It occurred to me that maybe I’m not the only one confronted with the will to help military children. I just need some finesse with how to approach the issues. Educators in the Alliance for Excellent Education’s community may also need insight to helpful resources.
Military children are affected by mobility issues, lengthy family separations, frequent transitions, even trauma and loss. Here are listings of useful resources for school district guidance counselors and other professional educators, social workers, and community professionals, as well as other caring adults interested in learning more about improving the education of military connected-children and youth. Read Entire Post
Schools around the country are being designed and built with digital learning in mind. One in Texas strives for a “net zero” when it comes to energy used and energy produced. Other schools have classrooms grouped to foster collaboration and share technology. Education Week
A 17-year-old high school senior won $100,000 scholarship from the IntelScience Talent Search competition for growing algae under her bed. Of course, it was a lot more technical and scientific than that. “I was trying to use guided evolution, so artificial selection, to isolate populations of algae cells with abnormally high oil content,” Sara Volz told NBC News. NBC News
Historically black colleges and universities are contemplating suing the Obama administration over new federal student aid policies. In particular, the standards enacted in October 2011 to PLUS loans make it harder for parents with less than outstanding credit to obtain loans. The HBCUs argue those new rules disproportionately affect their students. Huffington Post Read Entire Post
For the first time, the nation is on track to meet the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020, according to a new report from Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America’s Promise Alliance, and the Alliance for Excellent Education. The report, Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, finds that the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) increased from 71.7 percent in 2001 to 78.2 percent in 2010. It also finds that the number of “dropout factories” fell from 2,007 in 2002 to 1,424 in 2011. Building a Grad Nation
A new report from the California Dropout Research Project at the University of California–Santa Barbara finds that English learner (EL) students make up 11 percent of students nationally, a percentage that climbs to 20 percent when students who were once classified as EL students are included. The report, The English Learner Dropout Dilemma: Multiple Risks and Multiple Resources, examines the consequences, causes, and solutions to the high school dropout crisis among EL students and argues that the social, economic, and health consequences of dropping out threatens both the general population as well as EL students. The English Learner Dropout Dilemma
On February 26, the Alliance for Excellent Education conducted a webinar on the transition to Common Core State Standards and Next-Generation Science Standards and the opportunities and challenges for the growing number of English language learners (ELLs). During the webinar, panelists discussed numerous initiatives underway to help ELLs access grade-level content while building their language proficiency, including Stanford University’s Understanding Language initiative and the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards. Building on Common Core State Standards to Improve Learning for English Language Learners
In this issue of Straight A’s, we wrapped up our recaps of state of the state addresses given by the state governors. We highlighted Maryland, where Governor O’Malley is pushing for digital learning; Mississippi, Governor Bryant is working to reduce high school dropout rates; Missouri, where Governor Nixon proposed $150 million in additional education funding; Tennessee’s Governor Haslam announced a goal for 55 percent of Tennesseans to earn an associate’s degree or higher by 2025; and West Virginia, where Governor Tomlin praised the Alliance’s Project 24 initiative. State of the State Addresses
You can read the full articles online here. If you’d like to receive Straight A’s in your inbox, please email JAmos@all4ed.org. Read Entire Post
New guidance from PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, says that the new Common Core assessments will take up to 10 hours for students to complete. Schools will have multiple days to administer the tests. Education Week
Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-West Virginia) proposed an expansion of the $2.3 billion federal E-Rate program, “which subsidizes basic internet connections for schools and libraries,” to ensure every school has access to high speed internet. New York Times
Colleges’ new recruiting tool is offering deals, similar to a car dealership. Some of the deals being offered include “apply today, get $2,500 cash back,” and a promise of a free semester after purchasing a set number of others. Wall Street Journal Read Entire Post
The Utah State Senate is putting their resources where their mouths are, passing more than $15 million worth of school technology-related bills on Monday. The funds include $5 million for a web-based math program for K-6 students; $3 million to increase the number of tablets for student use; and $2.4 million to expand a smart schools technology program. The Salt Lake Tribune
New York City’s Panel for Educational Policy voted to close 22 low-performing schools. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said, “We are consistently working with schools to improve their outcomes. There are, unfortunately, some schools that just do not get better.” New York Post
Flipped classrooms have become a trend in K-12 education, and are becoming one in colleges as well. Washington Post Read Entire Post
This hearing could signal the start of some movement on a reauthorization to the Higher Education Act, the nation’s main piece of higher education legislation, which was last fully reauthorized in 2008. Since then, Congress has tweaked various parts of the federal student aid system in a piecemeal fashion, including preventing a doubling of the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans last year, which it will consider doing again in the next few months. Read Entire Post
South Dakota school districts are legally allowed to arm teachers and school personnel with guns. Dennis Gaugaard, the State’s Governor, signed the bill into law on Friday afternoon, despite opposition from some teachers, school administrators and school board representatives. Wall Street Journal
How will President Obama’s focus on early-childhood education impact teacher qualifications for Pre-K? His call for “qualified” teachers begs multiple questions about how to improve quality, along with the number of children served, while raising pay. Education Week
A new education blog is on the scene, and it might be one you want to bookmark if you’re interested in education data. Dubbed a “datablog,” the aim is “to become educated enougha bout education data to develop ideas for data projects.” Education by the Numbers Read Entire Post
Jon Stewart responds to critics of pre-kindergarten funding in this video. The Daily Show
Students in Iowa who were excited to visit the White House for a tour are feeling the impact of sequestration, as all tours have been suspended due to the budget cuts. However, the Easter Egg Roll is still a go. Education Week
Philadelphia officials voted to close 23 schools as public education supporters rallied on Thursday to save them. More than a dozen people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges. Education Week
Diane Ravitch, an education historian and modern reform critic, has begun her own education advovacy organization, named Network for Public Education. The organization will support candidates who oppose high-stakes testing, mass school closures, and a move towards charter schools. Politics K-12 Read Entire Post
Today in the Huffington Post I published an opinion piece on the necessity of lawmakers to reveiw the current federal student aid system make changes that encourage college completion, not just access. I based my recommendations on two reports that my organization, the Alliance for Excellent Education, released last month: A System in Need of Repair: An Examination of Federal Student Aid for Postsecondary Education and Repairing a Broken System: Fixing Federal Student Aid.
As we continue deeper on into the 21st-century, a high school education has become a necessity, and increasingly, so has a post-high school education. In order to ensure that students today are equipped with the skills and educational attainment they'll need to achieve their American Dreams, it's necessary they have access to a federal aid system that helps that pursue college and complete a degree.
Under the current federal financial aid system, far too many students are shut out of the process. The current patchwork of federal student aid programs is a significant barrier, rather than an assistive tool, for many students because the system to obtain financial aid is complex and difficult to navigate. Additionally, colleges are not required to provide any nonfinancial support, such as academic counseling, that helps ensure program completion. These barriers, combined with rising program costs--Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and other federal aid to college students last year alone reached $215 billion--and failure to support students, mean a change is needed.
Repairing a Broken System: Fixing Federal Student Aid, a new report released by my organization, the Alliance for Excellent Education, offers four solutions for making the federal student aid system more coherent and effective at graduating students: (1) instituting student support systems within colleges and other postsecondary institutions; (2) simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process; (3) focusing student aid on the highest-need students; and (4) condensing the tax incentives available to middle-class families.
It's time for lawmakers to review the Alliance's recommendations, and others, and come up with a plan to make financial aid make more sense. Students' futures depend on it.
You can read my full comments on the Huffington Post - The American Dream: Creating Tomorrow's Workers Starts with Fixing Student Aid Today.
Bob Wise is the president of the Alliance for Excellent Education.Read Entire Post
Speaking of money for college, an increasing number of higher education institutes are offering tuition guarantees to incoming students who graduate in four years. The fine print in this good looking offer includes students maintaining the same major across all four years, taking inconvenient classes, and/or forgoing study abroad. CNN Money
Another article on college financing finds that state and local financing for higher education declined 7% in fiscal year 2012. Tuition is going up as funding for college goes down. New York Times
The issue of states setting different goals for different races under new academic standards set in states with waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act is going mainstream. NBC Nightly News will air a story filmed in D.C. on this issue. Politics K-12 Read Entire Post