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Most of us don’t follow education stars as closely as Seahawks standouts, but the Seattle area has national talent in that arena, too. Seven Washingtonians, for example, were listed in a ranking of this year’s top 200 education researchers — no small feat, given that there are more than 20,000 of them across the country.
The list was created by Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, who set out to measure scholars’ clout in broad, national debates about education, far beyond academia. To calculate the rankings, Hess used eight measures, including how frequently scholars’ books and papers are cited by colleagues, and how many times they are mentioned in general-interest newspapers and the education press. The full methodology can be found here.
Zeichner received high scores in the academic-work-cited-by-colleagues category, but he’s also written pieces for The Washington Post, including one that challenges the fact that many low-income schools have a significant number of under-prepared teachers. (He’s also the father of Seattle teacher Noah Zeichner, who has been featured in Education Lab as one of the nominees for a new, $1 million teaching prize.)More
Josh Garcia, deputy superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools, has received his second national award in two years, named a “leader to learn from” by Education Week, a national newsweekly.
For the most recent award, Education Week heralded Garcia’s role in building Tacoma Public School’s accountability system, which goes well beyond the usual reading and math scores. In Tacoma, the district and its schools are judged by about 40 measures, everything from how many students participate in extracurricular activities, to how many families are registered as school volunteers. The full list can be found here.More
Two Washington teachers — Noah Zeichner and Jeff Charbonneau — are among 50 finalists from across the world for a $1 million award, designed to be the Nobel Prize of education.
The Varkey GEMS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of an international private school chain based in Dubai, hopes its Global Teacher Prize will elevate the teaching profession, although some question whether giving $1 million to one teacher is the way to do that. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is the foundation’s honorary chairman.
Zeichner, who teaches at Seattle’s Chief Sealth High, recently was named World Educator of the Year by the Seattle branch of the World Affairs Council. He was featured on the Education Lab blog in March. Charbonneau, featured on the blog in May, was named the United States’ top teacher in 2013. He returned to Zillah High in Eastern Washington this fall, where he also works as a regional coordinator for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.More
In both of his state-of-the-district addresses last week — one hosted by the Alliance for Education and an encore speech at Seattle Public Schools headquarters — interim Superintendent Larry Nyland mostly talked in general terms about the problems and progress in the city’s public schools.
But he mentioned one new, specific initiative – a 100-day plan for improving communication between the district and parents, as well as between central office employees and the teachers, principals and others staff who work in schools.
We caught up with Nyland a few days later to ask him what the 100-day plan will include.More
A number of education events will be held this week on early childhood education and standardized testing.
For those of you interested in both topics, we’re sorry to say that two of them are at about the same time this coming Thursday.
On pre-K: King County is hosting a free screening of “The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation,” the opening episode in a series that will air on PBS this spring. King County says the series will explore “the importance of investing in early childhood development.”
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on “what it takes to ensure King County is a community where young children thrive.” Panel participants will include King County Executive Dow Constantine, and early learning advocates and educators. 6 p.m. Thursday, Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center, 400 S. 2nd St., Renton.More
Education Lab is now past its infancy, and starting its second year. You may have noticed some staffing changes that we’ve been remiss in formally announcing.
But first, a big thanks to all of you for reading, and sharing your perspectives and questions. Thanks for making this one of the most popular news blogs at The Seattle Times, and helping us grow and improve.
Education Lab is an experiment, a chance to try out new ways of writing about education and, more important, new ways of interacting with you. We’re focused on promising practices we see in our public schools, not as a way to avoid writing about the problems — we’ll continue to do that, too — but as one way to address them.More
Are U.S. students more interested in athletics than academics, so lackadaisical about their futures that they’re at risk of losing out to more motivated, harder-working students in China and India?
Or are they too stressed out in academic pressure-cookers, pushed to do too much meaningless work, and losing out on real learning — and their sanity?
Two recent documentaries — “Two Million Minutes” and “Race to Nowhere” — make the case for the first as well as the second, two opposing views that will be explored in a University of Washington event this coming Monday.
The event, sponsored by the UW’s Master’s in Education Policy program, will be one of the few if not the only time that excerpts from both films will be shown together.More
Many agree that the way we evaluate schools, often with a heavy emphasis on test scores, isn’t working well. So what would be better? That’s what the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) asked recently, acknowledging problems with what’s happening now.
“There is a backlash against accountability,” wrote Robin Lake, the center’s director. “Critics have legitimate concerns about imperfect measurement and unintended consequences.”
Many others are asking similar questions. One example: Linda Darling-Hammond, the influential Stanford University professor of education, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, recently announced their own ideas for how to move forward, away from what they consider a test-and-punish approach to a support-and-improve one.
At CRPE, which is affiliated with the University of Washington Bothell, Lake and others recently released a set of eight principles, which they think most can support.More
Our jargon expert today is Charles Duerr, a former Bellevue elementary teacher who now coaches first-year teachers. He holds the prestigious national board certification, and, like our previous jargon-definers, is a contributor to the Stories from Schools blog, sponsored by the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession.
Duerr tackled a few more of the tempestuous terms you listed earlier on this blog. See his definitions below.
For any other potential definers out there, here are a few other words we’d still like described in plain-spoken language. They are: Alignment, benchmarking, value-added, rubric. Send a one- or two-sentence definition to email@example.com, and we may feature it in a future Education Lab post.
Now to Duerr’s definitions:
Phonemic awareness: An early education skill, the knowledge of the sounds that letters and groups of letters make. It is assessed by reading nonsense words: Plub, crin, swar
Child-centered/brain-based/learner centered: Separate but overlapping approaches to teaching that consider the emotional health, developmental stages, and learning styles of students.More