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ability grouping  The assignment of pupils to homogeneous groups according to intellectual ability or level for instructional purposes.
academic freedom  The opportunity for teachers and students to learn, teach, study, research, and question without censorship, coercion, or external political and other restrictive influences.
academic learning time  The time a student is actively engaged with the subject matter and experiencing a high success rate.
academy  A classical secondary school in colonial America that emphasized elements of Latin and English grammar schools and by the nineteenth century became more of a college preparatory school. Also the name of the ancient Greek school founded by Plato.
accelerated program  The more rapid promotion of gifted students through school.
accountability  Holding schools and teachers responsible for student performance.
accreditation  Certification of an education program or a school that has met professional standards of an outside agency.
acculturation  The acquisition of the dominant culture's norms by a member of the nondominant culture. The nondominant culture typically loses its own culture, language, and sometimes religion in this process.
achievement tests  Examinations of the knowledge and skills acquired, usually as a result of specific instruction.
adequate education  Provides a legal approach for ensuring educational opportunities for poorer students based on state constitution guarantees for an efficient, thorough, or uniform education. Calls for adequate education have replaced previous calls for equal educational expenditures.
adequate yearly progress (AYP)  Under the No Child Left Behind Act, each state establishes annual criteria to determine school district and school achievement. Schools that fail to meet the AYP criteria (often determined by standardized tests) are held accountable and may be closed.
adult education  Courses and programs offered to high school graduates by colleges, business, industry, and governmental and private organizations that lead to academic degrees, occupational preparation, and the like.
advanced placement  Courses and programs in which younger students can earn college credit.
aesthetics  The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of beauty and judgments about it.
affective domain  The area of learning that involves attitudes, values, and emotions.
affirmative action  A plan by which personnel policies and hiring practices reflect positive steps in the recruiting and hiring of women and people of color.
allocated time  The amount of time a school or an individual teacher schedules for a subject.
alternative families  Family units that differ from the traditional image; examples include foster care children, single parents, central role of grandparents, and gay couples.
alternative licensure  A procedure for acquiring a teacher's license for those who have not graduated from a traditional state approved teacher education program.
alternative school  A private or public school that provides religious, academic, or other alternatives to the regular public school.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)  A national organization of teachers that is primarily concerned with improving educational conditions and protecting teachers' rights.
Americanization  The acculturation of American norms and values.
assertive discipline  A behavior modification program developed by Lee and Marlene Canter designed to "catch" and reward students being good, while discouraging off-task and inappropriate behavior.
assistive (adaptive) technology  Devices that help the disabled to perform and learn more effectively, from voice-activated keyboards and mechanical wheelchairs to laptops for class note taking and personal scheduling.
asynchronous  Nonsimultaneous students enrolled in an Internet course need not participate at the same time, and may take the course although they live in different time zones.
authentic assessment  A type of evaluation that represents actual performance, encourages students to reflect on their own work, and is integrated into the student's whole learning process. Such tests usually require that students synthesize knowledge from different areas and use that knowledge actively.
back to basics  During the 1980s, a revival of the back-to-basics movement evolved out of concern for declining test scores in math, science, reading, and other areas. Although there is not a precise definition of back to basics, many consider it to include increased emphasis on reading, writing, and arithmetic, fewer electives, and more rigorous grading.
behavioral objective  A specific statement of what a learner must accomplish in order to demonstrate mastery.
behaviorism  A psychological theory that interprets human behavior in terms of stimuli-response.
behavior modification  A strategy to alter behavior in a desired direction through the use of rewards.
bilingual education  Educational programs in which students of limited or no English-speaking ability attend classes taught in English, as well as in their native language. There is great variability in these programs in terms of goals, instructional opportunity, and balance between English and a student's native language.
block grants  Federal dollars provided to the states, with limited federal restrictions, for educational aid and program funding.
block scheduling  Using longer "blocks" of time to schedule classes results in fewer but longer periods given to each subject. It is designed to promote greater in-depth study.
Bloom's taxonomy  A classification system in which each lower level is subsumed in the next higher level. The Bloom's taxonomy describes simple to more complex mental processes, and usually is used to classify educational objectives or classroom questions.
board certification  Recognition of advanced teaching competence, awarded to teachers who demonstrate high levels of knowledge, commitment, and professionalism through a competitive review process administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
board of education  Constituted at the state and local levels, this agency is responsible for formulating educational policy. Members are sometimes appointed but, more frequently, are elected at the local level.
bond  A certificate of debt issued by a government guaranteeing payment of the original investment plus interest by a specified future date. Bonds are used by local communities to raise the funds they need to build or repair schools.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka  U.S. Supreme Court ruling that reversed an earlier "separate but equal" ruling and declared that segrated schooling was inherently unequal and therefore unlawful.
Buckley Amendment  The 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act granting parents of students under 18, and students 18 or over the right to examine their school records.
busing  A method for remedying segregation by transporting students to create more ethnically or racially balanced schools. Before busing and desegregation were linked, busing was not a controversial issue, and, in fact, the vast majority of students riding school buses are not involved in desegregation programs.
canon  The collection of literature and other works that typically reflects a white, Euro-centered view of the world.
career technical education  A program to teach elementary and secondary students about the world of work by integrating career awareness and exploration across the school curriculum.
career ladder  A system designed to create different status levels for teachers by developing steps one can climb to receive increased pay through increased responsibility or experience.
Carnegie unit  A credit awarded to a student for successfully completing a high school course. It is used in determining graduation requirements and college admissions.
categorical grant  Financial aid to local school districts from state or federal agencies for specific purposes.
certification  State government or professional association's evaluation and approval of an applicant's competencies.
character education  A model comprised of various strategies that promote a defined set of core values to students.
charter school  A group of teachers, parents, and even businesses may petition a local school board, or state government, to form a charter school which is exempt from many state and local regulations. Designed to promote creative new schools, the charter represents legal permission to try new approaches to educate students. First charter legislation was passed in Minnesota in 1991.
chief state school officer  The executive head of a state department of education. The chief state school officer is responsible for carrying out the mandates of the state board of education and enforcing educational laws and regulations. This position is also referred to as state superintendent.
child abuse  Physical, sexual, or emotional violation of a child's health and well-being.
child advocacy movement  A movement dedicated to defining and protecting the rights of children. Child advocates recognize that children are not yet ready to assume all the rights and privileges of adults, but they are firmly committed to expanding the rights currently enjoyed by children and to no longer treating children as objects or of the property of others.
child-centered instruction (individual instruction)  Teaching that is designed to meet the interests and needs of individual students.
classroom climate  The physical, emotional, and aesthetic characteristics, as well as the learning resources, of a school classroom.
Coalition of Essential Schools (CES)  This was founded by Theodore Sizer and is a reform effort that creates smaller schools, learning communities and more in-depth study of the curriculum.
cognitive domain  The area of learning that involves knowledge, information, and intellectual skills.
Coleman report  A study commissioned by President Johnson (1964) to analyze the factors that influence the academic achievement of students. One of the major findings of James Coleman's report was that schools in general have relatively little impact on learning. Family and peers were found to have more impact on a child's education than the school itself did.
collaborative action research  Connects teaching and professional growth through the use of research relevant to classroom responsibilities.
collective bargaining  A negotiating procedure between employer and employees for resolving disagreements on salaries, work schedules, and other conditions of employment. In collective bargaining, all teachers in a school system bargain as one group through chosen representatives.
Comer model  James Comer of Yale has created and disseminated a program that incorporates a team of educational and mental health professionals to assist children at risk by working with their parents and attending to social, educational, and psychological needs.
Committee of Ten  In 1892, the National Education Association formed the committee, influenced by college presidents, to reform the nation's high schools. The result was an academically oriented curriculum geared for colleges, and the creation of the Carnegie unit as a measure of progress through the high school curriculum.
common school  A public, tax-supported school. First established in Massachusetts, the school's purpose was to create a common basis of knowledge for children. It usually refers to a public elementary school.
community schools  Schools connected with a local community to provide for the educational needs of that community.
compensatory education  Educational experiences and opportunities designed to overcome or compensate for difficulties associated with a student's disadvantaged background.
competency  The ability to perform a particular skill or to demonstrate a specified level of knowledge.
comprehensive high school  A public secondary school that offers a variety of curricula, including vocational, academic, and general education programs.
compulsory attendance  A state law requiring that children and adolescents attend school until reaching a specified age.
computer-assisted instruction (CAI)  Individualized instruction between a student and programmed instructional material stored in a computer.
computer-managed instruction (CMI)  A recordkeeping procedure for tracking student performance using a computer.
conditional teacher's license  Sometimes called an emergency license, a substandard license that is issued on a temporary basis to meet a pressing need.
consolidation  The trend toward combining small or rural school districts into larger ones.
constructivism  With roots in cognitive psychology, this educational approach is built on the idea that people construct their understanding of the world. Constructivist teachers gauge a student's prior knowledge, then carefully orchestrate cues, classroom activities, and penetrating questions to push students to higher levels of understanding.
content standards  The knowledge, skills, and dispositions that students should master in each subject. These standards are often linked to broader themes and sometimes to testing programs.
cooperative learning  In classrooms using cooperative learning, students work on activities in small groups, and they receive rewards based on the overall group performance.
Copyright Act  A federal law that protects intellectual property, including copyrighted material. Teachers can use such material in classrooms only with permission, or under specific guidelines.
core curriculum  A central body of knowledge that schools require all students to study.
core knowledge  Awareness of the central ideas, beliefs, personalities, writings, events, etc. of a culture. Also termed "cultural literacy."
corporal punishment  Disciplining students through physical punishment by a school employee.
Creationism  The position that God created the universe, the earth, and living things on the earth in precisely the manner described in the Old Testament, in six, 24-hour periods.
critical pedagogy  An education philosophy that unites the theory of critical thinking with actual practice in real-world settings. The purpose is to eliminate the cultural and educational control of the dominant group, to have students apply critical thinking skills to the real world and become agents for social change.
cultural difference theory  This theory asserts that academic problems can be overcome if educators study and mediate the cultural gap separating school and home.
cultural literacy  Knowledge of the people, places, events, and concepts central to the standard literate culture.
cultural pluralism  Acceptance and encouragement of cultural diversity.
curriculum (formal, explicit)  Planned content of instruction that enables the school to meet its aims.
curriculum development  The processes of assessing needs, formulating objectives, and developing instructional opportunities and evaluation.
dame schools  Primary schools in colonial and other early periods in which students were taught by untrained women in the women's own homes.
day care centers  Facilities charged with caring for children. The quality of care varies dramatically and may range from well-planned educational programs to little more than custodial supervision.
decentralization  The trend of dividing large school districts into smaller and, it is hoped, more responsive units.
deductive reasoning  Working from a general rule to identify particular examples and applications to that rule.
de facto segregation  The segregation of racial or other groups resulting from circumstances, such as housing patterns, rather than from official policy or law.
deficit theory  A theory that asserts that the values, language patterns, and behaviors that children from certain racial and ethnic groups bring to school put them at an educational disadvantage.
de jure segregation  The segregation of racial or other groups on the basis of law, policy, or a practice designed to accomplish such separation.
delegate representative  Form of representative government in which the interests of a particular geographic region are represented through an individual or "delegate." Some school boards are organized so that members act as delegates of a neighborhood or region.
Department of Education  U.S. cabinet-level department in charge of federal educational policy and the promotion of programs to carry out policies.
descriptive data  Information that provides an objective depiction of various aspects of school or classroom life.
desegregation  The process of correcting past practices of racial or other illegal segregation.
detrack  The movement to eliminate school tracking practices, which often have racial, ethnic, and class implications.
differentiated instruction  Instructional activities are organized in response to individual differences rather than content standards. Teachers are asked to carefully consider each student's needs, learning style, life experience, and readiness to learn.
digital divide  A term used to describe the technological gap between the "haves" and "have nots." Race, gender, class, and geography are some of the demographic factors influencing technological access and achievement.
direct teaching  A model of instruction in which the teacher is a strong leader who structures the classroom and sequences subject matter to reflect a clear academic focus. This model emphasizes the importance of a structured lesson in which presentation of new information is followed by student practice and teacher feedback.
disability  A learning or physical condition, a behavior, or an emotional problem that impedes education. Educators now prefer to speak of "students with disabilities," not "handicapped students," emphasizing the person, not the disability.
distance learning  Courses, programs, and training provided to students over long distances through television, the Internet, and other technologies.  An adult-supervised Internet domain designed to protect children from inappropriate Internet content.
dual-track system  The European traditional practice of separate primary schools for most children and secondary schools for the upper class.
due process  The procedural requirements that must be followed in such areas as student and teacher discipline and placement in special education programs. Due process exists to safeguard individuals from arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable policies, practices, or actions. The essential elements of due process are (1) a notice of the charge or actions to be taken, (2) the opportunity to be heard, (3) and the right to a defense that reflects the particular circumstances and nature of the case.
e-mentor  Mentors who work over the Internet to advise, counsel, and support others. Some schools use e-mentors for beginning teachers.
early childhood education  Learning undertaken by young children in the home, in nursery schools, preschools, and in kindergartens.
eclecticism  In this text, the drawing on of elements from several educational philosophies or methods.
Edison Schools (Edison Project)  An educational company that contracts with local school districts, promising to improve student achievement while making a profit in the process.
educable child  A mentally retarded child who is capable of achieving only a limited basic learning and usually must be instructed in a special class.
educational malpractice  A new experimental line of litigation similar to the concept of medical malpractice. Educational malpractice is concerned with assessing liability for students who graduate from school without fundamental skills. Unlike medical malpractice, many courts have rejected the notion that schools or educators be held liable for this problem.
educational park  A large, campuslike facility often including many grade levels and several schools and often surrounded by a variety of cultural resources.
educational television programming  Television programs that promote learning.
educational vouchers  Flat grants or payments representing the cost of educating a student at a school. Awarded to the parent or child to enable free choice of a school—public or private—the voucher payment is made to the school that accepts the child.
Eight-Year Study  Educator Ralph Tyler's study in the 1930s that indicated the effectiveness of progressive education.
elementary school  An educational institution for children in grades 1 through 5, 6, or 8, often including kindergarten.
emergency license  A substandard license that recognizes teachers who have not met all the requirements for licensure. It is issued on a temporary basis to meet the needs of communities that do not have licensed teachers available.
EMO (Educational Maintenance Organization)  The term is borrowed from Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and refers to the growing number of profit-driven companies in the business of public education.
emotional intelligence (EQ)  Personality characteristics, such as persistence, can be measured as part of a new human dimension referred to as EQ. Some believe that EQ scores may be better predictors of future success than IQ scores.
empiricism  The philosophy that maintains that sensory experiences, such as seeing, hearing, and touching, are the ultimate sources of all human knowledge. ­Empiricists believe that we experience the external world by sensory perception; then, through reflection, we conceptualize ideas that help us interpret the world.
enculturation  The process of acquiring a culture; a child's acquisition of the cultural heritage through both formal and informal educational means.
endorsement  Having a license extended through additional work to include a second teaching field.
engaged time  The part of time that a teacher schedules for a subject in which the students are actively involved with academic subject matter. Listening to a lecture, participating in a class discussion, and working on math problems all constitute engaged time.
English grammar school  The demand for a more practical education in eighteenth-century America led to the creation of these private schools that taught commerce, navigation, engineering, and other vocational skills.
English language learners (ELL)  (Also referred to as limited English proficiency or LEP.) Students whose native language is not English and are learning to speak and write English.
environmental education  The study and analysis of the conditions and causes of pollution, overpopulation, and waste of natural resources, and of the ways to preserve Earth's intricate ecology.
epistemology  The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of knowledge and learning.
e-portfolio  A digital version of the teacher's professional portfolio.
equal educational opportunity  Refers to giving every student the educational opportunity to develop fully whatever talents, interests, and abilities he or she may have, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or economic status.
equity  Educational policy and practice that are just, fair, and free from bias and discrimination.
essentialism  An educational philosophy that emphasizes basic skills of reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, geography, and language.
establishment clause  A section of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that says that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. This clause prohibits nonparochial schools from teaching religion.
ethics  The branch of philosophy that examines questions of right and wrong, good and bad.
ethnic group  A group of people with a distinctive culture and history.
ethnocentrism  The tendency to view one's own culture as superior to others, or to fail to consider other cultures in a fair or equitable manner.
evaluation  Assessment of learning and instruction.
evolution  As put forth by Charles Darwin, a keystone of modern biological theory and postulates that animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that there are modifications in successive generations.
exceptional learners  Students who require special education and related services in order to realize their full potential. Categories of exceptionality include retarded, gifted, learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, and physically disabled.
existentialism  A philosophy that emphasizes the ability of an individual to determine the course and nature of his or her life and the importance of personal decision making.
expectation theory  First made popular by Rosenthal and Jacobson, this theory holds that a student's academic performance can be improved if a teacher's attitudes and beliefs about that student's academic potential are modified.
expulsion  Dismissal of a student from school for a lengthy period, ranging from one semester to permanently.
extracurriculum  The part of school life that comprises activities, such as sports, academic and social clubs, band, chorus, orchestra, and theater. Many educators think that the extracurriculum develops important skills and values, including leadership, teamwork, creativity, and diligence.
failing school  The term given to a school when a large proportion of its students do not do well on standardized tests or other academic measures. Critics charge that students attending such schools are not receiving their constitutionally guaranteed adequate education.
fair use  A legal principle allowing limited use of copyrighted materials. Teachers must observe three criteria: brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect.
five factor theory  School effectiveness research emphasizes five factors, including effective leadership, monitoring student progress, safety, a clear vision, and high expectations.
Flanders Interaction Analysis  An instrument developed by Ned Flanders for categorizing student and teacher verbal behavior. It is used to interpret the nature of classroom verbal interaction.
flexible scheduling  A technique for organizing time more effectively in order to meet the needs of instruction by dividing the school day into smaller time modules that can be combined to fit a task.
foundation program  Program for distribution of state funds designed to guarantee a specified minimum level of educational support for each child.
Franklin Academy  A colonial high school founded by Benjamin Franklin that accepted females as students and promoted a less classical, more practical curriculum.
full service school  These schools provide a network of social services from nutrition and health care to parental education and transportation, all designed to support the comprehensive educational needs of children.
future shock  Term coined by Alvin Toffler. It refers to the extraordinarily accelerated rate of change and the disorientation of those unable to adapt to rapidly altered norms, institutions, and values.
futurism  The activity of forecasting and planning for future developments.
gender bias (see sex discrimination)  The degree to which an individual's beliefs and behavior are unduly influenced on the basis of gender.
gendered career  A term applied to the gender stereotyping of career and occupational fields. Teaching, for example, was initially gendered male, and today is gendered female, particularly at the elementary school level.
gifted learner  There is great variance in definitions and categorizations of the "gifted." The term is most frequently applied to those with exceptional intellectual ability, but it may also refer to learners with outstanding ability in athletics, leadership, music, creativity, and so forth.
global education  Because economics, politics, scientific innovation, and societal developments in different countries have an enormous impact on children in the United States, the goals of global education include increased knowledge about the peoples of the world, resolution of global problems, increased fluency in foreign languages, and the development of more tolerant attitudes toward other cultures and peoples.
Great Books  The heart of the perennialists' curriculum that includes great works of the past in literature, philosophy, science, and other areas.
guaranteed tax base program  Adds state funds to local tax revenues, especially in poorer communities in order to enhance local educational expenditures.
Gun-free Schools Act  Enacted in Congress in 1994, schools can lose federal funds if they do not have a zero-tolerance policy mandating one-year expulsions for students bringing firearms to schools. The vast majority of schools report zero-tolerance policies for firearms.
Head Start  Federally funded pre-elementary school program to provide learning opportunities for disadvantaged students.
heterogeneous grouping  A group or class consisting of students who show normal variation in ability or performance. It differs from homogeneous grouping, in which criteria, such as grades or scores on standardized tests, are used to group students similar in ability or achievement.
hidden (implicit) curriculum  What students learn, other than academic content, from what they do or are expected to do in school; incidental learnings.
hidden government  The unofficial power structure within a school. It cannot be identified by the official title, position, or functions of individuals. For example, it reflects the potential influence of a school secretary or custodian.
higher-order questions  Questions that require students to go beyond memory in formulating a response. These questions require students to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and so on.
home schooling  A growing trend (but a longtime practice) of parents educating their children at home, for religious or philosophical reasons.
homogeneous grouping  The classification of pupils for the purpose of forming instructional groups having a relatively high degree of intellectual similarity.
hornbook  A single sheet of parchment containing the Lord's Prayer and letters of the alphabet. It was protected by a thin sheath from the flattened horn of a cow and fastened to a wooden board—hence, the name. It was used during the colonial era in primary schools.
humanistic education  A curriculum that stresses personal student growth; self-actualizing, moral, and aesthetic issues are explored.
idealism  A doctrine holding that knowledge is derived from ideas and emphasizing moral and spiritual reality as a preeminent source of explanation.
ideologues  Home school advocates focused on avoiding public schools in order to impart their own set of values.
inclusion  The practice of educating and integrating children with disabilities into regular classroom settings.
immersion  This bilingual education model teaches students with limited English by using a "sheltered" or simplified English vocabulary, but teaching in English and not in the other language.
independent school  A nonpublic school unaffiliated with any church or other agency.
individualized education program (IEP)  The mechanism through which a disabled child's special needs are identified, objectives and services are described, and evaluation is designed.
individualized instruction  Curriculum content and instructional materials, media, and activities designed for individual learning. The pace, interests, and abilities of the learner determine the curriculum.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)  Federal law passed in 1990, which extends full education services and provisions to people identified with disabilities.
induction  A formal program assisting new teachers to successfully adjust to their role in the classroom.
inductive reasoning  Drawing generalizations based on the observation of specific examples.
informal education  In many cultures, augments or takes the place of formal schooling as children learn adult roles through observation, conversation, assisting, and imitating.
infrastructure  The basic installations and facilities on which the continuance and growth of a community depend.
in loco parentis  Latin term meaning "in place of the parents"; that is, a teacher or school administrator assumes the duties and responsibilities of the parents during the hours the child attends school.
instruction  The process of implementing a curriculum.
INTASC  The Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium, an organization that has identified competency standards for new teachers.
integrated curriculum (interdisciplinary curriculum)  Subject matter from two or more areas combined into thematic units (i.e., literature and history resources to study civil rights laws).
integration  The process of educating different racial and ethnic groups together, and developing positive interracial contacts.
Intelligent Design  The argument that instances in nature cannot be explained by Darwinian evolution, but instead are consistent with the notion of an intelligent involvement in the design of life.
interest centers  Usually associated with an open classroom, such centers provide independent student activities related to a specific subject.
Internet  The worldwide computer network that rapidly facilitates information dissemination.
junior high school  A two- or three-year school between elementary and high school for students in their early adolescent years, commonly grades 7 and 8 or 7 through 9.
Kalamazoo case  A 1874 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the right of states to tax citizens in order to provide public secondary education.
kindergarten  A preschool, early childhood educational environment first designed by Froebel in the mid-nineteenth century.
labeling  Categorizing or classifying students for the purposes of educational placement. One unfortunate consequence may be that of stigmatizing students and inhibiting them from reaching their full potential.
laboratory schools  Schools often associated with a teacher preparation institution for practice teaching, demonstration, research, or innovation.
land grant colleges  State colleges or universities offering agricultural and mechanical curricula, funded originally by the Morrill Act of 1862.
language submersion  This bilingual education model teaches students in classes where only English is spoken, the teacher does not know the language of the student, and the student either learns English as the academic work progresses or pays the consequences. This has been called a "sink or swim" approach.
last mile problem  Geography contributes to a digital divide, in part because running fiber optic cables to rural schools is often an expense that telecommunications companies avoid.
latchkey (self-care) kids  A term used to describe children who go home after school to an empty house; their parents or guardians are usually working and not home.
Latin grammar school  A classical secondary school with a Latin and Greek curriculum preparing students for college.
learning communities  The creation of more personal collaboration between teachers and students to promote similar academic goals and values.
learning disability  An educationally significant language and/or learning deficit.
learning styles  Students learn in different ways and have different preferences, ranging from preferred light and noise levels to independent or group learning formats.
least-restrictive environment  The program best suited to meeting a disabled student's special needs without segregating the student from the regular educational program.
license  Official approval of a government agency for an individual to perform certain work, such as a teacher's license granted by a state.
limited English proficiency (LEP)  A student who has a limited ability to understand, speak, or read English and who has a native language other than English.
locus of control  Learners may attribute success or failure to external or internal factors. "The teacher didn't review the material well," is an example of attribution to an external factor and represents an external locus of control. In this case, the learner avoids responsibility for behavior. When students have an internal locus of control, they believe that they control their fate and take responsibility for events.
logic  The branch of philosophy that deals with reasoning. Logic defines the rules of reasoning, focuses on how to move from one set of assumptions to valid conclusions, and examines the rules of inference that enable us to frame our propositions and arguments.
looping  The practice of teaching the same class for several years, over two or even more grades. The purpose is to build stronger teacher-student connections.
lower-order questions  Questions that require the retrieval of memorized information and do not require more complex intellectual processes.
magnet school  A specialized school open to all students in a district on a competitive or lottery basis. It provides a method of drawing children away from segregated neighborhood schools while affording unique educational specialties, such as science, math, and the performing arts.
mainstreaming  The inclusion of special education students in the regular education program. The nature and extent of this inclusion should be based on meeting the special needs of the child.
maintenance approach (or developmental approach)  A bilingual model that emphasizes the importance of acquiring English while maintaining competence in the native language.
malfeasance  Deliberately acting improperly and causing harm to someone.
mastery learning  An educational practice in which an individual demonstrates mastery of one task before moving on to the next.
McGuffey Reader  For almost 100 years, this reading series promoted moral and patriotic messages and set the practice of reading levels leading toward graded elementary schools.
mentor  A guide or an adviser, and a component of some first-year school induction programs designed to assist new teachers.
merit pay  A salary system that periodically evaluates teacher performance and uses these evaluations in determining salary.
metacognition  Self-awareness of our thinking process as we perform various tasks and operations. For example, when students articulate how they think about academic tasks, it enhances their thinking and enables teachers to target assistance and remediation.
metaphysics  The area of philosophy that examines the nature of reality.
microteaching  A clinical approach to teacher training in which the teacher candidate teaches a small group of students for a brief time while concentrating on a specific teaching skill.
middle schools  Two- to four-year schools of the middle grades, often grades 6 through 8, between elementary school and high school.
minimum competency tests  Exit-level tests designed to ascertain whether students have achieved basic levels of performance in such areas as reading, writing, and computation. Some states require that a secondary student pass a minimum competency test in order to receive a high school diploma.
misfeasance  Failure to act in a proper manner to prevent harm.
moral stages  Promoted by Lawrence Kohlberg as a model of moral development in which individuals progress from simple moral concerns, such as avoiding punishment, to more sophisticated ethical beliefs and actions.
Morrill Act  Federal legislation (1862) granting federal lands to states to establish colleges to promote more effective and efficient agriculture and industry. A second Morrill Act, passed in 1890, provided federal support for "separate but equal" colleges for African Americans.
multicultural education  Educational policies and practices that not only recognize but also affirm human differences and similarities associated with gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, and class.
multiple intelligences  A theory developed by Howard Gardner to expand the concept of human intelligence to include such areas as logical-mathematical, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)  Program to ascertain the effectiveness of U.S. schools and student achievement.
National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)  An organization, comprising participating state departments of education, that evaluates teacher education programs in higher education.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)  A professional organization charged with establishing voluntary standards for recognizing superior teachers as board certified.
National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)  An organization that evaluates teacher education programs in many colleges and universities. Graduates of programs approved by the NCATE receive licenses in over half the states, pending the successful completion of required state exams.
national curricular standards  Nationally prescribed or recommended standards, content skills, and testing.
National Defense Education Act  Federally sponsored programs (1958) to improve science, math, and foreign language instruction in schools.
National Education Association (NEA)  The largest organization of educators, the NEA is concerned with the overall improvement of education and of the conditions of educators. It is organized at the national, state, and local levels.
networking  The term used to describe the intentional effort to develop personal connections with individuals who could be helpful in finding positions or gaining professional advancement.
New England Primer  One of the first textbooks in colonial America, teaching reading and moral messages.
nondiscriminatory education  The principle of nondiscriminatory education, based on the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, mandates that children with disabilities be fairly assessed, so that they can be protected from inappropriate classification and tracking.
nonfeasance  Failure to exercise appropriate responsibility that results in someone's being harmed.
nongraded school  A school organization in which grade levels are eliminated for two or more years.
nonverbal communication  The act of transmitting and/or receiving messages through means not having to do with oral or written language, such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language.
normal school  A two-year teacher education institution popular in the nineteenth century, many of which were expanded to become today's state colleges and universities.
norm-referenced tests  Tests that compare individual students with others in a designated norm group.
Northwest Ordinance (1785, 1787)  Provided for the sale of federal lands in the Northwest territory to support public schools.
null curriculum  The curriculum that is not taught in schools.
objective  The purpose of a lesson expressed in a statement.
objective-referenced tests  Tests that measure whether students have mastered a designated body of knowledge rather than how they compare with other students in a norm group.
observation techniques  Structured methods for observing various aspects of school or classroom activities.
Old Deluder Satan Law (1647)  Massachusetts colony law requiring teachers in towns of fifty families or more and that schools be built in towns of one hundred families or more. Communities must teach children to read so that they can read the Bible and thwart Satan.
open classroom  Based on the British model, it refers not only to an informal classroom environment but also to a philosophy of education. Students pursue ­individual interests with the guidance and support of the teacher; interest centers are created to promote this individualized instruction. Students may also have a significant influence in determining the nature and sequence of the curriculum. It is sometimes referred to as open education.
open enrollment  The practice of permitting students to attend the school of their choice within their school system. It is sometimes associated with magnet schools and desegregation efforts.
open-space school  A school building without interior walls. Although it may be designed to promote the concept of the open classroom, the open-space school is an architectural concept rather than an educational one.
opportunity to learn standards (also called delivery standards)  These standards attempt to recognize and respond to individual differences and circumstances. Poorer students learning in schools with fewer resources should receive more appropriate and adequate learning opportunities, and if some students need more time to take tests, additional time should be provided.
oral tradition  Spoken language is the primary method for instruction in several cultures around the world. Word problems are used to teach reasoning, proverbs to instill wisdom, and stories to teach lessons about nature, history, religion, and social customs.
outcome based education (OBE)  An educational approach that emphasizes setting learning outcomes and assessing student progress toward attaining those goals, rather than focusing on curricular topics.
paraprofessional  A lay person who serves as an aide, assisting the teacher in the classroom.
parochial school  An institution operated and controlled by a religious denomination.
peace studies  The study and analysis of the conditions of and need for peace, the causes of war, and the mechanisms for the nonviolent resolution of conflict. It is also referred to as peace education.
pedagogical cycle  A system of teacher-student interaction that includes four steps: structure—teacher introduces the topic; question—teacher asks questions; respond—student answers or tries to answer questions; and react—teacher reacts to student's answers and provides feedback.
pedagogues  Term given to home school advocates motivated by humanistic rather than religious goals.
pedagogy  The science of teaching.
peer review  The practice of having colleagues observe and assess teaching, as opposed to administrators.
perennialism  The philosophy that emphasizes rationality as the major purpose of education. It asserts that the essential truths are recurring and universally true; it stresses Great Books.
performance standards  Statements that describe what teachers or students should be able to do, and how well they should do it.
permanent license  Although there is some variation from state to state, a permanent license is issued after a candidate has completed all the requirements for full recognition as a teacher. Requirements may include a specified number of courses beyond the bachelor's degree or a specified number of years of teaching.
philosophy  The love of or search for wisdom; the quest to understand the meaning of life.
phonics  An approach to reading instruction that emphasizes decoding words by sounding out letters and combinations of letters (as contrasted with the whole language approach).
Plessey v.Ferguson  An 1896 Supreme Court decision that upheld that "separate but equal" was legal and that the races could be segregated. It was overturned in 1954 by Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka.
political philosophy  An approach to analyzing how past and present societies are arranged and governed and how better societies may be created in the future.
portfolio  Compilations of work (such as papers, projects, videotapes) assembled to demonstrate growth, creativity, and competence. Often advocated as a more comprehensive assessment than test scores.
pragmatism  A philosophical belief that asserts truth is what works and rejects other views of reality.
Praxis series of tests  Developed by ETS to assess teachers' competence in various areas: reading, writing, math, professional and subject area knowledge. Praxis test requirements differ among states (see the Appendix).
primary school  A separately organized and administered elementary school for students in the lower elementary grades, usually grades 1 through 3, and sometimes including preprimary years.
private school  A school controlled by an individual or agency other than the government, usually supported by other than public funds. Most private schools are parochial.
privatization  The movement toward increased private sector, for-profit involvement in the management of public agencies, including schools.
probationary teaching period  A specified period of time in which a newly hired teacher must demonstrate teaching competence. This period is usually three years for public school teachers and six years for college professors. Generally, on satisfactory completion of the probationary period, a teacher is granted tenure.
problem-based learning  An approach that builds a curriculum around intriguing real-life problems and asks students to work cooperatively to develop and demonstrate their solutions.
procedural due process  The right of children with disabilities and their parents to be notified of school actions and decisions; to challenge those decisions before an impartial tribunal, using counsel and expert witnesses; to examine the school records on which a decision is based; and to appeal whatever decision is reached.
professional development  School district efforts to improve knowledge, skills and performance of its professional staff.
progressive education (progressivism)  An educational philosophy emphasizing democracy, student needs, practical activities, and school-community relationships.
property tax  Local real estate taxes (also cars and personal property) historically used to fund local schools.
provisional license  Also referred to as a probationary license, a provisional license is frequently issued to beginning teachers. It may mean that a person has completed most, but not all, of the state requirements for permanent licensure. Or it may mean that the state requires several years of teaching experience before it will qualify the teacher for permanent licensure.
racial discrimination  Actions that limit or deny a person or group any privileges, roles, or rewards on the basis of race.
racism  Attitudes, beliefs, and behavior based on the notion that one race is superior to other races.
rationalism  The philosophy that emphasizes the power of reason and the principles of logic to derive statements about the world. Rationalists encourage schools to emphasize teaching mathematics, because mathematics involves reason and logic.
readability formulas  Formulas that use objective, quantitative measures to determine the reading level of textbooks.
reciprocity  States recognize and honor another state's actions, such as recognizing a teacher's license in one state as valid in another.
reconstructionism (reconstructionist)  Also called social reconstructionism, this is a view of education as a way to improve the quality of life, to reduce the chances of conflict, and to create a more humane world.
reflective teaching  Predicated on a broad and in-depth understanding of what is happening in the classroom, reflective teaching promotes thoughtful consideration and dialogue about classroom events.
regular education initiative  The attempt to reduce the complications and expense of segregated special education efforts by teaching special needs students in the standard educational program through collaborative consultation, curricular modifications, and environment adaptations.
résumé  A summary of a person's education and experiences, often used for application to school or employment.
revenue sharing  The distribution of federal money to state and local governments to use as they decide.
Robin Hood laws  As a result of court actions, many states are redistributing revenue from wealthier to poorer communities to equalize educational funding, a process not unlike the efforts of the hero of Sherwood Forest.
romantic critics  Critics such as Paul Goodman, Herbert Kohl, and John Holt who believed that schools were stifling the cognitive and affective development of children. Individual critics stressed different problems or solutions, but they all agreed that schools were producing alienated, uncreative, and unfulfilled students.
rubric  A scoring guide that describes what must be done, and often describes performance levels ranging from novice to expert, or from a failing grade to excellence.
sabbatical  A leave usually granted with full or partial pay after a teacher has taught for a specified period of time (for example, six years). Typically, it is to encourage research and professional development. While common at the university level, it is rare for K–12 teachers.
scaffolding  Taking from the construction field, scaffolding provides support to help a student build understanding. The teacher might use cues or encouragement or well-formulated questions to assist a student in solving a problem or mastering a concept.
school-based management  The recent trend in education reform that stresses decision making on the school level. In the past, school policies were set by the state and the districts. Now the trend is for individual schools to make their own decisions and policies.
school choice  The name given to several programs in which parents choose what school their child will attend.
school financing  Refers to the ways in which monies are raised and allocated to schools. The methods differ widely from state to state, and many challenges are being made in courts today because of the unequal distribution of funds within a state or among states.
school infrastructure  The basic facilities and structures that underpin a school plant, such as plumbing, sewage, heat, electricity, roof, masonry, and carpentry.
school superintendent  The chief administrator of a school system, responsible for implementing and enforcing the school board's policies, rules, and regulations, as well as state and federal requirements. The superintendent is directly responsible to the school board and is the formal representative of the school community to outside individuals and agencies.
School to Work Opportunities Act  Programs that link school learning to job settings, often developed in partnerships between school and industry.
schools without walls  An alternative education program that involves the total community as a learning resource.
secondary school  A program of study that follows elementary school and includes junior, middle, and high school.
second-generation segregation  When a school's multiracial populations are separated through tracking, extracurricular activities, and even in informal social events, the school is considered to be in second-generation segregation.
secular humanism  The belief that people can live ethically without faith in a supernatural or supreme being. Some critics have alleged that secular humanism is a form of religion and that publishers are promoting secular humanism in their books.
self-censorship (also called stealth censorship)  In order to avoid possible problems and parental complaints, some educators quietly remove a book from a library shelf or a course of study. Teachers practice the same sort of self-censorship when they choose not to teach a topic or not to discuss a difficult issue.
separate but equal  A legal doctrine that holds that equality of treatment is accorded when the races are provided substantially equal facilities, even though those facilities are separate. This doctrine was ruled unconstitutional in regard to race.
service credit  By volunteering in a variety of community settings, from nursing homes to child care facilities, students are encouraged to develop a sense of community and meet what is now a high school graduation requirement in some states.
sex discrimination  Any action that limits or denies a person or group of persons opportunities, privileges, roles, or rewards on the basis of sex.
sexism  The collection of attitudes, beliefs, and behavior that results from the assumption that one sex is superior to the other.
sex-role stereotyping  Attributing behavior, abilities, interests, values, and roles to a person or group of persons on the basis of sex. This process ignores individual differences.
sexual harassment  Unwanted, repeated, and unreturned sexual words, behaviors, or gestures prohibited by federal and some state laws.
simulation  A role-playing technique in which students take part in re-created, life-like situations.
social reconstructionism  (See Reconstructionism.)
sociogram  A diagram that is constructed to record social interactions, such as which children interact frequently and which are isolates.
Socratic method  An educational strategy attributed to Socrates in which a teacher encourages a student's discovery of truth by questions.
special education  Programs and instruction for children with physical, mental, emotional, or learning disabilities or gifted students who need special educational services in order to achieve at their ability level.
special license  A nonteaching license that is designed for specialized educational careers, such as counseling, library science, and administration.
spirituality  A personal and pluralistic view of life's meaning, broader than any particular religion, but encompassing many ideas common to all religions. It includes beliefs and activities which renew, lift up, comfort, heal, and inspire both ourselves and others.
standards-based education  Education that specifies precisely what students should learn, focuses the curriculum and instruction (and perhaps much more) on meeting these standards, and provides continual testing to see if the standards are achieved.
state adoption  The process by which members of a textbook adoption committee review and select the books used throughout a state. Advocates of this process say that it results in a common statewide curriculum that unites educators on similar issues and makes school life easier for students who move within the state. Critics charge that it gives too much influence to large states and results in a "dumbed down" curriculum.
state board of education  The state education agency that regulates policies necessary to implement legislative acts related to education.
state department of education  An agency that operates under the direction of the state board of education, accrediting schools, certifying teachers, appropriating state school funds, and so on.
stepfamilies  These relationships are created when divorced or widowed parents remarry, creating a whole set of new relationships, including stepchildren, stepgrandparents, and stepparents.
street academies  Alternative schools designed to bring dropouts and potential dropouts, often inner-city youths, back into the educational mainstream.
student-initiated questions  These are content-related questions originating from the student, yet comprising only a small percentage of the questions asked in class.
superintendent of schools  The executive officer of the local school district.
taxonomy  A classification system of organizing information and translating aims into instructional objectives.
teacher centers  Sites to provide training to improve teaching skills, inform teachers of current educational research, and develop new curricular programs.
teacher flexibility  Adapting a variety of skills, abilities, characteristics, and approaches, according to the demands of each situation and the needs of each student.
Teach for America  A program that places unlicensed college graduates in districts with critical teacher shortages as they work toward attaining a teacher license.
tenure  A system of employment in which teachers, having served a probationary period, acquire an expectancy of continued employment. The majority of states have tenure laws.
Tesseract  Formerly Educational Alternatives, this private company works in the public school sector, attempting to improve school efficiency and student achievement, while making a profit.
textbook adoption states  States, most often those in the South and West, that have a formal process for assessing, choosing, and approving textbooks for school use.
Title I  Section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that provides federal funds to supplement local education resources for students from low-income families.
Title IX  A provision of the 1972 Educational Amendments that prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program receiving federal financial assistance.
tracking  The method of placing students according to their ability level in homogeneous classes or learning experiences. Once a student is placed, it may be very difficult to move up from one track to another. The placements may reflect racism, classism, or sexism.
transitional bilingual education  A bilingual education program in which students are taught for a limited time in their own language as well as English. The goal is to move students into English-only speaking classrooms.
trustee representatives  This conception of a school board member's role differs from the delegate approach, as members are viewed as representatives of the entire community, rather than representing the narrower interests of a particular group or neighborhood.
tuition tax credits  Tax reductions for parents or guardians of children attending public or private schools.
unobtrusive measurement  A method of observing a situation without altering it.
unremarked revolution  The unheralded but persistent move of schools away from formal tracking programs.
values clarification  A model, comprising various strategies, that encourages students to express and clarify their values on different topics.
virtual field trip  Visiting distant sites and events via the computer and the Internet.
vouchers  A voucher is like a coupon, and it represents money targeted for schools. In a voucher system, parents use educational vouchers to "shop" for a school. Schools receive part or all of their per-pupil funding from these vouchers. In theory, good schools would thrive and poor ones would close for lack of students.
wait time  The amount of time a teacher waits for a student's response after a question is asked and the amount of time following a student's response before the teacher reacts.
whole language approach  Teaching reading through an integration of language arts skills and knowledge, with a heavy emphasis on literature (as contrasted with a phonics approach).
women's studies  Originally created during the 1970s to study the history, literature, psychology, and experiences of women, topics typically missing from the traditional curriculum.
World Wide Web  Most common connection to the Internet; contains numerous sites which can be accessed by a Web browser.
zero reject  The principle that no child with disabilities may be denied a free and appropriate public education.
zero-tolerance policies  Such rigorous rules offer schools little or no flexibility in responding to student infractions related to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, violence, and weapons. These policies have been developed by both local school districts and a number of state legislatures, and in most cases, students who violate such policies must be expelled.
zone of proximal development  The area where students can move from what they know to new learning, a zone where real learning is possible.

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