Awash in Acronyms

It seems that every time we turn around there are new acronyms that have joined the education jargon.  Maybe I’m wrong, but Connecticut seems to have more than its share.  Here are a few that are popular these days.  They’re arranged in alphabetical order, not by the order of the number of times you’ll hear them on any given day:

  • DDDM – Though many educators think of this as a “four letter word”, it actually stands for Data Driven Decision Making, the process that is being used by all priority districts and many other districts in Connecticut. 
  • DRGDistrict Reference Groups are the categories used in Connecticut to compare districts with each other.  As in real life, if you’re in DRG A, you’re at the top of the heap.  This acronym used to be ERG which stood for Education Reference Group but it was changed a couple of years ago.  If you work in a poor district, you know that the E in ERG was usually interpreted as low Economic status (see FRL and SES below).   Since NCLB (see below), Connecticut is using much more than just economic status to group districts for comparison in Connecticut.  
  • ESEA - This stands for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and it grew out of the Civil Rights legislation of the early to mid 1960′s.  This was landmark legislation which has led to many reforms in the field of education over the last 50 years.
  • FRL – This stands for Free and Reduced Lunch and it’s a new one to me.  I saw it in a PowerPoint about a week ago; it was used to identify students of lower socio-economic status.  I guess it’s a more politically correct term than poor.
  • NCLB – This is not a new acronym if you’ve been involved in the field of education for the last decade or so.  It stands for No Child Left Behind and it’s the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that took place in 2001.  It’s title and original intent were good – I don’t know any educator who wants to leave any child behind.  However, NCLB has been viewed as very punitive legislation by many educators and has caused a great deal of angst for students, educators and parents alike.
  • SES - This stands for Socio-Economic Status;  See FRL above.

That’s your vocabulary lesson for this week.  If you’d like to read more of Jane Cook’s blogging, check out her personal/professional blog at: http://teachinginthe21stcentury.edublogs.org/

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