Friday, June 27, 2014

Teach100 Education Blogs

     The TEACH100 list of education blogs is a treasure trove information, ideas, resources, and people in the world of education.  Blogs from established companies like The Washington Post and Discovery Education can be found.  But mostly there are blogs from regular teachers, principals, and other educators who want to share what they do and what they have learned with others.

     If you want to learn about technology in the classroom, this is the place to go!  There are lots of blogs about technology.  Check out: iLearn TechnologyTechnology Enhanced LearningDitch That TextbookCommon Core and Ed TechTechnology Made Easy in Education, and so much more.

     There are lots of blogs about teaching mathematics.  Some of my favorites are: I Speak MathMath NinjaMaths InsiderMagical Maths, and Math Coach Blog.  And (again) lots of other great blogs about teaching mathematics.

     In fact, there are blogs on just about every subject and issue related to education that you can think of.  Here is a small sample of the many topics that are covered in this list of blogs:

If you are looking for just about anything that has anything to do with education, TEACH100 is the place to find it.

     And, by the way, TEACH100 has far more than one hundred blogs.  They add to their list of blogs often.  As of June 2014, they are up to 692 blogs.  (In fact, this blog is among the list of the education blogs in TEACH100.)

     Are you looking for a little summer reading (or "Summer Personal Professional Development"), TEACH100 is a great place to go.  It is all about the educator and the act of education.  


Monday, June 16, 2014

Concerns about Summer Learning Loss

     It is summertime and students have a ten-week vacation from school.  Should I be worried?
     Well, I think the answer is "Yes" and "No".

     On the "Yes"-side, there does appear to be evidence that students lose some level of knowledge during the summer article.  But, on the "No" side, it looks like this loss may be exaggerated another article.  Also, the "loss" appears to occur more often among poor kids than among middle-class kids (see graphic below).

    Also on the "No" side, there are 50 million students in P-12 education in the United States and a good majority of them seem to do OK year to year.  So, if there is a summer loss, Is this something that we should worry about?  I think that we all want the best for our children and we all want our children to do their best at all times.  We want them to remember what they have learned; we want them to grow physically and academically.  We don't want them to struggle.  If your child is required to do a lot of reading during the school year and then he/she does no reading during the summer, it makes sense that some loss of ability is going to occur.

     No parent would ever allow their child to go without vegetables for ten weeks during the summer.  So don't allow your child to go without exercising and reading and doing math and thinking and creating and discovering and learning during the summer either.  It's not that we are afraid that they will get a bad grade in September.  It is that we want our children to grow all of the time.  That includes academic growth.

     During the summer, the parents are the teachers and the home is the school.  Keep learning!

     For ideas to keep up your skills in mathematics during the summer, check out our Summer Math site.

Friday, June 6, 2014

College and Career: (Or, Should It Be...College and/or Career???)

     Public Schools (at least in my state) are engaging in a big push called College and Career.  "We are preparing students for College and Career."  "We want students to be College and Career Ready."  It is a good slogan; and, let's face it, it makes sense.  It should be our job, as a public school system, to prepare students for the next phase in their life; whether it be College or Career.

     We do a lot to prepare students for college.  We offer Advanced Placement courses, we prepare students to take the SAT and the ACT.  We provide information about scholarships.  We hold College Fairs.  We allow students to take college courses while in high school--and earn (both) high school and college credit; we call this "duel-credit".

     We also do a lot to prepare students for careers.  We invite speakers to come to schools to talk about their work.  We have a Career Technology Center that prepares students for many different careers from Cosmetology to Carpentry to Engineering (and lots more).  We help to set up students in internships during the summer and (sometimes) during the school year.

     We do our best to honor our commitment to both college-bound students and career-bound students.

     The struggle comes as we try to make one set of rules for both of these populations.  Particularly academic rules.  Here is a recent article that questions if college is appropriate for everyone.  And here are some statistics about jobs with the potential for growth in the next ten years--and the amount of education needed for them.

     The real issue of concern is for the population of students that are weak academically, but very strong artistically--or they have a talent that doesn't require high levels of knowledge in math and science such as Culinary Arts or HVAC or writing fiction.  How should the public school system account for these students in our policies regarding high school graduation requirements?  That's a tough question.


     We know that earning a high school diploma affords our young people many advantages that are not available to people without a high school diploma.  Therefore, we take great strides to ensure that the opportunity to earn a high school diploma is available to all students.  But over the years, our efforts to increase the high school graduation rate in the United States have led to too many students who graduate from high school who are not ready for college (as seen in this graphic about college graduation rates in the fifty states of the United States).  So, in response to this concern, we have raised the standards so that high school graduates are better prepared for college.

     And so we are left with this difficult balancing act.  We want everyone to graduate from high school and we want everyone to be ready for college--if they choose to go to college.  Public schools serve everyone; and sometimes "serving everyone" leads to difficult decisions.  We know that education is the gateway to a better life for everyone and we take that responsibility very seriously.  Some students go directly to college and some go directly to careers, but all students need to be College and Career ready.

Monday, June 2, 2014

This List Goes On...

     You don't have to take my word that there are lots of great things going on in public education in America.  Here's a list of ten things from the American School Board Journal.

10. A tradition of universal education

9. Beginning reading

8. Civics

7. English Language Learners

6. ESEA and IDEA: Monumental laws

5. High-level high school courses

4. High-quality prekindergarten

3. High school graduation rates

2. Mathematics

1. Community support

And if that's not enough, here is a second list of ten things that are good with public education in America.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


    It is high school graduation season.  It is also middle school and elementary school and pre-school and college graduation season.  Everyone loves to see their children in a graduation ceremony.  The stage, the music, the diploma.  Let's face it, the goal of P-12 education is high school graduation and earning a high school diploma.  Everyone wants to hear their names called and then to walk to the principal to receive your high school diploma.  I bet most adults can remember their high school graduation ceremony--even if they don't remember what the keynote speaker said.

     In the United States today, only about 75% of high school students eventually earn their high school diploma; and less than 50% of college students earn their college degree.  So you should be proud if you are among those that have reached these milestones in education.  Be sure to thank your teachers and your parents and anyone else who helped you along the way.

     Graduation should serve as an example of what you can accomplish when you set a goal and complete the requirements to meet that goal.  Most people will have other goals to reach in their lifetime, but unlike high school there won't be a "law" forcing you to attend and parents forcing you to do your best all of the time.  Most goals in life are completely dependent on the individual.  So when times are tough, think about the tough things you accomplished when you were 10 and 13 and 17 years old.  If you could do it then, you can do it later in life.

     Graduation is always both an ending and a beginning.  If you are ending high school, you are beginning an exciting part of your life.  Make plans; make goals.  Anything is possible.  It might take hard work--actually, it probably will take hard work--but it will be worth the effort.

     Congratulations on your graduation!  What are you doing next???

Public Schools and Choice

       Is it true that public school kids and their public school parents don't have choices?  I'm sure that I will expose my igno...

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