Both state governments and the federal government need to step up our investments in high-quality pre-K. As they do so, looking to Boston can help demonstrate the wisdom of investing in teacher training and curriculum support, and in ensuring access for all children. It can also demonstrate why the most effective pre-K programs will be part of a comprehensive strategy for America's children.
This year's release of District of Columbia Public Schools standardized test scores came with much less fanfare than in 2013 -- growth in "proficiency" is smaller, and district leaders were recently called out for lack of transparency ... using averages to hide growing gaps. Ironically, given NCLB's goal of illuminating race- and income-based gaps, districts like DCPS feel pushed to create the appearance that reforms have worked by hiding growing disparities....Transparency, paired with comprehensive, whole-child strategies that can help produce meaningful gains for all students, would represent the real reform we have long sought.
As we mark the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, we are glad to see renewed interest in the issue of segregation, but discouraged about our societal failure to tackle it. Perhaps the saddest aspect of this segregation is the waste of a precious American resource, one that could offer our children an important advantage over their peers in many other countries: diversity.
A group of education advocates is calling on the District to release more information about students’ performance on city tests, arguing that the limited data released in years past has overstated city schools’ progress. Elaine Weiss of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education — a group that has been critical of education policies that have taken root in the District, such as charter schools and test-based accountability — wrote in an analysis to be released Thursday that “lack of transparency, combined with cherry-picking specific numbers” has enabled the city to “paint a false picture of progress,” particularly among poor and African American students.
In contrast to education "reformers" such as Joel Klein who support increased spending on charter schools, testing, and performance-based rewards, the BBA calls for a redirection of funds towards early-childhood education, health care, and other social supports.
Data suggests that better schools do not address the problem of under achievement. Instead, resources should be directed towards a broader, bolder approach, incorporating childcare, parental support, and community involvement.
Whether we call them “soft,” “behavioral,” or “life skills,” such traits as perseverance, the ability to work well with others, and effective communication are key not only to success in school, but to a productive life, including contributing meaningfully to community and society. Both research and common sense make this clear. What is less clear is exactly which changes in education policies and school practices can better support the development of these skills, and how we should measure, assess, and reward them in the school context. Join EPI and BBA to discuss these timely issues Tuesday morning, December 2.
Rich Hill: Three Boys in Small Town America (April 29, 2014)
Ready for Kindergarten (February 27, 2014 and March 8, 2014)
The New Public (November 7, 2013)
American Winter (March 14, 2013)
ECE Webinar: Domains of Brain Development and Early Childhood Brain Science with Todd Grindal
Part I | Part II
ECE Webinar: Economic Benefits of Early Childhood Investments, K-12 Impacts with Robert G. Lynch
ECE Webinar: Paid Early Childhood Caregivers and Educators with Robert C. Pianta