Those who have responsibility to plan lessons or support teachers in lesson planning in Mathematics and Science, you must take a deep look at http://www.goorulearning.org/
Gooru Learning is free and something I heard a great deal about at the Idaho Superintendents meeting earlier this week. To look deeply, ou must register (for free).
Amazing intellectual property and it is shareware–so free for your use and the taking. Are they on to something at Gooru Learning? If you have the chance, please let me know what you think!
Good morning–headed from chilly Philly to sunny St. Augustine, after a great dinner meeting with Philadelphia school superintendent Dr. Lee Nunery and former Chicago schools chief Ron Huberman. It is interesting and quite appalling to learn how so many educators are working hard to fix structural deficits (as Nunery currently faces and Huberman faced previously in Chicago) and how the media, the pundits, and certainly other factions butcher the facts to serve other agendas. In some media markets, instead of helping solve very problems threatening our students, many use the problems to sell newspapers and garner support for competing interests. These types of distraction, often masked as journalism, makes the efforts of many educators harder in their efforts to improve school district performance and fiscal management.
On to better news. Enjoy this video (compliments of Intel) where students effectively cause us to think about the future by revisiting the past.
Have a great weekend.
On December 3, 2011, I had the privilege of facilitating the first ever Design Charrette for the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy–a residential school for scholarly high school students. The Design Charrette served to work-out intense plans and strategies for the future growth and accelerated impact IMSA is to have on students, teachers, and our whole Nation in the areas of Mathematics and Science education. Below is one snapshot of the intense work being done by participants of the Design Charrette. Watch closely the work of IMSA president Dr. Max McGee and that of his Board, educators and students at IMSA. They will continue to be a formidable force in the advancement of Mathematics and the Sciences in Illinois and our Nation.
Happy New Year!
Even though we seem to be making much ground attitudinally regarding seriousness in preparing high school graduates for college and career readiness, we have much to do. Our academic and other gaps remain. Look for example at this young man’s view. HELLO?! Can someone step up and help this family determine how to shop and fund the college and career preparation he dreams of. Link is: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/11/22/how-the-future-looks-from-high-school/how-i-see-the-competition
Coaching behaviors, when most effective, are most akin to teaching behaviors. Teachers have not always had someone to help them think about the manner in which they communicate with students, or even to “walk beside them” in the practice. Only recently have coaches entered classrooms for the focused purpose of enhancing behaviors that drive student engagement. This new presence in classrooms comes at a time when teachers are pressured to produce higher student test scores – scores upon which their own teaching performance will be evaluated. In light of the stakes, it is no wonder teachers might be highly suspicious and anxious any time someone enters their classroom. We must have them “buy into” the idea of accepting help from coaches and realizing that they are all on the same page and want the same outcome.
It was a pleasure to follow the press on President Obama, Governor Jeb Bush, Secretary Arne Duncan, and FL education commissioner Eric Smith attending together an event to celebrate the progress of Miami Central High School in recent years. This gives me great hope that there is mounting sincerity in accelerating the work we do for and with students in our schools. Considering that President Obama and Governor Bush come from across the proverbial “aisle” and shared in this event is another testament to their respective leadership on education issues.
Also, Governor Bush’s follow-up OpEd in the Miami Herald is important to read. The link is
On Friday, I had the opportunity to join President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on their visit to Miami Central Senior High School. It was an honor to welcome them to our beloved state.
During the last decade, the quality of education in Florida has gone from the bottom in the nation to a model for the nation. Under a system of high expectations for students, accountability for schools and an unprecedented array of choices for families, Sunshine State students are leading the nation in rising achievement.
Florida’s experience is the equivalent of a large-scale pilot for the nation. Our state has 2.7 million public school students – fourth largest in the country. Our student population is minority majority – one in four students are Hispanic – and nearly half of all students are low-income.
America can learn from our lessons in reform.
Reading is the first step to lifelong learning. In 1999, nearly half of Florida’s fourth graders were functionally illiterate, a sad result of low expectations and a lack of accountability. Today, nearly three quarters are reading on grade level and minority students are making the greatest gains. In fact, Florida’s Hispanic fourth graders are reading as well or better than the average in 31 states and the District of Columbia.
Students in middle school and high school are gaining ground as well. During the same timeframe, eighth graders rose above the national average in reading and Florida’s graduation rate increased by more than 20 percent, from 60 percent to 81 percent.
If Florida can achieve these results, every state in our nation can.
Student achievement is a national priority. To grow and prosper in the future, the United States needs to graduate more students from high school and college with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the increasingly competitive global economy.
A national priority does not mean a federal program. The federal government should set high expectations for all students – no matter where they live or how much money their parents earn – and hold states accountable for achieving those expectations. Then, the federal government should get out of the way and let states lead the way on achieving – and exceeding – those expectations.
Our federalist system provides 50 laboratories of reform to innovate and improve the quality of education. When states share what works and what doesn’t, the whole country wins. States will compete to provide the best education because a skilled workforce will attract the best jobs and create the highest standard of living.
World-class academic standards are the foundation of a quality education. Forty-four states have adopted Common Core State Standards in language arts and math, which require students to master a deeper understanding of the fundamentals in those subjects.
The federal government could accelerate student success by aligning rewards and consequences with results. Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind provides an opportunity to do just that.
Balancing the focus of the law by adding individual student progress to proficiency will create an incentive for rigor and instill a perpetual need for improvement. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, already administered in all states, could be an excellent tool to measure quality, chart progress and compare results.
Simply spending more money is not the answer. Florida is proof that how money in education is spent has a greater impact than how much money is spent. We need to reform federal education funds – such as Title 1 – removing programmatic strings and sending funds directly to the states. Providing maximum flexibility in funding will foster innovations, such as digital learning, that could make our schools world class hubs of learning for the 21st century.
Likewise, if states are not providing access to a quality education, the federal government should find a way to give families the ability to opt out of a failing school system. Call it a voucher, call it a grant, call it a scholarship, call it whatever you want. Knowing that a quality education can end poverty and spur prosperity, it makes sense to create unfettered access to good schools, whether public or private.
While President Obama and I do not agree on all of our positions, I believe his commitment to education reform is sincere. Republicans should engage the administration in an effort to find common ground. Providing a quality education is a moral and economic imperative for the future of our nation. Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind – the right way – is an important part of achieving that goal.
Jeb Bush served as Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007.