Tag Archives: U.S. DOE

DOE – Take Two

Grab a seat and bust open that box of SnoCaps, ladies and gentlemen, because… well, does anyone really need a reason to eat SnoCaps? Since you’re eating them anyway, you might as well read about what happened next in my Teaching & Learning pre-conference experience at the U.S. DOE.

Next on stage is Emily Davis, a Teacher Ambassador from Florida with a sunny disposition. (Get it? Sunny and from Florida. Orange you glad I made that joke?) Ms. Davis tells us about a survey referred to as the TALIS, which stands for Teaching and Learning International Survey. She highlights two main points: First, when compared to our international counterparts, U.S. teachers spend more time in front of students and have less time for professional development. Second, although U.S. teachers are happy in their profession, they don’t believe society values the profession. (You know you’re in a room full of professionals when no snorts out loud and yells, “You don’t say!”)

While writing this post, I came across NCTAF’s page on TALIS, including a presentation hosted by Linda Darling-Hammond entitled “What the TALIS can Tell Us,” which I highly recommend if you’re interested in more findings.

Ms. Davis then turned our focus to the Teach to Lead initiative, a partnership between the U.S. DOE and the NBPTS. Teach to Lead is about “advancing student outcomes by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership, especially those that allow teachers to continue to teach.” As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I am really excited about this initiative. Ms. Davis told us the following:

  • TTL highlights promising models for teacher leadership
  • TTL encourages teachers to share knowledge and resources
  • A wish-list of professional organizations supports TTL, including Hope Street Group, PDK International, NEA, AFT, VIVA, two national Principal groups, and about 60 more.
  • There are several actionable arms of the initiative: Commit to Lead, regional TTL Summits, and Local Leadership Labs. What do they have in common? Teachers getting together to share ideas, solutions, and resources for teacher-identified issues.

There’s no doubt teachers want to lead – that’s why we’re drawn to a profession that allows us to lead scores of children each day up the path to enlightenment. In fact, 55% of the people attending the workshop selected “Teacher Leadership” as their breakout subject of choice, including yours truly.

Ms. Davis wraps up her portion, and Laurie Calvert takes the mic to discuss how best to influence policy. This was such great information, I’m coming back to it in my next post. Also, it’s really freakin’ late and I need to go to sleep. Happy Friday Eve!





Ready the set – and DOE!

As part of my Teaching & Learning Conference experience, I attended a pre-conference workshop at the U.S. Department of Education.

Um, aaawwwesome.

Fade in on a girl (Smash reference – yes!): I emerge from the L’Enfant metro plaza in a new black dress and heels with the wind whipping my hair back (re: making it a frizzy mess) and “Uptown Funk” playing a continuous loop in my head. In hand is my House of Representatives padfolio (because true democracy geeks buy office supplies emblazoned with government seals), as I make a successful attempt to look like I know where I’m going. (Who needs to stop and ask the police officer directions? We’re old buddies! See you tomorrow, Officer Friendly!)

I arrive at the building with time to spare, breeze through security, find the conference room, and grab a seat next to a friend from Twitter who also won tickets to the conference.

Zoom out and pan left: Teacher-fellow James Liou takes the stage and welcomes us all then invites us to take pictures at the podium. I realize just in time that he doesn’t mean in that particular moment. Liou introduces Joy Silverman, the Dept. Chief of Staff for Policy & Programs, who provides the 80 or so attendees with the latest information on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA):

  • ESEA was first introduced 50 years ago as a civil rights law. It was meant to provide extra opportunities and support for kids who need it most.
  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB) required more accountability for resources
  • Title I was supposed to be extra money (on top of regular budget spending), but current law includes a loophole called the comparability loophole, which (to my understanding) means high-poverty schools aren’t getting extra anything from the government other than stress.
  • As of nearly two weeks ago, there was one bill in the house and a draft bill in the Senate.
  • The DOE (and many others) believes ESEA is outdated. The department says we need money for pre-K/early childhood in the bill and a concrete way to reduce overtesting. The DOE also wants to see the new bill include more resources for teachers and principals and should have ways to support innovation.
  • “Policy works best when made with people on the ground,” says Ms. Silverman at the close of her presentation.

Cue applause. There’s more to come in this suspense-filled government-educator thriller, but I’ll have to write more tomorrow. (Grape juice needs are taken very seriously around here. And I only wish I were talking about the adult version.) By means of apology, allow me to leave you with a link to more recent news on the ESEA reauthorization. Enjoy!

- Council of Chief School State Officers press release

- The National Law Review article

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