IALA Newsletter 09.05.2011

Leaders Affirm the Importance of Choice by Wayne JenningsThe Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) and the US Department of Education assembled leaders from 20 of the largest school district for a discussion of providing choices. Their report Reforming Districts Through Choice, Autonomy, Equity, and Accountability: An Overview of the Voluntary Public School Choice Directors Meeting strongly affirmed the importance of providing learning alternatives of various kinds including open enrollment, magnet schools and charter schools for all students to better meet the needs and preferences of parents and students. School districts need to take leadership for a seamless combination of choices even if it means relinquishing levels of control.

From IALA’s standpoint, this is an overdue but welcome affirmation of our position that all students should have a choice of distinctively different programs.

Posted on May 17, 2011 at 6:17 pm under Alternatives, Charter schools, Choices, Magnet schools, Personalized Educ, Policy, Reform, Reports, Students | Comments (0)

The developer in 1999 of Whyville, Dr. James Bower gives a delightful talk entitled, The Death of Textbooks, Emergence of Games in a little over an hour webinar and describes the fascination young students have with creating an alter ego (avatar) and a whole new world to shape and manipulate. Whyville now attracts 5,000 teachers and some 6.8 million kids as young as age 4 with 78% girls, even some senior citizens. Use of the program develops all sorts of skills and knowledge normally taught in classrooms via teaching and textbooks. This astonishing program doesn’t replace schooling but augments learning through deep engagement. This is a likely future part of education and has considerable support from foundations and businesses.

Take the time with this webinar to consider the impact of this rapidly growing segment of computer use. The implications may blow your paradigms.

Posted on May 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm under Alternatives, Policy, Reform, Reports, Research, Students, Technology | Comments (0)

Pathways to Prosperity Project based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a major new report examining the reasons for our failure to prepare so many young adults, and advancing an exciting vision for how the United States might regain the leadership in educational attainment it held for over a century. Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century contends that our national strategy for education and youth development has been too narrowly focused on an academic, classroom-based approach.

This pathways system would be based on three essential elements. The first is the development of a broader vision of school reform that embraces multiple pathways to help young people successfully navigate the journey from adolescence to adulthood. The report contends that at present, we place far too much emphasis on a single pathway to success: attending and graduating from a four-year college. Yet only 30 percent of young adults successfully complete this preferred pathway. Meanwhile, even in the second decade of the 21st century, most jobs do not require a bachelor’s. The report notes that while the United States is expected to create 47 million jobs in the 10-year period ending in 2018, only a third of these jobs will require a bachelor’s or higher degree. See reference for other points.

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