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The False Debate Over In-School and Out-of-School Time Over the past few months, education policy wonks have engaged in a debate over the relative importance of in-school and out-of-school factors in student success.
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A Conversation with Tony Wagner Leaves are falling and we are well into the new academic year, but before you get too immersed in the daily routine, scan the faces of the students your classes. Try to imagine the day when they leave high school.
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Welcome to Voices in Education
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Small Kids, Big Words: Research-based strategies for building vocabulary from preK to grade 3 Morning meeting begins with—no surprise—the weather. But when preschool teacher Radha Hernandez describes the drenching winter downpour, she doesn’t reach for a rainy day symbol to stick on a calendar. She reaches for words.
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The Power of Family Conversation: School and community programs help parents build children's literacy from birth School matters, but literacy starts at home. Teachers armed with reading contracts and carefully worded missives have long urged parents to read aloud to their children. But now there is a second and perhaps more powerful message: Talk to your kids, too.
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Leadership Lessons From Schools Becoming “Data Wise” When delivering her opening-day speech to faculty at McKay K–8 School in Boston, second-year principal Almi Abeyta hoped that displaying recent state test results would “light a fire” among teachers and spark a powerful conversation about instructional improvement. Instead, teachers reacted with stunned silence, quickly followed by expressions of anger and frustration. It was the first they had heard about the prior year’s decline in language arts scores. Almi felt as if she “had dropped a bomb” on the room. Far from igniting collaborative energy, her presentation of achievement data seemed to have squelched it.
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Neither Art nor Accident: New research helps define and develop quality preK and elementary teaching Study after study shows that quality teaching is the most powerful factor in student learning. But how do you define quality teaching in a way that can be measured and taught? Dr. Robert Pianta, director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning and the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education, developed the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to measure quality instruction in the preK–5 classroom. Nearly 1,000 observers from schools and districts in 23 states are now trained in administering CLASS, and about 600 teachers in 8 states are beginning to use MyTeachingPartner, an online professional development program based on CLASS. Pianta, who also serves as dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, spoke with Harvard Education Letter contributing writer Sue Miller Wiltz about how his research can help clarify and improve the quality of teaching in preK and elementary classrooms.
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The Road to School Improvement: It's hard, it's bumpy, and it takes as long as it takes In our work on instructional improvement with low-performing schools, we are often asked, “How long does it take?” The next most frequently asked question is, “We’re stuck. What should we do next?” In our roles as facilitators of communities of practice focused on instructional improvement, in our work on internal accountability (Richard) and using data (Liz), and in our research, we have noticed some distinct patterns in the way schools develop as they become more successful at improving student learning and measured performance. Here are a few of our observations.
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“Doing the Critical Things First”: An interview with Sharon Griffin on an aligned approach to preK and early elementary math Sharon Griffin is an associate professor of education and psychology at Clark University and author of the Number Worlds curriculum for teaching number sense in the preK and elementary years. In this interview with the Harvard Education Letter, Griffin discusses what cognitive science can teach us about aligning preK and early elementary curriculum and teaching methods with the natural development of children’s mathematical thinking.
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High-Stakes Testing and the Corruption of America's Schools Since the fall of 2003, after NCLB required high-stakes testing in all 50 states, we have systematically scoured news outlets and scholarly journals for accounts of the impact of high-stakes testing. We have amassed a significant collection of evidence highlighting the distortion, corruption, and collateral damage that occur when high-stakes tests become commonplace in our public schools.
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