Most Children Left Behind

After reading chapter 6, NCLB: Measure and Punish, from Diane Ravitch’s novel, The Death And Life Of The Great American School System; How Testing And Choices Are Undermining Education, I question the validity of NCLB. Ravitch tells us that NCLB … Continue reading

What Fits in Your Pocket & Makes You Smarter? Thursday’s Tiny Reading Collection & Inspiration for a More Active 2012

Dear All:

I’ve been caught up in the hustle and bustle of prepping classes for winter term and making gifts for Christmas.  While I’ve been reading about education issues in between feeding my 8-month-old and playing blocks with my 2-year-old, I haven’t been posting, and it’s time to share this information with you:

  1. Oregon did not receive a federal Race to the Top grant but did come closer than with its first application.  This seems to be a sign that Oregon is doing more research and asking the community for more feedback, but we’re clearly still lacking in some areas that are required to receive this grant money.
  2. There are changes afoot in Oregon’s open enrollment law for schools.
  3. More and more children are slipping below the poverty line in Oregon, and many are going hungry.  Think about donating some time to an organization that fights hunger.
  4. Great News! Gustavo Alvarez gets a reprieve and is not deported — thank you to all of you who signed the petition, called in, and supported the ideas behind the DREAM Act.
  5. Superintendent Carol Smith released her recommendations for boundary changes for PPS.  What are your reactions?  How do you think the Alameda Neighborhood Association will respond?  Attend a hearing on January 9 to get more details and to provide feedback.  What do you think about Smith’s process to arrive at these recommendations?  Are you satisfied with the level of community involvement?

What’s really important to think about as we end this year and begin another?  How we can live and participate in our communities in ways that support kids and families.  Here are some ideas to get you thinking and acting in simple but important ways:

  • Oregon is seeking feedback on the state’s NCLB waiver application.  You can send in your feedback now and be part of the process of opting out of NCLB’s oppressive regulations.  If you are fed up with NCLB or just want to see more innovative ways of teaching and assessing, your feedback is needed!
  • If you’re interested in being part of conversations about the achievement gap and how to support policies and actions that help narrow the gap, join with Stand for Children, the Black Parent Initiative, REAP, and the Oregon Chamber of Commerce to get involved.  Send Emily Nazarov an email at enazarov@stand.or.
  • Join the Chalkboard Project’s Citizen Corp, join the upcoming virtual brown bag on the importance of educator assessment, or just subscribe to their informative blog on local education issues to stay informed.
  • Register for the MLK day of service here.
  • Find a more long-term or several short-term community-based projects to dedicate some time to in 2012 by visiting Hands on Portland.
  • Make an end-of-the-year donation to an organization like Donors Choose, which allows educators to fundraise for class projects and supplies.
  • Spend quality time with the children in your life!

I’ll be posting more after the Christmas holiday as we head toward the New Year and the opportunity to envision a 2012 of community involvement!

Happy Winter,


Is “Race to the Top” Effective?

In my class at Portland State University, we are studying the No Child Left Behind Act (in its many iterations) and the Race to the Top Program.  We’ve discussed everything from the timing of Race to the Top to the recent(ish) changes in who can apply.  We’ve also discussed the fact that Oregon plans to reapply.    If you’re following this program and are curious about the way that a competitive grant does or doesn’t improve education in the way it intends, check out “Tennessee Teachers Find It Hard to Make the Grade.”  Let me know your thoughts on this competition model.  Can the  path to educational equity and student success be paved by winners in a race for survival of the fittest?

Voice Your Thoughts: Think Out Loud Hosts Conversation & Blog Discussion About Oregon’s Education Future

As I was making “first day of school” French toast and coffee, OPB’s Think Out Loud conversation took a turn to the future of Oregon’s education future.  If you miss calling in (the show only runs until 10:00 today), you still have a chance to listen to the interview, to read posts online, and to add your voice to the conversation.  This is a great first place to try voicing your thoughts on education in public!  Let me know what you think and how it goes!  If you’re interested in advocacy, try on your public advocate persona and use all of your knowledge to join in:

Think Out Loud: Oregon’s Education Future