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American Educator
Spring 2010

 

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The Most Daring Education Reform of All
By Diana Senechal

As long as there have been public schools, there have been reformers of public schools. All too often, they have insisted on sweeping changes; enamored of their bold, new idea, they haven't considered whether anything established ought to endure. The result? A century of faddish ideas, but little real progress. Among today's most vocal reformers are those calling for 21st-century skills throughout the K–12 curriculum. While a national discussion of how to increase students' skills is warranted, a rush to toss out traditional pedagogy and content is not. Senechal writes, "To make changes thoughtfully—to keep the layers of past and present in everything we do—may be the most daring education reform of all." If we so dared, we could commit to the civic, individual, and economic goals of education, embrace the benefits of traditional and innovative pedagogy, and pair enduring content with important skills.

What Does—and What Should—P21 Advocate?
By Lynne Munson and Laura Bornfreund

A critique of lessons proposed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).

A Century of Skills Movements
By Diane Ravitch

Highlights from America's long history of confusing innovation with progress.

"21st-Century" Skills
Not New, but a Worthy Challenge
By Andrew J. Rotherham and Daniel T. Willingham

Developing students' skills requires a content-rich curriculum, well-supported teachers, and sophisticated assessments.


The Promise of Preschool
Why We Need Early Education for All
By W. Steven Barnett and Ellen Frede

It's fairly well known that high-quality preschool programs can have life-altering impacts on disadvantaged children, including reductions in school dropout and crime, and increased earnings. But not as well known is that terrific preschool programs have important academic and social benefits for middle-class children too. Decades of research indicate that if high-quality preschool were offered to all children, the benefits would far outweigh the costs.

A Preschool with Promise
How One District Provides Early Education for All
By Jennifer Dubin

Perth Amboy, New Jersey, has created a full-day preschool program that helps prepare all children socially and academically for school.


The Professional Educator
A New Path Forward: Four Approaches to Quality Teaching and Better Schools
By Randi Weingarten

The president of the American Federation of Teachers calls for a new template for teacher development and evaluation, a new approach to due process, the support that teachers need to do their jobs well, and more collaboration between labor and management.

All articles available in PDF format only.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

 
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