 a.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, 113A
One of the great mistakes of the No Child Left Behind Act was lawmakers not getting the input of those who know best about how to improve schools: the educators working within them. ASCD educator advocates Richard Lange and Karen Wendorf-Heldt and ASCD’s policy team will show you how easy it is to be an advocate for your school and students. Learn about Lange and Wendorf-Heldt’s journeys from inexperienced advocates to seasoned influencers.
Also be sure to visit the ASCD Center in the Exhibit Hall, where you will find helpful resources such as the ASCD 2012 Legislative Agenda and the latest issue of our Policy Priorities newsletter, "The Never-Ending Story of ESEA Reauthorization."
If you can’t attend the conference in person, ASCD is offering a package of 22 Annual Conference sessions streamed live from Philadelphia, March 24–26. Learn more.
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Illinois Celebrates Whole Child Month!
Illinois lawmakers have officially recognized the value of a whole child approach to education that ensures each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. As a result of Illinois ASCD’s persistent efforts, the state legislature passed whole child resolutions (HR 0781 and SR 0545) that designate March as Illinois Whole Child Month and call on parents, educators, and communities to work together to support the whole child. The House resolution also encourages every school in the state to celebrate Illinois Whole Child Month by adopting at least one of the five whole child tenets to promote and encourage throughout the month.
To help schools get started, ASCD has compiled a handy one-page tip sheet (PDF) with ideas for celebrating Whole Child Month, including
- Accessing our new Whole Child Examples Map to learn what Illinois schools and communities (and other schools and communities across the country and the world) are already doing to promote a whole child approach to education.
- Grading your school to identify how it can focus its efforts to ensure each student is prepared for the future.
- Hosting a community conversation to allow all stakeholders (families, educators, local policymakers, community organizations, students, and others) to explore and discuss the best ways to support the whole child.
- Making the case for a whole child approach to education to your local principal, superintendent, school board, state board of education, and other policymakers.
- Conducting a needs assessment of how well your school and community is supporting the whole child and developing a set of strategic goals and outcomes using ASCD’s Whole Child Indicators (PDF).
Whether you live in Illinois or elsewhere, these ideas are good starting points for putting the whole child approach into action. Be sure to visit www.wholechildeducation.org to access these resources and more, including our Whole Child Blog, podcast, and newsletter. Also, learn more about Byrne Creek Secondary School, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, the just-announced 2012 winner of the Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award.
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Sequestration: A Ticking Time Bomb for Education
The nation’s students, educators, and schools face deep across-the-board cuts to federal education funding in January 2013 unless Congress acts to prevent this from happening.
The automatic cuts to all discretionary funding, known as sequestration, were triggered when a bipartisan deficit-reduction supercommittee failed to develop a plan in late 2011 for lowering the federal budget deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. It’s estimated that if Congress does nothing to stop the ticking time bomb of sequestration, education programs will be chopped by more than 9 percent, or $4 billion in 2013 alone. This would be the biggest cut to education in recent history, affecting more than 7 million students and potentially leading to significant job losses for educators and other school employees.
That figure translates into the following devastating cuts for specific programs:
- Title I funding for disadvantaged students: -$1.3 billion
- Special-education funding: -$1.2 billion
- Head Start: -$725 million
- Teacher-quality state grants: -$225 million
- School improvement grants: -$49 million
In a recent survey of school administrators, almost 80 percent said they don’t think their states have the capacity to mitigate the steep across-the-board cuts. The survey also found that 86 percent believe U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan should become more vocal about the damaging consequences of sequestration.
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Are You An Emerging Leader?
Are you an innovative, driven educator with 5–15 years of experience who wishes to increase your influence and explore ASCD leadership opportunities? If so, consider applying for ASCD’s Emerging Leaders program. The two-year leadership program prepares participants to strengthen ASCD’s voice for influencing policy and practice, advance ASCD positions, and become involved in the association’s governance.
The program is ideal for educators with an interest in learning how to help shape education policies at the national, state, and local levels. Past participants have attended ASCD’s Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy, where they met with their federal lawmakers to discuss the education issues that matter to them. They’ve also actively promoted whole child education in their states and districts and helped prepare their colleagues to become effective advocates.
Online applications for the class of 2012 are open until April 1, 2012. Read ASCD emerging leader David Scott’s personal story about what drove him to become an emerging leader and what he’s learned by participating in the program.
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Department of Education Awards Millions to Fuel Charter School Growth
The U.S. Department of Education awarded almost $55 million to help three states—Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey—expand their charter school offerings. Minnesota will receive a five-year grant totaling more than $28 million and New Jersey and Massachusetts will each receive three-year grants totaling about $14.5 million and $12 million respectively to create new high-quality charter schools and disseminate information about the existing charters in their states.
Altogether, the Obama administration will invest $255 million in FY12 through several charter school grant programs to support charter school efforts to find suitable facilities, disseminate information about successful charter school practices, replicate and expand high-quality charter schools, and help plan and implement public charter schools.
More information about these activities is available on the department’s website.
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