#EdTrust2014 Full Conference Lineup

Still on the fence about attending The Education Trust 2014 National Conference? Need to make the case for your school team to attend? Look through the full session and plenary schedule to make the decision easy!

Check out the power-packed plenary speakers and topics we’ve got lined up:

  • Get insights from research on African American and Latino male academic success from the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Shaun Harper.
  • Learn from the University of Michigan’s Dr. Deborah Ball how to make good teaching great.
  • Listen to a lunchtime discussion about Common Core implementation with Susana Cordova (Denver chief schools officer), Susan Bunting (superintendent of Indian River School District in Delaware), and Sonja Santelises (Ed Trust vice president of K-12 policy and practice and former Baltimore City chief academic officer).
  • Get energized to fight for justice and learn more about school discipline from the dynamite young leaders and adult allies of Padres y Jóvenes Unidos punctuated by the powerful words of the DC Youth Slam Team.
  • And enjoy back-by-demand performances from Ed Trust’s senior playwright-researcher, Brooke Haycock.

Start planning your conference experience: two days of extraordinarily high-quality programming, time to team-build with your colleagues and make new connections, and non-stop inspiration to recharge your gap-closing, achievement-raising spirits. This is a conference you won’t want to miss.

So what are you waiting for? Register now.

Staying Optimistic in the Midst of Dysfunction

When I feel overwhelmed about the madness in Washington, I have a time-tested strategy: I get myself as fast as I can to a high-poverty school that is hitting it out of the park for poor kids. When I talk with well-supported teachers who have seen their children soar, and when I talk with the kids themselves and hear the pride in their voices and see the new confidence in their eyes, I get renewed energy for the never-ending battles to provide education of consistently high quality to all of America’s children.

But over the course of the last week, I’ve gained new energy — dare I even say optimism? — from a different source: Continue reading

When Schools Don’t Understand the Power of Data

Back when I was a high school parent, I served on the school improvement committee. I kept asking for data on achievement, attendance, test results, and so forth, but it was early on in the life of data use for schools, so mostly I was met with blank looks.

Finally, one year, to fulfill a requirement for a grant from the state, the school gave reading tests to all the incoming freshmen. The resulting data were presented to the committee. Continue reading

How to Strengthen School Accountability

“Count me among those who applaud the new guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on enforcing fair access to critical educational resources. For far too long and in far too many places, the deck has been stacked against students of color: fewer experienced teachers; less instructional time; fewer teaching resources; antiquated technology. It’s long past time that we turn these patterns around and deliver on the American promise.

But unless the secretary of education takes advantage of the opportunity he will have later this month to reverse an ill-fated decision he made three years ago, there is great risk that schools and districts will get the wrong message: that low achievement for some groups of children doesn’t matter so long as resources are equal. Not a legacy, I suspect, that either the secretary or his boss wants. …”

Read the full column, “Driving for Equity – in What?” here.

A School’s Traditions Demonstrate Its Values

When I visit a school, I am always struck by the traditions and rituals that help establish the school’s identity and signal what a school values.

Most high schools have lots of traditions around athletics, for example. We’re now in homecoming season, which was certainly a big deal at my kids’ high school.

It’s in the non-sports traditions that you can see the real values of a school, though. Continue reading

What Happened With Cohort Default Rates?

The U.S. Department of Education recently released student loan cohort default rates for colleges and universities. Schools with rates of 30 percent or more for three consecutive years (and those with 40 percent or more for one year) were in danger of losing federal financial aid. In the end, the list included only 21 schools. Why was that?

The department made a last-minute change to the calculation that determines student loan cohort default rates — making the already-imperfect measure even less perfect. Continue reading