Poverty and Education; Common Core and Residencies on NBC News

Three good news items for your attention…


1. Growing Gaps Bring Focus on Poverty’s Role in Schooling-

A MUST READ article in the current edition of Education Week.  See http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/07/23poverty_ep.h31.html?tkn=MVOFtO68%2Fydqt%2ByjhJxSdA57phfC7jghzhjF&cmp=clp-edweek .

This is an excellent overview of the debate within ed circles
over the role of (and response to) poverty in education.  See a
portion below:

“It’s been so unproductive to somehow pit competing theories of what
accounts for failures of schools,” Mr. Alonso said. “To say that poverty
doesn’t matter is something that teachers and people in schools feel
trivializes their reality. You potentially sacrifice credibility to not
say that poverty matters at the same time that you must assert that
[poverty] should not determine what schools do in response.”
Ms. Rhee, now the founder and chief executive officer of
StudentsFirst, a national education advocacy group based in Sacramento,
Calif., agrees that educators can’t ignore the circumstances students
come from. She cites efforts she made during her three years as
chancellor in Washington to provide “wraparound” services and supports
to students, such as placing guidance counselors, parent coordinators,
and mentors for troubled children in every school.
But those tactics do not rival the positive influence of a great teacher, she said.
“What often happens when we start to talk about wraparound
services is a lot of people start to give up responsibility,” Ms. Rhee
said. “Even if you don’t have wraparound services, the research shows
that highly effective teachers can make a huge difference.”

believes in a “both-and” approach.  Yes, poverty is a real and powerful
force that greatly inhibits learning.  We must work in tandem with
organizations within defined neighborhoods to combat poverty and help
instill HOPE (engagement) through “wraparound services”.  And, Yes, we
must also take personal responsibility to effect learning, regardless of
the degree of poverty and hopelessness among our students.  And, as the
articles says, teachers are the best avenue to effect learning. 
Both are essential to closing the ever-widening academic achievement gap between the rich and poor.  We infuse HOPE and RIGOR.


2. Common Core Standards-

See today’s Commercial Appeal article on Tennessee’s adoption of the Common Core Standards at http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/mar/08/common-core/

See a portion of the article below:

“The really cool thing, if Common Core is implemented well, is there
is a lot more critical thinking and rigor,” said David Mansouri,
spokesman for the State Collaborative on Reforming Education.
“It’s a piece of reform work, but really a critical piece. If you have higher standards, kids will achieve more.”
It requires states to throw out content no longer important to be ready for college or work to focus on lessons that are.
In third grade, for instance, Tennessee teachers will go from teaching 113 standards to 26 under Common Core.This year, K-2 students in Tennessee are learning the new standards
in math. Next year, the new standards will be taught in grades 3-8.
By 2013-2014, all students will be taught under the new standards.
And then in 2015, national exams will be in place, making it possible
for the first time to compare student achievement across states.


3. NBC Highlights Teacher Residencies-

See the March 4th NBC Nightly News segment on Urban Teacher Residencies at http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/46622232#46622232 .
The report highlights the aspects of residencies with Boettcher Teacher
Residency in Denver and UTRU’s Executive Director, Anissa Listak.