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
Speaking of states with the loudest Common Core debates, the Indiana state legislature voted to “halt” implementation of the Standards this weekend. The Governor is positioned to view the measure this week, which calls for more analysis of costs, among other things. Washington Times
Students in Utah will no longer take fill-in-the-bubble tests as of next year. The state has adopted a new computer testing system called SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) that caters to the students’ strengths and weaknesses. The Salt Lake Tribune
Students in 20 middle schools throughout New York City will experience school days that are 2.5 hours longer than usual next fall. The city is experimenting with how more time in class will improve student achievement and outcomes. The extra time will be devoted to reading tutoring and “other educational activities.” Education Week Read Entire Post
The Utah State Senate is putting their resources where their mouths are, passing more than $15 million worth of school technology-related bills on Monday. The funds include $5 million for a web-based math program for K-6 students; $3 million to increase the number of tablets for student use; and $2.4 million to expand a smart schools technology program. The Salt Lake Tribune
New York City’s Panel for Educational Policy voted to close 22 low-performing schools. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said, “We are consistently working with schools to improve their outcomes. There are, unfortunately, some schools that just do not get better.” New York Post
Flipped classrooms have become a trend in K-12 education, and are becoming one in colleges as well. Washington Post Read Entire Post
College graduates with business and finance degrees may not be headed straight to Wall Street. Instead, you may find them in the ranks of Teach for America’s teachers. New York Times
Dual enrollment – earning college credit while in high school, may become par for the course for Virginia community colleges. Local educators are proposing a plan that would allow students to obtain an associate’s degree alongside their high school diploma. Virginian-Pilot
The New York Education Commission laid out a series of recommendations to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that includes a lengthened school day, providing expansive pre-kindergarten funding for poor families, and requiring teachers to pass an exam. New York Times Read Entire Post
Students in Louisiana, Arizona, Michigan and Utah can or will soon be able to opt out of some traditional classroom instruction for more specialized teaching. Students can choose from “a la carte” classes offered by businesses, online courses, charter schools, tutors and other specialists. Yahoo! News
The so-called fiscal cliff threatens education funding nationwide. Education advocates are organizing sit-ins, protests and calling and writing their Congress members to try to prevent the cuts. Here’s a roundup of what organizations and others are doing to stop these cuts. Politics K-12
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Happy Friday! The big news today is the legislation passed last night by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Several media outlets have articles on the legislation:
Education Week writes that HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) hopes to move the bill to the floor of the Senate before Thanksgiving, and believes it's "possible" that Congress could approve a rewritten version of the nation's main education law before Christmas--in time to negate the need for the Obama administration's waiver plan. The article also has a list of amendments that were passed, rejected, and withdrawn.
The Washington Post notes that the government would stop supervising the performance of 95 percent of the nation's schools under the bill passed by the HELP Committee. It says only 5 percent of a state's worst-performing schools would be subject to federal oversight under the measure. Indeed, that feature of the bill has drawn criticism from organizations representing low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, among others because these students often attend schools that are not in the lowest 5 percent of performers overall and slip through the cracks. For example, Alliance President Bob Wise has noted that nearly 200,000 students of color drop out of high schools with estimated graduation rates above 60 percent. Education Week has more details on the organizations' objections to this provision.
CQ.com writes that the bill would depart from current law by removing the much-criticized accountability system that requires all students to be proficient in math and reading by 2014. Instead, it would require states to adopt "college- and career-ready" standards and develop statewide accountability systems to receive federal funding. The article also delves into the committee's debate on options for struggling schools and highly qualified teacher language.
The Alliance's "High School Soup" blog also has reactions to the legislation from members of the HELP Committee in an earlier blog post.
Now that you've gotten your fill of ESEA/NCLB, here are the rest of today's top education headlines:Read Entire Post
Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry Shumay recently blogged in defense of the common core state standards. See below for an excerpt or check out the full post here. If you are interested in learning more about common standards or where your state stands, visit our common standards portal.
Recently, some members of the Utah Senate expressed concerns over Utah joining with 40 other states in creating and implementing a set of common core standards in the areas of language arts and mathematics for our K-12 students. The members of the Utah State Board of Education and the staff at the Utah State Office of Education welcome the senators’ interest and encourage their inquiry. After honest investigation, we believe they will come to the same conclusion that the Board has come to: Common core standards will help increase the academic rigor of Utah’s public schools and help make students across the nation more academically (and, consequently, economically) competitive with their peers from around the globe.
The first thing you should know about the Common Core is that it is not a federal program. This is the product of individual states like Utah working in cooperation to improve schools. It is not a top-down federal approach and the standards are not politically biased. The driving force behind the core was the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Utah Governor Gary Herbert is a member of the National Governors Association, as are all the nation’s governors. The latter group, CCSSO, includes in its membership State Superintendent Larry K. Shumway and his counterparts from the other states. The participating states are now also working on creating tests to measure learning the common core in English and math. Utah’s Associate State Superintendent Judy Park is leading that effort as chair of the assessment group.Read Entire Post
The Washington Post editorial board discusses the lack of diversity at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia. Meanwhile, CBS News focuses on how young black males face difficulties in obtaining an adequate education. The story highlights a group of black males at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science in South Los Angeles that call themselves the "Nerd Herd" and are determined to earn a college degree. Check out the video below:
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The Harvard Review examines how U.S. high schools can help students be prepared to succeed in college: “As Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and the former governor of West Virginia, told the HPR, college preparedness boils down to the Three A’s: academic preparation, attitude, and assets. Wise defines the first as basic reading, writing, researching, and critical thinking skills; the second means appreciating the importance of college; the third means ensuring an adequate college funding plan. While Wise considers all the A’s to be prerequisites for higher education, most public policy has only focused on the first.”
Nearly 40 percent of Arkansas' 1,075 public schools have failed to meet minimum achievement requirements on state exams for at least two years according to the Northwest Arkansas Times.Read Entire Post
Education Week takes a look at states’ progress in complying with No Child Left Behind’s requirement that states report graduation rates for subgroups of students, such as English-language learners or economically disadvantaged children.
The Christian Science Monitor profiles Arne Duncan and his career path leading up to serving as the 9th U.S. Secretary of Education.
USA Today education reporter Mary Beth Marklein interviews Robert Neuman, author of Are You Really Ready for College?,and they discuss strategies to help middle and high school students avoid common problems in college.
The Carbondale Southern Illinoisan reports on the Illinois Student Assistance Corps, an organization that helps potential first-generation college students from low-income families navigate the paperwork and search process of securing grants, scholarships and financial aid.
In Colorado, the governor’s commission investigates ways to close the state’s education achievement gap and hints at some recommendations that will be part of a 10-year plan to be released in October that will focus on attracting the best teachers and school leaders; increasing teacher effectiveness; dealing with consistently low-performing schools; examining the financing of education; suggesting a governance structure that emphasizes accountability; and expanding preschool education.
Although high school students in Oregon made significant gains in reading with a record 71 percent of students passing the state reading exam, 12,000 student are still at risk of not passing and failing to graduate.
In Utah 79 percent of schools met Adequate Yearly Progress in the 2009-10 school year, a decrease from the previous year when 87 percent of schools reached the goal, according to the Deseret News.Read Entire Post