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What Really Matters in K-12 Teaching and Learning? “Getting Beyond Folklore”

Over the past 40 years in the U.S., our student to teacher ratio has dropped from 22:1 to 17:1. Our teachers are better educated than ever – fully 62% today own a Masters degree, compared with only 23% in 1971. And we continue to spend – our nation’s investment in K-12 places us 4th in the world at $11,000 per student, trailing only Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Norway.

So, what’s happened to our reading and math test scores over these past four decades? Virtually flat.

Why is this?

Roland Fryer, the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard, would argue it’s due in part to the fact we really do not know what the problems are. His view: “it’s time to apply some science to the problem of student achievement in our schools.”

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Inner-city Schools Concert Inspires, Engages Kids

The bright hot autumn sun burned down into Compton, California – right onto the shoulders of a busy nine year-old boy. The boy was respectful, working on hurrying up his chores for his mother so he could play ball with friends.  The boy eyed the last pile of leaves and thought “last one, then I’m done”. He heaved the rake over the pile and pulled back – and stiffened in shock as the rake revealed two automatic hand guns, still warm, hidden in the leaves.

To this day Fred Martin does not like leaves.  Buried under high piles of leaves are where the Compton gangs he grew up with hid their guns – at the safe house of “the Church family” – Fred’s family. The police never searched there; his father was a minister. Soon enough at ten years age Fred, a music prodigy, found himself playing organ in church on Sunday mornings – he later figured the music carried him away from the leaves.

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The Connected Learning Exchange – Join Us For the Journey

We hear a lot about the issues and challenges in Education.  Unfortunately, we don’t hear enough of the success that dedicated and innovative educators are having integrating technology into curricula to create 21st Century learning environments that are improving educational outcomes for students all over the world.

At Cisco, we’re honored to work with such educators each and every day. Through programs and events such as the Cisco Virtual Forum for Education Leaders, we try to showcase innovative and practical solutions for meeting today’s education challenges. More importantly, we try to create opportunities for educators to collaborate so that best practices can be shared and replicated.

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