Three Questions Texas Parents Should Ask Their Children’s Teachers

As North Texas parents tackle this unique school year of virtual and hybrid learning, local education experts say there are some key questions they need to be asking their children’s teachers. Anne Wicks, the Director of the Education Reform Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, says this year it is more important than ever that parents be engaged with their children’s education, especially when learning is virtual.

What an Anti-Racist Principal Must Do

What does anti-racist school leadership look like? And why would you, a principal, want to pursue it? These are questions at the heart of my longtime work with school leaders. An anti-racist principal commits to seeing how race is used to isolate, disadvantage, and make power inaccessible to Black people and other people of color in schools. An anti-racist principal is alert to unequal outcomes since she knows that race- or culture-neutral policies are not enough to level opportunities across racial, cultural, and linguistic groups. An anti-racist principal’s work must rest upon a strong moral foundation.

How Positive Outlier Districts Create a Strong and Stable Teaching Force

This brief summarizes successful strategies for creating a strong and stable teaching force. These strategies are drawn from “positive outlier” districts in California that have excelled at helping African American, Latino/a, and White students achieve at high levels on assessments of academic standards in English language arts and mathematics. Case studies of seven of these districts indicate several effective strategies for recruiting, developing, and retaining high-quality teachers. These strategies include a clear philosophy and effective process for teacher hiring, a well-developed teacher pipeline, a strategic long-term commitment to professional growth, and a focus on teacher retention.

Supports for Social and Emotional Learning in American Schools and Classrooms: Findings from the American Teacher Panel

Schools across the nation are embracing social and emotional learning (SEL) to help students build skills like setting goals, working together and making good decisions. But what do teachers think about the SEL-related efforts in their districts and schools? How do they see these efforts affecting their students and themselves? Do they feel they are getting enough support to work on SEL in their classrooms? To answers these questions, the RAND Corporation conducted a survey in spring 2019 via the American Teacher Panel, a nationally representative sample of K-12 teachers. RAND received responses from more than 1,200 teachers working in schools across the country and that varied by such characteristics as enrollment and racial and ethnic composition. 

Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: It Is Not Who You Teach, but How You Teach

We use standardized end-of-course knowledge assessments to examine student learning during the disruptions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Examining seven economics courses taught at four US R1 institutions, we find that students performed substantially worse, on average, in spring 2020 when compared to spring or fall 2019. We find no evidence that the effect was driven by specific demographic groups. However, our results suggest that teaching methods that encourage active engagement, such as the use of small group activities and projects, played an important role in mitigating this negative effect. Our results point to methods for more effective online teaching as the pandemic continues.

Exploring Coherence in English Language Arts Instructional Systems in the Common Core Era

Coherence among components of an instructional system is key to changing teachers’ instructional practices in standards-based reforms. Coherence involves working across traditional silos—or system components (e.g., curriculum, professional learning, assessment)—to integrate components to avoid fragmentation of experiences for educators and students. The authors set out to understand how districts and schools are activating various policy levers (i.e., instructional components) to drive instructional coherence and student learning in English language arts (ELA) in the Common Core era.

Sustainable Strategies for Funding Teacher Residencies: Lessons From California

Like many states, California has faced acute teacher shortages for a number of years, particularly in special education, mathematics, science, and bilingual education. Research suggests that a system of high-quality teacher residencies has the potential to address multiple areas of concern with the state’s educator workforce, including teacher shortages and underprepared educators. High-quality teacher residencies can prepare effective teachers who stay in the profession; often provide financially feasible pathways for candidates; and, when adequately funded, are more likely to recruit teachers of color than other pathways into teaching.

Federal Flash: What Biden’s Win Means for Education

Following record-breaking turnout, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next president and vice president. With republicans likely to retain control of the Senate, we cover what divided government could mean for schools and what education issues President-Elect Biden will likely prioritize. Plus, how the 2020 results and key Senate retirements are set to shake up the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Relationships, equity remain essential for curriculum to connect in remote learning

Focusing on relationships with students, families and staff is key to making curriculum connect in remote learning, education consultant Brianna Hodges and Future Ready Schools Director of Innovation Thomas Murray, who share a keynote at the 2021 Future of Education Technology Conference, tell District Administration. Not only must leaders continue to know their “why,” in regard to what drives them in their work, but they must strive to understand the ways the “what” and “how” factors have changed across the school community, including the challenges and traumas students and staff face due to COVID-19 and other current events.

4 ways leaders are keeping teachers motivated through pandemic disruption

From the pressure put on first responders to the demands placed on essential workers, COVID-19 upended professional norms across all industries — especially education. Last spring, teachers had to retrofit in-person curricula for a virtual environment and adopt new approaches for teaching students from afar. Then came fall, with the question of whether buildings would reopen hanging over every district. Concerns about the virus are mixed with worries that students aren’t getting as much through online learning as they did in the classroom. With cases continuing to surge into winter, the light at the end of the tunnel remains distant.