39 Comments

  1. I would like to make comments on NCLB and education reform. I’m looking to contact Secretary Arne Duncan about Title 1 and reform. I also would like to see the tour dates and locations so I can have my group there.

  2. All I want to know is where Arne Duncan WILL be going on his Listening and Learning Tour. All I can find is where he has been. I live in Pflugerville, Texas. Is he coming to the library over here? :-)

  3. I have considered it an honor, and responsibility to give back to the teaching profesion by becoming a supervisor of student teaching at a state universities in NJ since retiring seven years ago. Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to find placement for student teachers. It seems to mean that school systems have an obligation to partner with the colleges to help prepare the prospective teachers since student teaching is a requirement and a vital part of training. The state of NJ dosen’t want to get involved. Two questions: Are we the only district having these problems? 2. Is there any way the government can get involved, perhaps with providing funding to correct this situation.

    Arlene

  4. Why is there so much public money spent on programs in the area of special education and programs for persons with disabilities. These programs have no impact and the populations they are supposing to be helping. These programs need to be eliminated or revamped to actually help not just provide numbers. Programs that have duplicative services are a waste of money and other resources.

  5. Please be aware of what is going on in Texas. Check the Texas Freedom Network site which is bipartisan and supports religious freedom (many members are churches) desparately fighting to defeat teaching creationism in the public school science classes, teaching Bible in the public schools, and wanting to eliminate mentioning Cesear Chavez etc in the Social Studies curriculums. We taxpayers in Texas are paying Creasionist consultants, etc. It is unreal! TFN has a website and was founded by the late Govenor Ann Richard’s daughter. It is unreal what is going on. The Texas Education Agency is totally radical. Many here are working hard to defeat the radical members of the TEA Board and we have some good candidates, so wait to give money until after the election in 2010. So many are so dismayed–we just may do it!

  6. I visited the site to look for links to the advertisements I have seen all over the web about “Obama wanting mothers to go back to school”. I am now a displaced worker, just laid off from my 24year career at a telecom firm for cut-backs and I was looking for what all the sellers who have contacted me could not tell me. What funding is available related to the stimulus act for aged workers to return to school and get their degrees. I find a great deal of information on grants available, only one related to displaced or unemployed workers and nothing particular.

    Have to keep looking I guess; had only 1 hour to look today and didn’t find much.

    I agree with other comments that Obama’s WEB site is easy to follow and a Best Practices model you should refer to.

  7. I am really disappointed in the President and his dept. of education. I expected positive changes and things SEEM TO BE GETTING WORSE IN THIS FIELD… Many teachers have left the profession and have no desire to teach a full inclusion class with students yelling out, diaper changing, finding work on first grade level and you TEACH 8th grade.

    This is ridiculous and you wonder why we can not compete with Asian countries.

    Some students are assigned full inclusion to receive social skills! Well, the classroom is for educating not socializing.

    The resources classes they were filtering in served that purpose. If your in a class with 30 students and the special education student is required to use the computer due to his/her I.E.P for writting purpose is this fair to the rest of the students that they are unsble to research.

    Researching in groups is the answer! So, some say (administrator and special ed building rep) spilt up and work with that student? Okay now his/her plan says can not work with others needs individual computer and can become disruptive with loud outburst. Plus this student can not read and just actually on first grade level. Not exaggerating providing examples that many teachers have endured.

    Others have had to watch students walk to another class and then have the office call and disrupt teaching asking did this student make it there. You am trying to teach other students in a structured format to comprehend the material. The office keeps calling and wants you to send a student to look. The student arrives loud and is having an off day. Does that mean your child looses 20 minutes of instruction while assistance is called for this student. Happens all the time in many school districts in America.

    When can teachers teach students who are attending school to learn and be productive citizens. Its unfair to students who have ambition and goals to achieve to be constantly distracted and be made to feel like they don’t matter.If a special needs student can not be accomodated should the fieldtrip be canceled. Do average students have rights too?

    While accomodating special needs are you violating the rights of others?

    Why should a teacher have to devote time creating a prek- 3rd level to one student and they are teaching grades 8-12. That is valuable planning time a teaching can spend creating advanced lessons. If the teacher wanted to teach elementary would they not teach in an elementary school. It seems like we have allowed special education to have full reign in our schools and it basically has led us to self destruction.

    When schools are pentalized in testing due to the special education not meeting AYP, you wonder the mentality of the decision makers. We have students who can barely remember the name of the teacher, testing.

    Who thought of this idea? How many countries look at our system and laugh? I wrote a few examples provided to me by other teachers who are just fed up with full inclusion having a negative impact in their school culture.

    WE HAVE A RESOURCE TEACHER WHO USED TO WORK WITH TEN STUDENTS BUT NOW ASSIGNED TO ONE SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENT. THIS TEACHER WALKS AROUND FOLLOWING A DOWN SYNDROME STUDENT OR OTHER STUDENTS ON PRE-K LEVEL. WHEREAS PRIOR THEY ASSISTED GROUPS OF STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM WHO MAY HAVE BEEN JUST A LITTLE BELOW AVERAGE. THESE STUDENTS USUALLY BY THE END OF YEAR MADE IT TO AVERAGE AND SOME EXCEEDED.

    NOW REALITY, THESE BORDERLINE STUDENTS STRUGGLE AND FEW ARE MAKING A LOT OF PROGRESS DUE TO LARGER CLASS SIZES AND MORE INFLUX OF INCLUSION STUDENTS. OFTEN THESE STUDENTS ARE UPSET THAT THIS RESOURCE TEACHER IS WALKING AROUND BABYSITTING INSTEAD OF WORKING WITH THEM.

    IS ANYONE MAKING AYP? TEACHERS ARE EXITING AND THIS IS VERY DISHEARTENING TO ME AS A TEACHER BY CHOICE. I LOVE MY PROFESSION AND HATE TO SEE WHAT IS CURRENTLY TAKING PLACE IN MANY SCHOOL SYSTEMS.

    THE AVERAGE STUDENT MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND SCHOOL EARLY OR REMAIN AFTER TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE. THE TEACHER MUST PROVIDE ASSISTANCE DURING THE DAY WHICH IS BASICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. BUT WHY SHOULD THEY WHEN THE PERSON WHO USED TO ASSIST IS IN THE ROOM AND BUSY BABYSITTING A STUDENT WHO HAS NO CLUE ON THE ASSIGNED LEVEL WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE ROOM.

    THE ANSWER IS FULL INCLUSION SO THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE IN A REGULAR CLASSROOM. WHAT ABOUT THE AVERAGE STUDENTS RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS AND THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE.

    NOW, WHAT ABOUT THE CLASSES WITH 10 BEHAVIORAL PLANS, TEN STUDENTS I.EP.’S AND TEN BEHAVIORIAL PLANS AND THEN FULL INCLUSION STUDENTS. THE RESOURCE TEACHER IS ASSIGNED TO FULL INCLUSION STUDENTS SO THAT REGULAR TEACHER HAS TO SERVICE ALL THOSE STUDENTS BY THEMSELVES. SO, IS THIS TEACHER PAID MORE TO WRITE ALL THESE DIFFERENT PLANS FOR EACH DAY. NO, THEY ARE CRITIZIED AND TOLD TO USE MORE TECHNOLOGY WITH THREE COMPUTERS AND FLEX GROUPING WITH ALL THE BEHAVIOR PLANS. SOME PLANS STATE WORKS BEST ALONE AND MANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS.

    NOW, I WANT TO KNOW WHY ARE WE CONFUSED WHY TEACHERS ARE LEAVING THE PROFESSION. THEN TEACHERS ARE TOLD YOU ARE REQUIRED TO BE HIGHLY QUALIFIED TO BE IN THIS ENVIRONMENT. IF YOU ARE A MATH OR SCIENCE TEACHER ARE YOU GOING TO STAY IN THIS ENVIRONMENT OR LEAVE FOR A SCIENCE POSITION STARTING AT 95,000.

    THERE HAS TO BE REAL CHANGE AND IT HAS TO START FROM THE TOP. WE ARE LOOSING GOOD TEACHERS WHO CAN TEACH WITH 20 YEARS OR MORE WHO HAVE SAID THEY ARE FED UP. SOME SAY GOOD BECAUSE NEW TEACHERS CAN BE TRAINED BUT BY WHO. I THINK ITS A FOOL WHO THINKS SEASONED TEACHERS HAVE NO VALUE. WHEN I FIRST STARTED TEACHING, I WAS ASSIGNED WITH SEASONED TEACHERS WHO MOLDED ME AS A PROFESSIONAL AND WHAT I LEARNED FROM THEM A COLLEGE DID NOT PROVIDE.

    A SEASONED TEACHER KNOWS THE STRATEGIES REQUIRED TO EFFECTIVELY MANAGE A CLASSROOM, TEACH WITHOUT A TEXT, IDENTIFY DIFFERENT STRATEGIES IN TEACHING BECAUSE EVERYTHING IN TEACHING IS RECYCLED WITH A NEW NAME. THE SAD PART IS SEASONED TEACHERS KNOW WHAT DOES NOT WORK AND DOES ANYONE LISTEN? NO, WE JUST KEEP ON PURCHASING TEACHING STARTEGIES, TEXTS ETC.AND THEN THROW IT OUT. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO COLLABORATIVE WORK WITH OUR TEACHERS AND DISCOVER WHAT WORKS?

    WOULD IT BE MORE ECONOMICALLY SMART TO ASK THE SEASONED TEACHERS HAVE YOU TRIED THIS PRIOR AND WHAT WOULD MAKE IT MORE EFFECTIVE THIS TIME. DO WE NOT LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES?

    WHEN SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASSES EXISTED WE HAD STUDENTS IN THE REGULAR CLASSROOM WHO EXCELLED AND MANY ARE IN COLLEGE TODAY?

    WILL WE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS SEE THE RESULTS OF MAKING EVERYONE EQUAL. THERE ARE PEOPLE AT ALL LEVELS SO WE NEED TO STOP MAKING EVERYONE HAPPY AND DO WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR AMERICA TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE.

  8. I visit this site to read new gov. changes under this sdministration so I will know what to expect and determine if I can endure four years. I look for grant opportunities to offset all the loss of funding recieved to my school district.

  9. I look for real answers to my violations and questions which happened nine years ago when I read a letter publicy at a local board of education meeting.I believe there has been positive changes but not enough.I desperately need answers and closer.

  10. I am a teacher in NJ. I have been offered a supervisory position. I hold 2 Masters degrees – one in Educational Administration and Supervision. The state will not grant me the certification I need and I cannot get anyone to re-evaluate the original evaluator’s results. I am supposedly entitled to a re-evaluation. Meanwhile, my job will go to someone else. I have many years of experience, my kids get great test scores, and I can really help raise the scores for the entire district, but the red tape is denying me the chance. Just venting my frustration!!!

  11. Adrienne,
    Your comments made my day. I completely agree with you. I wish I could say that we are being heard and our concerns will be considered, but I am doubtful that Secretary Duncan…or President Obama, for whom I voted…is making our concerns a priority of education reform. And it saddens me to say that.

  12. Los Angeles Times reported a few days ago that Arne Duncan is planning to withhold stimulus money for California schools unless teacher evaluations are based on test scores. I read today about Mr. Duncan’s five new team players. None are teachers.

    Mr. Duncan seems to be lacking in knowledge about classrooms and students in public schools. I am disappointed. I would like to invite Mr. Duncan to come to my classroom during testing. I teach special education. Students who have progressed from reading at fourth grade level to reading at sixth grade level have to take a discouragingly fat test at 11th grade level. They just guess, like they did last year on the tenth grade test. Am I to be evaluated on their performance on that test? It doesn’t test what they are learning. It’s like me being asked to show my reading comprehension skills by taking the bar exam.

    I also teach social studies: U.S. History, World History, American Government and Economics. It’s a three-year wheel for students in grades 10-12, but eleventh grade students have to take the U.S. History test, even if they studied American Government and Economics that year, just because they are in eleventh grade, as per NCLB. It’s ludricous; they haven’t had the course. They experienced a rigorous course, but their test is on different material.

    Who is evaluating the tests? Teachers have to sign that they will not discuss the tests with anyone. It’s a perfect set-up for test makers to market tests for hundreds of thousands of dollars and no one, not even school board members, know what is in these tests. (I served last term on a school board.)
    The world history test is based on standards in California that were written in 1998. The test is outdated. Educators in classrooms need to be evaluating these tests every year.

    I finished my master’s degree recently in special education, and in our course on testing we learned that test writers take out a question if too high a percentage of students get it right. They want to preserve the bell curve (although NCLB requires all students to be above average.) I have read test questions about material which my students know, but the question is written in such a way to confound the students. It is oblique to the degree that students miss the question, even if they know the material.

    We need accountability for tests, not just for students and teachers.

    Personally, I think we should leave it to good principals to decide if teachers are doing a good job, and quit wasting our precious time and money on all these standardized tests.

    Arne Duncan is leading us down the wrong road in education. His goal (and our goal) of quality education which educates all students is not to be found on the road he has chosen. Full spectrum education, with arts, music, career training, and all, is the road we need to be on. Teachers teaching to their strengths and using team work and creativity will get us there. Principals who are engaged will lead the way.

  13. I come to find key policy documents, new guidance, funding opportunities, publuic records of communications with my state and other states, audit reports, legislation, budget updates, allocations. This needs to be better maintained and more user friendly.

  14. I agree with Cheryl and Andy. Information is buried in too many different links. When I do my daily run through, I have to check the main page, the blog, the twitter page, the media page, the press releases, the stimulus page, etc, and none of them are linked together. Too many clicks! One central update page where all the latest information is posted would be extremely helpful.
    In particular, the information released on the Secretary’s schedule, upcoming events, webinars etc is very sparse and hard to find.

  15. I visit the website to find out more on special education teacher shortage and if teachers who want to teach special education can without long years of testings.

  16. Hello:
    I visit the website to find out the current information about policy and funding for our schools. I also visit the website to get information about starting programs inside and outside of the schools that will benefit middle school children. Last, I visit the website to find out how to apply for and implement the programs and initiatives that have been made available to help schools and students succeed. The information on the website is very vague. I have a Master’s degree in education and I want to spearhead or at least implement some of those programs, but I am not sure about the process. Currently, I am a reading specialist and I am working towards consulting, so reading programs are my first interest. However, I am also an advocate for math and science. I want to use my knowledge to get some of these programs up and running but how do I get involved?

  17. Interaction is probably the most important. Teachers and administrators have good ideas. State opinions are not necessarily representative of these ideas. States are often behind in innovation. So learn from those on the ground. You could put a new question every 2-4 weeks or so. Responses could help drive policy and funding – to say nothing of indea generation. Don’t forget to allow for student opinion, too – so why not a special site and questions for students?

  18. Many of the comments already listed are important, and a couple of other ideas:

    1. Ease – like whitehouse.gov and recovery.gov
    2. Videos of Duncan’s speeches along with the text
    3. A link of what has been updated
    4. Clarity of policy
    5. A transparency link for every state to show how they are using the ARRA education dollars … pressure them to be specific (like in Oregon and Washington) no vague responses with links back to your site … Model it after the Recovery.gov site but specific to EDUCATION!
    6. If we’re going to focus on improving the bottom 10% performing schools then name those schools … provide links so we can watch what is being done for each individual school … make the districts and state accountable for those schools and make their accountability transparent through your website.
    7. Direct links to schools that are being innovative and successful so we can learn from them.
    8. Create a Facebook link so we can opt to have website updates fed into our personal news feeds.

    Thank you for collecting input!

  19. As staff at the Texas Charter Schools Association, I visit ed.gov to gather more information on how federal policies will affect charter schools in our state. Information on the stimulus is quite confusing, we look to you to help explain! I enjoy the photos and video you keep updated, and frequently pass the links to our member schools.

  20. I come to ed.gov primarily to look for information on high school reform. Back in the Clinton Administration, ed.gov contained a section on New American High Schools. When the Bush Administration came in they soon took this site down. They often said the information on the site and the school-to-work site was archived and could be retrieved, but I was never able to do so. If the information is available, I’d like to see it returned to the ed.gov site–even if it has to be reached by clicking on an archive of materials. The site contained a wealth of information — including examples of reformed schools, videos of classrooms, and research. It would be great if you could find this material and make it available again. Thanks.

  21. I am looking for information about funding opportunities: what’s planned, background info on the various funding streams, and what’s open now. I find it increasingly difficult to locate the first two, which I used to find with ease. now I click and click and click, trying to find them. What is open now is relatively easy to find, but as a professional who looks ahead and researches background well in advance of announcements, I really need the forecasts of what is to come and an easy way to get the background info.

    also, I’d really like to be able get an email whenever a new ED RFP is released. Those were the days!

  22. I am looking for science, technology, and arts programs, publications and studies that provide information about how to help girls exceed in these areas. I am also looking for best practices for helping my children be successful in school.

  23. Amen, Andy! I am always looking for the latest OESE policy and guidance information and it’s way too tough to find. Maybe more programs of the department could do what the OIG does – you can join a list that alerts you when a new report is posted. I also HATE the “editor’s picks” – let me sort by date, or by type of document, but please don’t try to guess what I want. If I type in “waiver guidance” into the search engine, I’m looking for waiver guidance, duh, not every document that mentions the word waiver.

    The RSS feeds don’t seem to update as often as information does.

  24. How about more tools for teachers and parents to use instead of policy?
    I do not use it at all for this reason. You need a hook to draw people to it.

  25. I came for two reasons. I want to educate myself more on how the government works for the education of our children. I also am always on the look out for yet another platform to get my voice heard concerning the problems we have getting my ADD/ADHD granddaughter the special assistance she needs in school.
    I’ve covered everyone locally, all the way to the State Supt. of Ed; and am now working with Protection and Advocacy Services.

  26. One item that would be tremendously useful is to have an omnibus update page that gives you a record of anything on the site anywhere that has been added or changed. One problem right now is the monitoring the site is often like trying to find a needle in haystack–there are so many different pages to monitor, all of which update at different times.

  27. I am a masters student of education, and I would like to gain a better understanding of the fed’s role in our education system. And interactive map, with committees, and features, links, with a system of understanding how Arne will effectively pass down information and change into the current system. I would like to see a blog, or posts of what is happening, what is being talked about, and what changes might be on the horizon.

  28. I go to ed.gov to find legislation and regulations. It is too difficult to locate these right now and when you do, you can rarely download a pdf/doc of the entire bill or regs but have to look at them on screen section by section.

  29. Great leaders prepare before they enter the game. Therefore, I visit to stay informed early to be best positioned for oportunities. Also, it is good practice to stay abreast of the latest discussion to inform my colleagues who may not be updated on the latest. I believe in the vision and mission of this administration and feel it may be our last opportunity to significantly impact the education of our children. We have never had this kind of attention, nor funding and I want to be sure I have everything I need to maximize our potential. Finally, I particpate in this blog and provide feedback because the administration took the time to care and ask for our opinions, ideas, and suggestions. They couldve just made all the decisions themselves without input and I want to encourage and honor their modeling of shared visioning and leadership- thanks for asking!!! I appreciate all of you- I know many of you work hard, long hours and took paycuts to be public servants and I thank each of you!

  30. Speaking of seeing what Sec. Duncan has said, you have yet to put up his speech to the principals in Washington last week. Might we see it, please?

  31. I want to hear what innovations and changes are being discussed instead of hearing what I will be “required” to do. I also focus on arts education: this is an area that is easily dismissed, supposedly not accountable or assessed, doesn’t contribute to test scores, yet is one of the few human parameters of our students’ day.

  32. Finding out what the latest things are said by the Secretary, and, as the above person, weighing in. I agree that there are some significant gaps in the Secretary’s knowledge.

  33. ED funds a ton of contract and grant research and technical assistance. There needs to be far, far more transparency and accessibility of funded grant, cooperative agreement, and contract applications, who has been funded to do what, contact information for grantees/contractors, interim and final reports, and derivative products. Since these are being funded with public dollars, these should all be publicly available on the ED site and easily searchable. In addition, since this work is being funded with public dollars, it should not be allowed to be commercially-licensed or restricted from sharing, modification via copyright. With all of the money and resources spent on building new knowledge, identifying what works, doing program evaluation, and monitoring grantees (whether they by SEAs, LEAs, universities or others), it is vital for ED to take a leadership role in establishing a culture of continuous improvement. There is far too little continuity at ED over time and across agencies within ED – to say nothing of across agencies like HHS and NSF that fund similar or related efforts.

  34. Secretary Duncan promised to listen. He really needs to do so, because…while I think he is sincere and of good intent… there are some ‘gaps’ in his knowledge about public schools. I come to ED.gov because I believe his hearing teachers is the only way to fix public education. And…this may be our last chance to do so.

    I have no ‘skin in the game’, so to speak. I retired last year after years of work in a Title I school. My students and community are still there, though…and they need this to be done right.

    So, that’s what I hope to accomplish..fixing the schools the right way. I want a lot. :) I think my former school, district and community deserve this to be done right.

  35. Our non-profit trains parent volunteers to do outreach to other parents to promote greater involvement in their kids’ education. I come to ed.gov for two main reasons: 1) to seek out funding opportunities (discretionary grant programs), and 2) to get a pulse on the agenda being developed by Sec. Duncan and ED.

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