The Pressing Need for Change
The article ‘Wake-Up Call’: U.S. Students Trail Global Leaders (Armario, 2010), is a great anticipatory set for this class and gives a clear indication of where the U.S. as a nation rates educationally compared to other nations, particularly those in Asia. This resource reviews the recent performance of American students on national standardized tests as compared to students from other countries. What is most impacting is the improvement and acceleration of learning that has been occurring in some of China’s largest cities, such as Shanghai.
After reading Armario (2010) and watching the video What’s Working in U.S. Education System? (NBC News, 2010), post a three to four paragraph reflection on the information in these resources. Consider the following questions as you reflect.
- Do you believe that the article is one that we, as educators, should take seriously or is it just media hype? Explain.
- What is it about the comparative student information that is impactful or concerning to you?
- What does it tell us about how the students in China are surpassing the performance of students in America?
- What are some of the differences you see between schooling in China and in America?
- Do you think schools are aware of this information, and what do you think they should do about this, if anything?
- What can teachers do with this information in their own classrooms?
- What information from the panel, if any, should be implemented in our schools and school districts?
Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.
Click here for information on course rubrics.
Armario, C. (2010, December 7). Wake-up call: U.S. students trail global leaders. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/40544897/ns/us_news-life…
NBC News. (2010, September 26). What’s working in U.S. education system? [Video File]. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/KNTV_20100926_150000_M…
A Brief History
American schools date back to around the 17th century, 1635 to be exact, with the opening of the first formal school, the Boston Latin School (Lake Forest College, 2010). At that time, schools were in their infant stages in America, struggling to develop some form of curriculum that might be meaningful for those who sought a formal education. Not all students attended; in fact, formal schooling was designed for the elite. The first textbook, The New England Primer, came from England and focused on providing an education in Calvinist theology (Lake Forest College, 2010). Noah Webster was even involved in publishing textbooks for schools, too, with an emphasis on civic duty and morality in society (Lake Forest College, 2010).
As time passed, America’s founding fathers knew that its citizens would need to be educated in order for the country to survive. Jefferson, Madison, Randolph and others firmly believed in the need for an educated citizenry in order for democracy to flourish. Later, theorists and educators like Mann, Dewey, Booker T. Washington, and others helped to develop the education system in the United States (Lake Forest College, 2010).
Today, much has changed, from the launch of Sputnik and the National Education Defense Act, to A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind, and Every Student Succeeds Act, the U.S. education system continues to evolve. The demand for educational accountability, a knowledgeable and well-prepared workforce in order for America to continue to grow and flourish, has reached the front burner.
But, what does this mean? It is one thing to provide rhetoric regarding the need for U.S. schools to improve. One need only look at the place of U.S. education in the international rankings to recognize that much more needs to be done for our students.
Over the years, many educators and theoreticians have discussed, even argued, regarding what schools need in order to do to provide the best educational opportunities for students. And, as time has passed, the art of teaching has evolved into the science of teaching.
No one denies America is unique! The United States’ population is composed of several racial and ethnic representatives. Because of this, often when one looks at comparative data between American students and foreign students it is easy to forget the challenges we face in our schools. We must remember that all students come to our schools for an education, many who speak limited English. And, all of them deserve equal and equitable education.
Our mission is to provide the best educational opportunities for all students in America to be successful in our school system and later to contribute to our vibrant American economy.
So, how do we attain our mission? The title of this course, “Strategies for Enhancing Achievement for All Students”, speaks for itself. We can no longer be satisfied with the “achievement of some students,” we must focus on the “all.” In this class, we are going to explore this new “science” of teaching in order to determine what really works in our schools that can enhance learning for all students.
Using our text and selected readings, we will determine what truly works in schools, what truly can make a difference in how teachers teach and students learn.
So, let’s get to it…
From Coleman to Marzano
Back in 1966, the controversial Coleman Report was distributed (Coleman, 1966). This report, involving over 600,000 students and 60,000 teachers, found that school funding had little to no impact on student achievement and learning. This report caused pressure to build. Questions were asked of school leaders and policymakers, demanding more accountability for student performance.
Coleman’s Report (1966) was followed shortly by the landmark work conducted by Ronald Edmonds and the emergence of the Effective Schools Movement in America. Edmond’s (1982) work is based on the presence of five key elements in schools that have been found to be effective in student learning:
- the leadership of the principal notable for substantial attention to the quality of instruction;
- a pervasive and broadly understood instructional focus;
- an orderly, safe climate conducive to teaching and learning;
- teacher behaviors that convey the expectation that all students are expected to obtain at least minimum mastery; and
- the use of measures of pupil achievement as the basis for program evaluation. (NCESRD, 2010)
The original five elements were later revised, and are now the official Effective Schools Process correlates:
- there exists a clear and focused school mission;
- there exists a safe and orderly school environment;
- there exists high expectations for student performance;
- all students have an opportunity to learn and there is an emphasis of significant time on task ;
- instructional leadership is present and practiced at each school;
- student progress is monitored frequently; and
- a positive home-school relationship exists. (NCESRD, 2010)
It can easily be said that the pioneering work of Edmonds has led us to where we are today, recognizing that the art of teaching has become a science in which schools, educational researchers, and other professionals are continually searching for answers on how they can increase student achievement in our schools.
Edmonds, R. R. (1982, December). Programs of school improvement: An overview. Educational Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_1…
Lake Forest College. (2010). History of the effective schools movement. Retrieved from http://www.lakeforest.edu/library/archives/effecti…
Lake Forest College. (2010). Ron Edmonds
The following materials are required studies for this week. Complete these studies at the beginning of the week and save these weekly materials for future use.
- ‘Wake- Up Call’: U.S. Students Trail Global Leaders (Armario, 2010) [Web page]
- Note: The video on this webpage, China Schools U.S. in Standardized Test, is not functioning, but the transcript for the video is available at the bottom of the article.
- Effective Schools Checklist (Audain, 2007) [Web page]
- History of Effective Schools Movement (Lake Forest College, 2010) [Website]
- What’s Working in U.S. Education System? (NBC News, 2010) [Closed captioned]
- This is an archive of a Meet the Press segment. Begin watching the segment at 8:30 am through the segment at 8:33 am.
These resources are provided to enhance your overall learning experience. For deeper understanding of the weekly concepts, review these optional resources.
National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). (2015, October). Professional standards for educational leaders. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/resource-library/professional…
- The Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards 2008/2014 have been revised and renamed as the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) 2015 Please download and become familiar with these standards.
- The PSEL Standards are also the guiding standards for the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) (2016) standards, which are used by Concordia for critical assessments and course objectives alignment.
Edmonds, R. (1979, October). Effective schools for the urban poor. Educational Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_1…
Joyce, B. R., & Showers, B. (2002). Student achievement through staff development. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Kinnier, J. (2012, Dec.). Video overview of Edmonds and his movement [Video File]. Retrieved from
Prince, C., Koppich, J., Morse Azar, T., Bhatt, M., & Witham, P. (2011). A. General Compensation Questions – what do we know about the relationship between student achievement and teachers’ educational attainment and experience, which is the traditional way that teacher salaries are determined? Center for Educator Compensation Reform. Retrieved from http://cecr.ed.gov/guides/researchSyntheses/Resear…