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Teaching and leadership resources

The following is a list of recent resources for those focused on the professional improvement of teachers, principals, and other educational leaders.

FACT SHEET: White House Announces New Steps to Create Better, Fairer and Fewer Tests in Schools — The White House and the Department of Education are announcing new efforts designed to help states and school districts improve their assessments and help them evaluate the totality of their assessments in order to eliminate unnecessary or low-quality tests.

16 education ideas for the Trump administration — Americans want action for students, not more partisan fighting and policy paralysis in Washington.

ISBE Presents ESSA Draft Plan — Monday, the Illinois State Board of Education presented a draft plan of how they will implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in a meeting at Jacksonville High School. The ESSA replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, and goes into effect in the fall of 2017. Although there are many similarities to No Child Left Behind, the ISBE says the ESSA gives local districts more leeway. (Fox Illinois, November 29)

University of Northern Colorado Gets $2.2M Grant to Fund Rural Education Center — The grant pays for personnel to run the center, travel costs when necessary and student support services, including stipends for conferences, seed money for start-up teacher cadet programs and bonuses for teachers who commit to rural districts for a certain length of time. (Greeley Tribune, November 24)

 Ambitious Leadership – How Principals Lead Schools To College And Career Readiness — In our rapidly changing world, kids need to learn to think flexibly, creatively, and critically — mastering essential knowledge as well as the skills to apply that knowledge wherever their studies and aspirations take them. In our new report, we share success stories and strategies gleaned from our study of principals who have led progress in moving students toward college and career readiness. We call the leadership we observed at these schools “ambitious leadership.”

Ounce of Prevention Fund Update — The Ounce of Prevention Fund national policy team released its semi-annual State Policy Update: November 2016 builds on the budget and policy changes that occurred over the recent legislative session and were highlighted in the State Policy Update: August 2016 by looking toward 2017. It features state early childhood education policy agendas for the upcoming legislative sessions, policy opportunities and policy challenges.

Elevating the Meaningful Work of AEP Partner Organizations — The latest Ed Note blog post comes from Jane R. Best, director of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), and discusses how AEP works to promote and support the work of its partner organizations taking place in schools and communities across the country.

American Teaching Profession Leaves Finnish Teachers Wanting — Finnish teachers now teaching in the U.S. note the lack of autonomy and trust teachers are given as professionals. Finnish teachers remember being a part of decision-making processes in their schools and having the time and space to be creative. There’s no single cure for improving conditions for American teachers, but there are many lessons to be learned from the Finnish. (Walker, Atlantic)

Policy Briefs: Lessons from the Building Neighborhood Capacity Program from the Center for the Study of Social Policy just released two policy briefs highlighting their recent work which focused on collecting information to inform local action learning cycles.

Illinois Education System Interview — Political Editor Craig Dellimore interviews Ginger Ostro, director of Advance Illinois, and Sylvia Puente, director of the Latino Policy Forum, about the challenges facing the state’s public education system. (CBS Chicago, December 4)

What Should We Expect from Public Education? How Can Schools Best Serve the Diverse Needs of Their Students? — In events that last from April 2016 to May 2017, Continuing Ed. will connect parents from neighborhoods across the city and cities across the state. Continuing Ed. is a yearlong, statewide series of free public programs that puts parents and schools back at the center of conversations addressing these difficult questions. Working with parent organizations and local schools, Continuing Ed. forefronts the experiences of families as they navigate their local public school system (Illinois Humanities – December 4)

Teacher Shortages Reflect Education Challenges — A recent survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Education Superintendents found 60 percent of reporting school districts had staffing difficulties this past year and 16 percent had to cancel classes due to shortages of qualified teachers. The teacher shortages popping up around the country, especially in poor rural as well as troubled urban districts, likely reflect modest pay and declining enrollment in education programs.  (My Web Times, December 7)

What America Can Learn About Smart Schools in Other Countries — The latest results from the PISA exam reveal the United States to be falling behind in Math and barely making average among other developed countries in Science and Reading. Although the PISA is imperfect, it provides increasingly nuanced insights into education. Researchers use data from this year’s exam to unpack the conditions which seem to make countries perform well. (New York Times, December 6)