The Albert Shanker Institute, in partnership with the AFT, organized an eight-person union leadership study trip to the Middle East in May 2007.
The Institute sponsored this conference on the challange of developing practical international programs to implement the traditional commitment of the labor movement to democracy and democratic institutions in the core Middle East region. It challenged participants to help conceive innovative, practical program approaches for the Middle East region.
Research has demonstrated that students’ vocabulary and background knowledge are vital to reading comprehension, and that poor children and struggling readers are disproportionately disadvantaged by this fact. What are the implications of these findings for improving curriculum and instruction at the elementary and secondary levels? And how do schools impart this knowledge to students who don’t read well enough to acquire it from the written word?
On April 6-7, 2006, the Institute sponsored a lively discussion among representatives from nine AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions on the U.S.labor movement’s differing approaches to the increasing economic dominance of an ongoing worker rights repression in mainland China. After opening remarks by AFT and Shanker Institute President McElroy, participants heard from two prominent China experts, Andrew Nathan (Columbia University) and James Mann (School for Advanced International Studies).
Despite the continuing “math wars” debates, there is an emerging consensus on the need for U.S. math teachers to improve both their content and pedagogical knowledge. Key researchers (who were selected using an informal peer review process) have been asked to provide an overview on recent research about what mathematics teachers ned to know and be able to do to improve the performance of all students.
The importance of early reading success to later educational achievement has now become common wisdom. Federal agencies, state governments, and individual schools and districts across the country have initiated programs to improve beginning reading instruction, including strategies to identify struggling readers as early as possible. But what comes next? Once a reading problem is detected, can it actually be averted? And, if so, with what “treatment”? In recent years, neuroscientists and reading researchers have pursued a preventive model of reading instruction that could also be wildly successful. What does this research tell us about what goes on in the brain of a struggling reader, before and after intervention? And how can schools and districts translate this research into classroom materials and strategies that really work to prevent reading failure?
The Institute received a grant from the ILGWU Heritage Fund in April 2005 to help sponsor this three-day seminar aimed at educating new AFT leaders on the rationale and history behind labor’s support for democracy and worker rights in the world.
With increased support for and public investment in early childhood education programs, federal, state, and local authorities have begun to grapple with the need to assess student outcomes, for diagnostic, accountability and program improvement purposes. At the same time, critics continue to raise questions about the appropriateness, validity, and utility of assessments with very young children: How accurate is the data that’s being gathered through various methods and for what purposes can it legitimately be used? What can research tell us about how to design assessments for preschool children that are reasonable, reliable, valid, and useful for teachers and policymakers alike?