Friday, October 8, 2010

Fix Our Schools Manifesto . . . Got It All Wrong


How to fix our schools: A manifesto
by Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee and other education leaders
Washington Post: October 10, 2010

As educators, superintendents, chief executives and chancellors responsible for educating nearly 2 1/2 million students in America, we know that the task of reforming the country's public schools begins with us. It is our obligation to improve the personal growth and academic achievement of our students, and we must be accountable for how our schools perform.

All of us have taken steps to move our students forward, and the Obama administration's Race to the Top program has been the catalyst for more reforms than we have seen in decades. But those reforms are still outpaced and outsized by the crisis in public education.

Fortunately, the public, and our leaders in government, are finally paying attention. The "Waiting for 'Superman' " documentary, the defeat of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million gift to Newark's public schools, and a tidal wave of media attention have helped spark a national debate and presented us with an extraordinary opportunity.

But the transformative changes needed to truly prepare our kids for the 21st-century global economy simply will not happen unless we first shed some of the entrenched practices that have held back our education system, practices that have long favored adults, not children. These practices are wrong, and they have to end now.

It's time for all of the adults -- the superintendents, educators, elected officials, labor unions and parents -- to start acting like we are responsible for the future of children. Because right now, across the country, kids are stuck in failing schools, just waiting for us to do something.

So, where do we start? With the basics. As President Obama has emphasized, the single most important factor determining whether students succeed in school is not the color of their skin or their ZIP code or even their parents' income -- it is the quality of their teacher. READ MORE !

The Manifesto got it all wrong - Stephen Krashen
Sent to the Washington Post, October 8, 2010

" The Manifesto ignores the real problem: Poverty. The best teaching cannot overcome the enormous negative influence of malnutrition and hunger, lack of health care, environmental toxins, and lack of access to books. Clear evidence that poverty is the problem is the finding that American students from well-funded schools who come from high-income families outscore nearly all other countries on international tests. Our overall scores are unspectacular because the US has a very high percentage of children in poverty (over 20%, compared to Denmark's 3%).

The first step in "reform" is to protect children from the effects of poverty: Improved health care, good food, and improved libraries and library services for children in high-poverty areas. When all American children have the advantages that middle-class children have, our international test scores will be at the top of the world. "
Map from: National Center for Children in Poverty

Monday, October 4, 2010

Health Literacy Month: October


Health Literacy Month: October

Struggling to Understand Health Information (A Podcast)
Engaging the Patient: October 4, 2010 by Geri-Lynn Baumblatt

By her own admission, Helen Osborne “had no idea what she was getting into” when she decided to found Health Literacy Month in 1999. Now, more than a decade later, the event is an annual institution. In this short interview, Helen Osborne sits down with Engaging the Patient’s own Geri Baumblatt to discuss Health Literacy, Health Literacy Month and the future of both.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

NIFL Closes

National Institute for Literacy [NIFL] closed on September 30.
On October 1, the Literacy Information and Communication System [LINCS] moves to the Office of Vocation and Adult Education [OVAE].

A new website, LINCS, will continue to provide popular NIFL resources: publications, news items, discussion lists, archives of webcasts, and the America’s Literacy Directory.

LINCS will provide access to literacy research and resources with Regional Resource Centers, Resource Collections, Discussion Lists, and newsletter.

Created in 1991, NIFL strove to provide leadership on literacy issues, including the improvement of reading instruction for children, youth, and adults. We would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Institute for the numerous services provided and contributions to the field in its nearly twenty years of existence.

Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Summary — May 7, 2009

National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) $6.5 Budget
Despite nearly 2 decades of operations, NIFL has demonstrated little success in its mission of providing national leadership on literacy issues, coordinating Federal literacy programs and policies, and serving as a national resource for adult education and literacy programs. Federal literacy activities remain diffuse and duplicative, and the Administration believes that the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) is better positioned to provide effective national literacy leadership and coordination. Folding NIFL's functions into OVAE also would allow all of its resources to be used for national activities rather than for staffing and overhead, which currently absorb almost half of NIFL's appropriation.