1. What exactly is 'high-quality' preschool?
April 22, 2014 | Claudio Sanchez and Cory Turner, NPR
…"Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high-quality early education," Obama told Congress in January.
The president even put a price tag on his plan: $75 billion over 10 years, he said, would help every state provide preschool to every 4-year-old — to be paid for by raising cigarette taxes by 94 cents a pack.
But just what is quality preschool? It's difficult to debate the merits of early childhood education, and to argue that every child — indeed, the nation as a whole — will benefit from better access to preschool, without first defining what exactly constitutes a "high quality" model.
2. Op-ed: The best teacher in every class? Here's one way
April 21, 2014 | Lee-Ann Stephens and Ben Whitney, Star Tribune
From neighborhood schools to our State Capitol, these words pervade our communities. As they should. And it’s not every day that we have a simple, yet meaningful opportunity to do right by Minnesota educators.
In recent weeks, legislators have been entertaining a measure to better support new teachers by ensuring that they train with and learn from our strongest veteran educators for their student teaching experience. This would help us get the best teacher in every classroom.
3. Letter to the editor: More pre-K scholarships
April 21, 2014 | Aimee Vue, Pioneer Press
Recently, I volunteered in my little sister's kindergarten classroom in St. Paul during individual work time. As I sat with my sister, she worked on an activity that focused on numbers 11 to 19, through the matching of beads. Right away, I saw her make great progress toward academic fundamentals that will be key to her future success, and was reminded of the importance of high-quality early learning.
I have no doubt that my little sister is excelling in kindergarten because of her year in pre-K. But according to the Minnesota Department of Education, my sister is not the norm. Too many Minnesota children don't have the opportunity to attend pre-K, and they enter kindergarten one massive step behind their peers.
4. Op-ed: Confessions of a teacher hater
April 17, 2014 | Conor P. Williams, Talking Points Memo
I write about American public education for a living. As someone who cares profoundly about inequality and the state of social mobility in the United States, I’ve come to truly love my work.
But it’s time for me to confess: I am a “teacher hater.” I’m also bent on “undermining public education” in service of my “corporate overlords.” Or, at least, that’s what my inbox tells me every time I write something about charter schools, Teach For America, or education politics in general.
And while unsolicited hostility is part and parcel of the politics writing game these days, this particular line of attack cuts particularly deep.
5. Editorial: Minnesota: Persevere, Teach for America, persevere
April 16, 2014 | Pioneer Press
…Teach for America has accepted 42 incoming teachers into its program, "the most diverse corps we've ever had in Minnesota," said Crystal Brakke, the organization's local executive director. Fifty-five percent are people of color or are from a low-income background.
The partnership, she told us, has "built a program that is in alignment with both the letter and spirit of the law." Training this summer will pair recruits with experienced teachers in summer-school classes offered in the Northside Achievement Zone program in Minneapolis.