** “Just when things can’t get any worse for kindergartners, they do. It used to be that kindergartners could play–which is how childhood development experts say young children learn and are socialized best. Today, 5- and 6-year-olds are forced to sit for hours at a time doing academics, often with little or no recess, and, in some places, no time for a snack. Homework goes home every day with many kindergartners.” ~ Valerie Strauss, Washington Post
** “We must also realize that real change and improvement come only with the involvement and support of teachers. We fool ourselves when we ignore that teaching is an incredibly difficult job, and getting more so by the day. We should lift up our most successful educators, support those in need, and seek ways to better engage and involve teachers in the process. Without them even the most meaningful changes will be denied passage at the schoolhouse door.
For decades now, charter schools have been positioned as the cure to all that ails the public school system. Supporters point to them as the gold standard. What we fail to acknowledge, however, is that for every successful KIPP or Democracy Prep, there are mediocre or struggling charters that aren’t improving outcomes. There are leaders and laggards in the charter movement, and many observers choose not to make the distinction.” ~ Patrick Richards, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation & author
** “There are few careers that are as publicly scrutinized and held to high expectations as a teaching. The public is hyper-aware of the potential harm educators may inflict on a child. Whether that influence is real or simply perceived, an educator can benefit by cautiously approaching his or her role toward each student.” ~ Courtney Stewart, Utah State University
** “Unfortunately, the way in which standardized tests have been used under federal law as almost the single measure of school quality has resulted in the frequent misuse of these instruments across the nation … Value-added scores: Although the federal government is encouraging states to use value-added scores for teacher, principal, and school evaluations, this policy direction is not appropriate. A strong body of recent research has found that there is no valid method of calculating ‘value-added’ scores which compare pass rates from one year to the next, nor do current value-added models adequately account for factors outside the school that influence student performance scores. Thus, other than for research or experimental purposes, this technique will not be employed in Vermont schools for any consequential purpose.” ~ Vermont Board of Education
** “There is no doubt that the new standards are more rigorous. They will require more of our students, our teachers, and our parents. Knowing what you are doing, instead of just knowing a set of rules, is the essential foundation for applying math to the real world. That’s not fuzzy math. It is smart.” ~ Solomon Friedberg, Boston College