While at the recent FETC conference in Orlando, I kept looking for the next big thing. This technology conference used to feature showy promotions (iMind’s Volkswagen give-away that never quite happened is unforgettable), but more importantly, it used to herald a raft of new releases, new companies and new hope for K-12 education.
No more. In a sign of the times, the show floor was smaller, conference attendance seemed to be down, and new companies were near impossible to find.
In a nod to No Child Left Behind, everyone was talking about K-3 programs, or assessment, or how to assess K-3 programs.
One superintendent said he hopes to carve out an extra 15 instructional minutes a day for all his teachers. By doing this, he expects test scores to go up and his district to save money.
While this isn’t a bad goal, it certainly is a small one. The new reality in K-12 education is incremental progress. From trying to boost the average yearly progress for each group of students to circumventing some non-essential budget item, administrators’ jobs are now all about making their school systems more efficient.
That’s why we’ve started two new sections in DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION. The first is Inside the Law, the NCLB page created by Features Editor Angela Pascopella. More than a year old, this legislation continues to be the 800-pound gorilla of K-12 education. The enormous reach of the bill (its 670-page length is more than seven times the Homeland Security bill), makes it hard for school administrators to be confident they know the law, never mind be secure that they are meeting its requirements.
At the front of the magazine (p. 9 this month), this page will bring news and tips about NCLB, as well as profiles of districts making progress meeting its mandates.
The second new section, By the Numbers, is located on our back page. Created by Editor Laura Dianis, it will be full of stats and trends about one topic. It aims to give the information to know where your district stands in a certain issue, and the muscle to fight for more money if you discover it’s needed. This month’s section covers laptop computers.
While these aren’t major additions to our magazine, we feel they are incremental improvements that will help you push your school district closer to its goals.
Wayne D’Orio, Editorial Director