Using Year-Round Schools to Close the Achievement Gap

In comparison to children from low-income and minority groups, children belonging to middle-class families enjoy more learning opportunities even during school breaks. Thus, extended school days may help low income and minority students achieve more learning throughout the year, and lose less of this new knowledge. Year-round schools offer a variety of specific advantages in addition to increased learning. Some of the significant advantages include better student performance, reduced absenteeism among students and teachers, better discipline, diminished stress on teachers, and better learning opportunities for students. Schools following multi-track programs also enjoy easing of problems due to overcrowding, proper utilization …

Diverse Conversations: The Benefits of an Online Education

Over the past decade, the number of online colleges and universities has grown exponentially. This has led to many debates over the efficacy and overall benefits of an online education. I recently sat down with Dr. John Ebersole, president of Excelsior College, to discuss “The Benefits of an Online Education.” In his 25-year career in higher education, Dr. Ebersole’s personal experience as a post-traditional student has informed his approach to adult education. Without further ado, let’s begin the interview. Q: What are some of the benefits of an online education? A: For Excelsior’s older, post-traditional students, there are many benefits …

Do Teachers really Hate Common Core?

As more and more governors and local politicians denounce Common Core initiatives, and more states officially back away from the standards, the debate over the place and effectiveness of Common Core heats up. There is a lot of talk about students, but what about teachers? After all, they are the people who are most accountable for any standards and testing systems that are put in place. They are also the ones who see firsthand how education policies impact students. So what do teachers say about Common Core and PARCC testing? • 75 percent support Common Core, says a May 2013 …

Why commencement still matters

Ben Keppel, University of Oklahoma We have entered one of the most pleasant rites of spring and summer – commencement season. As a teacher at the University of Oklahoma for more than 20 years, I attend our ceremonies once every three years as part of my faculty responsibilities. Though my attendance is a service obligation of my department and my university, I inevitably end the evening vividly remembering the excellence in performance and character that I have witnessed over the past year. I attend commencement – now without complaint – because I recognize that I need its ritual and ceremony …

3 Important Themes of American Culture that Influence Our Schools

School culture can be defined as the shared beliefs, traditions, and behaviors within the school community. Considering the diverse nature of today’s society, it is sometimes difficult for students, parents, and/or teachers within a school community to understand their culture relative to that of the school, particularly when the two cultures do not easily mesh. Although the United States consists of a population with a vast range of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, a number of themes in American culture influence all Americans, regardless of background differences. Here are just three of them. Protestant Ideology and American Culture. Core values …

Diverse Conversations: What it is Like Being the First Female College President

For most of American history, the college/university presidency could be described as an “all boys club,” however, over the last 3 decades this has changed. Over this time period, the number of female college/university presidents has steadily increased, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Recently, I sat down with Dr. Angela Franklin, the first female and African American president of Des Moines University, to talk about here experiences. Without further ado, let’s begin the interview. Q: What are some of the challenges that you have had to face as the first female and African American …

Test prep should be real education

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.** Guest post by Chris Ryan Before I took the SAT 30 years ago, I told my friend Rob to “Never guess C.” Knowing I had done well on the PSAT, he trusted me. Afterwards, Rob asked me what I thought of the exam. “I saw a lot of C’s,” I said. Poor Rob. “Never guess …

Crossing Your T’s and Dotting Your I’s: Educational Policies and You

“Do your homework.” The admonishment applies not just to school and students, but to teachers and educators-in-training as well. When in the process of becoming a teacher, it’s vital to look not just inwards at your classroom and the work done therein, but also outwards at the rules and regulations surrounding education at large. Education policies in the United States are primarily established at the state level. Each state decides the requirements for teacher education programs, using its power and authority to address the key issues and challenges involving teacher education. State agencies, such as the state departments of education …

Digital Storytelling for Younger & Older Learners

By Marisa Constantinides   Picture this: …a teacher holding up her laptop or tablet and a circle of children listening to her and following the digital images of her imagination, completely absorbed in the world she has been weaving for them through her narration.Now Picture this: The image is the same, it’s just the technology that changes, and books were new technology in the history of mankind, too, not so many centuries ago! Storytelling & Language Acquisition Much has been written about the importance of storytelling; bedtime stories form a part of our first contact with books, with language, as well as …

Will the pending ESEA actually move funding backward?

By Derek Black of Law Professor Blogs Network Last week, Nora Gordon focused on one of the more technical aspects of the pending Senate bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: the supplement not supplant standard. The standard requires that Title I funds for low income students only be used to supplement the resources that state and local entities were already providing those students, not supplant them. Gordon summarized the new revisions and her sense of their importance: The larger legacy of the Every Child Achieves Act may well be how it cleans up supplement not supplant, a …