Sunday, September 26, 2010
A high quality basic education is essential to student competency and schools should be held accountable for ensuring that all children succeed.
The intent of ESEA/NCLB is to help children of low-income families receive a high-quality education equal to their economically-advantaged peers. Concern remains, however, about the law relying too heavily on testing as the primary measure of accountability, without looking at other important indicators that help assess school performance, such as equity of resources, physical infrastructure, class size, instructional methods, and parent involvement.
It is imperative that parents know exactly why their child's school is failing, what the state is doing about it, and what parents' options are - all in a very clear and understandable manner. The law in its current form does not give explicit instructions to the state or local education agency (SEA or LEA) regarding how and when the parents should be involved. Moreover, there is no unified, consistent method for an LEA to keep their parents notified of how their child's school is doing and what actions the school is taking to become proficient under the current law.
Leading researchers, expert practitioners, and advocates define family engagement in education as: a shared responsibility of families and schools for student success, in which schools and community-based organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and families are committed to actively supporting their children's learning and development. This shared responsibility is continuous from birth through young adulthood and reinforces learning that takes place in the home, school, and community.
Parent involvement policies, improved targeting resources to students and schools most in need, and increased authorization of funds for Title I programs must be strengthened.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Rising problems with poor nutrition and physical inactivity - and the resulting weight and health problems - weaken student academic achievement. This can cost school districts millions of dollars each year.
As schools search for solutions to meet performance outcomes and minimize budget cuts, it is critical that they don't further aggravate problems of poor nutrition and inactive lifestyles, thus undermining their overall goal of providing a high-quality education for all students.
Instead, providing healthful food options and increasing students' physical activity can help schools meet academic performance goals and improve the financial bottom line for schools and communities.