education

OEA

We can't seem to go a week without some news about standardized testing.

It's the accepted way to measure the progress of students. 

But when student progress is extrapolated to measure teacher quality, that's when the National Education Association and its state affiliates get their backs up. 

The national Representative Assembly this week includes Oregon Education Association President Hanna Vaandering. 

Nebraska's legislature ended the death penalty in the state three weeks ago, touching off another debate about the use and value of executing criminals. 

We want to know what you think about the subject, and about another subject: letting parents excuse their children from taking the standardized "smarter balanced" tests in school. 

Our weekly VENTSday segment puts listeners front and center.

We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics. Topics range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome.

sou.edu

There's only so much anyone can learn in a classroom.  Learning about things like the environment get a lot easier IN the environment. 

That's the basic premise of the Fall in the Field program offered by Southern Oregon University. 

Graduate students in environmental education set up courses for kids in the 4th grade and up at several locations around the region. 

Wikimedia

Oregon and California are both brimming with natural wonders.  And kids do learn about the many natural features in school, but often in classrooms. 

Outdoor School For All wants to fling open the classroom doors in Oregon, so students get education ABOUT the outdoors IN the outdoors. 

The movement got bills introduced in both houses of the Oregon legislature to provide a week of outdoor education or its equivalent for all fifth and sixth graders. 

Twisting The "Short Bus" Into A Positive

Apr 16, 2015
Wikimedia

Jonathan Mooney took a derogatory term and turned it on its head.

He rode "the short bus" to school once he was diagnosed with learning disabilities and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (LD/ADHD).

After his graduation from an Ivy League university, he took a real short bus on the road, meeting people who defied the constraints of "normal."

Mooney is part of a conference on "reframing" LD/ADHD next week in Medford.

Teachers And Technology At Ed Tech Summit

Apr 15, 2015
Almonroth/Wikimedia Commons

In theory, the process of learning is usually the same: teachers teach, and students learn. 

But then throw technology into the mix, and all bets are off, especially in a world where so many people carry powerful computers in their hands. 

The Ed Tech Summit this week (Friday, April 17th) at Southern Oregon University brings educators and gadgets together, so the former can get up to speed on the latter. 

Missing Out On Quality Preschool

Apr 9, 2015
Wikimedia

The federal Department of Education and the White House are big on "high-quality preschool"... pre-kindergarten programs that get kids ready for school.

And a recent DOE report shows that many American students are not enrolled in such programs.

The percentages are even higher in California and Oregon.

Celebrating Early College Programs

Mar 16, 2015
Wikimedia

The determined high school student can leave high school with a diploma in one hand, and college credits in the other. 

Early college programs abound, and in fact are celebrated during Early College Week, next week (March 22-28). 

Rogue Community College is one of the many institutions that offers early college. 

Wikipedia Commons

Education has come a long way in this country. 

We're very far from the days of memorization and rote learning... but also far from satisfying ourselves that we're doing a good job teaching our kids, and students of all ages.

Now throw "competency-based learning" into the mix.  It further de-emphasizes the connection between student and classroom seat, and--in theory--lets students learn at their own rate. 

Southern Oregon University's Innovation and Leadership program is competency-based; it gives older students credit for what they've learned in life, though outside the classroom. 

Making A Case For More School Money In Oregon

Jan 20, 2015
promiseoregon.org

Oregon's state government income is rising so fast, taxpayers might get refund checks under the state's "kicker" law this year. 

But education advocates want to see some of the increased revenue going to schools, to reduce class sizes and make other improvements. 

The Oregon School Boards Association--OSBA--demonstrates school successes with its "Promise of Oregon" campaign. 

Structural Changes For Medford Schools

Jan 16, 2015
Wikimedia

The Medford School District hired a new boss last year with an eye to making changes. 

Now Superintendent Brian Shumate proposes big ones. 

Shumate wants to change the organization at the top of the school district, and the school board just voted to back him in the restructuring. 

Collaborating On Early Learning In Medford

Dec 23, 2014
Wikimedia

The formula is well-known, but not always easily applied: strengthen families, and you strengthen children as students. 

This is the basic premise of the West Medford Early Learning Collaborative, which includes a number of organizations in the neighborhood of Medford's Jackson Elementary School. 

An Oregon Community Foundation grant helped the collaborative get started. 

Ideas To Paper: Studio To School

Oct 30, 2014
Wikimedia

A teacher can stand in front of a class and teach writing, but some students can use a little extra help in visualizing story construction. 

Enter the Studio to School Project, in place in just a few Oregon school districts, courtesy of grants from the Oregon Community Foundation

The students at Lorna Byrne Middle School in Cave Junction are among the lucky participants. 

They spent this week in a murder mystery involving their teacher. 

Reading To Open Up A "World Of Possible"

Oct 30, 2014
Michael Clapp/OPB

A lot of us grew up reading "The Weekly Reader" and similar publications in elementary school. 

And the company that brought us that and more is still in the game, encouraging young people to read. 

Scholastic is the company, and the creator of the initiative "Open a World of Possible." 

Going Back To Class And "Getting Schooled"

Oct 9, 2014
MacMillan Publishers

Like the rest of us, Garret Keizer heard plenty about the problems of American public schools. 

His interest may have been a bit more acute, given his background as a teacher. 

In his book Getting Schooled: The Reeducation of an American Teacher, Keizer tells the story of going back to the Vermont high school where he once taught, to see for himself the changes in that school and education in general. 

Bringing The "Imagination Library" To Kids

Sep 29, 2014
Wikimedia

A few simple steps early in life can make a big difference in a child's eventual success. 

Like reading: getting kids interested in reading while they're very young pays dividends in educational performance throughout their lives. 

The Eugene Public Library just started up its own version of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

It not only encourages reading, it gives out free books. 

Language Immersion Arrives in Central Point

Sep 16, 2014
Eric E. Johnson/Flickr

"Immersion" programs in schools do not involve throwing students in actual water. 

But they do end up in a pool of students who speak either English or another language, and the class is taught in both languages. 

Language immersion programs are fairly common, but brand new in the Central Point school district. 

Jewett Elementary is home to a first-grade class taught primarily in Spanish, with a mix of English- and Spanish-speaking children. 

Teaching The Students Who Don't Show Up

Sep 11, 2014
Wikimedia

The endless discussions of how to make better schools, and therefore better students, focus largely on what happens within the school walls. 

And that could present a particular problem for Oregon, since many of its students are frequently not there. 

Nationwide studies of school attendance show Oregon among the worst in absenteeism... kids miss a lot of school. 

The pro-attendance group Attendance Works keeps an eye on the situation, which comes down to a clear formula: less school=less achievement in reading and math. 

iPads In Kindergarten In Eagle Point

Aug 28, 2014
Wikimedia

Welcome to kindergarten, kid; here's your iPad. 

We suspect the wording will be somewhat different, but that is the essence of what will happen this year in the Eagle Point School District. 

The district is moving to full-day kindergarten when classes start next week. 

And all 300 or so kindergartners will have regular access to iPads and similar devices as part of the learning process. 

There IS A Free Lunch, For G.P. Schools

Aug 13, 2014
USDA/Public Domain

The story of schools in our times is that many of them have to do without SOMETHING because of budget cuts. 

But no student in Grants Pass schools will have to go without lunch in the coming school year. 

The Grants Pass district just announced free meals for all students this year. 

Pages