You've heard President Obama describe his vision for education. Now, let Edutopia show you how it could look in practice.
Obama's speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce outlined the administration's pillars of education reform, including extending the school day, encouraging better standards and assessments, and preparing outstanding teachers.
We'd like to share some Edutopia examples of these emerging ideals as they exist on the ground:
Before he was U.S. secretary of education, Arne Duncan worked to create successful after-school programs in Illinois. Edutopia delved into Duncan's educational philosophy in a video interview with Duncan shortly before his appointment.
Edutopia also captured on video students pursuing their passions after school in these model programs:
- At After School Matters, in Chicago, students continue to learn after the classroom doors close.
- The Providence After School Alliance, in Providence, Rhode Island, partners with other institutions to make learning fun and help kids create connections.
- The Citizen Schools national network provides after-school mentors for students.
We documented other examples of innovative use of after-school time in community schools:
- Chicago's Spry Community School connects school, family, and community in an unusual program that includes students in grades preK-12.
- At C.P. Squires Elementary School, in Las Vegas, preschool students stay after school to learn to read.
- A partnership between the New York City Board of Education and the Children's Aid Society creates schools that are full-service centers, with before-school and after-school programs as well as medical and social services.
Improved Assessment for the 21st Century
In his first speech about education, Obama challenged state governors and education chiefs to "develop standards and assessments that don't simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st-century skills like problem solving and critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and creativity."
- Edutopia covered authentic assessment last year in the special report "Reinventing the Big Test: The Challenge of Authentic Assessment."
- We also looked into the failures of standardized testing, models for future tests that put concepts before facts, and how the British school system assesses tech literacy.
- Earlier in 2009, we took up the task again with an in-depth look at San Diego's High Tech High that focuses on 21st-century skills. At this school, assessment is an ongoing process delivered to students as daily feedback. Watch students do rigorous projects, develop portfolios, and present on what they've learned at High Tech High.
Educating Excellent Educators
Obama supports recruiting, preparing, and rewarding great teachers, and so do we:
- Edutopia looked at schools of education that are empowering teachers to bring their classrooms into the future in our special report "Building a Better Teacher: Confronting the Crisis in Teacher Training."
- We also highlighted specific techniques from ten leading schools of education, including in our profile of Emporia State University's programs.
- See exactly how it's done in this video about the Bank Street College of Education and this video about Montclair State University's programs.
We're looking forward to continuing to cover what works in education as it emerges. Please share your success stories in the comments section below.