After effects of NCLB Legislation

Education policies has been down a shaky road since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was first administered in 1965, allowing federal funding for K12 schools. ESEA has changed many names since its inception and each transformation inherits the same goal: encourage an incentive program for outstanding performance. The ESEA Act was reauthorized as No Child Left Behind in 2001.

No Child Left Behind was administered to improve educational opportunities for low income students and to deliver accountability measures for underperforming districts. Mandatory each year under this act, students are tested in math and reading in grades 3-8 and once during grades 10-12. Annually students are tested once in science in grades 3-5, 6-8 and 10-12. These test scores must be published publicly with mention to any special populations including disabilities, ethnicity and family household income.

I argue two negative outcomes of this education policy. My disagreement with NCLB is with how a school’s performance is rated and the loss of funding in places it matters most.

Standardized Testing
Many parents, educators and students themselves believe teaching to the test has profound negative impacts on pedagogy and comprehension of material. I personally believe standardized tests teach memorization skills and are a poor indicator of a student’s aptitude with apparent disregard to creativity and out-of-the-box problem solving.

It is a fact, however, that states maintain funding (via NCLB waivers) if they require 95% of students to participate in standardized testing. What a great example of money dictating curriculum. Such debate has spewed parents to opt their children out of standardized testing.

Lost school funding
Over the last few years, New Hampshire has offered after-school tutoring at no cost to families who qualified for subsidies through the state’s funding campaign. The program was cut this year and questions, does our state motto Live free or Die pertain to education as well?

This all may seem out of date since Obama’s Race to the Top program has replaced NCLB. But there are plenty of states with substantial funding cuts due to poorly policed regulations. After Obama’s recent Presidential Address, I question what is being done to change our problems at home.

Side note: By 2014 all students must be proficient in grade level math and reading content areas. And parents: this is why we have a surge of consumerism in the classroom. Companies are racing to develop standard-aligned solutions; educational publishers, mobile app developers, big data big wigs.


School Spotlight: Inglewood Unified School District, Inglewood, California

This series will highlight school districts that are empowering youngsters to embrace technology. Perhaps your school is bringing GAFE to the classroom, rolling out tablets, using or Khan Academy to introduce video supplements or you are just a Nerdy Teacher using Evernote as an experiment to engage students in a new way.

Inglewood Unified School District is southwest of downtown Los Angeles, California with a population of 100,000+ students amongst its twenty-six schools.  In 2008, the district launched Game Smart Design Academy (with Think Now Education, a community-oriented business dedicated to bringing creative after school programs to SoCal) for grades 6-8 encouraging students to write, create and publish video games. This program motivates students to learn about game design, animation, critical thinking and problem solving, storyboarding, collaboration and constructive criticism all while following a STEM-enriched curriculum.

In 2011 Inglewood created Newshounds Journalism Club, a project based, common core aligned language arts program teaching students the fundamentals of blogging. Those interested use this medium to express themselves, develop a voice, and inspire others to do the same through text, video or still images published online. Students work in teams to address a theme; brainstorm ideas, conduct research and interviews, and gather multimedia resources to create a succinct blog post. The Club’s live product is available online and in school libraries.

You may ask what significance do these programs have? Who cares about these buzzwords being thrown around: STEM, Common Core, Digital storytelling, and the various Learning types (blended learning, mobile learning, project based learning, competency based learning, etc.)?

In my opinion, the Newshounds Journalism Club is an innovative after school program that inspires youth to explore the written word and hone in on their audience, voice and style. (aka great free write exercise on the tablet) What better way to do this than sharing instantly with each other? I also see how students can understand the production process to complete a project. For instance, one can learn how to create and refine content and present stories in iterations; all things that journalists, software developers and video game designers do on a daily basis. With school programs like these, students are given the skills that can be used in future endeavors.

EdTech Story Starters for Journalists

I enjoy researching some of today’s issues in education policies and reform; assessments, the CCSS, Obama’s Race to the Top funding, MOOCs and the role of adaptive learning in the classroom.

I found a wealth of information on Educational Writer Association’s Story Starters website and wanted to share. Go here to find background information on STEM education, NCLB, higher education reform and a plethora of other topics.

Be sure to check out these highlights:

Glossary of Education Reform
Find topics A to Z in this glossary of terms for journalists

Five Questions to Ask
If you are writing a piece and perhaps struggling to make sense of it, look no further. Ask these five questions to get the creative juices flowin’

Find a list of organizations pertaining to a particular topic

This week’s cleaning house, the EdTech rattlers

Competency-based degrees, MOOCs and EdTech Innovators

Towson University launches its business incubator, TowsonGlobal, responsible for connecting EdTech companies and entrepreneurs.

Boston becomes the MOOC capital of the Northeast with the recent announcement of BostonX, a joint partnership with EdX offering free online courses.

President Obama commends my alma mater, Southern New Hampshire University on affordable solutions to competency-based degrees. View video here.

Pearson expands blended/online learning with Howard University. Students can now choose up to 25 online degrees with this flagship program.

Cengage Learning pre-negotiates bankruptcy.

NoRedInk, the online grammar tool is $2 million strong. Don’t fear the red pen!

This week’s cleaning house, part deux

I always wanted a dog, just didn’t know which breed would complement my own temperament. With findthebest, consumers are given data-driven comparisons and I can decide if Atticus is a Schnauzer or more of an Airedale.

Churchill taught me that history is doomed to repeat itself if we don’t make a conscious effort to see what went wrong and try to change it.  Remappingdebate asks the why and why not of today’s issues. One compelling interview discusses the fate of history majors and history teachers today.

Most times I write my blog posts on my tablet and use Google Keep to organize thoughts and copy/paste them into WordPress. On my desktop I use Microsoft’s OneNote and on my Android phone I use notepad to do the same. Try Evernote to capture anything and everything across all platforms. Also use this product to draw with your stylus pen, categorize your recipes and turn content into flashcards for test prep.

Collaborative workspaces are sprouting up everywhere from Bloomington, Indiana to the Santa Monica pier. Check out this list of inspirational collaborative workspaces around the world. Three Drunk Monkeys is at the top of my list, perhaps because of their name. Looking for an inside view to your next dream job’s office? Visit office snapshots for a tour of some of the coolest offices, especially Abercrombie & Fitch

EdSurge has a comprehensive list of EdTech products broken down to subject matter, standards, audience, platform and characteristics. My one stop shop for everything new in online assessments, games, videos, and Common Core tools.

Looking for a good time in NYC that involves art, culture and fun? The Museum of Modern Art partnered with Foursquare for a new, exciting scavenger hunt app. Let MOMA take you around the city to find the most famous and not so famous architectural finds.

This week’s cleaning house

Inspiration is from Carrot Creative for the following post.

On Monday, I learned Ruby from HacketyHack and SQL from Lynda. Duolingo taught me German and by the end of the day, I could say Deinstag.

Networking is going viral and Meetup drinks their own koolaid, see Bucket List proved to be the better way to resume, while LinkedIn stayed strong acquiring Pulse.

Wednesday brought news to my fingertips with flipboard. But Currents, Pulse and Reddit also competed for my attention.

Thursday became my foodie day as my quest for good food ended with Guy Fieri’s yellow mop. Not to say, Eat St. didn’t offer the best roadside dog. TripAdvisor showed me the best Nepalese cuisine in town and the best (free) Sam Summer to quench my thirst.

And on the last day, Friday, I read about the organizations I support in the news. Bill is uniting STEM and the girl scouts. The NY Times Learning Network blogs about CCSS and Neil Young announces Farm Aid ’13.

How do you use Pinterest?

I started using Pinterest as a tool to organize recipes, pair outfits together, share art and new styling ideas. This is a way for me to connect with friends and follow content that I enjoy. A few features the company hopes to roll out includes a better, more improved recipe search function. You will still be able to pin an image, but also, I imagine, use a collapsible drop-down to view ingredients. No more redirecting to websites, spam or broken links to finds a grocery list or instructions on those delectable delights my mouth waters over. Another feature Pinterest is adding is an alert when you pin a duplicate post. Something along the lines as Hey stupid, you already pinned that will popup on your screen – thanks Pinterest. In looking at perhaps gluten-free delectable desserts, I found a new EDUCATIONAL way to use Pinterest. Recommended reading lists. Teachability, a product developed by my friends at Pearson is a new online tool for teachers to share ideas and breakthroughs in teaching. I followed Teachability on Pinterest and was brought to a great board of Recommended Reading Lists by Genre. This Pinterest board also has information on the Common Core, STEM foundations, and One-to-One initiatives (promoting digital learning in and out of the classroom). The Digital Classroom, an infographic that encompasses everything I am trying to inundate myself with is below. I think this pretty much sums up where education is going in the future: