Preface – Best Practices for Education Professionals

Preface
The concept of “best practices” in the education profession is, in many ways, a moving
target. As with other professions, education is a constantly evolving discipline. Given
the nature of human learning, it makes sense that individuals working in a field involv-
ing teaching and learning be constantly investigating new ideas, practices, processes,
and aspects of professionalism. It is because of this on-going need for education pro-
fessionals to improve professional practice that a book of this nature is ever-timely
and relevant.
This book presents a sampling of scholarly perspectives on best practices in educa-
tion as discovered, investigated, and lived by practitioners and students in P-12 and
post-secondary educational settings. Education professionals, in general, are life-long
learners, who aspire and work to do their best for their students, and believe in the
worth of their students; the authors of the chapters in these pages are exemplars of
these qualities. Their passion, love, for education, schools, students, and learning are
evident. Our intent is to present, as an exchange of ideas about best practices, what
these authors have learned and are passionate about. Our audience is the broad spec-
trum of education professionals. We use the term education professionals to be inclu-
sive of those who work with students in a variety of roles, including, but not limited
to: classroom teachers at all levels, counselors, administrators, school psychologists,
and college faculty. We have taken this stance because we believe, wholeheartedly,
in the value of understanding and appreciating the roles and responsibilities of all
education professionals in the development of well-educated citizens. We believe that
the array of education professionals in any school setting, p-12 or college, will be the
most successful when all are aware of and value the contributions and challenges of
the others. Thus, the authors in this work were asked to frame their theses from this
larger perspective. We encourage readers to argue with the ideas presented herein, and
invite readers to challenge themselves by applying, in their own professional lives, the
practices and perspectives described.
Since the 1983 report, A Nation at Risk, from the National Commission on Excel-
lence in Education, education in the United States, particularly public education, has
been under re to reform its practices so that more youth graduate high school, go on
to college, become better informed citizens, and are better prepared to fully participate
and succeed in the changing world of work. Increased levels of literacy, numeracy, and
technological prociency within the general population were seen as imperative goals
to achieve in order for our nation to remain globally competitive. The 2001 enactment
of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation touched off another reform effort lead-
ing to the accountability movement, more rigorous learning standards, and widespread
use of standardized testing to assess students’ achievement of learning goals. Known
as “the four pillars of NCLB” the specic foci of this legislation are 1) accountability,
as reported in school district and state “report cards,” 2) freedom for states to use fed-
eral funding as needed for student achievement, 3) federal funding for implementation