The OTL Campaign Blog

Monday August 6th, 2012

The current "Highly Qualified Teacher" (HQT) amendment to the federal Appropriations Bill allows teachers-in-training to be designated as "highly qualified." Problem is, as soon as you start calling everybody highly qualified, you lose the ability to tell which students are actually being served by quality, experienced teachers and which students are being systematically denied access to the most important, in-classroom resources they need. In a column for the Huffington Post, John Affeldt, Managing Attorney at Public Advocates, deftly explains what the HQT amendment does, what faulty logic and research support it and why we need a reality check on how this misleading label has allowed teachers-in-training to be concentrated in struggling schools to the detriment of our nation's low-income students and students of color.

By Thomas Beebe, Project Manager, Opportunity to Learn - Wisconsin
Friday August 3rd, 2012

It seems we have another case of politics and penny-pinching overriding common sense and educational research. High-quality early childhood education for all children is one of the best investments we can make. So why aren't we doing it? Because our elected officials lack the will and the courage to do what is right and help communities find the resources they need to provide all students with access to quality early education opportunities.

Thursday August 2nd, 2012

In the US education reform debate, which is dominated by rhetoric about competition and school choice, it's easy to feel like our policymakers are wearing horse-blinders. As Salon's Michael Lind writes, we know what policies produce strong public education systems in countries like Finland and South Korea, so why do so many US policymakers and education officials chose not to adapt those policies to use here at home?

Wednesday August 1st, 2012

The New York Education Commission is holding public hearings in cities across New York and they want to hear from you! It's imperative that we take full advantage of this opportunity to defend local schools and advocate for a fair and equitable opportunity to learn for all children. Check out this flyer from Educate NY Now to learn how to register to speak at a Commission hearing and post comments on the Commission's online forum.

Tuesday July 31st, 2012

Interested in girls equity work? Live in New York? Then come join the Brooklyn Girls Collaborative and Girls Inc. of New York City for their 2012 Education Summit on Aug. 17th!

Tuesday July 31st, 2012

Early reading skills lay the foundation for all later learning, which makes closing the achievement gap in early reading particularly important. Thanks to the work of Massachusetts advocacy groups like Strategies for Children's Early Education for All campaign, MA policymakers are taking steps to close the state's achievement gap in third grade reading by creating an "Early Literacy Expert Panel."

Monday July 30th, 2012

If you survey a group of everyday people about the effects of government budget cuts, an overwhelming number of them will respond that the cuts have hurt schools and limited kids' opportunities to learn. The Huffington Post, as part of a series on the impact of austerity measures, asked its readers how budget cuts affected them and received an outpouring of troubling, personal stories from concerned teachers and parents.

Thursday July 26th, 2012

Michelle Rhee missed the mark in contributing to an informed debate about education reform with this Olympics-themed video, which features an overweight man floundering through a gymnastics routine and twirling ribbons to the jeers of an off-camera audience as a supposed metaphor for the state of our nation's education system. The video is wrong on so many levels, not the least of which is misunderstanding what truly ails our education system and the necessary steps to fix it.

Thursday July 26th, 2012

The 2012 version of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual "KIDS COUNT Data Book" provides a wealth of information about the well-being of our nation's children, including state-by-state data on educational opportunities, economic security, access to healthcare and family and community environments. The report illustrates the deep disparities between children of color and their White peers and between children from wealthy and low-income families in access to the opportunities and supports necessary to succeed in school and in life. Overall, the report finds that a higher percentage of students of color are living in poverty, not attending preschool, not graduating on time and don't have health insurance compared to non-Hispanic White children.

Wednesday July 25th, 2012

Youth advocates from Lowell, MA, are leading the charge to lower the voting age in municipal elections to 17 so that current students can have a say in the education policies affecting them. With a bill in committee at the State House and an outpouring of support from advocacy groups and policymakers across the state, members of the Vote 17 Lowell campaign are closer than any group every before to winning a voice for 17-year-olds in local politics.