Here it is: the end of your work week. Friday is here and so are your announcements for the day. Check these out, then go ahead and feel free to check out for the day. You’ve earned it. Have a great weekend!
The Baltimore Sunstarts us off today with a story about how a summer camp for homeless children is helping to ease their transition between elementary and middle schools. The article notes, “the 104-year-old Camp St. Vincent began its program this week, attempting to see that the most vulnerable students don't fall through the cracks and sustain substantial learning loss during the summer.”
From USA Today, There is increasing support to bring arts education back to public schools around the country, Particularly, politicians, business leaders, educators, artists and parents are making a big push to restore the arts to California public schools. And the Associated Press reports that celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington and Forest Whitaker are adopting some of the nation's worst-performing schools and pledging to help the Obama administration turn them around by integrating arts education.
From Education Week, a bipartisan group of senators wants to make sure the Obama administration doesn't leave rural schools out in the cold when it crafts the next generation of the Race to the Top competition, which is aimed at districts and could be funded at as much as $417 million.
President Obama took his "pass the jobs bill" campaign to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado yesterday, according to USA Today, telling a crowd at a Denver high school that his plan will put people back to work by building roads, bridges, and other projects that include upgraded schools. "There are construction projects like these all across this country just waiting to get started," Obama told a supportive crowd at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver. "And there are millions of unemployed construction workers who are looking for jobs." And in his message to students at Washington’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Obama delivered the message that “the nation is counting on you for the future.” He encouraged students to work hard in their classes, according to the Associated Press.
The New York Times reports on a new study that found ignorance by American students of the basic history of the civil rights movement has not changed — in fact, it has worsened, according to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The report says that states’ academic standards for public schools are one major cause of the problem. The report assigns letter grades to each state based on how extensively its academic standards address the civil rights movement. Thirty-five states got an F because their standards require little or no mention of the movement, it says.
Education Week reported on the increasing population and diversity of rural schools in the United States. Rural school enrollment is growing -- between 2004 and 2009, rural schools grew 11 percent, from 10.5 million students to 11.7 million. In that same time, growth was fastest among students of color – this number went up 31 percent. Education Week also reported the highest-poverty schools are even more diverse. Roughly 59 percent of children in the top 10 percent of districts in poverty are students of color.
As the school year starts around the country, the New York Times reported on census data that showed American spend billions of dollars while preparing their children to go back to school. Other interesting statistics from the census included: 55 million students will be enrolled in pre-kindergarten through high school this fall, 11 percent of them will be in private schools, and minority groups made up 43 percent of pre-kindergarten through high school students in October 2009.
The nation’s third largest school district has announced plans to increase the length of time its kids spend in school. Chicago Public Schools officials announced yesterday the school day will be 90 minutes longer and the school year will extend by two weeks. Earlier in the summer, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law giving Chicago Public Schools the power lengthen its school day and year, according to the Associated Press. Roughly 405,000 students attend Chicago schools. The Chicago Tribune reported this afternoon that schools CEO Jean Claude Brizard offered the Chicago Teachers Union a counter-proposal of a 2 percent raise for elementary teachers should the union agree to longer school days in kindergarten through eighth grade.
As rural school populations continue to grow, the success of students in these areas become more important to the nation’s education goals, Education Week reports. Between 2004 and 2009, rural schools grew by 11 percent, from 10.5 million students to 11.7 million. The student populations in rural areas are also becoming more diverse. Today, students of color constitute 28 percent of rural students.
When Bob Wise, the former West Virginia Governor and current co-chair of the Digital Learning Council, toured the Life Skills of Orange County in Orlando, Florida in April, he did so without any preconceived notions of what he would find.
"I don't know that I had expectations," Wise said. "It was interesting walking because it was a different setting obviously than a traditional school because it is in a shopping center.
"It wasn't a traditional school in the sense of seeing students sitting neatly ordered 25 to a classroom. They were much more spread out. The flexibility of the school is important in meeting the students individual time needs with many of the students working."
On April 19, the Alliance for Excellent Education held a webinar in collaboration with the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), to showcase four school districts from rural America that demonstrate how digital learning and technology have played critical roles in turning around their schools.
Below is a highlights video of the event with clips from Greg Darling, Superintendent, Humboldt Community Schools (Iowa); Pauline Younts, Program Director, North Carolina New Schools Project; Brenda Richardson, Educational Technology Lead, Lordsburg Municipal Schools (New Mexico); Shane Ogden, Principal, Rawlins High School (Wyoming); and Sara White Hall, Deputy Director, SETDA.
After the event, the Alliance interviewed event panelist Melinda Maddox, Director of Technology Initiatives at the Alabama Department of Education, to learn more about the ACCESS Distance Learning program in Alabama.
In an op-ed in Inside Higher Ed, a faculty member of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies writes about remediation education being at a crossroads. He asks will we, “ truly seize this moment and create for underprepared students a rich education in literacy and numeracy, or make some partial changes -- more online instruction, shortened course sequences -- but leave the remedial model intact”?
Eighth-Grade Students Learn More Through Direct Instruction, according to Education Next.
The Michigan Department of Education today released a full list of schools where students are succeeding academically compared to peer schools, despite such factors as poverty, low funding or having an urban or rural location, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Today, TheOregonian reported on college enrollment rates in rural parts of Oregon. Eighteen percent of Oregon's rural adults have college degrees, compared with about 31 percent of urban adults, which mirrors national percentages. However, the story discuses a recent shift in college enrollment patterns:
In 2003, about 65 percent of the nation's rural high school graduates attended college, compared with 75 percent of urban and suburban students, federal research shows. By 2008, an OUS report shows, Oregon had narrowed that gap, with 52 percent of rural students attending college, compared with 58 percent for urban. The Oregonian found an even smaller gap in 2009 graduates. The percents enrolling in college were 59 urban, 62 suburban, 58 small town and 60 rural. A larger share of small-town and rural students, however, chose the state's 17 community colleges over its seven public universities. Data was not available for graduates attending out-of-state or private colleges.
According to the story, more rural students are choosing college because high schools are offering more guidance and rigorous classes to prepare students for college. Another reason is that jobs are scarce in economically distressed rural counties.
Check out this student interview with Felipe Pena, a senior at Stanfield High School. He says graduating from high school will be his “biggest accomplishment” yet and has a goal to finish with a 3.5 GPA. His parents are agricultural workers and his girlfriend and teachers are encouraging him to go to school after he graduates. He would like to attend Perry Technical Institute in Yakima, WA to train to be an electrician but has some fears about succeeding there.