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Implementation Of School Reform Models

In light of the country’s rapidly changing demographics – which continue to reshape public education dramatically – such measures will help educators respond to the changing needs of their students and their communities. Continuity must be addressed when leadership changes. When administrators leave, district-initiated endeavors come to a halt in anticipation of new leadership taking a new direction. There is no continuity. The local board of education should have the authority to hire the superintendent and all others who report directly to the board; the superintendent should have the authority to hire the central office staff and district principals; and the principal should make all school-level hiring decisions. The roles and responsibilities for school boards, superintendents, and principals should be redefined and revised statutes and regulations. Boards of education, superintendents, and senior-level staff leadership should receive cross-training that focuses on their roles and responsibilities and on collaborative teamwork. There should be an exemption to allow for a work session for board members and superintendents for self-assessment and team evaluation.

Leadership

• Leadership should be empowered at the school level, where staffing decisions should be made. Most good principals are already collaborating with their staff. Preservice training can address the issue of principals who do not collaborate effectively.

• Distributed leadership is a very good strategy. It should be encouraged and facilitated, but it should not be imposed or mandated.

• Continuity must be addressed when leadership changes. When administrators leave, district-initiated endeavors come to a halt in anticipation of new leadership taking a new direction. There is no continuity.

• Issues that affect leadership include lack of funding, voting on budgets (especially on caps), and special education funding.

• Leaders should cultivate new administrators from the local talent pool.

School-Based Management

• The school-based decision-making process has a great deal of promise, but there are certain aspects of the process which merit further investigation.

• The efficacy of fully implemented school-based decision-making is still a matter of debate.

• There should be a broader range of participants in the decision-making.

• State and district administrators should tailor policies and programs so that schools have choices rather than one stipulated model to follow.

• The recruitment of teachers can be initiated at higher administrative levels, but interviewing and hiring should conducted at the school level.

Roles and Relationships

• Stakeholders need to discuss further the roles and responsibilities of superintendents and boards of education, and they need to address the assignment of accountability.

• The process of dealing with personnel issues needs to be reviewed. Some stakeholders feel personnel questions should remain the responsibility of superintendents and principals. Others propose that school-based committees, involving parents and teachers, should be active in making personnel decisions. Parents would be elected to these committees by the PTA, and teachers recommended by their professional associations.

• After receiving input from the committee, principals should make the final selections and recommendations to the superintendent.

• In recognition of principals’ tremendous responsibility on the one hand but their lack of authority on the other, some balance needs to be achieved.

• People are satisfied by the nature of their work in education; they are dissatisfied by the problems that exist in the educational structure.

Capacity Building

• School-day structuring, including class size reduction, needs to be addressed.

• Technology, such as E-learning and distance learning, should be enhanced in order to develop more partnerships with businesses, 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, and professional development schools.

• Community partnerships and community learning centers are very important in building capacity.

• Districts-not just schools-should have established goals.

Compensation

• Tenure must be either extended to all personnel or eliminated to achieve parity.

• Terms of superintendents’ contracts should be 5 years. To attract and retain superintendents, their salaries should be increased.

• The compensation system needs to be restructured to attract the highly qualified candidates. Beginning principals should have higher salaries than highly qualified teachers, thus encouraging teachers to pursue administrative positions. Master teachers, board-certified teachers, nationally certified, and gifted teachers should have compensation commensurate with their abilities.

• Basing statewide salaries on regional averages and local cost of living differences would greatly expedite the hiring process and eliminate salary bargaining.

• Boards and superintendents should be able to negotiate their own contracts without statutory limitations.

• There should be a fair and orderly exit plan for superintendents; contract buyouts present problems.

• Retaining superintendents is more difficult than recruiting them, but the opposite is true of principals: Recruiting them is more difficult than retaining them. Because the recruitment and retention of superintendents and principals must overcome different sets of problems, different solutions are required to address those problems.

Professional Development

• Professional growth must be continuous.

• Money should be provided for new vision learning professional development. This allocation will reduce resistance to change.

• Laws, not regulations, should guide professional development. Professional development should be provided even in times of budgetary crises, and distance learning and corporate partnerships present opportunities for reducing the cost of programs.

• School districts should provide enhanced professional development for principals.

Model-Based Reform

• No two schools operate in the same way. Regarding reform, educators need to ask, “Are we meeting the needs of the students?” If the answer is “yes,” then no reform is needed.

• In order to develop and adopt a reform model, administrators need to determine precisely the responsibilities for each of the stakeholders.

• Models need time to grow, time to get significant input.

• The districts deserve careful examination to determine what they are doing and how effective they have been.

• The internalized belief that “all students can learn” and quality teaching are the foundations of successful reform. Energy should be focused primarily on educating students.

Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeff_C._Palmer/2667816

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10292407

Doing A Good Job In Preparing Students For College

To improve school quality and raise performance, educational leaders at the district, state, and federal level are faced with the challenge to:

• Address Socioeconomic Disparity. Thirty percent of the children in urban areas are poor compared to 18% for the nation as a whole. Urban schools are twice as likely to enroll minority and immigrant children than the national average. When compared to the national level, students in urban areas are three times as likely to live in extremely impoverished neighborhoods.

• Improve Teaching and Learning. Urbanity and poverty intensify the magnitude of constraints on teaching and learning. While only 23% of the fourth graders in high poverty schools performed at the basic level or higher in the national reading tests, almost 70% of their peers did so in schools with less poverty outside the urban setting. A substantial number of teachers in urban and rural settings are teaching in areas in which they did not earn a minor or a major in college.

• Manage the technological gap. Digital divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” will widen if public schools lag behind in developing learning opportunities to meet the technological challenge.

• Sustain Leadership Quality. Urban superintendents have an average tenure of less than 3 years. Top talents are leaving the public sector for the fast-growing sector of e-commerce.

• Regain public confidence. While 68% of the urban school board members rated their schools as A and B, only 47% of the urban public did. The public seemed half as likely than the board members to agree that the schools were “doing a good job” in preparing students for college, keeping violence and drugs out of schools, and teaching children who don’t speak English.

To address these complex tasks more effectively, policymakers have adopted various reform models to change the school’s operational processes and its governance structure. Two emerging models of school governance reform that are designed to improve student performance within the public educational sector are: (1) “integrated governance,” a term that we developed based on our research, and (2) charter school reform. These two models demonstrate the range of institutional options that policymakers can select in their efforts to improve accountability and management.

The two emerging models differ along several design dimensions. Integrated governance adopts a “corporate model” to improve school management and finance, it seeks to raise academic standards for all students system-wide, it applies sanctions and targets support to turn around low-performing schools, and its power is decentralized and governed by system-wide standards. The charter school model adopts consumer-based preferences to promote competition, it seeks to raise performance and promote alternative assessment, to turn around low performing schools it uses site-specific strategies that may be part of a reform network, and there is strong autonomy at the school level.

Whereas integrated governance relies on system-wide institutions and standards to target low performance, charter schools focus innovation and promote alternative assessment in a market-like environment. Understanding these emerging models will help in developing the proper balance of various reform strategies.

Integrated governance maintains a proper balance between site-based decision-making and system-wide performance-based accountability. It focuses on district-level capacity to reduce institutional fragmentation and raise academic accountability. This kind of restructuring is based on:

• a clear vision of educational accountability that focuses on academic standards and performance outcomes;

• strong political support to improve the operation of the school system;

• district-level capacity to intervene in failing schools; and

• a mix of direct intervention and support strategies to meet the challenges faced by urban schools.

This emerging model is likely to spread as an increasing number of mayors have gained control over the public schools. Mayoral control may not necessarily turn into integrated governance reform; for example, mayors may be reluctant to play an active role even though they are granted the legislative authority; mayoral control may be constrained by state legislative compromise; or civic leadership may be the driving force behind a more focused, performance-based accountability framework.

More importantly, integrated governance reform is not simply a recentralization of authority nor can it be fully understood by focusing only on the issue of city takeover. Instead, integrated governance redefines the responsibilities and enhances the capacity of the district-wide leadership. Given its strong focus on raising student performance, integrated governance legitimizes system-wide standards and policies that identify and target intervention at low performing schools. In effect, integrated governance creates institutional pressure and support that are necessary to address a key limitation of decentralization, namely, that organizational changes at the school site are not sufficient for academic improvement system-wide. While decentralization may produce successful reform in some schools, system-wide improvement is not likely to occur unless district-wide leadership has the political will and the capacity to implement outcome-based accountability.

Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeff_C._Palmer/2667816

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Collaborative Relationships Between Schools And Their Communities

At the core of American democracy is the notion that the problems of communities cannot be left to policymakers and other leaders alone. Citizens must participate, either directly or through the election of those who represent their beliefs. Democracy is more than just a belief in the importance of basic human rights such as equality, freedom, opportunity and the pursuit of happiness. For 244 years, Americans have answered democracy’s clarion call: coming together to solve problems openly and thoughtfully. More recently, devolution – the shift of major activities and services from federal to local control – has bolstered the belief that local communities can and should solve their own problems. This shift of power and responsibility has created new demand for services and supports at state and local levels. Across a wide range of issues – health, welfare, education and economic development – communities are struggling to improve the capacity to solve problems collectively. But often, a community’s capacity for problem solving is challenged by changing demographics, disengaged citizens, fragmented public policy and inequitable distribution of resources. Local responsibility for healthy, productive and successful schools requires different kinds of collaborative relationships between schools and their communities. Community-based organizations often are catalysts for bringing people together. They provide services and supports that once came from government. They serve to strategically organize and mobilize groups toward specific actions, outcomes and goals. Community-based organizations are not political entities, but they do represent the beliefs of their members and often add value to the political and policy debate. They represent democracy in action. Local problem solving requires new relationships, decisions, behaviors and norms. After they’ve been developed, community leaders and residents can move toward sustainable, long-term change.

A recent survey reported that the vast majority of Americans have a deep-rooted commitment to make schools better for all children. Americans see their public schools as the centers around which community life revolves, and they recognize that quality public schools have a value beyond measure. Public schools are the key to the well-being of our communities and our future prosperity as a nation. The health of public schools is a barometer of our democratic way of life. We believe that community demand for change is critical, particularly in low-income communities, where schools are failing and students are not succeeding. Where the education system is not working, the public needs to reclaim its responsibility for community change. The public not only has the right to demand high quality in its schools; it also has a responsibility to improve and protect public education. But in the very communities where students face the most barriers to achieving at high levels and meeting new academic requirements, residents are often disengaged from their schools. Many community members have given up on their local schools, feeling that they have no control over school quality. Indifference, disillusionment and outright hostility between parents or other community members and educators often replace dialogue, common goals and collaboration. For more than 16 years, local education funds (LEFs) have helped to create sustainable change in public education systems nationwide. As independent community organizations, LEFs work with local school districts and communities to design collaborative solutions that improve public schools and promote student achievement. They have played the roles of conveners, brokers and coordinators of school reform activities. LEFs have built partnerships between schools and communities, leveraged resources and spearheaded community action to improve individual public schools and entire school districts.

More local education funds have developed a body of knowledge about mobilizing local resources and engaging the public to support long-term and systemic solutions to the problems of public education. This historical perspective has deepened the understanding of what it takes to create a community with new relationships, norms and capacities for problem solving and has led to new thinking about a framework of strategic interventions for community change. These interventions are expressions of democracy. If citizens are truly to help define what they want for their public schools, and if they are going to act to help achieve those ends for all students, it is important to bring them together to articulate their beliefs, goals and areas of shared understanding. In public dialogue, citizens can come to agreement on goals for their public schools and their community and develop plausible local strategies to work toward those goals. Community dialogue presents opportunities to educate communities about important concepts: how the education system works, meaningful data that show how effective the system is and what constitutes a quality education. With a new, common understanding, citizens can then develop a collective commitment to improving their public schools. It’s not enough just to talk; public dialogue needs to be structured to produce action-oriented outcomes. Engagement opportunities broaden the diversity of people involved and renew their commitment to common goals. In many cases, dialogue serves to raise expectations for community change. The knowledge gathered in public forums informs and convinces people of the need to advocate for specific action to improve public schools. Local education funds often serve as conveners and facilitators in this work. LEFs don’t convene community conversation and dialogue simply to put forth a point of view. Instead, they create opportunities for dialogue by building effective partnerships among community-based organizations, schools, faith-based groups, elected officials and citizens. Forums for this dialogue include strategic planning processes, town meetings and education roundtables. Local education funds face the challenges of moving communities from talk to action and of including appropriate stakeholders at the right time. Often, as conveners, LEFs also need to mediate divisive, deeply entrenched beliefs to keep the dialogue productive.

Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeff_C._Palmer/2667816

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Teaching Strategies That Have Been Proven Successful

With school districts’ increased dedication to raising academic standards and abolishing social promotion, tremendous pressure has been placed on teachers and students to raise standardized test scores. While this may appear admirable from afar, its practical and real-life implications are not often as glowing. In fact, the push toward higher standards often leads to tracking, ability grouping, and grade retention-all of which have inherent problems. Tracking, grouping, and retention are widely practiced in the United States and in many other countries, and they are founded on both theory and research. Tracking, most often practiced in secondary schools, groups students into courses or sequences of courses of various levels of difficulty suited to their levels of achievement. Ability grouping, most often practiced in primary schools, assigns students within classrooms to homogeneous groups of like ability. Grade retention requires students who have not attained achievement standards to repeat one or more grades. All three practices are based on the belief that children of like abilities or levels of achievement can learn together more efficiently than can heterogeneous students. Other theories and research suggest that these practices may be inefficient and unwise. Some argue, for example, that students retained in grade may suffer declining self-concept which may deter their progress so that they are less likely to catch up with grade level standards. This is due, in part, to the fact that, by itself, grade retention does not address the causes of academic failure. Others counter that, to the contrary, such students would eventually fall further behind and drop out whether or not they were retained. To “socially promote” ill-prepared students would depreciate the value of the high school diplomas of those who meet rigorous standards. Similarly, some argue that it is more efficient to teach subjects such as mathematics when students share similar abilities. For example, it would seem difficult for consumer mathematics and calculus to be learned efficiently in one group. Still, it may be argued that faster learning students may benefit from helping slower-learning students. Schools might also provide more classroom time and intensified instructional services to at-risk students for remediation or to prevent them from falling behind in the first place.

Retention

While there is no magical cure for the ails of retention, alternatives must be examined before it’s too late-that is, before a student is about to be retained. By studying the experiences of successful students and making findings available to practitioners, researchers can help teachers focus on using teaching strategies that have been proven successful. The following recommendations could also be helpful.

• Encourage preschool enrollment in order to reduce retention rates.

• Require full-day kindergarten.

• Provide remediation that is proportional to children’s academic needs without regard to whether they are retained.

• Develop a strong advisor network that will allow faculty to get to know the students.

• Maximize peer relationships through cooperative learning and tutoring.

• Shift to interest-based learning where high school students are exposed to career-based or project-based education instead of the lecture and test-taking practices now used.

• Extend the academic calendar either to year-round schooling or longer school days.

• Focus on retaining motivated and qualified teachers.

• Hold teachers to expectations of higher levels of curriculum and instruction.

Researchers’ and practitioners’ voices aren’t the only ones that should be heard. Parents must also become more involved in helping their children avoid retention. Some ways to boost parent involvement are:

• Develop “tip sheets” that have helpful hints on how parents can get more involved in their child’s education.

• Develop parent education and outreach programs.

• Don’t wait until students are at risk of failing; begin communication with parents at an early stage.

Grouping and Tracking

Why does neither retention, grouping, nor tracking enhance the academic progress of most children? Unfortunately, in many schools, grouping and tracking have led to stagnant and generalized courses designed to meet minimum curriculum standards. In order for true progress to be made, the intent, purpose, and design of grouped classes must be examined and a high level of integrity maintained. The following recommendations deserve further consideration.

• Consider multi-age classrooms as a way to enrich children’s learning and development.

• Prioritize collaborative efforts among schools, employers, and higher education in supporting academic excellence.

• Have goal conferences with students. Integrate students’ self-assessments into decisions on their grouping.

• Provide stronger teacher and principal preparation coursework that will address diversity in learning rates and styles.

• Keep grouping flexible.

• Grouping should include high expectations, rigorous curriculum, and equitable access to high-quality instruction.

• Promote cultural awareness that will help teachers meet the diverse needs of their students.

• Promote public awareness. Educate the community on the best ways to group students.

• Hold administrators, teachers, parents, and students accountable. All must work together to achieve the optimum level of student success.

Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeff_C._Palmer/2667816

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Summary of Grade Retention Effects

There is an abundance of research and scholarly analysis examining the efficacy of grade retention. Research published between 1950 and 2019 produced mixed results regarding the efficacy of early grade retention on ameliorating children’s socioemotional and achievement needs. Concerns regarding the quality of many studies of grade retention have been presented in several reviews and reiterated in recent publications. These methodological concerns include: (a) data collected 20-30 years ago may be outdated; (b) characteristics of comparison groups are rarely delineated; (c) comparing pre- and post-test scores of retained students rather than employing a comparison group may pose problems; (d) most studies do not consider socio-emotional outcomes; (e) remedial services during the repeated year are rarely documented, and (f) most studies do not examine the long-term outcomes associated with early grade retention. These methodological considerations limit unequivocal conclusions from any single study; however, the confluence of results clearly warrants further consideration. This study provides a metaanalysis of empirical studies published between 2010-2019 examining the efficacy of grade retention.

Methodology Used in Present Study

This project began with a systematic search of the literature to identify studies of grade retention published between 2010 and 2019. Descriptors used to search reference databases included grade retention, grade repetition, nonpromotion, grade failure, flunked, failed, retained, and other related synonyms. Results of these searches yielded over 375 references between 2010-2019. In addition, other studies were identified through a review of references in each publication obtained, resulting in nearly 520 references for consideration. The following selection criteria were used to reduce the bibliography to a core set of research appropriate for this review. To be included in this review: (a) the research must have been presented in a professional publication (e.g., journal article or book); (b) the results must have addressed the efficacy of grade retention (i.e., achievement, socio-emotional, or other); (c) the study must have included an identifiable comparison group of promoted students; and (d) the research must have been published during the past decade. Based on the above selection criteria, 19 articles were included in this review.

Procedures for Summary and Analysis

The plan for summary and analysis of the 19 articles was to provide the following information: (a) variables used for matching the comparison group and retained students (i.e., IQ, academic achievement, socioemotional and behavioral adjustment, socio-economic status, and gender); (b) specification of the age/grade at which retention and the measurement of outcome variables occurred; (c) designation of the location of the sample population; (d) a review of analyses comparing retained students to a matched group (i.e., academic achievement and socio-emotional and behavioral adjustment); and (e) the overall conclusion of the author(s) regarding the efficacy of grade retention. Each study was examined to identify the variables used for matching and the grade level at which the outcomes were studied. Most studies included only students retained during kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, however, a few included students retained kindergarten through eighth grade. Population samples for these studies are distributed across the nation.

Statistical meta-analysis

Statistical meta-analysis is based on the concept of effect size (ES). Computation of the effect size is a statistical procedure that allows researchers to systematically pool the results across studies, to examine the benefit or harm of an educational intervention. Meta-analysis procedures result in a measure of the difference between the two groups expressed in quantitative units that are comparable across studies. Each effect size is standardized with respect to the comparison group standard deviation; thus, it is possible to combine the results from different measures at different grade levels. A negative effect size suggests that an intervention (retention) had a negative effect relative to the comparison group of promoted students. Consistent with past metaanalyses of grade retention, the effect size was defined as the difference between the mean of the retained group, Xr, and the mean of the comparison (promoted) group, Xp, divided by the standard deviation of the comparison group, Sp (ES = (Xr – Xp)/Sp). Group means adjusted for past differences were used when available and calculated when possible. In studies where the necessary group means and standard deviations were not included in the publication, the authors were contacted to provide the necessary data. For a few analyses, the effect sizes were estimated by working backwards from the reported significance tests. Many of the results examined in the meta-analysis fell into two categories: (1) academic achievement and (2) socio-emotional/behavioral adjustment. Academic achievement analyses included language, arts, reading, mathematics, and grade point average. Socioemotional/ behavioral adjustment analyses included social (e.g., peer competence), emotional (e.g., internalizing problems), and behavioral (e.g., externalizing problems). Analyses also included self-concept, general academic adjustment, and attendance. Because some studies yielded one effect size and others yielded as many as 25, additional analyses were performed to discern whether any single study had produced substantial distortions in the effect sizes. For each study, all individual effect sizes were summed and averaged. These means were used to recalculate the effect sizes for each of the outcomes. This procedure gives each study equal weight in determining the overall result. Effect sizes weighted by study were not found to differ significantly from reported effect sizes weighted by the number of effects; thus, they do not appear in the results.

Brief Overview of Findings

Most studies published during the past decade utilized a combination of IQ, academic achievement, socio-emotional adjustment, SES, and gender to match groups or control analyses between the comparison group and the retained students. Of the 19 studies included, 15 examined outcomes through grade seven; only five included outcomes during eighth grade and beyond. Overall, results of the metaanalyses yielded average effect sizes indicating that the retained groups were.30 standard deviation units below the matched comparison groups. The average effect size for socio-emotional/ behavioral adjustment (-.19) and academic achievement (-.40) favored the matched comparison group over the retained group of students. The results indicate that the greatest differences between groups were evident on measures of attendance, reading, mathematics, language, and emotional adjustment (-.65, -.56, -.49, -.40, and -.25, respectively). In regards to the authors’ conclusions pertaining to the efficacy of grade retention as an intervention, of the 19 studies comparing retained students with a matched control group, the authors of 15 studies (79%) concluded that grade retention is ineffective as an intervention for academic achievement and socio-emotional adjustment.

Conclusion

This meta-analysis includes studies published between 2005 and 2010 provides additional information regarding the effectiveness of grade retention. In particular, these studies fail to demonstrate that grade retention provides greater benefits to students with academic or adjustment difficulties than does promotion to the next grade. Thus, it seems practical to move beyond the question “to retain or not to retain”. Available evidence suggests that neither social promotion nor grade retention will solve our nation’s educational ills nor facilitate the academic success of children. Instead, attention must be directed toward empirically supported prevention and remedial programs. It is suggested that educational professionals, scholars, and politicians commit to implementing and investigating specific prevention and remedial intervention strategies designed to facilitate educational achievement and socio-emotional adjustment of children at risk of school failure. It is time to move beyond the rhetoric regarding retention and social promotion; we should seriously consider the results of empirical research examining the efficacy of grade retention. Educational research provides valuable insight regarding the effectiveness of various prevention and academic intervention programs, these studies warrant further consideration as we attempt to enhance the educational outcomes of at-risk children. Considering the results of research from the past decade, grade retention fails to demonstrate effectiveness and would not be considered to be an empirically supported intervention.

Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeff_C._Palmer/2667816

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Better Academic Outcomes In Small Schools

Small schools have great variety. We learned that we don’t need standardized schools — that kills the soul! In Chicago we saw fabulous small schools that were Afro-centric, schools that focused on phonics, fabulous small schools about whole language, small schools that are using the city as a place to investigate. Why? Because they were small, they were focused and they beat the odds on academic outcomes. Small schools are the single most powerful intervention that we can imagine for young people. And the evidence at high schools was even more powerful, as you’ll see in our report.

Learning Lessons

There are now data from 25 years on big mistakes we make when we’re reforming high schools. The data reveal these myths:

• Myth One: You can reform schools incrementally. Forget it. You never get to where you thought you were going. Despite your anxiety, work the hard issues up front; you cannot work your way into them. You cut too many deals if you ease off and make everybody happy in the beginning. And I see a lot of people doing that. I’ve seen too many schools start out saying we’re going to break big schools into small schools. They keep almost everything the same. And within three years, they end up with a couple of interdisciplinary classes. The bottom of the school — where failure is more evident — is never touched.
• Myth Two: You can keep the same infrastructure. We’re still going to have the principal, the 16 vice principals, all those deans for discipline, the boys’ deans and the girls’ deans. And department heads and counselors that are organized by an alphabet, and then classroom teachers, who are doing the real work. And what we’re going to do now, maybe, is take the department heads and make them the heads of the small schools. Forget it. This is a time for serious conversation. Where I’ve seen it done well, like in New York City, labor unions have been fabulously supportive. Yet, I keep hearing from management how labor won’t go for it, so they’re not willing to push the limits. You can’t keep the same infrastructure.
• Myth Three: You need a separate ninth grade. One lesson is don’t do a ninth grade school – a kind of vertical, horizontal thing. You just create another threshold, and then the students drop out after ninth grade. If you’re going to build a community, it’s nine-12. And you know what, the seniors do not molest the ninth graders. They help them!
• Myth Four: Veteran teachers are cynical. “Old” teachers can’t and won’t do what’s necessary, and their experience equals burnout. We have seen the limit of treating experienced teachers like they are dead wood. A bunch of schools in New York decided to hire young, excited, amazing young people from Brown and Wesleyan. And they’re all really, really smart. But it would have been nice to have some teachers who know something.
• Myth Five: Standards and standardization are the same. Standards are not the same as standardization. Small schools, by their nature, are very interested in being held accountable — which is one of the remarkable things about small schools. The parking lots aren’t empty at 2:00 p.m. Teachers hold each other accountable; they hold the students accountable; parents hold the teachers accountable; and everybody holds the parents accountable. Kids hold themselves accountable. Standards are not the same as being the same.
• Myth Six: Professional development has to happen from the outside. Teachers have an incredible amount of knowledge, if given the space to say what 20 years inside dysfunctional institutions has done to them. A relation between inside and outside expertise is fragile — and powerful.
• Myth Seven: Tokenism will solve the problem. Two more black faces in an AP class just doesn’t do it for me. You can’t just play with the top and color-coat. You’ve got to take on the whole thing. Whole-school reform is the point.
• Myth Eight: One of my worst nightmares is when people turn small schools into tracks. There was a school somewhere in America, where administrators decided that they’d have five small schools inside one previous big-school building. So one school was going to be the Special Ed school; one was going to be the Chapter One school; one was going to be the pregnant and parenting school; and one was going to be the language school, for the Latino kids. And then, one school was going to be the humanities school, to attract the middle-class white kids back to the school. That’s not what anybody ever meant by small schools. That is a fundamental distortion. Small schools are heterogeneous, and commit to figuring out how to bring the genius out in everyone.
• Myth Nine: The illusion that accountability means rules and surveillance of teachers and students. That is not accountability, that is oppression. Accountability comes from relationships and responsibility. That’s what small schools produce. You can’t hide. It’s a group of committed folks.

Accountability requires autonomy. A big mistake is not giving small schools the autonomy that they need to do the work that they need to do. Small school teachers, and parents, and community members are willing to be held accountable. But the only way they can be held accountable is if you give them the autonomy to develop the curriculum, to organize their time, to figure out their assessment system and the ways that they would measure student progress. We could always close down small schools if they don’t work. However, we don’t close down big high schools when they don’t work. Close small schools down if they don’t work, but first, give them time. Let them grow. Don’t make autonomy a gift that some schools can earn. That’s a setup. Make autonomy a beginning condition. Then put people under the light of surveillance if they screw it up. What we do now is put everybody under the light of surveillance, and it chokes them.

What’s Needed Now?

First, I’m very taken by this “metropolitanization” analysis. It’s a good idea, and very useful to document the space of injustice between what’s happening in urban areas and what’s happening just on the other side of the border. In education, we could easily do that. We could track who’s in Special Ed; who’s getting college-eligible courses; who’s in AP classes; what are the post-graduate outcomes; how much teachers get paid; what are the drop-out rates across our cities; and where are the certified teachers. And we could document pretty easily the redlining of public education.

Second, we need a theory of change. I don’t think it’s hard to imagine where we need to go. That’s not the mystery. How to get there is not so clear; and how to get there systemically is less clear. I’m tired of hearing small schools is not a systemic strategy. It could be a systemic strategy if districts figured out how to learn from small schools rather than crush them. So we need a joint strategy of internal-to-districts work, and external advocacy. There are teachers who are quitting because they won’t teach English only. There are teachers who are refusing to place kids in a bottom track. There are parents who are creating freedom schools in the South, and some of that is getting called home schooling. And not all of those people are our enemies. They are asking for inside help and external push. We need the combination of pilots and protests. We need the melding of internal reform and sit-ins. We need to be working both sides. This is what I mean by the politics of urgency.

Third, we need to offer support for teachers and parents and places not yet engaged in reform. Too many of our friends are teaching and working and committed to schools that haven’t yet done the work. What we can’t do is only go to the places where there’s sufficient energy for change or we will lose some of our most dedicated buddies and friends. I know many of us have committed to staying in places that are not “there” yet, and you’re doing God’s work. Thank you all.

Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeff_C._Palmer/2667816

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Americans Say Education Plays A Major Role In Their Voting Choices

No matter which candidate is elected president Nov. 3rd 2020, college students have definite ideas about what areas the new administration should focus on early in its term. Seventy-percent of the respondents to a recent survey of college students rated the economy the highest when asked how much focus the new president should place on a number of issues. This was followed by healthcare (60%), education (57%), and alternative sources of energy (52%). Americans place quality education at the top of their list of priorities, and they want their elected leaders to do the same. According to a national public opinion poll education is a hot-button issue: Americans want their elected leaders to produce results, not rhetoric. They also want leaders who will make education funding recession proof. The poll shows that Americans oppose any cuts to education funding, even at the cost of deep cuts to other services they deem essential-services such as healthcare, Social Security, law enforcement, and roads and transportation. When asked to name one or two priorities that government should shield from spending cuts, 53 percent of Americans cite education and schools. That percentage equals the combined total of all other responses, including healthcare (18 percent), law enforcement (8 percent), Social Security (6 percent), and the military (2 percent). All major demographic categories – including senior citizens – support education funding over every other spending priority. Americans, however, recognize that in the current economic climate there will be little or no new funding for education, especially at the state level. Nearly two-fifths (38 percent) of Americans would make early childhood education either their first or second choice to protect from budget cuts, followed by reduced class size (35 percent), teacher training (32 percent), and teacher pay (25 percent).

Education ranks second only to the economy and jobs on the public’s list of most serious concerns, even outranking terrorism and security. Americans believe that quality education for all is a national priority. More than 4 out of 5 (85 percent) say achieving this goal is personally important to them, and more than 9 out of 10 (92 percent) Americans say that providing all children with a quality education is an attainable goal, not a pipe dream. Americans care about school quality for practical reasons and out of concern for their community. They believe that quality public schools build stronger families (24 percent), improve the local economy (20 percent), and reduce crime rates (15 percent). Some 42 percent of Americans say their decisions about where to live were influenced by the quality of schools in the community. We have made a national commitment to hold every student and every school accountable for measurable improvements in learning. Today it seems all political candidates – whether vying for an office in city hall, a seat in the state legislature, or a chance to go to Washington – claim to be education candidates. But the public has very clear ideas on what education candidates should be doing and how elected officials will be held accountable. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Americans say a candidate’s stance on education is either one of the most important factors or a very important factor influencing their vote. Even 59 percent of those without school-age children agree. Americans feel much more favorably toward candidates who believe that education decisions are best made by parents, teachers, and principals (88 percent); who understand education issues (87 percent); who will protect education from budget cuts (86 percent); and who want education to focus on the basics (86 percent). In contrast, Americans are far less likely to favor candidates who suggest visionary programs without first explaining how they intend to fund and implement them (40 percent), who support vouchers (39 percent), or who favor giving mayors or city councils direct control over schools (38 percent). Americans have strikingly consistent views about how to improve public education nationwide. In each of the past two polls, nearly one-third of survey participants (29 percent) rated teacher quality as the most important factor in improving student learning, with equalized funding between rich and poor schools as the second most important factor (16 percent). In this year’s poll, 15 percent of Americans also cite quality early childhood education for all children as an important factor in improving student learning, 12 percent say reduced class size, and another 12 percent want all children to be able to read by the fourth grade. However, a scant 5 percent believe that using taxpayer money for private school options will improve the quality of education. One reason Americans support quality teaching is that many are teachers or know teachers. Three out of 10 Americans (29 percent) are teachers or have close family members who are current or former teachers. Survey results indicate this “teacher” group could be a powerful voting bloc; nearly three-quarters say that a politician’s education platform plays a major role in their voting choices. In comparison, approximately two-thirds of all Americans say education plays a major role in their voting choices. When it comes to assessing school performance, voters value information on teacher quality (76 percent) and student literacy (74 percent) the most, followed by information about books and other learning tools (74 percent), school budgets (67 percent), comparisons of local schools to other schools in the state (66 percent), and data on school safety (63 percent).

Other survey findings:

– While the college students surveyed rely on a wide range of sources for information on the candidates, by far the most popular are television (83% of students) and Internet news sites (73%). However, college students believe the most reliable source of information is found on a political candidate’s own web site (26%), followed by television (23%).
– Direct mailings (12%) and blogs (10%) were the least used.
– 88% of the eligible voters surveyed say they intend to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

The national public opinion poll is based on a survey of 1,050 voting-age Americans. It includes analysis of a base of 800 voters and an oversample of 125 registered African-American voters and 125 registered Latino voters. It also includes information from three focus groups of whites, African Americans, and Latinos, with and without children. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent.

Megan Wilson is a teacher, life strategist, successful entrepreneur, inspirational keynote speaker and founder of https://Ebookscheaper.com. Megan champions a radical rethink of our school systems; she calls on educators to teach both intuition and logic to cultivate creativity and create bold thinkers.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Megan_Wilson/2827789

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10348153

We Must Build On The Many Good Examples Of Educational Initiatives

Across much of the world today there is an evident will to pursue the path of progress that has been pioneered in the United States of America. As an American, I am well aware that there is much to admire about my own country and its achievements. But I also know that there is much that is not worthy of emulation. In particular, I do not think any country would wish to emulate the way that America, as a society, is treating its children. One in five of those children is today living in poverty. Eight million of those children lack healthcare. Three of every 10 are born into a single-parent family. About 3 million a year are reported to be neglected, or physically or sexually abused – triple the number of 2009. These rising indicators of social distress are now accompanied by an unprecedented upsurge in violence by and against children and young people. The overall murder rate of young people is seven times higher than in any Western European country. Every two days, the equivalent of a whole classroom full of young children dies by the bullet. Violence by young people is rising equally steeply. Arrests of juveniles for murder and non-negligent manslaughter doubled in the last years. Such trends cannot, of course, continue. For they are carrying America to the brink of social and economic disintegration. No longer are the problems of endemic poverty, joblessness, family disintegration, domestic violence, racial intolerance, teenage pregnancy, and drug abuse just problems that happen to other people. Today, almost everyone is affected. Even a white middle-class child knows that we are a nation in crisis. We have lost the feeling that the generations of Americans have always held dear-that the future will be a bright one. The American dream is fading for too many American children. When we Americans ask why this is happening, in the richest and most advantaged country on earth, many of us know that at bottom, the fault lies in the kind of values and the kind of progress we have been pursuing.

We know that we have oversold ourselves and our young people on one dominant aspect of our culture-its material success. By advertising and by example, we have communicated to our young people that to be admired and respected they must have particular and ever-changing possessions and lifestyles. Yet at the same time as parading before them these material definitions of success, we have denied to too many the legitimate means of achieving them-the education, the skills, the jobs and the opportunities. As a result, many millions of our young people feel that they have no economic and social place in our society, that they have little to respect in themselves or to be respected for by others. And from this point of alienation and frustration, the path to drugs, alcohol abuse, crime, violence, and prison is ever open. In the last decade, these tensions have been heightened by policies that have depended the divide between the rich and the poor and further exalted the material definition of success and purpose. Since 2001, the poor in America have seen their real incomes fall substantially. Safety nets have been dismantled, and an underclass has been created, white as well as black, so that there are today approximately 5 million more American children living in poverty than there were in 2000. No civilized society, no democracy, no capitalism, can survive long under the strains arising from the frustrations, injustices, divisions and inequalities that we have created. Under pressure from all of these forces, we are witnessing a breakdown in American values, in our common sense and community responsibility, and especially in our responsibility to protect and nurture our children. We are losing our sense of meaning, failing to find our sense of purpose in family, or community life, or in faith. We are dying spiritually. That is why the dream is fading. That is what is tearing the heart out of America today. And somehow we must find a way to teach our children that there is something better. We must cry out to them that this is not who we are. If we are to pull back from the brink, then we need to acknowledge that the epidemic of violence and social disintegration that threatens to overwhelm our society is the result of policies that have favoured the rich over the poor, and material values over human and spiritual values.

Above all, we need to acknowledge that what we are now seeing is the result of years of neglect and lack of investment in our children. To reverse the decline, we must first of all create jobs. There is plenty of work to be done if we are to meet human needs, extend community programs, and improve our social and physical environment. And there are many who need that work to enable them to earn a livelihood, to take back their dignity, and to fulfill their responsibilities as parents. As well as jobs that are created by economic growth, we need to create at least 3 million new jobs targeted primarily to young people in poor and rural and inner-city areas. We must also build on the many, many good examples of educational initiatives that work, of community outreach projects, of programs to prevent teen pregnancy, of efforts which offer skills and opportunities and hope. And we must build on them not here and there, piecemeal, but on a national scale. To do this, we will have to refute the argument that government cannot afford to make such investments. What we cannot afford to spend is billions a year on external defense when the real enemy is within. What we cannot afford is billions for a new class of submarine, and billions for a new fighter jet, while denying our children decent health, education, opportunity, and hope. If we are to keep the dream alive, if we are to offer hope and self-respect to our young people,then we have no greater priority than renewing investment in jobs, in health, in education, in our children’s and our nation’s future. But no President can do this job alone. No Congress can do it alone. We must also confront the problem of child neglect in our homes, in our families, in our communities, and in our justice system. This has to be the responsibility of every family, every community, every faith, every neighbourhood, every American. Every one of us is responsible. It is time to begin salvaging our ideals.

Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeff_C._Palmer/2667816

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High School Grades Are An Important Measure Of The Achievement Of Students

High school grades are an important and widely used measure of the achievement of students in secondary education. As such, they are important to the admissions decisions of selective admissions colleges. They are also important to financial aid decisions in those institutions that practice preferential aid packaging – those colleges that offer more grant aid and less loans to financially needy students that the institution finds especially attractive and wants to enroll. In some states, high school grades determine eligibility for state merit-based scholarship programs. But not all types of students get the best grades required for selective college admission, financial aid packages weighted with scholarships instead of loans, and access to state-financed merit based scholarship assistance. Our analysis of data finds that:

– Females are more likely than males to get the best high school grades.

– Students from families with incomes of more than $70,000 per year are more likely to get good grades than are students from families with incomes below $39,000 per year.

– Students from families with college-educated parents are more likely to get the best grades than are students whose parents have a high school education or less.

In this analysis, we examine the relationship between high school grades and background characteristics of college freshmen. What we find is that high school grades are awarded neither uniformly nor randomly across different groups of high school students who enroll in college. Some groups of college freshmen are more likely to report good grades than are other students. Because of the differences in high school grade distribution across different groups of college freshmen, different groups face hurdles of different heights in college admission and financial aid. Some policy and decision makers and program administrators may be comfortable with these differences. Others may be struggling to level the playing field at the critical transition between high school and college. Regardless of one’s position on these differences, we believe it important that those making decisions regarding the educational opportunities made available to young people be aware of the differential impact of their decisions on different groups of students. Admissions and financial aid decisions favoring students with grades of B or better distinctly favor females over males, Asians and whites over blacks and Chicanos, those from wealthy families over those from poor families, those with college educated parents over those whose parents do not have college educations, those with two parents over those whose parents do not live together or one or both are dead and those attending more academically selective institutions over those attending less selective institutions. We recommend that students taking coursework to prepare for college take 4 years of English, 3 years each of mathematics, science and social studies, and 1/2 year of computer science. Subsequent studies have shown an increase in graduating high school seniors completing the new curriculum from 13 percent in 2002 to 47 percent by 2014. These data have been reported by gender, race/ ethnicity, urbanicity, control of school and parental educational attainment. More recently we updated our previous analysis of academic core course taking of those college-bound high school seniors who take the ACT Assessment. Between 2004 and 2012 the proportion completing this curriculum increased from 38 to 59 percent. Again, we reported these data by gender, race/ethnicity and family income. The survey data are limited to first-time, full-time college freshmen. They best describe freshmen starting out in 4-year colleges and universities. They are less complete when describing community college enrollments because these institutions typically enroll much older undergraduates than do 4-year colleges and universities. But even here, these data provide useful comparative information on an important part of the community college student body as well. The analyses summarized here describe the grades of college freshmen grouped in terms of several background variables:

– Gender

– Race/ethnicity

– Parental income

– Parental education

– Parental status

In addition, we describe very generally the grade profiles of freshmen entering higher education institutions by control, type and academic selectivity. The results of this analysis should not surprise those within higher education whose responsibilities cover admission, financial aid and student support services to students. What is not clear, however, is that public policy makers are aware of this information. Does the growth in high school grade averages among college freshmen reflect greater achievement? The SAT and ACT data on high school seniors who took these tests are not confirming in this regard. The renorming of the ACT Assessment makes comparisons over this span of time difficult, but here too average ACT composite scores appear to have declined between 2002 and 2012. Roughly speaking, under the more recent scoring system, the ACT composite score appears to have declined from about 21.9 to 20.8. The most obvious explanation for the disparity between rising grades and declining college admissions test scores is substantial high school grade inflation over the last 30 years. Over the 30 year period the difference between males and females on high school achievement as measured by grade averages has narrowed substantially. High school grade averages are also strongly related to the educational attainment of the freshman’s father and mother. The proportion of college freshmen with grade averages of B or better was lowest – at less than 60 percent – where the father and mother had grammar school educations or less. About 79 percent of the freshmen whose parents had at least some post baccalaureate education reported grade averages of B or better in 2012. This pattern becomes even more pronounced when we focus on the proportion of freshmen reporting grades of A or better. College freshmen who come from 2-parent families report higher grade averages than do freshmen from other parental situations. Where the parents lived together, 74.6 percent reported grade averages of B or better. Where the parents did not live together, 64.5 percent reported B or better grades. Where one or both parents were dead, 60.3 percent had B or better grade averages. When both parents lived together, freshmen were nearly twice as likely as freshmen from other families to report high school grade averages of A- or higher. The socio-economic sorting processes that begin before K-12 education are further accentuated by the sorting processes of college admission and financial aid. Students with the best grade averages do not distribute themselves randomly across higher education institutions. They are concentrated in some types of institutions and mixed with students with lesser records of academic achievement from high school in other types of institutions. At one end of this spectrum, 98 percent of all freshmen entering highly selective private universities report that they had grade averages of B or better. At the other end of the spectrum, 49 percent of those entering public black colleges had accumulated B or better grade averages in high school. Obviously, the most academically selective colleges and universities are likely to attract the greatest concentrations of freshmen with the strongest grades. But beyond academic selectivity, universities – both public and private -attract freshmen with the strongest high school achievement records. And generally 2-year colleges attract freshmen with the most diverse records of high school grades. We have also examined changes in the proportion of college freshmen with grades of B or better by institutional control, type and academic selectivity. We have chosen the period between 2002 and 2012 during which to measure this change primarily because of the sharp cutbacks in federal and state investment in higher educational opportunity during this period. The institutions that gained the most in proportion of freshmen with grades of B or better were black colleges – both private and public – and institutions of medium academic selectivity. During this same period the largest losers were 2-year colleges, both public and private. A possible interpretation of this shift is that some students with grade averages of B or better shifted their enrollments from 2-year colleges to 4-year colleges with medium academic selectivity criteria.

Conclusions

This analysis has sought to illustrate the differential effects of admissions and financial aid decisions on students with varying levels of high school grades. Admissions and financial aid policies that favor students with strong records of high school achievement also favor students from some backgrounds more than others. Significantly, these are background characteristics that students are born with. They are not characteristics over which students have personal control and may therefore be held accountable for in admissions and financial aid policy and decisions. Using B or better grades as a reference for such decisions:

– Females are favored over males.

– Asians and whites are favored over blacks, Chicanos, American Indians and Puerto Ricans.

– Students with college-educated parents are favored over other students whose parents have a high school education or less.

– Students from 2-parent families are favored over students living with one parent or where one or both parents are dead.

– Students from families with incomes over $70,000 per year are favored over students from families with lesser incomes.

Now that you know this, are you still comfortable with admissions and financial aid decisions based on high school achievement?

Megan Wilson is a teacher, life strategist, successful entrepreneur, inspirational keynote speaker and founder of https://Ebookscheaper.com. Megan champions a radical rethink of our school systems; she calls on educators to teach both intuition and logic to cultivate creativity and create bold thinkers.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Megan_Wilson/2827789

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Overcoming Adversities For Children And Youth At Risk Of Educational Failure

The primary goal of the present study is to examine the impact of the changing macroecological characteristics of cities on school performance, and to draw from the research base and from innovative developments on what can be done to make a significant difference in reducing the achievement gap among urban students from minority backgrounds. Greater numbers of children from increasingly diverse sociocultural and economic backgrounds have been included in our nation’s schools, and the kinds of educational programs offered in the classroom have been greatly diversified. These accomplishments, while significant, have fallen short of the educational vision of a universal school system that provides all children with equal access to schooling success. To date, efforts during the past three decades to desegregate schools have produced very little change to enhance social and academic integration. Furthermore, the focus on the “setting” of schooling has become a barrier to the nation’s quest to improve schooling for the very students who are the intended beneficiaries of school desegregation. In particular, the difficulties of life in the inner city often overshadow the urban community’s rich resources for children and families. By finding ways to magnify the positives in urban life, we can improve the capacity for education in the urban community and enhance the schooling success of those children and youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who live in some of the most adverse inner-city environments. There is increasing evidence that the achievement gap in this nation’s urban schools may be better understood in terms of the decentralization of cities, the resulting changes in the social ecology of neighborhoods, and the structure of the urban labor market. The contention is that the changing makeup of the cities accounts for much of the failure of urban schools. The United States leads the industrialized world in numbers of children living in poverty. In addition, residential segregation by race and social class has also worsened despite efforts to desegregate the nation’s cities following the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. African-American and other minority students tend to be in schools where overall achievement is low. And even in schools that have achieved racial integration, students from language and ethnic minority backgrounds are often resegregated by a variety of pullout remedial or compensatory education programs. These programs tend to underestimate what students can do, neglect fundamental content, provide inferior instruction, delay the introduction of more challenging work, and fail to provide students with a motivating context for learning. These circumstances place children at risk of educational failure and place schools at the center of interconnected social problems. Countering these trends and reducing the achievement gap requires an inclusive approach to responding to student diversity and the provision of powerful instruction that can increase the capacity for achieving the educational success of all students.

Much is known from research and the practical application of innovative practices in overcoming adversities and strengthening the resources and protective mechanisms that foster the healthy development and educational resilience of children and youth at risk of educational failure. If we can find the means of viewing and understanding the “positives” in the lives of urban children and youth, we can rekindle the hope for progress by addressing the deep-rooted problem of the achievement gap. It is difficult if not impossible to achieve significant school improvement without forging working connections with the multiple forces that influence the development of children or the social ecology of neighborhoods. Recent discussion among educators has centered on the search for resilience-promoting strategies or protective mechanisms that help reduce the burden of adversity and advance opportunities for learning. Two major guidelines, emerging from the past three decades of research and innovative development efforts, have received increasing recognition for potentially reducing the risk factors associated with the urban life and the achievement gap in urban schools: (a) forging greater school connections with families and the community; and (b) reducing educational segregation within schools and implementing responsive and powerful instructional practices to ensure learning success of every student. There is growing public demand for a coordinated and inclusive approach to service delivery, and increasing recognition that the learning problems of children and families cannot be tackled by schools alone. Broader social policies must be established to initiate interagency, collaborative programs that link schools and other service agencies. To this end, a variety of innovative strategies and programs that are effective in forging coordinated, comprehensive education and related human services delivery are being created across the country. Although they vary in their approaches and in the specifics of their program designs, the problems facing children and families stem from a variety of cultural, economic, political, and health problems and that their solutions are complex and require pooled resource from public and private sector agencies. Clearly, we must find ways to reform current practices to ensure that educational experience in elementary and secondary schools are appropriate, meaningful, and the main source for positive development and education. The central improvement question is not whether to provide an inclusive system of education and related services delivery, but how to implement such a system in ways that are feasible and effective in ensuring the schooling success of all children, including and especially those with special needs. There is a substantial knowledge base that should be utilized in attempting to improve the current disjointed and unresponsive approach to serving children and youth with special needs who are not adequately served under the current system. Public school should be inclusive and integrated, and separation by race, gender, language background, and/or ability should be minimized.

Conclusions

To ensure adequate accountability for achieving equity in the educational outcomes of children and youth from ethnic and minority backgrounds who are at risk of educational failure, federal and state education agencies and local schools must be linked with other educational, social, and health service-providing institutions. A common standard of educational outcomes must be upheld for each student, including those in urban schools with high concentrations of students from minority backgrounds. A two-part initiative is needed to address the concern of the achievement gap in urban schools – one that forges greater school connections with families and the community to foster resilience development, eliminates educational segregation within schools, and implements responsive and instructionally powerful practices to ensure the learning success of each student. This initiative joins demonstrably effective practices and establishes a coordinated and inclusive educational service delivery system for children and families. It also calls for broad authority at federal, state, and local levels to grant waivers of rules and regulations to schools that wish to provide more integrated forms of education. A major next-step task in achieving a better, more systematic approach to service delivery within and beyond school walls is an aggressive plan to engage the public in dialogue on the kinds of broad-based school reforms that are needed to significantly reduce educational segregation and the achievement gap.

Megan Wilson is a teacher, life strategist, successful entrepreneur, inspirational keynote speaker and founder of https://Ebookscheaper.com. Megan champions a radical rethink of our school systems; she calls on educators to teach both intuition and logic to cultivate creativity and create bold thinkers.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Megan_Wilson/2827789

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10354156