Tag Archives: schools

President Obama and Secretary Duncan Meet 6th Graders

Posted by: Audiegrl

Speeding Up the Race to the Top

President Barack Obama and Sec. of Education Arne Duncan, right, take questions during a group discussion with 6th grade students at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, VA. January 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama announces a proposed $1.3 billion investment in Race to the Top, a program to encourage innovation and excellence in education through competitive grants, at an event at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, VA. January 19, 2010.

This morning the President and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan paid a visit to Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia where they had a chat with about 30 6th grade students. The conversation put a face to the people they were trying to help with the President’s latest investment of more than a billion dollars in next year’s budget to amp up the President’s “Race to the Top” program – a competition to incentivize success that has already generated an overwhelming response from states, with over 30 states expected to compete for first-round funding.

You can learn more about Graham Road in the White House background release, but the school made a mark on its community by implementing a comprehensive strategy to turn around student achievement, adopting rigorous and high-quality student assessments, teacher evaluation and professional development, along with innovative and effective use of data systems to track student performance. As a result, in 2008 all of the school’s sixth-graders met Virginia’s reading standards, and 96 percent met math standards, despite being one of the lowest income schools in the county. The expansion of Race to the Top comes with a plan to encourage precisely this kind of visionary change in schools that apply for the challenge.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In his remarks after the meeting with students, the President explained how it all works, and the logic behind “Race to the Top“:

Last year, we set aside more than $4 billion to improve our schools — one of the largest investments in reform in our nation’s history. But we didn’t just hand this money out to states that wanted it; we challenged them to compete for it. And it’s the competitive nature of this initiative that we believe helps make it so effective. We laid out a few key criteria and said if you meet these tests, we’ll reward you by helping you reform your schools.

First, we encouraged states to adopt more challenging standards that will actually prepare our kids for college and their careers. We also encouraged schools to adopt better assessments — not just one-size-fits-all approaches — to measure what our kids know and what they’re able to do.

Second, we urged schools and school districts to make sure we have excellent principals leading our schools and great teachers leading our classes by promoting rigorous plans to develop and evaluate teachers and principals and by rewarding their success.

Third, we urged states to use cutting-edge data systems to track a child’s progress throughout their academic career, and to link that child’s progress to their teachers so we know what’s working and what’s not working in the classroom. Fourth, we encouraged states to show a stronger commitment to turning around some of their lowest-performing schools.

And even before states have received a single dime of taxpayer money, many of them have committed to instituting important reforms to better position themselves for a Race to the Top grant. Forty-eight states have now joined a nationwide partnership to develop a common set of rigorous, career-ready standards in reading and math. Wisconsin has enacted legislation permitting schools to link student achievement to the performance of teachers and principals. In Illinois, Louisiana, Tennessee, California, we’ve seen changes in laws or policies to let public charter schools expand and succeed. These are public schools with more independence that are formed by teachers, parents, and community members.

So by rewarding some of these states submitting applications today, by extending the Race to the Top for states, by launching a Race to the Top among school districts, and by applying the principles of Race to the Top to other federal programs, we’ll build on this success. We’re going to raise the bar for all our students and take bigger steps towards closing the achievement gap that denies so many students, especially black and Latino students, a fair shot at their dreams.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

1 Comment

Filed under African-Americans, Barack Obama, Books, Change, Children, Computers, Culture, Democrats, Education, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Media and Entertainment, News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Secretary Arne Duncan (Sec of Education), Students, Teachers, Technology, Uncategorized, Volunteerism, Women's Issues

Miami Serves on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend

Posted by: Audiegrl

Town Park Village, a residential complex in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, will welcome seven hundred volunteers to landscape and green the community as a way of honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.

This January 16th event is only the latest in a series of projects that Hands On Miami has coordinated in Overtown, one of Miami’s most underserved communities. Last year, Hands On Miami helped to create and furnish two community centers for the seniors and young people of Town Park Village, and two kindergarten classrooms at the neighboring charter school, among several other projects.

In honor of MLK Day, the volunteers at Town Park Village will tackle a variety of projects, including landscaping and “greening” the complex. Volunteers will landscape the areas between buildings and create community gardens, revitalize the buildings by adding fresh coats of paint to the numbers on the homes and buildings and add murals to the local school. In an effort to help make the community more environmentally friendly, the volunteers will work to add trashcans between every building, include rain barrels in the gardens, and change every porch light to an energy efficient light bulb.

In addition to revitalizing the housing complex, the volunteers will also help the community’s residents by providing each household in Town Park Village with first aid kits. Every elementary school age child in the Overtown community will also receive a school care kit to replenish the school supplies they received in August.

This is just an example of the many service projects taking place across the country in honor of the Jan. 18 MLK Day of Service – to find other volunteer opportunities like this one and have an impact in your community, visit serve.gov/MLKDay.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Register Your Service ProjectFind Your Volunteer Project
blank

blank

Create Your Own Neighborhood Project

Leave a comment

Filed under Charity, Children, Culture, Environment, Green, History, Holidays, MLK Day, News, Philanthropy, Pres. Barack Obama, Students, Teachers, United States, Volunteerism, Women's Issues

44-D’s Impact Diaries: How Will You Answer Dr. King’s Question?

Posted by: Audiegrl



The Corporation for National and Community Service shares a wonderful story of how Miami residents are coming together to green and beautify their community to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Miami project is just one example of how people are coming together to serve their communities as part of January 18th’s MLK Day of Service. To find service projects in your community, visit serve.gov/MLKDay.

How will you answer Dr. King’s question?

On January, 18, 2010, people of all ages and backgrounds will come together to improve lives, bridge social barriers, and to move our nation closer to the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned. Dr. Martin Luther King devoted his life’s work to causes of equality and social justice. He taught that through nonviolence and service to one another, problems such as hunger and homelessness, prejudice and discrimination can be overcome. Dr. King’s teachings can continue to guide us in addressing our nation’s most pressing needs—poverty, economic insecurity, job loss and education.

Please volunteer with Americans across the nation on the 2010 King Day of Service and make a real in difference in your community. Fueled by President Obama’s call to service, the 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service experienced a historic level of participation, as Americans across the country honored Dr. King by serving their communities on the January 19 King Holiday. In total, more than 13,000 projects took place — the largest ever in the 14 years since Congress encouraged Americans to observe the King Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this national effort.

Thousands volunteered to prepare care packages for troops stationed in Iraq during Serve DC's Operation Gratitude project for the 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in Washington, DC.

How to You Can Serve

2010 MLK Day Technology Challenge

We are calling on educators and web professionals to join our new effort – the 2010 MLK Day Technology Challenge. The idea is simple: to connect schools with technology needs to IT and web professionals, developers, graphic designers and new media professionals who are willing to volunteer their skills for good, take on these technology projects and give back to a school in need. Learn more.

MLK Day Resources

Everything you need to plan a King Day project – including tips on getting started, building partnerships, organizing the day, and fundraising. You’ll also find a service-learning guide for schools and organizations, project examples, and marketing tools to help promote your project.

For more information…

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Barack Obama, Change, Charity, Children, Civil Rights Movement, Computers, Culture, Dancing, Education, Entertainment, Green, History, Holidays, Hunger, Media and Entertainment, Military, MLK Day, Music, News, Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Prize, Non-Violence, Philanthropy, Plays, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, States, Technology, Uncategorized, United States, US, Video/YouTube, Women's Issues, World

Conservatives Urge ‘National Truancy Day’ For Obama’s Back-to-School Speech

Vice-President Joseph Biden, President Obama and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

Vice-President Joseph Biden, President Obama and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan


Posted by Audiegrl
On Tuesday, President Obama will be delivering a speech to American school kids encouraging them to study hard and stay in school. Sounds good, right? Not so fast, to the folks on the right, this is all a super secret plot of our Socialist/Marxist/Communist/(Any-other-word-you-can-add-ist-to) President. Oh, my God! Obama is trying to indoctrinate our kids…(of course this is only after he kills your grandma..).

The over-the-top drama is being led by conservative blogger/nutcase Michelle Malkin and conservative radio screecher Dana Loesch. They are so offended that they are calling September 8th the “National Truancy Day.” Yes, you got the right. They are asking people to pull their kids out of school that day!

Surely they realize that August was “National Truancy Prevention Month”, where people around the country were actually trying to keep kids in school. So far schools in Texas are making the viewing optional, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Others in Columbia, Missouri are ignoring the address altogether.

Lets start with Texas. Great state, lots of cool places to see, popular sports teams, but if you are interested in geting a great education in Texas, I have bad news for you. Out of all of our states literacy rates, Texas ranks 49, next to last place, which is held by Mississippi. Missouri fares a little better with a ranking of 30. So if I was an educator in these two states, having my students listen to a positive message from the President that tells them about the importance of education, it would be a no-brainer. Unless I was a Conservative…

National  Day of Silence

National Day of Silence

We shouldn’t be surprised by these actions. Earlier this year, a national coalition of right wing Christian and anti-tolerance organizations promoted truancy as a response to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s 13th Annual National Day of Silence on April 17. Students were asked to take some form of a vow of silence on that day to bring attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from more than 7,500 middle and high schools participated in 2008. But of course, the right wing groups called it the equivalent to the Hitler Youth. Sound familiar? What is the right-wings fascination with describing Progressive programs they don’t like by using Hitler comparisons. What’s up with that?

According to ThinkProgress..On Fox News this morning, NPR’s Juan Williams defended Obama’s effort as “innocuous,” saying that “on the face of it, it seems to be almost patriotic…you should hear the president speak about the value of education, staying in school, hard work.” But Family Research Council President Tony Perkins wasn’t convinced that the speech would be benign. To buttress his argument, Perkins asserted that “the president really hasn’t pushed any educational reform issues yet in his administration”:

Perkins is speaking without regard for the facts when he says that Obama hasn’t “pushed any educational reform issues yet.” In fact, Obama has put a strong emphasis on education reform. For instance, the stimulus bill contained an unprecedented investment in education, which was aimed at incentivizing reform:

To help struggling schools, the federal government will use stimulus funding to encourage states to expand school days, reward good teachers, fire bad ones and measure how students perform compared with peers in India and China, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said yesterday.

So ok, I understand we have a two-party system and that they are the supposedly loyal opposition party…I get that. But why should we allow them to politicize education for our kids? Seriously, if the kids survived George W. Bush reading them ‘My Pet Goat‘, I’m sure they can survive a educational pep talk by President Obama.

My message to them, leave the damn kids alone and stop makin’ stuff up!

****Update
Hat tip goes out to Jed Lewison of DKosTV, for finding this video. On the eve of the 1992 presidential campaign — October 1, 1991, to be exact — President George H. W. Bush pitched his education plan in a speech broadcast live to school classrooms nationwide. Please take a moment to read Jed’s diary entitled Another wingnut meme goes down the drain .

17 Comments

Filed under Education, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Media and Entertainment, News, Politics