The White House strives to meet people where they are -- bringing the Administration's voices to communities across the nation through digital engagement. Last week, Roberto Rodríguez, who advises President Obama on education policy, joined an online group of over 9,000 educators in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to discuss the issues important to them. The online group DFW Teachers' Lounge is a space for educators across the Dallas-Fort Worth area to share tips, advice and support.
Read Deputy Assistant to the President Rodríguez' contributions below (names have been removed to respect the privacy of the commenters).
"Thanks, [Redacted]. We will be talking a lot about testing today, but want to also focus in on your point on what works to improve our schools. I couldn’t agree with you more that aligned standards, deep interactions, and supportive environments are key, and that type of change needs to be initiated and supported at the local school level."
"Thanks, [Redacted]. It sounds like you’re experiencing what we’re seeing across the country – in too many places, testing is competing with valuable classroom learning time and it doesn’t have to be that way. We want to eliminate unnecessary, duplicative and low-quality tests and improve how we use tests for student learning. More info on President Obama's Testing Action Plan here: http://1.usa.gov/1LQHUWE
Teachers should never be judged solely on test scores. We know that too many conversations around education policy, particularly evaluation, have left teachers and school leaders feeling unfairly blamed or judged by a single test or one-size-fits all approach. We’re working to reset that dialogue.
The work you do teaching our kids couldn’t be more important – and we’re working to make sure we’re supporting you in every way we can."
"President Obama’s goal has always been to increase the number of students successfully completing college, and that begins by making sure all of our students are prepared to succeed when they arrive on campus. The President supports high standards across all of our schools, and we're proud that 49 states and DC have established college and career ready expectations for what students know and are able to do when they graduate from high school."
"Every case is different, but we’ve seen a number of states and districts providing strong leadership on this front. You can learn about some of best work being done across the country here: http://1.usa.gov/1LQHUWE
The Innovation Lab Network over at the Council of Chief State School Officers is also doing good work in a number of states – I’d be interested to hear what you think of their ideas! http://www.ccsso.org/What_We_Do/Innovation_Lab_Network.html
We need to do more to support our teachers so that they can personalize teaching and learning for their students."
"Couldn’t agree more [Redacted] and [Redacted], and expanding early learning is one of the issues closest to my heart! President Obama believes that high quality early education is among the smartest investments that we can make. In his 2013 State of the Union address, he called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool for every child in America. Since the President’s call to action, more than 35 states have increased funding for their preschool programs, amounting to over $1.5 billion in new state resources dedicated to early education. Communities across the country have engaged public and private partners to establish new preschool programs, and pushed forward with major expansions to become strong early learning communities. More info on our early learning agenda is available here: http://1.usa.gov/1N7MSSI"
"We so appreciate your work, [Redacted]. My team and I think about you and our nation's dedicated teachers every day in the work that we do."
"[Redacted] you are right! A single test cannot capture the full picture of a student’s learning and progress. The Every Student Succeeds Act that President Obama signed last year encourages a more balanced approach to testing and accountability by moving away from a sole focus on standardized tests to drive decisions around the quality of schools, and by allowing for the use of multiple measures of student learning and progress, along with other indicators of student success. As states and school districts implement this new law, we will see real changes in our school."
"I agree, [Redacted]. Career and technical education plays an important role in helping many of our students prepare for success later in life. Check out our blueprint on reforming and strengthening career and technical education, which will make sure programs are aligned not only with college -- and career-readiness standards, but also with the needs of employers, industry, and labor. https://www2.ed.gov/.../transforming-career-technical..."
"Learning begins at birth, and we can’t get started early enough in preparing our children for success in kindergarten and later in school. Access to high-quality early-learning programs is one of the most important things we can give our learners. Learn more about the President’s Preschool for All plan which would support that: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/.../fact-sheet-president-obama..."
"I hear you loud and clear, and this is something that the President is passionate about too. We know more needs to be done to respond to the challenges our teachers face in balancing meaningful learning with testing time. Here's more straight from President Obama: https://www.facebook.com/ObamaWhiteHouse/videos/10153858935674238/"
"I agree with TNTP that we lose too many of our best and brightest teachers because we don't provide the right leadership opportunities for them to grow and contribute to their schools and to the teaching profession. We must do better. One response to this challenge is the Department of Education's R-E-S-P-E-C-T program, and it's why President Obama’s budget included $1 billion to support teachers, improve working conditions and increase teacher salaries in high-need schools. Now you don’t want to hear me sing R-E-S-P-E-C-T… http://www2.ed.gov/docu.../respect/blueprint-for-respect.pdf"
"President Obama believes that the arts are one of the most important ways to engage our students and help them develop and discover their creativity and talent. We need investments that support a well-rounded education for all our students. Learn more about reinvesting in Arts and Education in this report from the President’s Commission on Arts and the Humanities: http://www.pcah.gov/.../photos/PCAH_Reinvesting_4web.pdf
And learn more about their Turnaround Arts program: http://turnaroundarts.pcah.gov/"
"We're hosting listening sessions around the country to make sure that the voice of our nations teachers is reflected in the policies discussed and shaped here in Washington. But at the state and local level, we also need your voices, especially as state and school district leaders implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act. I’d encourage you to make your voice heard in that process. Thanks for sharing your voices with me today."
"Take [Redacted]'s advice and get the information you need to apply for public service loan forgiveness: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dfwteacherslounge/permalink/832641926847821/
We've taken steps to expand this important program, and ensure that public service workers – including teachers – can have remaining student debt forgiven after 10 years.
More info here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/.../public-service-loan...
And FAQ’s here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/.../public-service-loan..."
"[Redacted], spot on! We don't all have to agree on the solutions -- and there is no silver bullet to addressing the challenges in our schools. But we all have to be willing to work to make things better in our education system. We can start here in Washington by listening and learning more from the work that is happening each day in our classrooms. Fun fact: Our new Secretary of Education, Dr. John King, began his education career as a middle school social studies teacher."
"We are all life-long learners, [Redacted]! Our teachers need more meaningful opportunities to grow, learn, and lead in their classrooms. We need better induction and mentorship to support our beginning teachers in their early years. And our teachers need a greater voice in choosing the PD opportunities that will help them the most."
"The work you do every day makes a difference in the lives of your students, Cris. In fact, The White House will recognize paraprofessionals and school support staff at a Champions of Change event later this spring: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/.../nominate-school-support.... I’d encourage you to tune in!"