Summer is also over for teachers and school leaders, who face controversies over testing, teacher evaluation, and even the academic standards used to guide their work. Add to this a presidential campaign that's bound to stir up the politics of what we teach our kids and how we teach it, and you've got fuel to burn. Let's try to shed some light on a few of the issues that seem to generate the most heat.
The mere existence of universal pre-k in New York is a giant step in the right direction. Amidst the hue and cry over dismal state test scores for third and eighth graders, we now have a new grade being established which can only be positive. But along with great opportunity comes great responsibility.
New York City received a lot of attention recently with a bold promise made to some of its youngest residents: Mayor Bill de Blasio ran on a campaign to fund full-day public preschool for all New York City children through a modest increased income tax on residents making more than $500,000 a year. Although Mayor de Blasio's tax proposal was not approved by the state legislature or supported by New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, the legislature did approve statewide funding for pre-K that included a $300 million increase for New York City's preschool program. New York City is moving forward for children -- and it isn't the only major city and school district making strides towards providing high-quality public preschool programs to as many children as possible. Several large districts that have been doing this for a while are already seeing strong results.