a small gathering of resources as seen by a questioning and exploring student/educator
For the past two summers I have worked at The Educational Policy and Issues Center
EPI-Center in Pittsburgh. The EPI-Center focuses on
four main areas: competent graduates, strong beginnings, benchmarking and reporting, and public
engagement and information. They have partnerships with all of the different constituents in
education. While there, I have uncovered lots of interesting sites for educators, no matter
what part of education they are in or where their primary interests and passions lie.
One of my primary passions is professional development. No matter what field or occupation a
person is in, I believe that there is always room for improvement and benefits from learning new
and different techniques. I especially believe that this is true in education. The demographics
of schools are changing, what other disciplines have taught us abut human learning and development
have changed, and what worked ten years ago might not work now. One of the superintendents that
we worked with this summer reminded me that professional development is not necessarily limited
to in-service days or attaining higher degrees. It's attending conferences and reading books,
it's going beyond one's current beliefs and ideas to explore what else it there, with less
emphasis on the means. Those who work in policy and administration need to keep up with what
is happening in the classrooms, not just what's happening in policy and government. All educators
should be pro-active in their own learning and continual development.
Below are some of the sites that I have found useful and those which have been recommended by others.
Most are applicable to all educators though some pertain more to those focusing on elementary education.
Some of the organizations and projects I have worked on are listed below. They mainly focus on
school to work. They are:
for Workforce Excellence The Commission works to develop a workforce that meets the
needs of Allegheny County employers. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Connection also works to
connect businesses that have complimentary interests and resources.
One of our most critical resources is the
Pennsylvania School Profiles. Every PA public school is requested to fill out a
questionnaire and submit critical information, including test scores. This site is easy to
navigate with schools broken down by name, school district, and Intermediate Unit. Also, the
Pennsylvania Department of Education is helpful, especially if you are teaching in the state.
There is even a site where you submit your resume, etc., and most of the western PA school
districts can access it from there.
Before delving into the different resources, I would like to mention one that focuses on current
events. Education Week on the Web is a great site and is updated
weekly. It is very similar to the one that is published in hardcopy every week. This site also has
a brief page on current topics and issues and has a wonderful collection of recently published books.
While researching for our report, I found that there are a lot of helpful resources at
the national level which then provide either local groups or ways to work to change education in
a more community based approach. The Federal Department of Education
provides many good resources and makes great attempts to pull different groups together to
form more comprehension resources and materials. There is now a national award winning teacher,
Terry Dozier, who is a special advisor to Secretary Riley on teaching.
The National Education Association is a good site to browse
for responses and resources around current topics. This organization focuses on public education
but has resources for all of the different constituents. At the local level, the NEA offers many
resources, including professional development workshops and offers support for teachers in renegotiations
for their contracts. On the state level, the NEA often lobbies politicians on the side of teachers, students,
and public education in general. They also work to protect academic freedom. At the national level,
they also work to ensure public education for all and work with congressional movements as
appropriate. They also organize and coordinate large projects and initiatives, along with comprehensive
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development is
a great site too. Their three main focal points are "professionalism in an era of accountability,
standards and accounting, and diversity and community." They have several regular publications
including, Educational Leadership, The Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, and
Education Update. This site also has an extensive list of current books that might be of interest
As for the teaching profession itself, there are lots of sites and groups that are working to
improve that aspect of education.
One site, The National
Board for Professional Teaching Standards helps not only educate teachers but also allows for
national certification. This certification is not yet feasible for all teachers due to both the
high cost and the enormous time commitment in preparing a very comprehensive portfolio. Some
states, though not all, do offer monetary and other benefits to achieving national certification.
Very quickly, some other good sites for the teaching profession are:
National Commission on Teaching and America's
Future headed by Linda Darling-Hammond and National
Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching.
There are also good resources for those of us going into elementary and early childhood
education. At the national level, The National Association for
the Education of Young Children is a wonderful site and has many useful publications and
links. The Children's Defense Fund
(Marian Wright Edelman is speaking at BMC's graduation!),
National Association of Child Advocates, and
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children are more general sites that are working for the best
interests of our children.
For those that are interested in reading, there are also some helpful sites.
America Reads is a national campaign
encouraging all Americans to take a vested interest in helping our children learn to read. On Dr.
Seuss' birthday last month, members of the community are asked to come into our nation's classrooms
and read to the children. In my placement, the school asks the support staff, who are not in classrooms,
to come in and read.
Read Write Now is another national interest
but one that is researched based and encouraged children to read and write for 30 minutes a day,
five days a week. During at least one of times, the child works with a tutor, focusing on a specific
While focusing on more than just reading to include mathematics, and the social sciences,
Success for All does work to improve the content and design
of curriculum and schools so that all students can achieve.
This has only been a small sample of the numerous education resources available both on the web
and in the world. I encourage you to take the time to peruse the different sites and find your own
collection of resourceful sites.
This page was created by Anne C. King (Bryn Mawr
College, 2000) and is meant only for research and entertainment purposes. Discussing these sites together does not
mean that they support each other or that I am completely in agreement with their philosophy.
This page is an amateur collection of resources and should be taken as such. Hopefully some will
find at least one site helpful.