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Archive for the ‘K-12’ Category

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

In “An Open Letter to My Son’s Kindergarten Teacher,” Phillip Kovacs outs himself as one of those parents.

“You know, the ones who are constantly checking in, perhaps over protective to a fault,” Kovacs writes in his letter, which ran last month in the Huffington Post.

Then, as if he were at the world’s most uptight cocktail party, Kovacs unfurls his resume.

“In my defense I feel like I know a bit more about this whole school thing than most parents. Having taught kids and now teaching teachers, I have learned a good deal about what goes on in classrooms nowadays.

“There is also the matter of me teaching university courses that deal with educational policy (yuk!) and educational psychology (wow!). Did you know that most of our current educational policy flies in the face of science?”

Stick with Kovacs, though, and you hear something important.

“Neuroscience, for example, tells us no two brains are alike, which makes me wonder why we are trying to make all of the children common.”

And one of the brains that Kovacs is wondering about is his son’s.

Kovacs’ son “can count to ten when we are counting Angry Birds, but he has some trouble with transfer. Everything above 12 is a mystery to him, but he’s eager to discover what goes on up there!” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Looking for insights on how to improve K-12 education? Consider the lessons offered by the early childhood education field, Joan Wasser Gish advises in a recently published Education Week commentary called “Four Lessons from Early Education.”

Wasser Gish is a member of the Board of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care as well as the principal at Policy Progress, a public-policy consulting firm based in Newton, Mass. And from 2005 to 2006, she was Strategies for Children’s director of policy and research.

There are “four lessons that elementary and secondary education could draw from the early-childhood sector as leaders seek to build P-16 systems and re-imagine schools capable of helping all children attain the skills they need to succeed in the 21st-century economy and society,” Wasser Gish writes. These lessons are:

 1. Expand the mission by engaging families.

“In high-quality early-childhood-education settings, the mission is to serve children and their families. This mission takes different forms in each community, but the federal Head Start program, which serves low-income, at-risk children across the nation, is illustrative: Head Start emphasizes developing relationships with families to support parents as their child’s first teacher and promote positive parent-child interactions.” (more…)

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“Many in K-12 schooling want change and are scouring the learning landscape for thoughtful guidance. They might be surprised to find important lessons from an unexpected source: early-childhood education.”

Joan Wasser Gish, a member of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care, and Principal at Policy Progress, in her Education Week article “Four Lessons from Early Education”

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“Even in the face of the most significant economic and fiscal challenges in generations, we have shared an unshakable commitment to investing in education, from early education through higher education, recognizing that education is the foundation for opportunity and economic mobility.” 

Governor Deval Patrick, Letter to the Senate and House of Representatives, July 11, 2014

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Summer Learning Day

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Today is Summer Learning Day. Join First Lady Michelle Obama and celebrate.

Summer Learning Day is a national advocacy day that was established to “spread awareness about the importance of summer learning for our nation’s youth,” help close the achievement gap, and support healthy development in communities across the country, according to the National Summer Learning Association’s (NSLA) website.

Otherwise too many children experience a “summer slide,” losing ground on what they’ve learned during the school year.

The first lady will celebrate by speaking at the National Summer Learning Day Fair at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. This event is scheduled by live streamed today, starting at 10:30 a.m.

How can you and your community get involved?

An event map makes it easy to find summer learning day activities near you.

The NSLA suggests publicizing the national event on social media as well as hosting events such as a student conference, a field rip or a storytelling event. (more…)

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“Together, you’re an example of what’s possible when we stop just talking about giving young people opportunity, when we don’t just give lip service to helping you compete in the global economy and we actually start doing it. That’s what’s happening right here in Worcester.”

President Barack Obama speaking at Worcester Technical High School’s graduation ceremony, June 11, 2014

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GOV Forum logoIn a forum at UMass Boston on Saturday, eight of the candidates in the Massachusetts race for governor made news by agreeing that the commonwealth should improve the quality of preschool programs and expand access to them.

This consensus adds to the growing political support for early education and care both here in Massachusetts and nationally. Ten years ago, research on the benefits of high-quality pre-k were not widely understood, nor part of the public discourse. Today, policymakers and candidates understand that these programs are essential first steps in educating children and preparing them to succeed in the state’s high-tech economy.

Sponsored by Strategies for Children and more than two dozen other organizations (see program agenda for full sponsor list), the “Early Childhood and Education: Closing the Achievement and Opportunity Gaps – 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates Forum” gave candidates the opportunity to share their vision for educating the state’s youngest children. It was a chance to hear how the next governor of Massachusetts might reshape the landscape of early education and care. (more…)

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