PALO ALTO, Calif. — Most public school teachers feel unprepared to teach math and reading to the Common Core standards that are rolling out in 45 states and the District, according to a poll of 800 teachers released Friday by the American Federation of Teachers.
The new standards, written by a group of states and embraced by the Obama administration, set common goals for reading, writing and math skills that students should develop from kindergarten through high school graduation. Curriculum is left to the states. The standards emphasize critical thinking and problem solving and are supposed to encourage students to think deeply about fewer topics.
While a clear majority — 75 percent — of teachers surveyed by the union said they support the Common Core, less than one-third said their school districts have given them the training and resources to teach to the new standards.
Many states have begun implementing the standards. All participating states are expected to have them in place by 2014, when students will take new standardized tests based on the Common Core. READ MORE
Dr. Hickey (pictured here with Tyrone Howard, Executive Director, UCLA Black Male Institute) recently attended the 5th Annual Black Male Think Tank, hosted by the Los Angeles Urban League, UCLA Black Male Institute and the California Community Foundation, Thursday, May 9, 2013.
The theme of this years’ event was ‘Solutions Not Suspensions’. This event was billed as a collaborative effort to promote positive behavioral interventions and supports. The goal of this event was to:
- Highlight best practices, programs and policies that reduce punitive school discipline practices and policies
- To facilitate dialogue and collaboration across various sectors in order to accelerate efforts that reduce school discipline
- To establish ongoing collaborative connections between multiple sectors to reduce school discipline.
Eloquent, articulate, and committed are just a few of the words to
describe the message, delivered to a standing room only attentive
crowd, by the U.S. Congress member Karen Bass (33rd district). On
December 21st Rep. Bass address her engaged constituents at the Holman
Methodist Church in Los Angeles on her 2011 Year in Review. The tone
of the evening was appropriately set by the harmonic vocals of the New
Directions Veteran Choir, who more than impressed the audience with
their a cappella rendition of “Did you ever know that you’re my hero”
which they dedicated to Rep. Bass and “Ole man River.” The more than
150 men, women and children of all ethnicities were impressively
engaged and receptive to the messages Bass was prepared to deliver
from the Nation’s Capital.
Bass began her remarks by expressing her appreciation for being back
at home among friends, supporters and good music, such as that of the
New Directions Veteran Choir. She reflected on how such experiences
give her the will to take on the challenges in Washington. She
boasted, “I can take this energy and go back there and do combat with
them any day.” Before she delved into her scheduled report on the
highlights of the year she digressed a bit to shed light on what she
described as the three most pressing congressional issues affecting
the country today:
1. Unemployment for 160 million Americans is going to run out in the
next couple of weeks. She states that, “…these are people who have
been on unemployment for a long time, and they need us to pass
legislation to extend their unemployment insurance…”
2. The President, as part of his jobs act, want to have a payroll tax
cut extended into next year.
3. Doctors who take care of patients who are on Medicare will have
their pay cut if Congress does not pass legislation by the end of the
month. This is likely to have these doctors decide not to take care of
She went on to explain that the Senate had not come to an agreement to
extend these three items for a year. However, they did agree to extend
them for two months. She further explained that while House Speaker
Boehner seemed to be initially willing to go along with the Senate
version of the bill, covering these three issues, the Tea Party has
seen fit to thwart the passage of the Senate bill, in favor of a much
less desirable bill. In the Tea Party’s (original) bill, unemployment
would be extended for a year with the following conditions:
1. Unemployment benefits would be cut in half. Recipients would only
be able to receive unemployment for half the number of weeks.
2. Recipients would have to pass a drug test before qualifying for unemployment.
3. Recipients who did not have a high school diploma would have to
obtain a GED before qualifying for unemployment benefits.
After some final comments about how these sorts of things should serve
to awaken the voters of the consequences of electing individuals into
public office who are so beholding to their ideology, they are willing
to “…take the economy to the brink of ruin”, Congress member Bass was
able to start her discussion on the 2011 Highlights.
She began by expressing her appreciation for the overwhelming turnout
for her District Swearing-in Ceremony on January 30th presided by
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. She also spoke about her ability to get
bipartisan collaboration on issues related to foster care legislation.
Additionally, she has provided support for job creation and small
businesses; and assisting in “organizing thousands of constituents
into the 33rd congressional council.
She went on to share, “One of the highlights for me, certainly this
year, was to be able to go to the Oval Office at the invitation of the
White House, while legislation was signed to extend resources and
services in the foster care arena.”
Her legislation highlights included the Foster Care Mentoring Act
which provides for student loan forgiveness if a student is willing to
be a mentor to children in the foster care system.
The balance of the evening was replete with other legislation
highlights that Rep. Bass has been directly involved. Additionally,
she shared with the group the various town halls she has participated
in over the year, including:
1. April 7 – Virtual Town Hall: Update on Federal Budget Negotiations.
2. July 21 – Los Angeles Small Business Day with the Small Business
3. August 14 – Health Care Reform Town Hall with HHS Region IX
Director Herb Schultz.
4. August 31 – Job Fair with Congressional Black Caucus
5. September 8 – Virtual Town Hall: President’s Address on Jobs to a
Joint Session of Congress
6. September 28 – Education Reform Town Hall with Assistant Secretary
for Civil Rights Russlyn Ali
7. November 21 – Honoring the Contribution of Women Veterans.
Rep. Bass then address specific questions during a 30-minute Q&A.
Follow the work and commitment of Representative Bass at:
http://karenbass.house.gov/ and http://www.facebook.com/RepKarenBass
Rep. Karen Bass
The following notes from the NCEBC 2009 Convention are taken from the original daily conference newsletters edited by Gwendolyn J. Kelley.
OPENING DAY EVENTS:
Teachers, administrators, parents and community members convened at the Bethesda Marriott Conference Center in Rockville, Maryland in the Washington, D.C. area for NCEBC’s 23rd National Convention.
Beginning with a Call for Action, delegates gathered in the White Flint Amphitheater to hear details about the NCEBC Active Programs that are outgrowths of the organization’s work. National Board Members presented an overview of initiatives that attendees can support this year.
- National Literacy Center Partnerships – Currently Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Mississippi have programs.
- State Black Male Action Plans – Twenty-two states have activated plans.
- Parent University Curriculum – Modules include the role of parents and families in educations, the strengths of African American families and communities, a review of federal programs and training on how to organize for transformation.
- Blueprint for Action – This flagship document fuels 10 identified stakeholder groups to work on improving literacy, mentoring, data collection, parent empowerment, student voices, raising awareness to “build a coalition of the willing”, and bringing communities together to transform the educational system for African American children. Black males in particular.
- Research Coordinator – NCEBC houses data that reveals our needs to focus specific areas related to student achievement.
DAY TWO: MOVING THE AGENDA
Highlights for the day included dynamic speakers, a parent summit, 10 concurrent sessions over a wide choice of relevant topics, and work on State Black Male Action Plan (BMAP).
Dr. Eric Cooper and Dr. Yvette Jackson presented research, theory and practice based on high expectations for Black students. They included diverse strategies to build understanding about how to engage students with instruction based on cognitive development principles.
The keynote address by Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Education Policy Chair of President Barack Obama’s Transition Team, highlighted alarming statistics, instructional inequalities, promising practices and key priorities that everyone can use to lobby legislators to help create excellent and equitable educational experiences for all students.
DAY THREE: A VISIT FROM THE WHITEHOUSE (Contributed by Chris L. Hickey, Sr.)
The highlight of the day was a visit by Arnie Duncan, The Unites States Secretary of Education for President Barack Obama.
The morning session began with a PowerPoint slide show on State Male Action Plan issues. The issues listed were:
- Low academic achievement on State Assessments
- Disproportionately in Special Education
- School expulsion and suspensions
- Low graduation rates
- Juvenile incarcerations
- Black Male homicides and suicides
The Western Regional Council on Educating Black Children has sent a delegation to the National Council on Educating Black Children’s Annual Conference in Washington D.C.
Representing the local group are two parents from LAUSD, the President of WRCEBC, a representative from the business community, and two National Board Members. This will also represent Western Regionals first use of Twitter to documents some of the event. Members of WRCEBC can follow Twitter posts at: http://twitter.com/wrcebc.
WRCEBC has also lauched this week a Wiki to assist in the project management of their own 2010 Annual Summit. The Wiki can be reached at: http://wrcebc.pbwiki.com.
From Education Week: By Stephen Sawchuk and Erik W. Robelen
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today started rolling out $44 billion in economic-stimulus aid for education that comes with new teacher-quality reporting requirements for states and districts, and also with significantly more spending flexibility on school construction than many administrators had expected.
New guidance from the Department of Education spells out in more detail how states, districts, and institutions of higher education will receive money under the $39.8 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the $8.8 billion Government Services Fund, as well as how they may use it. Unveiling the first payments at a school in Capitol Heights, Md., Mr. Duncan emphasized that the funding could be a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
“We have this magical opportunity to invest significantly in these best practices and scale up what works,” he said of aid under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The requirements outlined by the department mark a notable foray by the federal government into several issues that have mainly been the province of states and districts—notably teacher evaluation and the shape of data systems.
As part of the teacher-quality assurance states must fulfill to receive fiscal-stabilization money, for instance, the department plans to demand that states report for each district the number and percentage of teachers and principals scoring at each performance level on local teacher- and principal-evaluation instruments.
Once districts have received their stabilization funds and used them to backfill cuts, however, the guidance allows districts to spend their remaining funds on a host of activities, including new school construction. Republican lawmakers had opposed funding for school construction during the drafting of the $787 billion stimulus package, which President Barack Obama signed into law in February.
The combination of new requirements and funding-flexibility language adds to ongoing debates in policy circles about whether the $115 billion in total education aid—the largest single federal investment in education in history—will lead to fundamental reform in the nation’s education system or have the opposite effect of ossifying current features that may hinder improvement.
“[School construction] has the potential to eat up a lot of these funds, particularly for states that don’t have severe funding shortages,” said Vic Klatt, a lobbyist with the Washington firm Van Scoyoc Associates, who previously served as the staff director for Republicans on the House education committee. “People who are hoping a lot of this money will go for education reform activities may be a little disappointed.”
Read the rest of the article at:
Just days after his historic speech to the joint session of congress President Barack Obama unveiled his 2009 National Budget proposal. The Department of Education funding highlights follow:
- Obama on the Budget
Create incentives and supports for States to build comprehensive, coordinated, high-quality early childhood “Zero to Five” systems, building on the early childhood investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Strengthens and reforms public schools to meet the needs of all students, by helping States to develop high quality, rigorous standards and assessments, vigorously supporting and rewarding effective teaching, and investing in and widely disseminating effective approaches to improving student achievement to help all students make progress toward high standards.
Expands opportunities for students to go to college and graduate by expanding student aid, shifting resources from banks and middlemen toward students, creating new incentives for colleges to focus on student completion, and expanding access to low-cost Federal student loans.
In the coming months we should monitor the progress on these laudable yet lofty goals. As the President eloquently articulated in his speech to congress, the education of our countries children is profoundly connected to the economic growth and sustainability of the moral fabric of our country. We all need to be vigilant with respect to insuring that educational opportunities are accessible to all children, regardless to the social-economic status of their parents.