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Compare the Candidates on Education Issues

July 15, 2016

Compare the Candidates: Where Do Clinton and Trump Stand on Education?

The presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee Donald Trump have yet to release comprehensive K-12 policy plans. To give a sense of where they stand, Education Week reviewed their statements, proposals, and positions on a dozen education policy issues, from school choice to school safety. Some material is drawn from their 2016 presidential campaigns, some from before they began their current quests for the White House.

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Academic Standards
Candidate Background
College Access
Early-Childhood Education
Every Student Succeeds Act
School Choice
School Construction
School Safety & Climate
School Spending
Teacher Quality
U.S. Department of Education

Candidate Background

  • U.S. secretary of state, 2009 to 2013
  • U.S. senator, New York, 2001 to 2009
  • First lady of the U.S., 1993 to 2001
  • First lady of Arkansas, 1979 to 1981; 1983 to 1992
  • Chairman and president of the Trump Organization, which oversees investments in hotels, resorts, golf courses, merchandise, and other business ventures
  • Author and co-author of several books, including The Art of the Deal and The America We Deserve
  • Appeared on and produced “The Apprentice” reality-TV show

Reporting: Alyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa | Design & Visualization: Sumi Bannerjee

An alternate version of this story appeared as “K-12 Issues: Where the Candidates Stand” in the July 20, 2016, edition of Education Week.

Vol. 35, Issue 36
Published in Print: July 20, 2016, as K-12 Issues: Where the Candidates Stand


This is a reblog from: http://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/president-candidates-trump-clinton-education.html?cmp=eml-eb-popweek+07222016


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YA books about immigration

One of the many benefits of reading young adult literature is that it helps build empathy in our youth.  Here are a list of books that describe the experience of young people moving to the U.S. because of war, drought, or jobs and the struggles they undergo as they transition to their new life.

Shooting Kabul – Afghanistan American
Esperenza Rising – Mexican American
Inside Out and Back Again – Vietnamese American
The Hundred Dresses – Polish American

Inside Out and Back Again





Do you want to know what research says about a hot topic in education? The National Education Policy Center provides policy briefs that summarize the existing research. They are free and open to the public. Go to their website when you want to know what is going on in education –without all of the hype and spin.

Here is the website:


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Gender and Literacy: Using a Feminist Lens to Promote Multiple Literacies and Advance Teacher Expertise

In the last three decades, a call of alarm has sounded claiming a boy crisis in literacy education. PISA & NAEP scores show a gender gap in literacy across grade-levels and across countries. We see girls outperforming boys in reading tests study after study. However, mean test scores only tell us part of the story. There is more disparity within each gender than there is between the genders. There are more boys at the bottom of the test score distribution but there are also more boys in the top (Cole, 1997).

If we really want to know if there is a crisis in literacy education, then we need to look at more than test scores. Contemporary research has looked at economic and social outcomes based on gender. Fleming (2000) reported that wage gaps between men and women persist, poverty continues to disproportionately affect women and children, domestic and sexual assault leaves women as victims more often, and gender bias and stereotypes are rampant in and out of classrooms.

Although research has examined gender-related inequities in and out of school (notably Sadker, Sadker & Zittleman, 2009), less research explores the current school experiences of girls and the role that school plays in helping all gender identities disrupt inequitable systems. This NCTE symposium attempts to address that gap by exploring various aspects of literacy through a feminist theory lens. Feminist theory is dedicated to examining issues of equality and dismantling sexism as well as other forms of oppression.

Amy Vetter will begin our symposium with Exploring Girlhood: The Literacy Experiences of One Girl in a Young Writers’ Camp. Dr. Vetter’s study explores how Addison, a high school girl in a young writers’ camp outside of school constructed and enacted writer identities.

I will follow with Dialogism: Feminist Revision of Argumentative Writing Instruction, in which I explore how feminist pedagogy can inform the instruction of writing aligned to the ELA CCSS for 9th-12th.

The third presentation by Tara Anderson is Deconstructing Gender Binaries With YA Literature will describe the value of literature that goes beyond the “LG” in “LGBTQIA” and with specific strategies for guiding students through critical conversations about gender.

Our fourth presenter, Brooke Langston-Demott will discuss her study (Critical Literacy: Challenging Traditional Gender Positions) focused on instruction dedicated to examining gender issues through literature in a fifth grade class.

We will end by inviting you to enter the conversation and share what educators can do to change the current gender inequities that exist in and out of classrooms. Not able to come? Join our conversation on Twitter #FeministPedagogy

NCTE Convention    |          Nov. 21 @4:15     |               Room M100E

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Four ways parents can promote global awareness without leaving the country

 Our local communities are becoming more diverse at the same time as our world is becoming more interconnected. In 2013, international immigration to the US reached an all time high of 41.3 million immigrants. International migration to the US in the past has been mostly European countries with similar cultural backgrounds as mainstream US: white, Christian, Western values. But immigration today is mostly from Latin America and Asia, creating more diversity of cultures in the US. Globally, information and communication technologies are becoming more widely accessible with 7.2 Internet users worldwide, also an all time high. These technologies allow for instantaneous exchange of information across the globe.

Preparing our children to live and work in a globally connected society requires intentionally promoting global awareness.  International travel is a great way to increase our children’s global awareness, but there are other ways. Parents can promote global awareness at home in four ways.

1. Appreciate Difference – Global awareness begins with an appreciation of differences. When something is different, teach your children to respond with curiosity instead of disgust. You can say to your children, “It’s not weird, it’s different.” Or “It’s not scary, it’s different.” Or “It’s not wrong, it’s different.” Teach them that different does not mean that it is wrong.

2. Read Widely – Providing your child with maps of other countries is a first step, but even better is providing your child with books that feature children from diverse cultures. Better yet is to provide your child with books that feature multiple perspectives within a culture, giving your child exposure to different ways of thinking and provides opportunities to talk about appreciation of differences. Some books that I recommend by age are:

Birth – 3: To Be a Kid; Global Babies; Bilingual board books

4-6: Our Global Community: What is a Community; National Geographic Kids Beginners’ World Atlas; Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain; Bilingual picture books; Planting the Trees of Kenya; Hi, Koo; Anasi the Spider; 

8-12: Who was Frida Kahlo; Who was Gandhi; Who was Nelson Mandela; Esperenza Rising; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon; The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book; The Usborne Book of World History; The Usborne Book of Famous Women; Long Walk to Freedom picture book; Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace; Inside Out and Back Again; The Ancient Maya (True Books)

13-15:  House on Mango Street; I Am Malala (CD and jr. version available); The Little Prince; Beka Lamb; Persepolis; The Book Thief; A Long Walk to Water; Shabanu

16-19: Nectar in a Sieve; The Art of War; A Thousand Splendid Suns; Guns, Steel, and Germs; Joy Luck Club

3. Go to Cultural Events – Find events in your community that celebrate different cultures. My community features many different festivals, such as the Greek Festival, Chinese New Year, and Festival of Lights. It is important to go to events outside of your own culture so that your children can experience being in the minority. You want your children to get outside of their comfort zone, and to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

4. Be Intentional About Friendships – Where you live, where you worship, where you socialize, where your children go to school, these are all decisions that you make for your family that will serve as the places where your children will make friends. If you want your child to have meaningful relationships with people from diverse backgrounds, then you have to have these relationships yourself. It’s not enough to take your child to places with diversity, you have to cultivate friendships by inviting people to your home or planning play dates. You need to make an effort to get to know people from other countries so that authentic friendships can form.

Promoting respect for others is something parents are probably doing anyway. Being intentional to promote respect for other countries while encouraging a healthy level of patriotism is the challenge for parents who want their child to be able to collaborate cross-culturally and to participate in solving global issues. Global awareness broadens their horizons and opens up a world of opportunity.

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Is there a boy crisis in education?

In the last three decades, a call of alarm has sounded claiming a boy crisis in education (cf. Dutro, 2002; Watson, Kehler, & Martino, 2010).  This “war against boys,” as popular press author Hoff-Sommers terms it, is rooted in the war of the sexes. While there are test scores to back Hoff-Sommers’s points, the research is taken out of context. I want to specifically examine sex differences in literacy to prove that there is not a boy crisis and to sound a call to action to stop the war of the sexes in education.

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA; OECD, 2013) and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 2011, 2014) are two of the biggest assessments in education and both tests show a gender gap in literacy across grade-levels and across countries. We see girls outperforming boys in reading tests in research study after research study (Robinson & Lubienski, 2011). However, there is more disparity within each gender than there is between the genders. That means that being a girl does not mean that you will be a good reader any more than being a boy means that you will be a poor reader. Also, there are also research studies that show no difference in boys’ and girls’ reading scores. This means that reading ability is not innate; it is not genetic (Clinton et al., 2012; Watson, Kehler, & Martino, 2010). Something else may be going on.

I believe this something else is gender stereotyping, reading as related to their socially constructed gender identities (Clinton et al., 2012; McGeown, 2015). Boys are supposed to be active and rambunctious. Girls are supposed to be quiet and reserved.  Since reading is a quiet activity, it is considered feminine. But we now have girls’ roller derby and women in the Citadel, so we know that some girls are active and competitive and some are quiet and reserved. However, our ideas of what it means to be a model woman or a model man haven’t evolved as quickly. Go down any toy store aisle and you will see our society’s traditional stereotypes of the sexes still alive and well. These stereotypes do not serve our boys well when it comes to literacy learning.

Literacy researchers have suggested that literacy learning is complex (Peterson, 2006). This complexity is illustrated through the important role that literacy plays in the development of individual and social identities (Watson, Kehler, & Martino, 2010). What one reads and how one reads impacts one’s sense of self. In a similar way, whether one chooses to read and what one chooses to read are expressions of one’s identity. More specifically, Goldberg and Roswell (2002) asserted, “When reading and writing, children are operating out of gender identities, and they are also using the occasion of reading or writing to construct or negotiate those identities in some way” (p. 7). Thus, recent work that has centered on the development of basic literacy skills may not adequately address critical social factors that would enhance boys’ literacy development.

Test scores only tell us part of the story. There are more boys at the bottom of the test score distribution but there are also more boys in the top (Cole, 1997). If we really want to know if schools are shortchanging boys, then we need to look at the economic and social outcomes of schooling as well (Weaver-Hightower, 2003). As described above, gender stereotypes may serve our girls well in school, but they do not serve them well after school. Women still do not make as much as men for the same work.

In all, the vast majority of boys and girls are succeeding well-enough in school to move on to fulfilling lives because there is no innate difference in boys’ and girls’ abilities to read, write, or perform any other school task.  This is not to say that all boys and all girls do succeed. Unfortunately, low income, urban African-American male students disproportionately fall behind their peers in a number of statistics (see Thomas & Stevenson, 2009 for a full discussion, see Wiseman et al., 2014 for a discussion related to literacy).

One of the solutions to boys’ underachievement is the responsibility of all of us, whether we are teachers, parents, neighbors, employers, coaches, or friends. We must stop the pitting of the sexes against each other. If we stop looking at gender as binary, or dualistic, then we can see that we all possess both feminine traits and masculine traits along a continuum.  And if we all possess them, then maybe they aren’t masculine or feminine but just human traits after all. Boys need to see both men and women role models that value reading as do girls.  The WNBA/NBA Read to Achieve Program is one such program that brings role models into the classroom to read with students. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to be a reading role model though. Everyone can model for children that reading is valuable and worth the time and effort it takes to read.


Clinton, V., Seipel, B., Broek, P., McMaster, K. L., Kendeou, P., Carlson, S. E., & Rapp, D. N. (2012). Gender differences in inference generation by fourth-grade students. Journal of Research in Reading, 37(4), 356-374.

Cole, N. S. (1997). The ETS gender study: How females and males perform in educational settings. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

Dutro, E. (2002). “Us boys like to read football and boy stuff”: Reading masculinities, performing boyhood. Journal of Literacy Research, 34(4), 465-500.

Hoff-Sommers, C. (2000). The war against boys: How misguided feminism is hurting our young men. New York: Simon and Schuster.

National Assessment of Educational Progress. (2014). Nation’s report card 2013. Retrieved from http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_g12_2013/#/changes-in-gaps

OECD. 2013. PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do – Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science. Paris: OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264201118-en.

Peterson, S. (2006). Influence of gender on writing development. In C. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald, (Eds.), Handbook of writing research (311323). New York: Guilford.

Robinson, J. P. & Lubienski, S. T. (2011). The development of gender achievement gaps in mathematics and reading during elementary and middle school: Examining direct cognitive assessments and teacher ratings. American Educational Research Journal, 48, 268-302.

Thomas, D. E. & Stevenson, H. (2009). Gender risks and education: The particular classroom challenges for urban low-income African American boys. Review of Research in Education, 33(1), 160-180.

Watson, A., Kehler, M., & Martino, W. (2010). The problem of boys’ literacy underachievement: Raising some questions. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(5), 356361.

Weaver-Hightower, M. (2003). The “Boy Turn” in Research on Gender and Education. Review of Educational Research, 73 (4), 471-498.

Wiseman, A. et al. (2014). UNC Scandal & Literacy Levels: Racism, Relationships and Reading Instruction [blog]. Scholar’s Corner. Retrieved from http://www.publicschoolsfirstnc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/UNC-Scandal-Response.pdf

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Global Experiential Learning for Teachers

Global-readiness includes the literacies, competencies, and dispositions students need in order to work, live, and interact effectively and peacefully with anyone in the world from anywhere in the world. We must train our teachers on teaching for global-readiness in order to prepare the entire generation in school for global-readiness and global leadership.

Many  articles and books have been published about internationalizing education beginning in the 1990s  (e.g. Altbach,1997; Cavusgil, 1993; De Wit, 2002; Engberg & Green, 2002; Green & Olson, 2003;Hayward, 2000; Klasek, 1992; J. Knight, 1994; Lambert, 1989; McCarthy, 1998; Mestenhauser & Ellingboe, 1998; Powar, 2002; Scherer, Beaton, Ainina, & Meyer, 2000;Scott, 1998; Siaya & Hayward, 2003).

To prepare global-ready teachers, Yuen (2010) suggests internationalizing teacher education by infusing global experiences that teachers can then share with students. This perspective has been applied to in-service teachers in the research as well. The research on internationalizing pre-service and in-service teacher educBelize - Calla Creek School collageation shows promise for promoting global-ready teaching. 4 the World offers cross-cultural experiential learning for pre-service and in-service teachers during fall, spring, and summer breaks.

To learn more, visit http://www.4theworld.org/excursions.html .

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You were accepted into a PhD program in education, now what?

The summer before I started my PhD program in education, I was eager to start reading, so I logged into my university’s website everyday to see if professors had uploaded book lists. One of my professors required us to read They Say, I Say, not as part of our course content but in order to learn to write like an academic. I’m so thankful I read it, and I wanted to share with you some other books that I discovered later in my program that I wished I would have read right away.

On Academic Writing:

About Research:

Add books that you found helpful in the comments. And, good luck!

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What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?

By Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein | January 28, 2013 | Originally published on epi.org

Because social class inequality is greater in the United States than in any of the countries with which we can reasonably be compared, the relative performance of U.S. adolescents is better than it appears when countries’ national average performance is conventionally compared.

  • Because in every country, students at the bottom of the social class distribution perform worse than students higher in that distribution, U.S. average performance appears to be relatively low partly because we have so many more test takers from the bottom of the social class distribution.
  • A sampling error in the U.S. administration of the most recent international (PISA) test resulted in students from the most disadvantaged schools being over-represented in the overall U.S. test-taker sample. This error further depressed the reported average U.S. test score.
  • If U.S. adolescents had a social class distribution that was similar to the distribution in countries to which the United States is frequently compared, average reading scores in the United States would be higher than average reading scores in the similar post-industrial countries we examined (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), and average math scores in the United States would be about the same as average math scores in similar post-industrial countries.
  • A re-estimated U.S. average PISA score that adjusted for a student population in the United States that is more disadvantaged than populations in otherwise similar post-industrial countries, and for the over-sampling of students from the most-disadvantaged schools in a recent U.S. international assessment sample, finds that the U.S. average score in both reading and mathematics would be higher than official reports indicate (in the case of mathematics, substantially higher).
  • This re-estimate would also improve the U.S. place in the international ranking of all OECD countries, bringing the U.S. average score to sixth in reading and 13th in math. Conventional ranking reports based on PISA, which make no adjustments for social class composition or for sampling errors, and which rank countries irrespective of whether score differences are large enough to be meaningful, report that the U.S. average score is 14th in reading and 25th in math.
  • Disadvantaged and lower-middle-class U.S. students perform better (and in most cases, substantially better) than comparable students in similar post-industrial countries in reading. In math, disadvantaged and lower-middle-class U.S. students perform about the same as comparable students in similar post-industrial countries.
  • At all points in the social class distribution, U.S. students perform worse, and in many cases substantially worse, than students in a group of top-scoring countries (Canada, Finland, and Korea). Although controlling for social class distribution would narrow the difference in average scores between these countries and the United States, it would not eliminate it.
  • U.S. students from disadvantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the three similar post-industrial countries than advantaged U.S. students perform relative to their social class peers. But U.S. students from advantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the top-scoring countries of Finland and Canada than disadvantaged U.S. students perform relative to their social class peers.
  • On average, and for almost every social class group, U.S. students do relatively better in reading than in math, compared to students in both the top-scoring and the similar post-industrial countries.

Because not only educational effectiveness but also countries’ social class composition changes over time, comparisons of test score trends over time by social class group provide more useful information to policymakers than comparisons of total average test scores at one point in time or even of changes in total average test scores over time.

  • The performance of the lowest social class U.S. students has been improving over time, while the performance of such students in both top-scoring and similar post-industrial countries has been falling.
  • Over time, in some middle and advantaged social class groups where U.S. performance has not improved, comparable social class groups in some top-scoring and similar post-industrial countries have had declines in performance.

Performance levels and trends in Germany are an exception to the trends just described. Average math scores in Germany would still be higher than average U.S. math scores, even after standardizing for a similar social class distribution. Although the performance of disadvantaged students in the two countries is about the same, lower-middle-class students in Germany perform substantially better than comparable social class U.S. students. Over time, scores of German adolescents from all social class groups have been improving, and at a faster rate than U.S. improvement, even for social class groups and subjects where U.S. performance has also been improving. But the causes of German improvement (concentrated among immigrants and perhaps also attributable to East and West German integration) may be idiosyncratic, and without lessons for other countries or predictive of the future. Whether German rates of improvement can be sustained to the point where that country’s scores by social class group uniformly exceed those of the United States remains to be seen. As of 2009, this was not the case.

Great policy attention in recent years has been focused on the high average performance of adolescents in Finland. This attention may be justified, because both math and reading scores in Finland are higher for every social class group than in the United States. However, Finland’s scores have been falling for the most disadvantaged students while U.S. scores have been improving for similar social class students. This should lead to greater caution in applying presumed lessons from Finland. At first glance, it may seem that the decline in scores of disadvantaged students in Finland results in part from a recent influx of lower-class immigrants. However, average scores for allsocial class groups have been falling in Finland, and the gap in scores between Finland and the United States has narrowed in each social class group. Further, during the same period in which scores for the lowest social class group have declined, the share of all Finnish students in this group has also declined, which should have made the national challenge of educating the lowest social class students more manageable, so immigration is unlikely to provide much of the explanation for declining performance.

Source: http://www.epi.org/publication/us-student-performance-testing/