The Top 5 Educational Developments of 2012

1. Bullying

The rampant concern about bullying has made U.S. educators aware of its pervasive nature. The development of LGBT Safe Schools conference and the Bullying Prevention Summit aim to curb bullying in American schools.

2. Increase in federal education budget

To boost the teaching profession and to make college affordable, The Department of Education is requesting $69.8 billion in discretionary funding for 2013. That’s an increase of $1.7 billion, or 2.5%, from 2012.

3. No Child Left Behind

This Bush-era legislation allows students in underperforming schools to request to go to another school. However, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants to add flexibility to it. States are to set goals and local districts will have decide how to deal with underperforming schools instead of Washington intervening.

4. Race to the Top

The competitive grant system from The Department of Education is once again inspiring creativity for the next four years. In a speech, Duncan said, “In a fascinating lesson on the power of incentives, we have seen as much reform in states that didn’t receive a nickel as in states that received tens of millions of dollars. The fact that 45 states have now adopted internationally benchmarked, college and career-ready standards is an absolute game-changer. Virtually the entire country has voluntarily raised expectations for our children.”

5. School Safety and Gun Control

I was skeptical placing this on the list. The Newtown massacre left a mark of hopelessness on the nation. Defenseless children were gunned down and discussion of school safety and gun control erupted between the government, the National Rifle Association, and television pundits. In future months discussions will continue on gun control and safety. If children aren’t safe in school, how do we expect them to learn?