Should you treat your school like a business?

E-School News – Laura DeVaney

“As parents have more choices regarding where their children go to school, some districts are beginning to view students and parents as “customers” — with surprising results. The idea of treating students, parents and the school community as customers isn’t an entirely new one, but it’s still one that makes some school leaders balk. After all, schools are institutions of learning, and traditionally, they have not been thought of as businesses. But with the growth of charter schools and online schools, parents have other options to explore if their child’s school does not meet expectations — and when students leave, so, too, does funding. And in an effort to increase parental engagement and ensure that parents and community members feel as though they are part of their children’s school, the newly-passed Every Student Succeeds Act includes multiple methods to increase parental engagement, including expanded accessibility, regular two-way communication, and enhanced parent and family engagement policies.”(more)

STEM or STEAM: Is there room for both in Utah schools?

Deseret News – Morgan Jacobsen

“In the Coleman family, STEM is a household word. Science, technology, engineering and math are frequent sources of homework for Laurie Coleman’s children in first, third and fifth grades. And since their father is a research scientist, the Coleman children have no shortage of opportunities or parental support in pursuing STEM interests…But there’s a key component of her kids’ education that Coleman doesn’t want them to miss. It’s a puzzle piece that ties it all together, helping them build a foundation of creativity and draw connections in their work, she said. That piece is the arts, which makes Coleman and others see STEAM as a more complete academic puzzle…”There’s room for both, and in fact, there’s a lot of overlap,” said Tamara Goetz, executive director of the Utah STEM Action Center…”Much of what our computer science and programming companies are doing falls within that creative space of arts and digital media. Those skills can really synergize and open up new doors for students,” she said. “I do believe that STEM is not the only direction students can take. But it really does provide academic and career pathways that can bring quality of life and opportunities for life-long learning.””(more)

Advancing Career Pathways for Kids

The Huffington Post – Chris Minnich

“Two-thirds of adults do not think students are ready for the world of work once they graduate from high school. That’s according to a recent poll in Virginia. Yet according to the same poll, about the same percentage of people – 64 percent – think students are ready for college when they graduate. I suspect that these results, from a statewide survey conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University, are similar to what you might hear in your state. In fact, you might hear something similar if you surveyed the nation’s educators and state school chiefs. For several years, our states have taken the lead in transforming K-12 education to ensure every child graduates from high school prepared for college and careers. We are making progress, raising expectations for all kids and transitioning to new tests to measure students against these expectations. Yet, we cannot lose sight of how important career readiness is for all kids – whether or not a student plans to go to a four-year college.”(more)

‘Biliteracy’ Seal On Student Diplomas Will Recognize And Reward Bilingualism

NJ Spotlight – John Mooney

“New Jersey has joined more than a dozen other states that endorse an official seal on high school graduates’ diplomas and other records that signifies they are proficient in a second language. Known as the State Seal of Biliteracy and signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie last week, the mark is aimed as a way to highlight the language abilities of thousands of New Jersey’s graduates as they enter the workforce and college…“As a career educator I recognize the great benefit to students of mastering more than one language. This is a skill that will not only help them to expand their understanding of other world regions, but will also help to provide them additional career opportunities in the future,” said Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), one of the prime sponsors of the bill.”(more)

Advancing Career Pathways for Kids

The Huffington Post – Chris Minnich

“For several years, our states have taken the lead in transforming K-12 education to ensure every child graduates from high school prepared for college and careers. We are making progress, raising expectations for all kids and transitioning to new tests to measure students against these expectations. Yet, we cannot lose sight of how important career readiness is for all kids – whether or not a student plans to go to a four-year college…The goal is for every child to have access to career pathways that are aligned to high-skill, high-demand jobs in their state or region.”(more)

Life Prep Should Include Problem-Based Learning, Failure & Leadership

The Huffington Post – John N. Buxton

“The students of today are different. They plan for the future at a young age…we see middle-school students initiating the admissions process to prepare for a desired career path. In fact, students typically recognize the opportunity and then convince their parents of the course of action. This is a proactive, practical generation that isn’t engaged with traditional teaching methods. But there are three things educators and parents can do to prepare students academically and personally for their future:”(more)