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
Here are today's top education headlines, brought to you by Alliance Policy Intern Bill DeBaun.
Good afternoon and welcome to your Wednesday edition of afternoon announcements! While you're more than halfway to the weekend, you're 100% of the way to arriving at today's education news!
A town hall featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other local and state education leaders agreed that education is the key to fixing the nation's economy, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Secretary Duncan noted, "Jobs are going to go to where the knowledge workers are." Nevada, which faces a poor economy and an education system held in low esteem by many surveys, can improve quickly despite these hurdles, according to the Secretary. For a more national angle on this story, check out the Associated Press's take, via the Las Vegas Sun.
US News and World Report tackles dropout factories, an issue that the Alliance has been raising awareness of for years. The article's discussion notes that while the number of dropout factories nationally has decreased in the last decade, tens of thousands of students are still failing to graduate from these schools. The article identifies a number of areas where many dropout factories struggle, including having "a hamstrung principal," "high suspension rates," "overwhelmed students," and a "lack of technical training." For more information on the dropout crisis, check out some of the Alliance's reports and publications on the topic.Read Entire Post
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan traveled to Tennessee on Wednesday for a panel discussion with education and political officials, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. Duncan applauded Tennessee for taking initiative in addressing key issues within the state’s public school system. “You guys are taking on the tough issues in ways that frankly I wish more states were,” Duncan said, according to the Associated Press. Tennessee won $500 million in the national Race to the Top education grant competition after making changes to state laws that included tougher curriculum and better teach evaluations.
The Wall Street Journal reported today on the recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Education, that shows eight states have toughened their standards for elementary-school math and reading tests in recent years. However, the report found that most states still fall below national standards. Read Entire Post
Straight As: Covers Continuing Budget Debates, Dropout Factories, Early College High Schools and MoreHere's a quick summary of the articles in the April 5 issue of Straight A's, the Alliance's biweekly newsletter.
Click on a title below to access the complete article or download a printer-friendly version of the entire newsletter at: http://www.all4ed.org/files/Volume11No7.pdf.
FY 2011 SPENDING DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE: Pressure Mounts as April 8 Deadline Approaches and Possibility of Government Shutdown Increases: The possibility of a government shutdown is becoming more likely after negotiations between House Republicans and Senate Democrats appeared to break down on a spending bill that would fund the government through the rest of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, which ends on September 30.
U.S. Department of Education to Hold Webinar Detailing Grant Process for Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program: On Friday, April 8, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm (ET), the U.S. Department of Education will conduct a webinar to provide information about the release of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) application for new grants. The webinar will provide applicants and other interested participants with a general overview of the SRCL program’s purposes and priorities, selection criteria, and the application process. The webinar will include time for participants to ask questions.Read Entire Post
Nationwide, an estimated 1.3 million students dropped out from the Class of 2010 without earning a diploma. Cutting this number in half would yield 650,000 “new” high school graduates who would likely make additional contributions to the nation’s economy by supporting 54,000 jobs and increasing the gross domestic product by as much as $9.6 billion by the time they reach the midpoint of their careers. -Alliance for Excellent Education
Six in ten teachers (61%) say they are able to differentiate instruction a great deal to address the different learning needs of students within a class. -MetLife
The number of U.S. schools with such poor graduation rates that they are known as "dropout factories" fell by 6.4 percent between 2008 and 2009. -Johns Hopkins University Everyone Graduates Center, America's Promise Alliance, and Civic Enterprises
U.S. children are more likely to have access to digital media -- such as television and the Internet -- compared with trends a decade ago. But low-income, Hispanic, and black children consume more media than their middle-class and white peers and it is less likely to be educational. -Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
Today at the first annual Building a GradNation Summit, Vice President Joe Biden announced a new campaign calling for states to boost their college graduation rates. The effort includes a $20 million Comprehensive Grant Program for states that carry out plans intended to increase their graduation rates. The administration also released a tool kit of strategies to help governors meet college graduation goals, like stabilizing tuition increases, singling out adults with some college experience but no degree, and making it easier for students to transfer college credits. Read stories by the Associated Press and the New York Times.
Also released at the summit was a report finding that the number of U.S. schools considered "dropout factories" has decreased by 6.4 percent between 2008 and 2009, Education Week reports. Read more about this report in a piece written by the report authors in the Huffington Post. The Hartford Courant also writes about what these report findings mean for Connecticut.
The Contra Costa Times reports on a new study finding that more than 10 percent of California school districts are in financial trouble.
Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith will resign at the end of this school year according to the Miami Herald.Read Entire Post
The New Hampshire Union Leader cites a new report finding that New Hampshire and Vermont are the only two states without a "dropout factory" school, according to a new report studying trends in dropout rates.Read Entire Post
The New York Times takes a look at value-added modeling, a method to calculate the value teachers add to their students' achievement, based on changes in test scores from year to year and how the students perform compared with others in their grade.
An article in Washington Monthly takes a look at College Dropout Factories. To read more about high school dropout factories, check out the Alliance's brief, Prioritizing the Nation's Lowest-Performing High Schools.
In Massachusetts the first virtual school in the state to serve students from kindergarten through high school opens on Thursday.
In North Dakota, the Commission on Education Improvement considers an alternative teacher compensation system that would be based on multiple factors, such as (but not limited to) pay for hard-to-staff positions, added knowledge or skills/professional development, student educational growth or added responsibilities like mentoring, coaching or instructional leadership.
The New York Education Department sent school districts a memo strongly recommending that they not ask for information that might reveal the immigration status of enrolling students.
The Obama administration announced a $1.8 billion agreement to help Louisiana's Recovery School District and Orleans Parish School Board to rebuild and rehabilitate buildings that were damaged by the floodwaters as a result of Hurricane Katrina.Read Entire Post