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Westlake Legal Group > Press Releases (Page 70)

Sponsored Post: Nick Brook: The new Ofsted framework requires improvement

Nick Brook is the Chair of NAHT’s Accountability Commission, and is the deputy General Secretary of NAHT. This is a sponsored post by NAHT, the definitive voice of school leaders.

John Major’s government created Ofsted 25 years ago to get a better grip on school inspection. Then, school failure was considered endemic in the system. In the quarter of a century since, school standards in this country have been transformed. Now, nearly nine in ten state-funded schools are rated good or better by Ofsted.

Yet despite having one of the most highly regulated education systems in the world, England continues to struggle to compete educationally with the best countries in the world. There is increasingly a consensus that the way in which we are holding schools to account is also holding schools back from making the journey from good to great.

In 2018, the school leaders’ union NAHT enlisted the help of leading educationalists and academics to form the Independent Commission on Accountability. They reviewed evidence to determine how well accountability arrangements were working in the interests of the country, schools and pupils; and set a new direction for the future, consistent with our ambition to have an education system to rival the very best in the world.

In September last year the Commission published the report, Improving School Accountability. They concluded that the approach that had lifted the system to good would not succeed in driving schools on to great, and that there is strong evidence to say that we need to rebalance holding good schools to account with helping them to improve.

The Commission highlighted seven ways that current arrangements are doing more harm than good, finding that, even in some of the best schools, fear of inspection was skewing priorities, driving a compliance culture and limiting ambition.

This week, Ofsted is proposing new arrangements for inspecting schools from September this year. Ofsted’s new vision is contained in a weighty, but flawed document. It recognises many of the challenges set out by the Accountability Commission but is disappointingly limited in their response to them.

At best, it is a step in the right direction when we needed a leap.

There is widespread doubt about whether Ofsted can provide the level of assurance schools and parents need. The Public Accounts Committee made this conclusion towards the end of last year.

The new framework has not remedied this.

Contained within the new proposals is a desire to rely less on test data when making judgements and focus inspectors more on what is taught and why. This is absolutely the right thing to do.

But as so much of what is proposed is open to interpretation, schools may be left second guessing what they are supposed to do to be seen as successful. Not only that, there is a very real risk that relying on the subjective views of inspectors will lead to more inconsistent judgements. This will make it even more difficult for parents who want to be confident that the information they use to make important decisions about their children’s future is fair and comparable.

Ofsted continues to struggle to distinguish clearly between Good and Outstanding schools. In parts, evaluation criteria appear vague to the point of unusable, or lack real depth. Take, for example, the new category of Leadership and Management. The distinction between “good” and “outstanding” leadership has been whittled down to three additional criteria: that leaders ensure teachers receive highly effective professional development; that meaningful engagement takes place with staff to identify workforce issues; and that staff well-being is good.

These are no doubt worthy things, but represent a depressingly unambitious view of what the best leadership in our schools should be. Compare this to the current framework and it appears that we are moving backwards. This further supports the view of the Commission that under the weight of accountability we have lost sight of what great leadership is.

A test of any education system is how well it serves its poorest pupils.

A child’s background, or family or postcode should not make a difference. But it is a fact that teachers and leaders are put off teaching in schools serving disadvantaged communities because they simply do not believe that they will be treated fairly by the inspectorate for doing so. Despite the desire of the Chief Inspector to address this we see little to suggest that these proposals go far enough to remove the disincentive to work in the most challenging schools.

Inspection arrangements that have lifted the system to good over the last 25 years will not push us on to great over the next quarter of a century and we risk becoming anchored to average internationally unless there is some loosening of the strait-jacket on good schools.

Ofsted’s new plans ought to be a moment to celebrate an improvement on current arrangements; a welcome re-think of what is required for the 21st Century. Instead, in its current form, this proposal from Ofsted will cause widespread concern amongst school leaders.

However, this is a consultation, so a lot can change. Our ambition – for an education system that rivals the best in the world – will not be achieved overnight, but it is well within our reach.We’re at a turning point, so we need to make sure we get it right.

The findings of NAHT’s Improving School Accountability report are a good place to start.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Marie Kondo ‘Tidying Up’ method sparks book donations, wait list for decluttering books in Fairfax Co.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Does it bring you joy? Keep it. If not, let it go have a life with someone who will appreciate it more than you do.

That’s an oversimplified version of the decluttering philosophy of Marie Kondo that’s being enthusiastically embraced in the metro D.C. area.

Libraries in Fairfax County can’t keep any of Kondo’s books on the shelves. In addition to her original title, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing,” there is a comic book type version and another book that’s a do-it-yourself guide with specific tips on how to fold things and where to put them, for example.

“They’re all checked out,” said Jessica Hudson, director of the Fairfax County Public Library system.

Fairfax County has more than 400,000 library card holders. At some branches, dozens of people have Kondo books ‘on-hold‘ so they can be next in line to get a copy.

“Marie Kondo’s book has been our most popular downloadable eBook for probably the last two or three months,” Hudson said. “The Netflix series certainly helped boost it up. It was pretty popular before then.”

Getting people to simplify their lives by giving things away has been good for book donations to libraries.

“We have absolutely benefited from her book,” Hudson said. “We’ve seen a large amount of donations over time and that means more sales through our ‘Friends of the Libraries’ groups, which means more money coming back to the library.”

Westlake Legal Group wtop1-364x485 Marie Kondo ‘Tidying Up’ method sparks book donations, wait list for decluttering books in Fairfax Co. Virginia TV News Trending Now Netflix Marie Kondo Local News Living News Life & Style Libraries Latest News kristi king joy Fairfax County, VA News Fairfax County Public Library Entertainment News decluttering cleaning
Book lovers shop at the Friends of the Herndon Fortnightly Library book sale in April 2018. (Courtesy Fairfax County Public Library)
Westlake Legal Group wtop2-647x485 Marie Kondo ‘Tidying Up’ method sparks book donations, wait list for decluttering books in Fairfax Co. Virginia TV News Trending Now Netflix Marie Kondo Local News Living News Life & Style Libraries Latest News kristi king joy Fairfax County, VA News Fairfax County Public Library Entertainment News decluttering cleaning
Wanda Badley is a member of the Friends of the Chantilly Regional Library. She’s preparing books for one of the group’s many book sales. (Courtesy Fairfax County Public Library)
Westlake Legal Group wtop3-727x409 Marie Kondo ‘Tidying Up’ method sparks book donations, wait list for decluttering books in Fairfax Co. Virginia TV News Trending Now Netflix Marie Kondo Local News Living News Life & Style Libraries Latest News kristi king joy Fairfax County, VA News Fairfax County Public Library Entertainment News decluttering cleaning
Customers wait outside the Reston Regional Library to shop at the used book sale in August 2017. (Courtesy Fairfax County Public Library)
Westlake Legal Group wtop4-649x485 Marie Kondo ‘Tidying Up’ method sparks book donations, wait list for decluttering books in Fairfax Co. Virginia TV News Trending Now Netflix Marie Kondo Local News Living News Life & Style Libraries Latest News kristi king joy Fairfax County, VA News Fairfax County Public Library Entertainment News decluttering cleaning
Book lovers shop at the Friends of the Reston Regional Library’s children’s, teens and educator’s used book sale in August 2017. (Courtesy Fairfax County Public Library)
Westlake Legal Group wtop5-649x485 Marie Kondo ‘Tidying Up’ method sparks book donations, wait list for decluttering books in Fairfax Co. Virginia TV News Trending Now Netflix Marie Kondo Local News Living News Life & Style Libraries Latest News kristi king joy Fairfax County, VA News Fairfax County Public Library Entertainment News decluttering cleaning
Book lovers shop at the Friends of the Reston Regional Library’s children’s, teens and educator’s used book sale in August 2017. (Courtesy Fairfax County Public Library)

Hudson said sales of used books by various ‘friends groups’ results in yearly donations back into the system of between $225,000 and $250,000.

The money complements funding from the county and is used for various upgrades like carpets and furniture and for programs, such as story times, teen and adult book clubs, summer reading and STEM programs.

“Any program that you see in our library is most likely supported by generous funds sponsored by the friends groups,” Hudson said.

Vito Santos, of Falls Church, is a frequent donor and buyer of books at Fairfax County libraries.

“I buy usually books on arts, history, politics and my field – that is economics and finance,” Santos said. “After I read it – I know if I don’t need to keep it, somebody else is going to take advantage of it.”

Source

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mental evaluation ordered for Fairfax Co. mom accused of killing kids

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — A Virginia judge has ordered the mental evaluation of a woman charged in the fatal shooting of her two daughters in the Tysons Corner area.

The Washington Post reported last week that the judge ordered the evaluation of competency to stand trial for 33-year-old Veronica Youngblood after she refused to attend court Friday. Youngblood’s defense attorney, Dawn Butorac, said at the Friday hearing that Youngblood also has attempted to kill herself and has been speaking incoherently about the case.

Youngblood is charged with murder in the 2018 slaying of her 5-year-old daughter, Brooklynn, and her teenage daughter, whose identity hasn’t been released. Police haven’t released a motive in the August slaying. At the time, Youngblood and her husband had recently divorced and were fighting over the custody of the children.

The murders occurred last August in a Fairfax County apartment on Lincoln Circle. Lincoln Circle is in the Tysons Corner area, not far from International Drive.

___

Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

Source

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March for Life — Here’s why I (still) march

Before he was Dr. Seuss, he was Theodore Geisel, penning cartoons to support America in the struggle against fascism in World War II. But Geisel’s work went beyond mere patriotism. At a time when Japanese Americans were demonied, stripped of their freedom, and marched off to internment camps, Geisel depicted them, in popular cartoon strips, as less than human.

Westlake Legal Group 012513_sr_mckelway_640 March for Life -- Here's why I (still) march fox-news/us/personal-freedoms fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values/values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Daniel Darling article 881e26c5-7c5d-547b-b527-75e042e360b0

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ocasio-Cortez’s latest role on Capitol Hill: Twitter tutor for House Democrats

As the youngest member of Congress, it’s no surprise that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has used social media effectively in her campaigning and in her first weeks as a member of Congress. Now she’s offering other House Democrats a chance to learn the techniques she has used.

Westlake Legal Group AP19003626239396 Ocasio-Cortez's latest role on Capitol Hill: Twitter tutor for House Democrats Louis Casiano fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6902e4c1-e31b-58f5-8c25-4de255ccce87

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In latest reversal, Gillibrand now supports letting illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses

After initially opposing the idea of granting drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has had a change of heart.

Westlake Legal Group 8c08873e-AP19014744108644 In latest reversal, Gillibrand now supports letting illegal immigrants get driver's licenses Louis Casiano fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/politics/elections/senate fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc d2809cc4-3b75-5d1b-8bc0-de38ff8b1b2b article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Dan Bongino: Hey, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, show us how it’s done and donate 70 percent of your income to the government

Hey Democrats, here’s an idea. You should sign a pledge to commit to a 70 percent tax rate. Then, you give all that money to the government and show us conservatives what it really means to you.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5987719807001_5987721681001-vs Dan Bongino: Hey, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, show us how it's done and donate 70 percent of your income to the government fox-news/us/economy/taxes fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Dan Bongino article 70a20cf9-88da-56f4-acfc-467e8fbe117a

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

John Stossel: Government shutdown lessons — We could take a chainsaw to so much of government

This government shutdown is now longer than any in history. During shutdowns, government tells “nonessential workers” not to come to work. But if they’re nonessential, then why do we pay 400,000 of them?

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5986569150001_5986568154001-vs John Stossel: Government shutdown lessons -- We could take a chainsaw to so much of government John Stossel fox-news/topic/government-shutdown fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc e3490541-84a5-5c18-a229-7e49b50982b6 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com