November 6, 2012
ASCD Shares Common Core State Standards Recommendations
ASCD’s new report, Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability, outlines the association’s findings from four state summits on the Common Core State Standards and offers key recommendations that educators and policymakers at all levels can take to successfully implement the new standards.
Drawing from ASCD's Common Core State Standards summits in Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina, and Utah, the report shares that educators' knowledge of the standards is growing exponentially, but many do not understand the instructional shifts necessary for helping students reach the higher standards; educators are focused on the new common assessments and the technology issues associated with their deployment; and there is widespread initiative fatigue in the field because of the standards implementation efforts, new educator effectiveness initiatives, and other initiatives like Race to the Top.
Based on these findings, ASCD’s report recommends priorities for moving Common Core implementation forward, including:
- Making sure educators deeply understand the standards and the key instructional shifts they require.
- Vetting instructional resources for quality and alignment with the standards.
- Listening to educators about their professional learning needs.
- Maximizing opportunities for collaboration and capacity building through professional learning.
- Adopting technology that will meet teaching and learning needs but also work with the new assessments.
The report is one of the projects funded through a three-year, $3 million grant awarded to ASCD last year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support Common Core standards implementation. Access the full report on the EduCore™ site, ASCD's free repository of evidence-based strategies, videos, and supporting documents that help educators transition to the Common Core standards, and visit www.ascd.org/commoncore for additional Common Core resources from ASCD.
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What the November Election Results Mean for You
Today's elections are a pivotal event for U.S. educators. President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s approaches to the federal education policy that has been governed by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) since 2002 are significantly different (PDF). Similarly, congressional and state contests could have significant implications for the education field.
Next week’s Capitol Connection will dissect today's election results and share the ASCD policy team's insight about what the presidential and congressional election outcomes mean for educators. The issue will highlight the likely education priorities of an Obama or Romney administration; examine how changes in the makeup of Congress could affect education policymaking on Capitol Hill; and touch on state election results. The special issue will also reflect on the fate of NCLB, education funding, and more.
In the meantime, read about the results of the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll, which obtained reader reactions to the two presidential candidates' top positions on education.
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"We're in a Different World Right Now"
This campaign season has made it abundantly clear that social media has become a powerful and widely used advocacy tool. During a brief videotaped interview with ASCD, Joe Trippi—the famed political strategist, former Howard Dean presidential campaign manager, and author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised—reflects on the intersection of advocacy and social media and explains how social media has shifted the balance of power away from a top-down communications world.
Trippi, the keynote speaker at last year's ASCD Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy, shares tips for translating online participation into commitment and action, comments on the social media tools he thinks are outstripping Facebook to become the most influential, and offers his take on the power of grassroots advocacy and action.
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Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?
New school meal rules, implemented this school year as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (PDF), are providing students with healthier options, including double the amount of fruits and vegetables they received last year; more whole grain–rich foods; low-fat or fat-free milk; and reduced saturated fat, trans fats, and sodium.
But House Education Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and two of his committee colleagues have taken issue with the law's set calorie limits based on student age. In a letter (PDF) to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak, they contend that the 850-calorie limitation for high school students doesn't provide enough food for some individuals, particularly student athletes. The School Nutrition Association and other health organizations counter that the calorie limits are appropriate, particularly because one in three U.S. children is obese, and that many students have welcomed the healthier options.
Kline and his colleagues are also concerned that the law has led to increased food waste because many students are throwing away the fruit and vegetables that are now part of their school meals. And they are troubled by the costs of implementing the regulations for already cash-strapped states and local schools. They've requested (PDF) that the U.S. Government Accountability Office issue a report that examines the costs associated with the new nutrition standards and the additional assistance school food authorities might need to implement the changes.
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Wanted: Your Views on Civic Education
An important purpose of the nation's education system is to prepare future generations for informed participation in civic and democratic life, but many schools struggle to prioritize civic learning amid competing academic concerns. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education released a road map for advancing civic learning (PDF), which outlines nine steps for reinvigorating civic engagement across the country.
Now the department wants to hear from you. It's inviting educators, students, researchers, and others to submit suggestions and comments related to its definition of civic learning and engagement and ideas for how best to implement the following four steps from its road map:
Convene and catalyze the education community to enhance high-quality civic learning and engagement opportunities.
Identify civic learning and engagement indicators to measure student outcomes and encourage further research to learn more about effective program design.
Leverage federal investments and public-private partnerships to support civic learning and engagement activities.
Highlight and promote civic learning and engagement opportunities for students, families, and other stakeholders as collaborators and problem-solvers in education.
Respondents have until November 30 to submit their feedback directly on the department’s blog or via e-mail.
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