For years, school reform efforts targeted either students in regular education or those with special needs, but not both. As a result of the No Child Left Behind legislation (NCLB) and its focus on accountability, administrators established policies that would integrate the needs of students who previously were served under separate frameworks. Using the NCLB structure as a starting point, Stephanie W. Cawthon’s new book Accountability-Based Reforms: The Impact on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students discusses key assumptions behind accountability reforms. She specifically examines how elements of these reforms affect students who are deaf or hard of hearing, their teachers, and their families.
Cawthon begins by providing a brief introduction to the deaf education context, offering detailed information on student demographics, settings, and academic outcomes for deaf students. She then outlines the evolution of accountability-based education reforms, following with a chapter on content standards, assessment accommodations, accountability as sanctions, and students with disabilities. The remaining chapters in Accountability-Based Reforms closely examine educational professionals, accountability, and students who are deaf or hard of hearing; school choice policies and parents; and deaf education and measures of success. Each chapter presents an overview of an important component of accountability reform, available research, and how it has been implemented in the United States. These chapters also offer recommendations for future action by educators, parents, researchers, and education policymakers.
Every child in America deserves to know that a path to a successful life exists and that they have the power to follow it. But many never set foot on that path because they grow up hearing the message that systemic forces control their destinies, or that they are at fault for everything that has gone wrong in their lives.
These children often come from difficult circumstances. Many are raised by young, single parents, live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, attend substandard schools, and lack the moral safeguards of religious and civic institutions. As a result, they can be dispirited into cycles of learned helplessness rather than inspired to pursue their own possibilities.
Yet this phenomenon is not universal. Some children thrive where others do not. Why? Are there personal behaviors and institutional supports that have proven to make a difference in helping young people chart a course for their futures? Agency answers with a loud and clear “yes!”
This book describes four pillars that can uplift every young person as they make the passage into adulthood: Family, Religion, Education, and Entrepreneurship. Together, these pillars embody the true meaning of freedom, wherein people are motivated to embrace the ennobling responsibilities of building healthy social structures and shaping the outcomes of their own lives.
For that reason, Ian Rowe calls the four pillars the FREE framework. With this framework in place, children are empowered to develop agency, which Rowe defines as the force of one’s free will, guided by moral discernment. Developing agency is the alternative to the debilitating ‘blame-the-system’ and ‘blame-the-victim’ narratives. It transcends our political differences and beckons all who dare to envision lives unshackled by present realities.
In addition to making the case for agency, Rowe shares his personal story of success coming from an immigrant family. He defends America as an ever-improving country worthy of our esteem. He corrects misguided calls for “anti-racism” and “equity,” and champions a game plan for creating new agents of agency, dedicated to promoting the aspirational spirit of America’s children, and showing them the path that will set them FREE.
What can the art of play teach us about the art of play? Showcasing the paintings of more than one hundred Philadelphia public elementary school children, folklorist Anna Beresin’s innovative book, The Art of Play, presents images and stories that illustrate what children do at recess, and how it makes them feel.
Beresin provides a nuanced, child-centered discussion of the intersections of play, art, and learning. She describes a widespread institutionalized fear of play and expressive art, and the transformative power of simple materials like chalk and paint. Featuring more than 150 paintings and a dozen surreal photographs of masked children enjoying recess, The Art of Play weaves together the diverse voices of kids and working artists with play scholarship.
This book emerged from Recess Access, a service-learning project that donated chalk, ropes, balls, and hoops to nine schools in different sections of Philadelphia. A portion of the proceeds of The Art of Play will support recess advocacy.
Take an economically and racially diverse urban school district emerging from a long history of segregation. Add an energetic, capable, bridge-building superintendent with ambitious district-wide goals to improve graduation rates, school attendance, and academic performance. Consider that he was well funded and strongly supported by city leaders, teachers, and parents, and ask how much changed in a decade of his tenure—and what remained unchanged?Larry Cuban takes this richly detailed history of the Austin, Texas, school district, under Superintendent Pat Forgione, to ask the question that few politicians and school reformers want to touch. Given effective use of widely welcomed reforms, can school policies and practices put all children at the same academic level? Are class and ethnic differences in academic performance within the power of schools to change?Cuban argues that the overall district has shown much improvement—better test scores, more high school graduates, and more qualified teachers. But the improvements are unevenly distributed. The elementary schools improved, as did the high schools located in affluent, well-educated, largely white neighborhoods. But the least improvement came where it was needed most: the predominantly poor, black, and Latino high schools. Before Forgione arrived, over 10 percent of district schools were failing, and after he left office, roughly the same percentage continued to fail. Austin’s signal successes amid failure hold answers to tough questions facing urban district leaders across the nation.
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