Yesterday, President Obama visited a New Tech school in Texas. The school is part of a network making a name for itself by incorporating innovative digital technology and deeper learning standards to improve student outcomes. “The workforce is demanding these skills,” Alliance president Bob Wise said of the approach New Tech schools take. Christian Science Monitor
High school graduation costs seem to rise with every passing year. In addition to purchasing ga cap and gown, parents are encouraged to spend money on senior photos, yearbooks, class rings, and proms, among other things. CNBC
New proposed legislation submitted this week in the House of Representatives aims to tie student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note, plus 2.5 interest. The bill would half the interest rate hike that will go forward this summer on student loan interest rates if Congress and the administration don’t stop it. Politics K-12 Read Entire Post
Mark Wahlberg dropped out of high school in the 9th grade and now, at 41, is pursuing his high school diploma through an online program. He talked with students in Alexandria about staying in school. Washington Post
A Nation at Risk celebrates its 30th anniversary this week. The Commission for the report looked at where education is now, and recommended “five new basics” for students to graduate from high school: four courses in English, three in math, three in science, three in social studies, and one-half credit in computer science. Education Week
A new bipartisan bill would make it easier for undocumented children who come into the United States and graduate from high school to receive citizenship. The “DREAMers” could receive citizenship more quickly with a background check, a high school diploma, and completion of two years of post-secondary education. Politics K-12 Read Entire Post
The Alliance's newsletter, Straight A's: Public Education Policy and Progress, is available online. You can read excerpts from the newest volume below, and you can read the full articles here. If you would like to receive the bi-weekly newsletter in your inbox, email email@example.com.
Released April 10, President Obama’s education budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 proposes new grant competitions focused on high school redesign and college completion and includes a $75 billion plan to provide access to high-quality preschool programs. Overall, the budget would provide $48.39 billion in discretionary funding—excluding Pell Grants—for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $2.8 billion over last year. Obama Releases FY 2014 Budget Proposal
Appearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies on April 17, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan heard support for the president’s preschool proposal from committee members of both parties, but he also faced pointed questions regarding President Obama’s decision to target new spending on competitive programs rather than formula programs, such as Title I and special education. Duncan Talks Education Budget
Located about forty-five miles north of Philadelphia, PA, Quakertown Community School District (QCSD) has seen tremendous improvement in student achievement and engagement from implementation of a blended learning approach that combines online learning with traditional classroom instruction, finds a new interactive video profile conducted by the Alliance for Excellent Education and Public Impact. “Quakertown Community School District: A Systematic Approach to Blended Learning That Focuses on District Leadership, Staffing, and Cost-effectiveness,” is the first in a series of interactive video profiles highlighting innovative school districts that utilize digital learning to improve teaching and learn. Quakertown Community School District Blazes a Trail for Blended Learning
On April 17, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) joined with Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, to announce that West Virginia would be the first state to implement “Project 24” as part of a statewide education initiative. West Virginia Adopts Project 24Read Entire Post
The University of Florida will offer online bachelor’s degree programs starting next year. It’s the first time a university has embraced full-time online education in the state. “This bill transforms education in Florida,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford. Reuters
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced a partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education to begin a statewide review of classroom technology and digital learning capabilities last week. One editorial writer calls it a “great opportunity.” The Register-Herald
The New York City Department of Education announced a new two-year program in which teachers can receive a certificate in blended learning. “We are looking for teachers who believe that in order to adequately prepare students for today’s colleges and careers, we need to rethink the factory-model of education and leverage 21st century tools and strategies,” the press release says. Hechinger Report Read Entire Post
The Senate voted down a bill that would require background checks for gun purchases earlier this week. The bipartisan bill included school safety and mental health provisions that went down with the bill, as well, such as allowing school districts to partner with mental health centers. Politics K-12
Arne Duncan asked the question, if Congress can’t pass gun background checks, will it ever agree on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? at Education Wek’s Leaders to Learn from event earlier this week. Duncan called the failure of Congress to pass the gun control legislation “extraordinarily disturbing.” Politics K-12
An elementary school in Denver is taking a unique approach to arts education: students listen to live instruments during what teachers call a “silent lunch.” NPR 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
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
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."
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