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
Education Week writes about how the fallout from the debt debate could affect education.
California has more homeless students than any other state in the nation. In 2009, nearly one-third of all homeless students nationwide lived in California, according to the U.S. Department of Education; and those students are struggling academically, reports California Watch.
For homeless students who go on to college, every expense is a mountain to be climbed; the Washington Post asks readers for thoughts on how to make it work.Read Entire Post
Yesterday in the Huffington Post, Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA) published a great piece on the importance in investing in education:
During his State of the Union address, the President spoke to two issues of great national importance: reducing the nation's troubling debt and effective investments in education. There are those who will undoubtedly argue that these objectives are incompatible, that to call for educational investment is to waver in your commitment to the financial security of the nation. In fact, it is only through targeted, high-yield investments that this nation will maintain its place in the world and see lasting prosperity.
According to a report from Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Eric Hanushek, if the United States could improve the scores of its lowest-achieving students, raising them up from a Level 1 to a Level 2 PISA score, the gross domestic product would grow by $72 trillion. A 2009 McKinsey & Company report found that the nation's achievement gaps impose the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession. Nobel economist James Heckman has found a 7-10 percent return on investment for early childhood education. According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, if the dropout rate in the nation's 45 largest metro areas was cut in half, state and local tax revenue within these regions would likely grow by an average of $536 million a year, all without increasing taxes on anyone by any amount.Read Entire Post
On January 7, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and the former Republican leader of the California State Assembly, Pat Nolan, wrote a very thought provoking op-ed in the Washington Post on the need for prison reform. The two conservative leaders posed this not only as smart policy, but also essential for many states who are experiencing enormous budget shortfalls. Like prison reform, providing all students with a college- and career-ready education is another essential cost-saving idea states and the federal government must take up.
Indeed, deferring on these issues is no longer an option. An analysis by the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimates that states will have to account for budget shortfalls approaching $100 billion in 2011 and over $130 billion in 2012, even after accounting for federal recovery funds. With states facing these realities, opening up issues like prison and education reform for discussion isn’t a liberal or conservative proposition. It’s as practical as families gathering around a kitchen table to discuss how they will do more with less.
Gingrich and Nolan write that one way to reduce prison costs is to provide prisoners with better options. To this point, there is a strong connection in research between lower educational attainment and crime. Researchers refer to this unfortunate connection as the school to prison pipeline. The notion is simple.Read Entire Post