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“Focus on Expanding PreK in Poor Communities”: An Interview with Bruce Fuller Since the early days of Head Start, the debate has raged over public support for early childhood education, with the federal government deciding more than four decades ago to back programs that support the children of low-income families.
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When Worlds Collide: Universal preK brings new challenges for public elementary schools In 2005, when Boston mayor Thomas Menino announced his plan to make prekindergarten available to all four-year-olds in the city, parents and early childhood advocates applauded this initiative to add a 14th year to the city’s public school system.
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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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