COMMENTARY: Is There More to Teaching and Learning Than Testing?

In order for education to capitalize on the strengths and talents of learners and the skills and professionalism of their teachers, what kinds of additional progress measures might be employed?

COMMENTARY: Assembly Workers and Widgets

Well, how can we feel more professional and less like factory workers producing widgets? First, we must clarify our mission. Students are not widgets. There can be no reject bins for human beings with different needs and varied learning intelligence!

COMMENTARY: Color “Blindness”

Our perceptions of the value of ourselves and others often determine our treatment of and reactions toward those we view as less than or not as valued. Wars are fought over cultural and religious differences. Regardless of the injury, all people’s blood is red and all of us can hurt or grieve, regardless of color.

COMMENTARY: Classroom Culture Clashes

…in answer to the question when cultures clash in the classroom, who suffers, we all do! Poorly educated students make for a society that alienates its young, one that is unable to retain skilled and experienced teachers, and a country frustrated with unemployment, under-employment, and an ever-growing culture of violence, fear, and intolerance. Court systems and privatized prisons, along with mortuaries, result when the classrooms act as prep schools for these expensive alternatives.

COMMENTARY: Is There More to Teaching and Learning Than Testing?

NNPA ESSA MEDIA CAMPAIGN —In order for education to capitalize on the strengths and talents of learners and the skills and professionalism of their teachers, what kinds of additional progress measures might be employed?

OP-ED: Black Studies becomes major factor in social advancement

OUR WEEKLY NEWS — The Black Power movement of the late 1960s helped to redefine African American identity and establish a new racial consciousness. As influential as this period was in the study and enhancement of the African Diaspora, this movement spawned the academic discipline known as Black Studies on our college and university campuses.

Racial discrimination lawsuit filed against Bronx private school

NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS — A student at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, a K-12 private school in the Bronx, announced that he and his parents filed a lawsuit against the institution Monday, April 1, in United States District Court, Southern District of New York, with the demand that the Head of the School Jessica L. Bagby and other administrators resign or be terminated.

Demystifying Student Performance Via Parental Engagement

Although parental engagement has a strong correlation to student academic performance and achievement, why is it that African American parents appear disproportionately less engaged than parents of other races?

A New Year’s Resolution for Children in New York: School Improvement

AMSTERDAM NEWS — If we want to improve education outcomes and strengthen our state, we need to improve our schools and assure that every child has access to a high-quality education, no matter their zip code or the color of their skin.

Irving students take flight to new adventures

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The industry is trying to grow, and it can’t grow because there are not enough people coming in the front door to match the people who are going out of the back door,” said Craig Heckel, program coordinator for Irving High School of aviation science. “…they were going to the colleges to do recruiting but that wasn’t good enough. So now they are going to the high schools to start these programs to get people interested, and let them know there is a huge umbrella of aviation that you can work in: electronics, computer programming, or be a fireman under aviation.”

Developing a universal enrollment system for all Memphis public schools

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “I started in 1995 when I was asked to help open a Family Resource Center in a high school and students without involved parents in their lives took to me. Parents would stop me and say, ‘They are passing my son on to High School and he can’t even read.” — Sarah Carpenter

Telling Black Stories Through Poetry

LA DATA NEWS — As a child, in between born into an interracial family, Poet Michele Reese knew she wanted to write about the Black experience with works that delved into African American history, from very early on.

S.B. School Fights Racist Hate

PRECINCT REPORTER GROUP — A recent hate message to former principal Crecia Robinson, a three-time victim of racist messages at Lankershim Elementary School in San Bernardino, raised parental concerns from parents on both sides over the potential for discrimination in the classroom.

COMMENTARY: What More Can Be Done Under ESSA to Support Highly Qualified Teachers

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Teacher concerns transformed into organized protests when, in early 2018, the West Virginia teacher’s strike made headlines, lasting over 2 weeks. Local education activists and teacher advocates forced the state legislature to address many of their concerns through the statewide strike. Afterwards, teachers returned to their classrooms with a 5 percent pay raise.

COMMENTARY: For Black Children, Attending School Is an Act of Racial Justice

In the 2015-16 school year, Black boys made up 8 percent of public school enrollment, but they were 25 percent of the boys suspended out of school. Black girls were 8 percent of enrollment, but 14 percent of the girls suspended out of school. While Black children are overrepresented in practices that exclude or remove students from school, White children are underrepresented. Such data are clear evidence that racism and bias often drive exclusionary practices. To ignore this is to preserve the status quo.

COMMENTARY: A Dream Deferred — Is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Just Another Elusive Dream?

Parents must get engaged to hold legislators and educators accountable for their ESSA State Plans. Parents must also hold themselves accountable in prioritizing the education of our children. Research shows that just one year with a bad teacher can put a child three years behind. Now, think about what happens after years of neglect and lack of advocacy.

Equity v. Equality

ESSA gives power back to the states to control education policy. Now, members of the community must hold their school leaders and elected officials accountable to implement system-wide and school-specific measures that ensure equity in our schools.

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson’s Statement on Kamilah Campbell’s SAT Score Challenge

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “As a mother and a former educator, I was extremely disappointed to learn that Kamilah Campbell’s SAT score is being challenged after she showed marked improvement in the second exam. It is my understanding that the first test that she took was a practice round for which she had not prepared. Before taking the second test, however, she spent a significant amount of time studying and took an SAT prep course. Her hard work and diligence paid off and she increased her score by about 300 points…

New Money and Energy to Help Schools Connect With Families

It’s indisputable that most students perform better academically when they have parents or adults to help with homework and to be advocates with teachers and principals.

Experts Tie Student Success to Bridging Education and Workforce

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Better integration of education at all levels, eliminating the distinction between higher education and career preparation and more cooperation among local, state and federal policymakers can remove barriers and better prepare a workforce that increasingly includes individuals who don’t fit the traditional profile of college students.

States Hunt for Evidence to Underpin School Turnaround Efforts

EDUCATION WEEK — Allendale County’s school district sits in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, in an impoverished, rural region near the coast known as the “corridor of shame” for the chronic poor quality of its education system. Until recently, three of the district’s four schools were considered among the lowest performing in the state.

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ESSA’s Growing Pains Evident Amid Progress

EDUCATION WEEK — If the Every Student Succeeds Act were a schoolchild, it would be a preschooler—not much more than 3 years old, making steady progress, but still stumbling a bit along the way.The first major rewrite of the nation’s main K-12 law in more than a decade, ESSA was signed into law at the end of 2015, replacing and updating the groundbreaking—but problematic—No Child Left Behind Act.

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COMMENTARY: Assembly Workers and Widgets

Well, how can we feel more professional and less like factory workers producing widgets? First, we must clarify our mission. Students are not widgets. There can be no reject bins for human beings with different needs and varied learning intelligence!

read more

COMMENTARY: Color “Blindness”

Our perceptions of the value of ourselves and others often determine our treatment of and reactions toward those we view as less than or not as valued. Wars are fought over cultural and religious differences. Regardless of the injury, all people’s blood is red and all of us can hurt or grieve, regardless of color.

read more

COMMENTARY: Classroom Culture Clashes

…in answer to the question when cultures clash in the classroom, who suffers, we all do! Poorly educated students make for a society that alienates its young, one that is unable to retain skilled and experienced teachers, and a country frustrated with unemployment, under-employment, and an ever-growing culture of violence, fear, and intolerance. Court systems and privatized prisons, along with mortuaries, result when the classrooms act as prep schools for these expensive alternatives.

read more

Federal Flash: The Education Question Betsy DeVos Can’t Answer

The House Education and Labor Committee hearing this week examined the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Education. It was the first oversight hearing for Secretary DeVos to testify before the Committee since Democrats regained control of the House. While members asked questions on a variety of topics ranging from student loan debt to affirmative action to the rights of transgender students, many focused on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.

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OP-ED: Student Loan Debt is a Crisis

THE WESTSIDE GAZETTE — Finances should never be a barrier to graduation, nor should the financial impact of earning a college degree be a barrier for buying a home, saving money, starting a family, and having a good credit score. TMCF prides itself on building pipelines into good paying jobs but we also have to work to ensure that those students are able to truly reap the financial benefits of their achievements without having to pay off years of student loan debt.

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Racial discrimination lawsuit filed against Bronx private school

NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS — A student at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, a K-12 private school in the Bronx, announced that he and his parents filed a lawsuit against the institution Monday, April 1, in United States District Court, Southern District of New York, with the demand that the Head of the School Jessica L. Bagby and other administrators resign or be terminated.

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HBCUs Testify Before Congress

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Tuesday, April 9, Herman Felton, Ph.D., president and CEO of Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, provided testimony before the House panel that decides the funding levels for all federal education programs.  The House Ap­propriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee received public witness testimony from only 24 individuals to inform their crafting of the upcoming bill to fund the government for fiscal year 2020. 

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DeVos’ Team: Arizona Could Lose $340 Million For Skirting ESSA’s Testing Requirements

EDUCATION WEEK — Arizona could lose $340 million in federal funding because the state hasn’t followed the Every Students Succeeds Act’s rules for testing its students, Frank Brogan, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, told the state in a recent letter. This spring, Arizona allowed its districts a choice of offering the ACT, the SAT, or the state’s traditional test, the AzMerit test, at the high school level.  ESSA allows states to offer districts the option of using a nationally-recognized college entrance exam in place of the state test, but first they must meet certain technical requirements.

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