In a former career, I served on the congressional committee responsible for authorizing and approving the nation’s infrastructure. I learned to appreciate the vision and commitment involved in moving roads, dams, and bridges from concept to concrete. With this in mind, I paused midway across the Bridge to read the names of the officials, engineers, and contractors who constructed it from 1933 to 1937. Unrecorded on the metal plaque are the thousands of construction workers who turned a bold design into soaring steel towers and an engineering marvel.
Having experienced the difficulties with launching any major public works project, I wondered at the many obstacles that had to be overcome before the first car was able to drive across the Pacific. Naysayers scoffing at the mere idea. More self-interested opponents fighting to maintain their lucrative ferry services. Fiscal conservatives decrying incurring such debt--- and with the nation still emerging from the Great Depression. Skeptical engineers and designers. Mind-numbing bureaucratic battles between government agencies. Quarreling political officials failing to recognize that changing times required new strategies. Then there were also the real challenges of building across a wide span of ocean in a notoriously windy section that is also prone to earthquakes. Longstanding engineering and construction practices would not be sufficient for this vision to be realized. Read Entire Post
Education Trust released a report yesterday in conjunction with the Senate education committee’s hearing on NCLB waiver reauthorization. The report, A Step Forward or a Step Back? State Accountability in the Waiver Era, criticizes the Obama administration for failing to address the needs of at-risk students. Politics K-12
And finally on waivers, an overview of the Senate education committee’s hearing on the waiver plans yesterday. Politics K-12
In California, state districts have illegally misused nearly $170 million in funds meant for reduced-price student lunches, according to a legislative oversight report released this week. San Francisco Chronicle
Students were given the opportunity to redesign their classroom furniture – including desks and chairs. See the creative solutions they came up with to keep more organized and make them more functional. Cannon Design blog Read Entire Post
Many education organizations and schools are focusing on the high college dropout rate and looking at ways to improve it. Several new reports call for postsecondary institutions to be held accountable to graduate their students. The Alliance recommended this plus multiple other initiatives in its recent report, Repairing a Broken System: Fixing Federal Student Aid. New York Times
It’s possible for school districts to remain strong and high performing even through tough economic times. Two California districts are doing just that – through vision and collaboration. Education Daily
A feature story today looks at the need for student advancement to stop being a measure of how much time they spend in their seats in a classroom but a measure of how much knowledge they have of the subject content. A recent Alliance report highlights these same issues and provides a case study of two New Hampshire high schools who have successfully implemented competency-based learning. Read the report, Strengthening High School Teaching and Learning in New Hampshire's Competency-Based System, and watch the webinar discussion on the same issues here. Chronicle of Higher Education Read Entire Post
Morning announcements: Is $1.7 billion too much or too little for the nation to spend annually on standardized testing?
How much do standardized tests costs? A new report from the Brown Center, that looks in detail at the costs of assessments, find that the U.S. spends $1.7 billion per year, or an average of $65 per students in grades 3-9 on testing. Education Week
And speaking of spending a lot of money, charter schools spend millions of taxpayer dollars every year on advertising to recruit new students. The information is gleaned from Kantar Media, based on advertising rates and buys. Huffington Post
During the 2009-10 school year, 69 percent of California's student-body were students of color or Native American. These students graduated on-time, at a lower percentage than their white peers. A new Alliance report calls for equity in education to close the achievement gap and ensure economic prosperity for individuals and the country. The Press-Enterprise
Michigan parents, teachers, PTA leaders and others – including the Detroit Public Schools superintendent – are up in arms over one of the US Department of Education’s picks for the Race to the Top-District competition finalists.Washington Post
The California State Treasurer would like to see a time out in education borrowing. He called for an overhaul of how the system uses capital-appreciation bonds, saying the system is relying too much on credit and has too many debt payments. Wall Street JournalRead Entire Post
Hello! Happy Wednesday! Sorry we missed you yesterday, but we’ll make it up to you today with an extra special edition of the Afternoon Announcements! Here we go.
What’s that you say? You said you haven’t had any news about NCLB waivers for a week or more? Well, please let us help you with that malady by letting you know that Education Week has a report that seven more waivers are set to be announced Friday. This will bring the total number of states with waivers up to 33.
Today, President Obama’s administration released plans for a $1 billion “elite corps of master teachers,” according to The Huffington Post. This corps is intended to “boost U.S. students’ achievement in science, technology, engineering, and math.” The program will work by giving these high-performing teachers salary stipends.Read Entire Post
It really feels like a Tuesday today, and guess what? It is! Funny how that works out sometimes. Conveniently, it also feels like there are some announcements to make in the world of education policy and research today, and there are! Two for two on a Tuesday.
Two reports released recently detail the alarming cuts slated for the Department of Education (along with the rest of the federal government’s agencies) if sequestration (or across-the-board spending cuts) isn’t avoided by Congress. Education Week has the report on these reports from the American Association of School Administrators and the National Education Association.Read Entire Post
Monday! The most magical day of the week! We’re almost through Monday here in Washington, but we can’t let you go through your day without delivering these afternoon announcements. Here are your news tidbits for the day, and there are a bunch of them today.
“Young people are getting left behind,” says The Huffington Post in today’s report about how older workers are benefiting from the economic recovery more than their younger counterparts. According to Dean Baker, codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, workers older than 55 have taken 58 percent of the new jobs in the past year. This makes things very difficult for younger workers who need to get started on the job market so that they can develop skills for future employment.Read Entire Post
Hi and happy Mond- err, Thursday. It just feels like Monday here at the Alliance. How about where you are? We hope that you enjoyed the fireworks and festivities wherever you were yesterday. Today we’ve got a couple of announcements for you, and we’ll have some belated Stats That Stick a little later!
Let’s get right down to it.
Education Week reports that a part of Georgia’s Race to the Top grant has been put on high-risk status by the U.S. Department of Education. $33 million of the state’s $400 million grants is in jeopardy because the Department think that Georgia has “strayed too far from the vision it originally outlined in its winning application,” specifically in the area of their plan dealing with teacher evaluation.Read Entire Post
Happy 3rd of July! We know, we know, it’s baffling that there’s a midweek holiday. Just go with the flow, it’ll be okay. Enjoy your day of grilling and fireworks tomorrow while you celebrate Independence Day! Before you head out the door, here are some afternoon announcements for you! We’ll be back with Stats That Stick and more announcements on Thursday.
Education Week notes that the public largely unaware of the Common Core State Standards. Although new polling data shows that nine in ten teachers are aware of the Common Core and are largely supportive of it, 60 percent of the public notes that they have seen “nothing at all” in any medium about the new standards in the past six month. This is troubling given that the Common Core State Standards will affect so many teachers, students, and schools across the country when they’re implemented.Read Entire Post
Happy Monday! In response to your question, yes, we are in the business of leading off blog posts oxymoronically. We hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend and are all set for a busy week of education news. Before we get into the announcements, you should know that the Alliance is hosting a briefing on Early Warning Indicator Systems with the Association for Middle Level Education, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, along with Honorary Cohosts Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Representative Raúl Grijalva (AZ-7). More information about that event can be found here. If you can’t make it to the briefing, we’ll have a video of it a few days later! Alright, off to our announcements for the day!Read Entire Post