The challenge to “change the world” is given to educators every day. Our world may change in scope, from a single student to a classroom or a school. Today was the first day of ASCD’s Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA). For the next few days, ASCD is training a group of American educators to contribute to change on a national scale, influencing and educating our legislature to adopt policies that will make the greatest positive difference in the lives of our students. Among many other goals on ASCD’s legislature agenda, I feel these are the most important:
- ASCD believes that our current NCLB/AYP model is broken. Accountability for schools needs to reward achievement and not be primarily punitive. ASCD also believes that it needs to support a professional learning communities approach and a culture of continuous improvement. Assessment needs to reflect multiple measures of student achievement, not just one test.
- We’ll be advocating for high quality professional development for all educators and a system of federal support that looks beyond just the poorest 5% of schools.
- NCLB focused nearly exclusively on reading and math. We must expand our curriculum to reach into all of the core areas.
- ASCD continues to promote the whole child approach, ensuring that all children are safe, healthy, and challenged.
Tonight we heard from well known Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, regarding the state of education policy in America. He stated that despite the political divide between left and right, Republicans and Democrats, and red and blue states, the reality is that we all want the same basic ideals for our students. Our legislators care less about our approach to effective educational practices; they just want results. As Dionne stated, we have to be ready to put our own ideas at risk by understanding our opponent’s views.
Tomorrow morning we hear from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Check updates on Twitter @wcarozza as well as through the hashtag, #LILA11.