Providence, Massachusetts received a $5 million prize in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, and they plan to use it to study the “word gap,” or how the difference in the amount of language a baby is exposed to advances their academic success. They’ll give low-income families recording devices to calculate how many words the children hear, compared to higher-income families, and coach parents on how to boost language exposure. The Boston Globe
The U.S. Department of Education will pre-screen applications for the fourth round of the Investing in Innovation grants. The awards are worth $3 million and are part of the larger $150 million contest. The deadline to apply is April 26th, and the contest looks for innovative ideas to solve problems in education. Politics K-12
New analysis shows that teachers may be some of the happiest professionals, despite recent debates on teacher pensions, salaries, and performance reviews. The research examined teachers’ “well-being,” measured by physical and emotional health, job satisfaction, and feelings of community and safety. Physicians ranked second after teachers. New York Times Read Entire Post
Each of the 16 Race to the Top winners are pursuing more “personalized learning” approaches in different ways. Many of the districts are using technology to create more student-centered learning approaches, while others are emphasizing teacher professional development. Education Week
Arizona voted on Tuesday to eliminate standardized tests from high school graduation requirements. The vote was split, and the bill now goes to Governor Jan Brewer. East Valley Tribune
Nebraska is one of the only states that have not adopted the Common Core State Standards. This op-ed explores why many Nebraskans would like to adopt the standards and what the hold-up is. Lincoln Journal Star Read Entire Post
Everyone's getting Straight A's: Alliance expert on higher education testifies before Congressional committee
Every other week, the Alliance for Excellent Education posts a new edition of Straight A's: Public Education Policy and Progress, an online newsletter. Here are excerpts from this issue. You can read the entire articles online here.
This month, the U.S. Congress passed a Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 spending package that avoids a government shutdown by keeping the federal government funded through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The bill provides $65.8 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education—an amount that reflects the 5 percent across-the-board cut mandated by the sequester—compared to $68.1 billion in FY 2012. Congress passes fiscal year 2013 spending bill
Federal student aid spending increased to nearly $237 billion this year, but students entering college find the system obtuse and financial support difficult to obtain. This summer, federal student loan interest rates will be up for debate again, and will rise, if Congress does not act. These two issues were the primary focuses of a March 13 U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on improving the federal student aid system. Dr. Charmaine Mercer, vice president of federal policy at the Alliance for Excellent Education, testified before the committee, referencing the recent Alliance paper, Repairing a Broken System: Fixing Federal Student Aid. Keeping college within reach
On March 19, the Alliance for Excellent Education and Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University opened enrollment for a first-of-its-kind Massive Online Open Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed). Titled “Digital Learning Transition,” the free course will examine how the effective use of digital learning can help school districts meet educational challenges, including implementing college- and career-ready standards for all students and preparing teachers to make effective use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Massive online open course for educators (MOOC-Ed)
States are optimistic that waivers will help ease some of the unrealistic requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and improve learning for all students, but they are concerned about what will happen to the programs and policies in their waiver plans if the law is reauthorized, according a new report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) at George Washington University. States' perspectives on Waivers
As the new national accreditor for educator preparation, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is seeking public comments on the draft of the next generation of accreditation standards for educator preparation developed by the CAEP Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting. All stakeholders in education and educator preparation are encouraged to review the draft standards and submit feedback by March 29, 2013. Feedback on accreditation standards for educator preparation due March 29
If you would like to receive Straight A's in your inbox, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.Read Entire Post
The Common Core State Standards offer educators a way to teach beyond worksheets and textbooks. One algebra teacher shares his excitement. Education Week
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is under attack from those who believe his $14 million program to help English-language learners is not enough. Struggling students need more resources, the opponents of the Governor’s program argue. Las Vegas Sun
Students have taken up the cause of fighting against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to close 54 public schools in the city. One student believes that shifting students from schools with higher violence rates will negatively influence safety at the remaining schools. Chicago Tribune Read Entire Post
An increasing number of high schools are focusing on developing “deeper learning” competencies – the ability to think critically, solve complex problems, master core academic content, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively, as a means to prepare students for both college and career. There has also been increasing attention on grit, tenacity, and perseverance, as additional competencies critical for success.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology recently posted the draft report entitled Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century online for comments. The Alliance for Excellent Education submitted comments in response to the draft report highlighting some important issues raised and some things worth considering as schools try to create opportunities for students to develop these competencies. Read Entire Post
Arne Duncan co-penned an editorial today calling for fines for collegiate athletic coaches whose students don’t graduate. He proposes that coaches be fined for not promoting a healthier sports-school balance. USA Today
The Bring Your Own Technology, or BYOT, movement continues to gain momentum as a growing number of schools allow and encourage students to bring technology into the classroom. Teachers utilize learning apps in the classroom to improve learning and meet each student where they are. New York Times
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stood behind the city’s plan to close 54 public schools, saying that it’s not perfect, but it’s necessary. “IF we don’t make these changes, we haven’t lived up to our responsibility as adults to the children of the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said. Huffington Post Read Entire Post
This Project 24 series blog post is from Jennifer Barnett. Jennifer is a Technology Integration Specialist at Childersburg High School in Childersburg, Alabama and a member of the Project 24 Team of Experts.
Sometimes I'm a little jealous of the Boy Scouts. They have this great motto, a snazzy uniform, and a really cool three-finger salute. What's even better is that they are known for their mission and work. Everything they do centers on preparedness. In fact, I bet you already know their mission: to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes. Even if you were unaware of the exact wording of their mission, I'd guess you do understand their organization's plan. The Boy Scouts have done a fabulous job creating a plan to teach boys how to plan. (Sounds like teacher heaven to me!) Without a doubt, the planning process is crucial to the success of any school or organization. What can be gleaned from organizations with outstanding plans? What might be considered the most crucial elements of the planning process?Read Entire Post
The across-the-board federal budget cuts, or sequestration cuts, are disproportionately affecting Native American schools. Most Native reservation school campuses receive federal Impact Aid intended for schools that can’t collect local property taxes. USA Today
Chicago city school officials announced the planned closures of 53 elementary schools and one high school. This amounts to 11% of elementary schools closing. Wall Street Journal
The Texas House has put up a budget plan that would add $1 billion to education funding. If approved, it would make up about half of the funding lost two years ago. Houston Chronicle Read Entire Post
More than 1,300 D.C. high school graduates are in limbo – accepted to college but waiting to hear whether they will receive the funding they need to attned under the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program. The program provides $10,000 to more than 6,000 students entering college. The reason for the holding pattern goes back to sequestration and budget problems in Congress. Washington Post
A middle school in Oregon that offered a ‘zombie survival skills’ extracurricular class will not offer it anymore. It’s being replaced by an “exploratory reading class.” We can only hope they’ll do an in-depth reading of World War Z. Education Week
There’s a huge shortage of school counselors, and even if President Obama’s plan to hire 1,000 additional resource officers and school counselors come to fruition, it won’t be enough. As of the 2010-11 school year, there was 1 counselor for every 471 students; the recommended rate is 1:250. The Answer Sheet
This Project24 blog series post comes from Michael King, principal of Dodge City Middle School in Dodge City, Kansas.
As a school we began to approach the ideas of 21st Century learning opportunities and technology integration from the prospective of student centered learning. We knew we had to prepare both the teachers and students to enter a new era of learning challenges. In other words, we had to foster consistency throughout the building and worked to define this consistency through collaboration, consensus, and team work. These desires for needed change lead us to our essential questions: What kinds of engaged learning do we, as a school, see students doing with technology---and more importantly, will our school, as a whole, be willing to view the student as the center of knowledge obtainment? "Do students think that they are being challenged enough?" and "Do teachers engage students in deep learning opportunities?" The response to these questions is how our school went about defining student centered learning as we have set the course for mobile learning opportunities.Read Entire Post