This past week the Hope Foundation gathered fourteen education policy experts to draft recommendations to the Obama Administration concerning the future direction of American school. You can read the entire fine report here. While there is nothing new about the agenda advanced here, I do believe that we are at a very important crossroads in our history as a nation. We must make major changes in our educational system now! We cannot continue waste time because our only future is our children. NCLB has caused us to focus so narrowly on performance on achievement tests that we have failed to emphasize the most important parts of what education does for this nation. It should foster creativity, critical thinking, communication, networking, and use of 21st Century technological skills. So much of what makes America a leader in the world is that we have always led in creating citizens that could do the above mentioned things. We have no time to spare! We have to prepare our future now! Tune in for further thoughts on the recommendations from the Courageous Leadership for Shaping America’s Future IV Forum.
The following is a synopsis of the recommendations made by Courageous Leadership for Shaping America’s Future IV Forum:
1. Assure Readiness: Success in the classroom requires that children arrive ready to learn – cognitively, physically and psychologically.
2. Provide Rich Learning Environments for All Students: All young people in America deserve rich learning environments that challenges their thinking, promotes learning by doing and focuses on higher-order thinking skills that encourage life-long learning and prepare young people to be engaged, collaborative citizens.
3. Improve Overall Standards, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: Policies and systems must be in place to promote best practices in teaching, reward high performers, and provide opportunities for feedback and development for those in need of improvement.
4. Improve Overall Teacher Quality: Policies and systems must be in place to promote best practices in teaching, reward high performers, and provide opportunities for feedback and development for those in need of improvement.
5. Ensure the Development of 21 st Century School Leaders: School leadership should be focused on a combination of student learning, progress, and culture building, while enhancing the quality of teaching.
6.Generate and Use Research Effectively: Ensure the use of existing research and advance new research topics that address issues specific to 21 st Century challenges.