Maggie Severns: All Related Content

All related content for this individual is listed below.

Early Language Lessons to Close the New Achievement Gap

  • By
  • Maggie Severns,
  • New America Foundation
April 29, 2013 |

Reforming Head Start

  • By
  • Maggie Severns,
  • New America Foundation
December 11, 2012

As research continues to highlight the benefits of early childhood education, the Obama administration’s reforms to Head Start are shaking up the 45-year-old preschool program for children in poverty. This issue brief explains why some Head Start programs are competing for funding for the first time, how quality teaching is emphasized in future grant awards, and what to watch for in 2013.

New Brief: Reforming Head Start

December 11, 2012
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As we've noted many times on Early Ed Watch, Head Start, the federal government's pre-K program, is at a crossroads. 

In the midst of budget threats and an ongoing debate over whether Head Start creates lasting academic gains in children, Head Start has embarked on its largest reforms in decades to improve the quality of its grantees. The reform process, called “re-competition,” forces Head Start providers that are found during audits to be low-quality to compete with other agencies in the same geographic area for future Head Start grants. 

Education Watch Podcast: What Makes a Toy Educational?

November 27, 2012

In honor of holiday shopping, Lisa Guernsey of New America and Claire Green of Parents' Choice discuss children's toys. Laura Bornfreund of New America reviews new data on how many children are held back in school. Maggie Severns hosts.

Podcast: What Makes a Toy Educational?

November 27, 2012
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Why are so many toys today labeled "educational"? How could parents be more empowered to size up toys and choose the ones that will be best for their children's play and learning? In honor of holiday shopping, Early Education Initiative Director Lisa Guernsey and Claire Green, President of Parents' Choice, discuss trends in children's toys.

Map: Election Results from PreK-12 Races Across the Country

November 14, 2012

There was a lot of education-related activity in the states this election season, from a ballot initiative in San Antonio that will raise the sales tax to help pay for pre-K, to the race for Indiana superintendent, where controversial incumbent Tony Bennett lost to challenger Glenda Ritz, who reportedly got more votes in the race than Governor Pence did.

We put together this interactive map to help readers peruse some state-by-state results of key races that will affect early education in the states in coming years. Scroll over states to find out more about who ran, who won and where there could be big policy changes afoot.

State-by-State Results of Key Early Ed-Related Races and Ballot Initiatives

A special thanks to Megan Carolan of NIEER, who contributed research to this map.

Update: The Washington gubernatorial election was called for Inslee (D). Voters in Washington state also approved Initiative 1240 to allow charter schools.

Podcast: New Findings on D.C. Schools' Education Reforms

November 13, 2012
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When Michelle Rhee was chancellor of DCPS, one of her chief accomplishments was negotiating a new contract with the teachers union that included a new teacher evaluation system. The system, called IMPACT, was designed to keep good teachers in the classroom through incentives like merit pay and weed out the bad by giving the district the power to fire teachers who were repeatedly ranked at the bottom.

IMPACT rates teachers on a variety of metrics, from their students' test scores to classroom observations. It has been both controversial and held up by education reformers as a model for how other districts could begin evaluating teachers in a holistic way. In some ways, the methods for observing teachers are similar to those of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), the Danielson Framework for Teaching and other evaluation systems that are catching on in the early childhood world in that it both evaluates teachers and gives them opportunities for feedback and mentoring. 

DC has been using this system since 2009, so two school years have passed since it began. This month, The New Teacher Project released a report that addresses important questions about how the new teacher evaluation system is playing out. In this podcast, Dan Weisberg of The New Teacher Project and Anne Hyslop of the New America Foundation discuss the new report and what it says about the future of the teaching workforce. Maggie Severns hosts.

Click here to listen to the podcast. You can also subscribe to our podcasts in iTunes, and download previous podcasts from our online archive.

Education Watch Podcast: New Findings on D.C. Schools' Education Reforms

November 12, 2012
Dan Weisberg of The New Teacher Project and Anne Hyslop of the New America Foundation discuss new findings on IMPACT, D.C.'s controversial teacher performance evaluations. Maggie Severns hosts.

Our Guesses and Hopes for Early Education in Obama’s Second Term

November 7, 2012

What might President Barack Obama’s second term mean for education? In short: four more years. Education Secretary Arne Duncan—a member of Obama’s Chicago circle, with whom the president played basketball on Election Day—has indicated he would like to stay in his job, and Obama’s campaign trumpeting of education policies such as Race to the Top show the administration’s aggressive approach to competitive grant programs, meant to cajole states and districts into embracing favored reform strategies, will likely continue.

Early learning advocates will be pleased programs such as Head Start are less likely to be severely cut with a Democratic Senate and White House to help safeguard them. And the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education now have the chance to continue to forge needed links between their agencies. But those who thought Obama’s early education policies were “too little too late” might remain disappointed. The president made almost no effort to outline a plan for early learning during this campaign, especially compared to the promises of 2008, and has not specifically indicated what he proposes to do for the youngest learners. That said, there are murmurs from Obama insiders that a broad-spectrum approach to early childhood education, including the often-forgotten early grades (K-3) of elementary school, could emerge as a theme in the second term. A Tuesday night press release from the nation’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association, hinted at a desire to hold the president accountable for making headway on early childhood investments. “Throughout the campaign,” the statement said, “the president pledged to invest in education—especially in early childhood education—and to make higher education more affordable.” 

Education Watch Podcast: The Highs and Lows of New Teacher Evaluation Laws

October 31, 2012
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More than 20 states have recently passed legislation establishing new systems for how they evaluate teachers. In this week's podcast, Sara Mead of Bellwether Education Partners and Laura Bornfreund of New America discuss the potential consequences of these rapid policy changes. Clare McCann of New America breaks down the education issues driving the Virginia senate race. Maggie Severns hosts.

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