The First Bell series is a growing collection of stories from students, parents, and educators about pivotal experiences in education. To tell your story, email email@example.com "My First Bell" in the subject line or tweet with the hashtag #MyFirstBell.
When state Superintendent John White was playing sports in high school, he says the poverty of the kids who lived a mile or two away from him came into view.
"I think there was something always, in a way, powerful, about being in a low-income community’s home court. Because, when you come in with your nice uniforms and, you know, you practice everyday in a nice gym or on a nice field, and you play guys whose uniforms don’t quite look the way they should, or the gym’s in bad shape, and the field is also a soccer, also a baseball, also a something else field, you get a very material view of what inequity looks like."
White found the disparity was something he couldn’t turn his back on.
He now oversees the education of Louisiana’s roughly 700,000 public school students. But he started his career teaching English in a high-poverty high school in Jersey City, NJ.
He says he never considered a career in private education, even though he went to an elite all-boys school — St. Albans in Washington, D.C. — from elementary school all the way through 12th grade. And he loved it.
We have all had experiences in education that have shaped our ideas about teaching and learning, that have shaped who we are.
For state Superintendent John White, it was that moment when he came to appreciate that what happens during lunch hour is just as important as what happens during class time. For LaToya Johnson, it was the moment when she realized that learning the ABCs wasn't as easy as A-B-C for her youngest son. For Eric Reed, it was when he realized his teammates weren't cheering with the black students during a high school pep rally.
In the education world, friction has developed between teachers who come to the profession the old fashioned way and the increasing number who enter through a side door, particularly Teach For America.
The national program recruits students from elite colleges and prepares them to spend two years as teachers.
The rub is particularly glaring at Vanderbilt University. It’s home to one of the nation’s top education schools, Peabody College, and under its nose, Teach For America has flourished.
With spring fast approaching, many American high school seniors are now waiting anxiously to hear whether they got into the college or university of their choice. For many students, their scores on the SAT or the ACT will play a big role in where they get in.
That's because those standardized tests remain a central part in determining which students get accepted at many schools. But a first-of-its-kind study obtained by NPR raises questions about whether those tests are becoming obsolete.
Jean Leising admits she's no expert on brain development, but she still hopes to do something about the way kids learn.
Leising serves in the Indiana state Senate. Last month, she convinced her Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would restore instruction of cursive writing to the state's educational standards — the set of skills and knowledge kids are expected to master in each grade level.
Even in the email age, teaching cursive might be a great thing. But when legislatures impose mandates on instruction, professional educators get nervous.
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:39 am
New Orleans will soon become the first city with an all-charter school district, but the education landscape looks much different across the rest of Louisiana. Many parishes have few or no charter schools, but that's starting to change.
When you think about minimum-wage workers, college professors don't readily come to mind. But many say that's what they are these days.
Of all college instructors, 76 percent, or over 1 million, teach part time because institutions save a lot of money when they replace full-time, tenured faculty with itinerant teachers, better known as adjuncts.