Weekly Roundup for February 17, 2012

Jess Tonn>   In an Education Next interview with Frederick Hess, John White, the new Louisiana State Superintendent and former deputy superintendent at the NYCDOE, argues that “we need organizations that are actively building a sense of the community’s power to choose a better education for their children. Until we have that, our reforms will be provider-led rather than consumer-led; that’s sustainable for a while, but not in perpetuity.” Exactly! Good news, Mr. White, here’s a list of community organizations who have partnered up with schools and are “pulling the change” in your backyard.

>   In economic news, the 2011 Kids Count report is out and Annie E. Casey Foundation President and Chief Executive, Patrick McCarthy, “has never seen the landscape for America’s at-risk children and families quite so alarming.” Meanwhile, on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Amy Wilkins of the Education Trust discussed how income, more than race, is driving the achievement gap.

>  But don’t let the bleak job market get you down, college students. Here’s another option: In The Root DC, Jeff Franco of City Year Washington explains why soon-to-be college grads should consider committing to a year of service to expand learning.

>   In Chicago, 13 principals explain why a longer school day works for them in this Op-Ed in the Chicago Sun-Times. And in the Huffington Post, a group of teachers in the city’s charter schools offer their fellow educators three ways to use the extended day wisely.

>   On last night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart debated Race to the Top, standardized testing, and the narrowing of the curriculum with one of Harvard’s most famous basketball alums. (No, not that one.) Check out Part 3 of the extended online interview to hear how great things can happen when schools and communities work together.

Featured Friday Funding Opportunity:

2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge
The National STEM Video Game Challenge aims to motivate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. Entries can be created using any game-making platform including, but not limited to, written concepts, Gamestar Mechanic, Microsoft’s Kodu Game Lab, GameMaker and Scratch.

Deadline: March 12

And now for something completely different:

News in brief from The Onion: “According to a report from the U.S. Department of Education released Thursday, watching a single episode of the British TV series Downton Abbey is the cultural and educational equivalent of reading an entire book.” Does watching these spoofs (#1 and #2) count as reading a short story?

Last activity in the ExpandED day at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School--African drumming.