Scholastic Names the Decade's Ten Big Ideas in Education

December 16, 2009 (New York, NY) – As 2009 draws to a close, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today named 10 Big Ideas in Education from the first decade of the 21st Century. They are:

Alternate Paths to Teaching—from Teach for America to Troops to Teachers to urban Teaching Fellows programs, schools of education are no longer the only place that teachers begin their careers.

Transformative Technology— From whiteboards to online education, 1-to-1 computing to eReaders, for the first time in the history of American education, classrooms are increasingly plugged in – and so are the students.

Accountability—No matter where you stood in the debate on No Child Left Behind, it’s impossible to deny that this decade marked a new era with a shift toward reporting the results for every child in every school.

Data-Driven InstructionOnce we have data on every student, it’s easier to reach them quickly and to teach them better. Data is the new currency of 21st Century schools.

Charter SchoolsWhile the jury remains out on their effectiveness, there is no doubt that charter schools are incubators of innovation in education and harbingers of parent involvement in schools.

The Rise of Digital ContentBy 2020, 95% of all knowledge will be a search term away—marking a game-changing move from static pages to dynamic, digitized content.

A Focus on Adolescent Literacy—With 65% of American 8th Graders reading below grade level, teaching reading is no longer a job just for elementary school teachers. Our middle and high schools are taking dramatic steps to tackle the job of teaching reading to older, struggling students—ensuring that every child learns to read in an era of global competitiveness.

Books Are the New Black—In the decade that gave us Harry Potter, Twilight and The DaVinci Code, the hottest accessory is definitely the book. And it’s impossible to deny the power that a single book can have on children’s feelings about reading. According to the 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report, 74% of kids ages 5-17 say, “Reading Harry Potter has made me interested in reading other books.”

It Takes A VillageMore than ever, education is reaching beyond the walls of our schools to build strong communities that support learning both in and out-of-school. From the Universal Pre-K movement and burgeoning after-school programs, to summer reading initiatives and in-school community centers, we’re learning that it takes a combination of home, school and community to prepare kids for their futures.

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA)—Although it is the hallmark of only the last year of the decade, with its more than $100 billion dollar investment in America’s schools, ARRA represents an historic moment in American Education. While we cannot predict its impact, we can say with certainty that ARRA will leave an indelible mark on this decade of ideas in education.

“From new avenues to teaching to new ways of reaching our hardest to reach students, the past decade has been one of immense change and impressive innovation in education,” said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer of Scholastic. “We are proud to name Ten Big Ideas in Education for the first decade of the 21st Century, and eager to see what comes from the second.”

To schedule an interview with Francie Alexander on the decade’s 10 Big Ideas in Education, please contact Sarah Trabucchi at or 212.343.6424.

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