Assessment and Evaluation in Education: Do Our Policies and Practices Promote Growth, Equity, and Justice?Vol 2 No 2 (2019)
Authors for this Spring 2019 issue of Allies for Education addressed the theme, “Assessment and Evaluation in Education: Do Our Policies and Practices Promote Growth, Equity, and Justice?” This is one of the most important questions we can ask in the field of education because of the simplest of realities: We assess and evaluate what we value.
Our understandings and decisions about assessment and evaluation are rooted in values that shape the most fundamental aspects of teaching and learning, such as what we think education is and what purposes it must serve; how accountability is understood and operationalized; whose authority, culture, history, and/or contributions count enough to be taught and included in measures of student achievement; what “student success” means; and whether all students have equal educational rights and equitable success opportunities. The authors below speak to these critical issues through their rich variety of perspectives in education.
We assess and evaluate what we value. Are growth, equity, and justice among our individual and collective social and educational values? We at A4E invite readers to use this lens while considering not only the works offered here, but also while examining assessment and evaluation policies and practices in the P12, higher education, and community education contexts that they inhabit.
Additional translations to Spanish and audio recordings of authors reading their works in this issue will be uploaded as they become available.
Raising the Next Generation: The Parent/Caregiver and Educator ConnectionVol 2 No 1 (2018)
Authors addressing this issue's theme, “Raising the Next Generation: The Parent/Caregiver and Educator Connection,” provide readers with interestingly different but complementary perspectives on how and why effective partnerships between educators, parents, and students are so essential. Two invited guest columns, one from a parent leader and another from a university professor, provide wisdom and insights about some of the opportunities and responsibilities that come with “raising the next generation.” Stories are told, too. A young woman describes her experience of school through the lens of poverty; a single father reflects on the joys and challenges of learning to be both dad and mom for his children; a qualitative researcher shares her participants' experiences as mothers navigating systems and careers in education. Several articles in this issue emphasize the critical importance of high quality care and education for the youngest of children; others develop the shared theme of what happens when families are highlighted and honored as the powerful partners they are in educating students of all ages, from preschool through college. A final theme is about “microaggressions." This is a term taught explicitly through a video on common misunderstandings about Middle Eastern people, geography, and cultures and the unintended insults they can create. The term is also illustrated in other articles (e.g., on "invisible disabilities" and poverty) which reveal the unintended hurts that many minority students experience regularly at the hands of uninformed, sometimes uncaring, peers and adults. May all readers see ourselves not only as probable committers of microaggressions in one form or another, but also as champions for justice, learning how to recognize and correct them as we work together in our many villages, raising the next generation.
Recognizing Good TeachingVol 1 No 2 (2018)
What is “good teaching”? In this issue readers will engage with authors who have approached this important question through a variety of topics and perspectives. A number of educators and an internationally known author share effective classroom practices and their perspectives on what good teaching requires. A school district superintendent reports on strategies for supporting A-G completion and celebrates progress made by students and educators working toward this goal in her district. A university administrator remembers Mrs. Levine, his 5th grade teacher who understood that good teaching is about lighting fires, not filling buckets, and whose continuing influence now helps shape his leadership of a school of education. A community college instructor connects the history, content, and impact of ethnic studies with key components for good teaching specific to this field, and a graduate student reflects on what might have been, had she known at the time that the odds of completing an undergraduate degree were stacked against her as a first-generation college student. Two members of Educators Doing Justice, a Ventura County coalition of P12, college, university, and community educators, suggest that a core element of effective teaching is helping students be ready to learn; they make a case for incorporating classroom-appropriate yoga to teach self-regulation strategies for all students, particularly for youth in trauma.
A4E seeks to connect teachers, parents, students, administrators, professors, elected officials, and other community members in important conversations about education. We hope these brief, accessible works will be useful for promoting text-based discussions in classrooms, boardrooms, and around the dinner table.
Appreciating Public EducationVol 1 No 1 (2017)
“Appreciating Public Education” is the theme of the inaugural issue of Allies for Education (A4E). Critical issues and perspectives from contributing authors provide opportunities for readers to better understand some of the issues and tensions that exist in our public schools and colleges. These authors provoke questions for essential conversations about education – not only in offices and boardrooms, but equally essentially, in coffee shops, around the dinner table, and in (age-appropriate) classrooms as well. For example:
- Where, for whom, and why is our system of public education succeeding? Not succeeding?
- What are vouchers and why do they matter?
- How can each of us most effectively serve as public education allies – actively supporting our communities’ students, educators, and administrators – while simultaneously and productively acknowledging the problems of equity, access, and achievement that exist?
- What kinds of conversations might we be able to have across our identity roles in the system – as parents, educators, students, administrators, public officials, and other community members – if we focused first on hearing and understanding each other’s perspectives?