A new study by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) shows that community colleges and their students appear to engage in similar negotiations, with similar results for students. The cost is much higher than it was three decades ago, when Sizer wrote his book, though, because the need for higher levels of knowledge and skill is much greater now.
The NCEE study looked closely at entry-level mathematics and English courses in seven community colleges. The researchers examined the textbooks used, the assignments given to students, and the tests teachers administered. What they found was disturbing. Read Entire Post
Speaking of states with the loudest Common Core debates, the Indiana state legislature voted to “halt” implementation of the Standards this weekend. The Governor is positioned to view the measure this week, which calls for more analysis of costs, among other things. Washington Times
Students in Utah will no longer take fill-in-the-bubble tests as of next year. The state has adopted a new computer testing system called SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) that caters to the students’ strengths and weaknesses. The Salt Lake Tribune
Students in 20 middle schools throughout New York City will experience school days that are 2.5 hours longer than usual next fall. The city is experimenting with how more time in class will improve student achievement and outcomes. The extra time will be devoted to reading tutoring and “other educational activities.” Education Week 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.
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"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."
The NRA recommends schools consider a training program for staff who would like to be armed. This recommendation and others came with the release of the National School Shield report. It coincides with a series of bills on gun-related violence the Senate will consider. USA Today
A new study looks at academic achievement and progress among 8th graders and 12th-graders. Those who struggle in math early on rarely catch up. ACT
American middle schoolers are lagging behind their peers globally. On the brighter side, there are individual American schools that are outperforming every other country. Opinion writer Thomas L. Friedman talks about his “Little (Global) School.” New York Times 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
Alliance president Bob Wise responded to a prize-winning TEDtalks speech on building a high school in the 'cloud' today on Huffington Post. Speaker Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" experiment showed that poor students are as capable of deeper learning competencies like creative thinking and problem-solving as their affluent peers. Huffington Post
In Utah, blended learning might be the new name of the educational game. The state Senate Education Committeehas approved SB79, which would provide $275,000 for grants for blended learning programs - ones that would combine year-round teaching with online learning. The Salt Lake Tribune
Senators want to know how sequestration will practically impact federal education spending, and they're asking education secretary Arne Duncan for the answers. Senaors Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) sent a letter to Sec. Duncan questioning the expected impact of the cuts. Politics K-12
In this great feature article, a reproter explores education in rural Alaskan villages, where students are expected to help out with the family and survival, and often don't have the luxury of thinking about college. The AtlanticRead Entire Post
TEDtalks research shows technology has power to narrow achievement gaps between poor and affluent students
Sugata Mitra placed a computer in front of children who had never seen one. When he came back months later, they had learned to operate it, read the documents he stored on it on complicated subjects like DNA, and asked him questions to further their learning. Mitra's experiment showed that poor children anywhere are as capable of deeper learning competencies - like critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as their affluent peers.
I recently listened to Sugata Mitra’s prize-winning TEDtalk on building his tiny “Hole in the Wall," in which he tears down major structures of traditional educational thinking while laying the foundation for major advancements in student-centered learning. I came away from the talk excited about his conclusions concerning narrowing achievement gaps between poor and affluent students. In his experiments, technology proved to be the great equalizer.
My thoughts on Mitra’s work appear online in the Huffington Post. Here’s an excerpt:
The most important conclusion from Mitra's work is not about the technology -- more about that shortly -- but in firmly establishing that poor children can learn and develop deeper learning competencies of creative thinking, problem solving, and self-reflection and learning -- just like their more affluent peers.You can watch Mitra's talk and read my response on the Huffington Post: Opening Windows for Learners and Educators Worldwide. Read Entire Post
Almost every survey shows an expectations gap between what students believe they can accomplish versus what the educators and communities believe is possible. The students bet high; the adults assume lower and that is where the level of learning ends up. For Mitra, there were no assumptions that were communicated to the students. He provided the computers as the access to learning, stepped back, and watched the children grow.
The more challenging lesson from the Hole in the Wall is that this learning would most likely not have occurred without technology. These children had successfully been ignored for centuries; why any difference for this generation? Besides providing access and the capacity to engage individual learning styles, the technology also provided an interesting style of engagement. Students wanted to use the computer; as they mastered this, they began broadening their search for knowledge. Does anyone believe the same learning results as well as enthusiasm would have occurred had Mitra had simply positioned himself in the Hole in the Wall and answered any questions of passing kids?
New analysis from the National Center for Education Statistics, released on Thursday, looks how public school students in the nation’s five largest states performed in the standardized math and reading tests between 1990 and 2011. The results were mixed. Washington Post
Arne Duncan spent an hour talking with reporters on Thursday. He commented on NCLB waivers, sequestration, and the Common Core, among other things. Politics K-12
In another look at the results of the analysis on student test scores in the five largest states, it seems one conclusive finding is that Hispanic student achievement varies widely depending on where they live. New York Times
Schools across the country are bracing for the automatic 5 percent spending cuts that will go into effect March 1st if Congress doesn’t act to stop them. Washington PostRead Entire Post
It has been a very exciting and busy month for the Alliance. In our newest edition of our bi-weekly newsletter Straight A's, we give you the low down on our second annual Digital Learning Day, the launch of a new district-level initiative, and we explore what state governors have planned for education in the coming year in their state of the state addresses. You can read this entire edition of Straight A's online here.
Signifying the growing importance and demand for digital learning strategies in the classroom, nearly 25,000 teachers, millions of students, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, and U.S. Representative George Miller (D-CA) joined the Alliance for Excellent Education on February 6 for the second annual Digital Learning Day, a national campaign that promotes digital learning and spotlights successful instructional technology practice in K–12 public school classrooms across the country. Let's Get Digital
As part of the Digital Learning Day celebration, the Alliance announced “Project 24,” a ground-breaking new initiative to help school districts plan for and effectively use technology and digital learning. Already, more than 400 school districts, representing approximately 2.5 million students across forty-two states and the District of Columbia, have signed up for Project 24. The "24"represents the next twenty-four months. Launching Project 24
In this issue of Straight A's, we covered seven state of the state addresses: Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico. Of highlight...
- Alaska governor Sean Parnell set a goal of raising Alaska's high school graduation rase -currently under 70 percent - to 90 percent by 2020.
- In Delaware, Governor Jack Markell focused on teachers - the importance of them, retaining them, and recruiting effective ones.
- Georgia 's Governor, Nathan Deal, discussed focusing resources on K-12, maintaining and growing the HOPE scholarship, and increasing the high school graduation rate.
- Hawaii is going digital. Governor Neil Abercrombie is looking to digital learning to raise educational achievement.
- Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa plans to revitalize Iowa's school system and focus on teachers and college and career readiness. He said it's an "economic and moral imperative" that students finish high school ready for college and a career. We can't help but like the way he thinks.
- Nevada 's governor, Brian Sandoval, took a different approach in his address, focusing on English Language Learners, early literacy, and dropout prevention. His goal is to ensure that every Nevada schoolchild can read by the third grade.
- New Mexico is making strides to lower the dropout rate, Governor Susan Martinez emphasized. She announced several successful dropout prevention programs currently working in her state that she wants to see expanded.