The U.S. Department of Education is equipped to hand out another $490 million in Race to the Top grants for districts with impressive education-improvement plans, along with states to improve early-learning opportunities. Politics K-12
Remediation courses before college isn’t altogether uncommon, but in Colorado it is becoming increasingly more common. Almost 40% of Colorado’s high school graduates need remedial instruction before entering college. Denver Post
Would longer school days improve student achievement and outcomes? Analysis of extended day programs in New York City, New Orleans, and Baltimore suggest student performance in mathematics has improved with increased classroom time. Education Week Read Entire Post
In his monthly column in the Huffington Post, Alliance president Bob Wise talks today about the importance of district leaders forming a strategic plan for digital learning and technology implementation. He talks in-depth about the Alliance's Project 24 initiative - a set of resources and tools, along with a framework, to aid districrt and school leaders in creating a digital learning environment. He notes that technology is a powerful way to increase access and opportunity for all students everywhere, but it must be complemented by excellent teaching. Teachers, he says, become educational designers in a digital learning environment.
"Technology provides students with access to both online and traditional classroom opportunities that leverage data systems and interactive software -- that may not normally be available -- to engage and support students. With comprehensive planning and teacher support, technology can be an equalizer by providing the same educational opportunities to low-income students and students of color as it does to more affluent students. Technology can also be used to tailor learning based on each student's needs.
Effective digital learning provides technological tools that allow teachers to be designers of each student's individual pathway for achieving success. Technology enhances the teacher's role in the classroom by opening up new opportunities for instructional strategies and digital content and resources. Additionally, online professional development opportunities can connect teachers with mentors and expert colleagues worldwide, which enables real-time collaboration on lesson plans and best practices."
Learn more about Project 24, and how digital learning can improve student outcomes Wise's column: Technology in Education: Before You Make a Purchase, Make a Plan.Read Entire Post
Blended learning has taken over some classes at San Jose State and other California State Universities. In one dreaded engineering program, students now listen to lectures at home and work on assignments in class. Student achievement in the class has increased in the last year. Mercury News
Several dozen states are considering dropping the GED because prices for the pencil and paper test are too high. The states are exploring a more cost-effective alternative to the GED. Huffington Post
Students at Carnegie Mellon University can pay for their lunch by scanning their fingertips. The new technology connects the fingerprints with a debit card. PSFK Read Entire Post
This is a public university, created and run by the state of California and funded by the taxpayer. Rivaling well- known private selective institutions, UCB produces state, national, and international leaders in almost every field. This is a publicly-funded institution where the physics building's parking lot has six prime spots "Reserved for Nobel Laureates."
Yet even this major institution that has created much of California's intellectual infrastructure and resulting economic growth has seen reductions in state investment in past years. Against the backdrop of my walk, I replayed the constant political refrain that ending deficit spending is the most important issue facing the nation. Read Entire Post
The Washington Post released their 2013 list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools. The Post answers frequent questions on how the Index is compiled, how it works, and what it means. Washington Post
At least one school district in Missouri is beginning to train teachers to carry weapons. Parents in the area generally support the measure. New York Times
These infographics help explain the rise of Massive Open Only Courses (MOOCs) and how perceptions towards them continue to change. The information is based on research released earlier this year by Babson Survey Research Group. Huffington Post Read Entire Post
Representative George Miller and Alliance President Bob Wise Agree: Students Need a 21st-Century Education
It's not every day that a member of Congress teams up with a non-profit organization to further a bipartisan goal, but that's what happened when Representative George Miller (D-CA) and Alliance President and former West Virginia governor Bob Wise co-wrote an editorial for Politico. Both Rep. Miller and Gov. Wise champion educational transformation, and they both believe in the power of digital technology to increase accessibility, opportunity, and achievement for all students, everywhere.
Earlier this year, Rep. Miller introduced the "Transforming Education Through Technology Act," which would "update and modernize learning systems by supporting teachers and principals in the use of new technology to redesign curricula, incorporate technology into classrooms and provide assistance with real-time data and assessments," as the op-ed explains. If passed, this bill has the power to expand technology innovation that can transform teaching and learning, just as onlnie ordering has changed the way we eat.
At the same time, Gov. Wise has led the Alliance for Excellent Education's Project 24, a district-level initiative to connect school districts to planning and resource materials to aid them in the transition and implementation of digital technology.
"Over the next 24 months, the Alliance will help school districts to implement a strategic plan for strengthening education outcomes through the use of technology at no cost," the joint op-ed reads. "The Alliance will help participating districts through a comprehensive planning process around seven interconnected areas where technology and digital learning can improve student achievement: teaching and professional learning, use of time, budget and resources, data systems and online assessments, curriculum and instruction, technology and infrastructure, and academic support and resources."
Rep. Miller and Gov. Wise share a common goal: to ensure that every student everywhere has the opportunity to learn. They share the vision that upgrading digital technology in schools around the nation can achieve that goal.
Read Entire Post
"Families can order dinner with the click of a button on a smartphone or computer, but teachers are still wiping chalk off blackboards. Newspapers and magazines are delivered to tablets every morning, but students study from texts that become outdated as soon as they are released," Rep. Miller and Gov. Wise write. "No single solution exists for these problems, but an effective use of technology can be a tool to increasing access to educational opportunities for disadvantaged students and closing the achievement gap. It can also empower teachers to design an educational experience that extends beyond the four walls of the classroom."
Detroit Public Schools embraced a new strategic plan that aims to keep the district competitive with charter schools and employ budget friendly measures. The plan’s title is “Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools,” and calls for longer learning times, expanded pre-kindergarten programs, and fewer school closings. Education Week
Should students be required to take and pass algebra II in order to graduate from high school? This question is at the center of debates on graduation requirements in Texas. The state legislature is considering more flexible requirements that would not include the advanced math course. The Texas Tribune
Tenacity and self-control are learning competencies that some schools and districts will emphasize in coming years. New research shows that fortitude may be a key to student achievement. Philly.com Read Entire Post
New research sheds light on how effective online learning is. The large-scale Columbia study found that online instruction improved student achievement in sex, drugs, and health studies. The findings indicate that with the often taboo nature of the subjects, students are more comfortable sharing and asking questions outside of a traditional classroom. The Hechinger Report
In feel good news of the day, a 7th-grade journalism prodigy interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama for the cover story for Sports Illustrated Kids. She has interviewed celebrities and athletes in the past. She said Ms. Obama is the easiest interview she’s ever had. Indy Star
President Obama’s education budget proposal would invest heavily in pre-kindergarten and put money into transforming high schools, among other things. Politics K-12 Read Entire Post
It's Thursday, which means it's time to talk digital learning! The following blog post comes from Jeremy Macdonald, the Integrated Technology Systems Coordinator for Bend-La Pine Schools in Bend, Oregon.
As of this Monday, April 15, I will be the new Integrated Technology Systems Coordinator for Bend-La Pine Schools in Bend, OR. It's a new job for me and a big move for my family. It's been bittersweet. As time has passed getting ready at home and at school, I have reflected on my experience here in Klamath, the last seven years, and what it will mean to leave my school.Read Entire Post
Everyone's Getting Straight A's: OECD Test Compares Individual Schools to Highest-Performing Nations
We're back at you with another issue of Straight A's, the Alliance for Excellent Education's bi-weekly newsletter! As always, you can read the entire articles online, or you can sign up to receive Straight A's in your inbox by emailing JAmos@all4ed.org. Here are the highlights.
President Obama releasd his budget proposal today, but will he be able to convince Congress his plan is as good as he believes it to be? The congressional budget resolution is a nonbinding spending blueprint that sets monetary limits for the spending and tax legislation that the U.S. Congress will consider for the rest of the year. It does not require presidential approval and only the grand total of the discretionary spending laid out in the final budget resolution is binding on the appropriations committees. Nonetheless, the congressional budget resolution is an important step in the budgeting process because it provides guidance to the chairmen of the appropriations committees on how to divide resources among various federal departments and agencies, and sets the stage for the twelve annual appropriations bills that must be passed by Congress and signed by the president. Congressional Budget Resolutions
A large percentage of American middle-class high schools have not kept pace with countries like Singapore, Finland, Korea, and Germany that have raised standards, invested in teachers, and lifted their overall performance, according to a new report from America Achieves. The report, Middle Class or Middle of the Pack?: What Can We Learn When Benchmarking U.S. Schools Against the World’s Best?, finds that middle-class American fifteen-year-olds are “significantly” outperformed by their peers in twenty-four countries in math and fifteen countries in science based on a pilot study involving 105 American high schools that administered a new test known as the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Test for Schools (based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)). The test measures students’ abilities to apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems, the kinds of deeper learning necessary to succeed in college and the workplace. Middle Class or Middle of the Pack?
The Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education (the Gordon Commission) recently issued a public policy statement based on its two-plus years of work designed to “stimulate a productive national conversation about assessment and its relationship to teaching and learning.” Transforming Assessment
School districts and states must find affordable and feasible ways to improve student assessments so that they measure high-level skills and knowledge, a new report from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education finds. The report, Developing Assessments of Deeper Learning: The Costs and Benefits of Using Tests that Help Students Learn, provides data on what states and districts currently spend on tests; examines the failings of current multiple-choice tests; and analyzes the costs and opportunities of creating, implementing, and scoring assessments that ensure students are equipped with twenty-first-century competencies. Developing Assessments of Deeper LearningRead Entire Post