One of the biggest challenges being back in the classroom is not getting a full picture or the context for the instructional changes I am asked to make. Often, by the time the message has made it all the way back to my school, it has been modified, simplified and—regretfully in some situations—completed altered. Consequently, new initiatives feels disjointed, obligatory and poorly connected to other tasks and efforts. This is why it is helpful to find primary source material to more fully understand why we are being asked to do the things we are asked to do.
Listed below are three videos that are worth taking a look at. The first is of David Coleman, one of the architects of the Common Core and now the president of the College Board, explaining changes to the SAT. The second is of Dale Erquiaga, Chief Strategy Officer for Nevada and member of Chiefs for Change and the last is of Dr. Donald Bear, the Director of the Duffelmeyer Reading Improvement Clinic, describing the value of Word Study. Taken together, they help contextualize the policy and pedagogy we are asked to implement in our classrooms.
Dale Erquiaga: Former Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga reviews the legislation that was passed in the 2015 legislative session and expands on what informed each initiative. Viewers will have a much better feel for the coming changes including Read by Grade 3, new funding formulas, and anticipated work in 2017. Full video here.
David Coleman: “Assessment without opportunity is dead.” This is how Coleman begins his speech at the 2015 Schools for Tomorrow Conference. Coleman highlights how more than 50% of students in the bottom quartile of income and scoring in the top 10% on the SAT, will not apply for a highly selective university. Coleman sees this as building a “wall” of inequality and reforming SAT and providing equitable test preparation is part of the solution. You can watch the full video here.
Dr. Donald Bear: Although a lot of educators are being asked to implement Word Study or are being asked to extinguish the use of traditional spelling protocols, few understand why. Dr. Donald Bear provides the research and relevant activities to promote, vocabulary, phonics, and spelling through the use of Word Study.
It is worth noting that all of these videos can be accessed for free. This is especially important as educators continue to transition from traditional modalities of profession development to something more aligned to the 21st Century.