Now, in the sphere of higher education, we often talk about the potential for OER to save students billions of dollars in textbook costs, but what's happened at Williamsfield since the switch reveals that the value of OER over traditional learning materials extends far beyond the difference in price.
These computational thinking skills are becoming more important as computers, algorithms and data become ubiquitous. Coding will also become more common, particularly with the growth in the use of visual programming languages, like Blockly, that remove the need to learn programming language syntax, and via custom blocks, can be used as an abstraction for many different applications.
The transition from middle to high school is a critical inflection point, and students who fall behind in ninth grade are at great risk of dropping out. That is why I support the Middle School Success and High School Graduation Initiative Amendment, which aims to provide struggling schools with tools to help students bridge this gap.
As exciting as all this was, where were the teachers in these conversations? Many of us felt that we were invited because we actively lead in our schools, communities, and countries, and we expected to have a similar role at ISTP. We felt stifled in the exchange. So, in true teacher form, we didn't give up.
Annual testing is valuable, but students deserve a system that protects them from unnecessary, redundant tests. Congress should ensure that the SMART Act is included in the final ESEA bill that it sends to the president, because this will make us all smarter educators and give us additional time to make our students learn smarter.
Congress can ensure a better future for our kids by reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with language that empowers schools to limit redundant benchmarking assessments, maintains annual standardized tests for third through eighth grade, and changes the stakes to offer more support to teachers serving students with the greatest needs.
Teachers are demonized as "failures" in the classroom. Fortunately for all of us, more and more are banding together as agents for justice by believing in the inherent capacity of all students, and seeking strategies and instructional pathways to improve student performance through professional development and collaborative learning.
Congress want to cut Elementary and Secondary Education Act funding, and, according to the Center for American Progress, the savings will be rerouted away from high-need schools and students like mine to low-poverty schools. What sort of vision of education is that? What sort of vision of our democracy is that?