Author Archive

What We’re Reading: Artist Shares the Spotlight with School-to-Prison Pipeline

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What We're Reading
The education world is facing an equity crisis. Students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners (to name a few) remain underserved by our current system. While many fight for solutions, gaps in our collective knowledge and understanding of the complexities around educational inequity linger.

Each month, the Rodel team will share some thoughts on a book, essay, article, or video related to equity in education with the hope that we will challenge both ourselves and others to think more inclusively about education reform.

 

 

What I’m Reading Watching: Notes from the Field, a one-woman show by Anna Deavere Smith

 

In developing Notes from the Field, Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominee Anna Deavere Smith interviewed more than 200 people living and working within the fields of education and criminal justice, including parents, students, educators, journalists, elected officials, prison inmates, academics, and activists. The resulting one-woman show explores the development and continuation of the school-to-prison pipeline in America’s public schools as well as themes of race and class disparity in America more broadly. The production is engaging, and Smith’s command of the stage is incredible as she takes on such a spectrum of voices, bringing visibility to populations and stories that need to be told and recognized more often.

 

Of all the perspectives Smith shares in Notes from the Field the ones that stood out the most to me were those of students. Whether the students were caught up in the criminal justice system in the blink of an eye or over the course of many years of “bad behavior” and “warning signs,” the stories they told illustrated a harsh and unforgiving disciplinary system which often has little regard for child development and has historically had a disproportionate impact within low-income and minority communities. As Judge Abby Abinanti, the chief judge of the Yurok tribe and one of Smith’s “characters” in the production discussed, “You cannot deal with children if you don’t have a sense of kindness and respect and if you don’t like them, and if you don’t have systems that like them and respect them… If [a student] does something wrong, then [he or she] needs to come closer, not be pushed away.” Notes from the Field is a challenge to all of us who work with or on behalf of children to advocate for an overhaul of how we approach discipline and consequences in classrooms—and police stations—across the country.

Can Personalized Learning Defray the Cost of Special Education?

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Investing in Education
It’s not just kids, parents, and teachers who feel the impact of our public schools. If you’re a citizen of Delaware, then you are—in one way or another—affected by our state’s education system. Check back regularly as we take a closer look at how When Students Succeed, We All Win.

 

Special education costs nearly twice as much as regular classroom education, but early intervention can decrease special education costs by 40 percent. Scrapping the one-size-fits-all education system we have today and replacing it with an individualized approach may be just what’s needed to meet every students’ needs and maximize student success.

Special education aims to meet students’ individual needs.

 

In a personalized learning setting, students—including those with disabilities—receive a customized learning experience, can learn at their own pace, and in alignment with their interests, needs, and skills.

 

According to the National Council for Learning and Disabilities, personalized learning offers a way for students with disabilities to get more student-centered attention. They offer five benefits of personalized learning for special education:

 

  1. Increases student engagement and achievement
  2. Encourages a growth mindset
  3. Builds decision-making and self-advocacy skills
  4. Reduces the stigma of special education
  5. Gives students who think differently multiple ways to show what they have learned

 

Resources to learn more:

How Dropping Out Leads to Lost Economic Potential

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Investing in Education
It’s not just kids, parents, and teachers who feel the impact of our public schools. If you’re a citizen of Delaware, then you are—in one way or another—affected by our state’s education system. Check back regularly as we take a closer look at how When Students Succeed, We All Win.

 

The lost economic potential of high school dropouts is no joke for Delaware’s economy.

Typically, high school dropouts earn $8,000 less annually, compared to high school graduates. In Delaware, high school dropouts are twice as likely as high school graduates and six times as likely as college graduates to live in poverty.

Why are students dropping out?

In a national study published by Clemson University’s National Dropout Prevention Center, students cite the following as some of the most common reasons why they drop out of high school:

  • Missed too many school days (43.5%)
  • Was getting poor grades/failing school (38%)
  • Did not like school (36.6%)
  • Could not keep up with schoolwork (32.1%)
  • Did not feel belonged there (19.9%)

 

How Personalized Learning Can Help

 

  • A personalized setting seeks to prevent these types of issues by addressing the underlying causes of student disengagement and preventing academic gaps from occurring in the first place. Students become the center of the learning environment, and students and teachers work together towards students’ learning goals.

 

  • Addressing students’ individual needs and building on students’ strengths and interests boosts student engagement. This helps prevent absenteeism and increases feelings of belonging and investment in school—ultimately putting students in the driver’s seat.

 

Resources to learn more:

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