Top Posts of 2017

By Anne O'Brien

Cuba’s education system. Resources to address race-based violence. Policies to send public money to private schools. These were the topics of the Learning First Alliance’s most viewed blog posts of 2017.

Each year we at LFA compile our most popular blog posts, determined by unique pageviews in Google Analytics. As always, in addition to covering a wide range of topics, this list reflects the contributions of a number of the leading education associations representing the local practitioners, parents and policymakers working with, and on behalf of, America’s public school students every day.

Enjoy, and congratulations to the authors!

1) A Look at Cuba’s Education System: High Literacy Rates, Free College Come at a Price. In our most popular post of the year, Dan Domenech (executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association) reports on the education system in his native country of Cuba after leading a delegation of educators there this spring.

2) In the Wake of Violence in Charlottesville, LFA Groups Offer Advice for Educators. After race-based violence in Virginia, several LFA member organizations offered resources to help teachers, parents and other educators to answer questions and assure students’ safety.

3) Public Money for Private Schools: School Vouchers, ESAs and Tax Credits. Though school vouchers are the “original” method of using taxpayer money to subsidize private education, there are other policies that aim to accomplish that same goal.

4) Seven Reasons Why School Choice ≠ School Reform. While some education reformers are pushing for increased school choice as a way to improve education, the research just doesn’t support this concept.

5) Strengthen Your Internal Communications This Back-to-School Season. In many places, teachers and school support workers (such as custodians, food service workers and bus drivers, among others) are some of the most trusted people in the community and an untapped communications resource.

6) School Counselor of the Year Helps Students See All Opportunities. After graduating from Calhoun Area Career Center in Battle Creek (MI), some students immediately begin work, some go to a four-year college, and others take additional trade-specific classes. Terri Tchorzynski, the American School Counselor Association’s 2017 School Counselor of the Year, helps make all their choices a reality.

7) Stakeholder Engagement: Early Challenges and Promising Practices. The stakeholder consultative process outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents an important opportunity to fundamentally change how education policy is made, but it is not easy.

8) 2017 Superintendent of the Year Embraces Equity, Public School Choice. Matthew Utterback assumed leadership of the North Clackamas (OR) school district in the midst of a financial crisis, with budget cuts forcing lay offs of about a quarter of its teaching staff. Since then, Utterback has refocused the school district on equity and transformed curriculum and instruction.

9) Workers with Smart Skills Will Bring Back U.S. Manufacturing Jobs. Association for Manufacturing Excellence Board Member Glenn Marshall argues that the manufacturing sector can restore the confidence of the American people in their future and the country, if we can take advantage of smart manufacturing outcomes and find new ways to quickly close the growing skills gap.

10) How to Build a Culture of Literacy in Schools. Helping students learn to read and comprehend complex texts, think critically about them, and synthesize information from multiple sources is one of the most crucial things schools do. Ruth Schoenbach and Cynthia Greenleaf discuss the roles that we all can play in supporting students to achieve that level of literacy and finish high school ready for college or career.

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