EdReformer Interviews Maria Voles Ferguson, Alliance VP of Policy

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Posted:
November 30, 2010 09:02 pm

Maria Voles Ferguson, VP for Policy at the Alliance for Excellent Education, stopped by EdReformer’s Blog on the Spot at the Excellence in Action National Summit.  Below is one issue on the top of her mind.

You have remarked that boys face unique challenges in school.  What are they?

I am sure my perspective on the challenges boys face in the public system is not a universal truth, but anyone who has both a male and female child knows that they develop differently and respond differently to instruction and expectations. In our high performing school district, the expectations for organization, attention, and self-direction seem wildly unrealistic, especially for young boys who tend to be very physical, very fidgety, and not terribly focused on organizing themselves. There is plenty of brain research that shows the timeline for when these abilities — what is referred to in schools as “executive function” –  develop in kids is not in sync with the expectations of most high-performing schools. Also, the drill-and-kill worksheets we see so much of these days and the limited physical activity kids get before, during, and after school really impacts the boys. Something is wrong when you have five boys in a class of 30 kids on medication for ADD or ADHD.

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Categories:
Accountability, Common Core State Standards

Morning Announcements: November 30, 2010

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Posted:
November 30, 2010 03:50 pm

Morning_Announcements3The New York Times and TIME magazine write about a new report from America’s Promise Alliance that finds that US high school graduation rate is on the rise. According to the analysis, the U.S. graduation rate increased from 72 percent in 2002 to 75 percent in 2008 and that the number of “dropout factory” high schools fell by 13 percent – from 2,007 in 2002 to 1,746 in 2008.

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Categories:
Common Core State Standards, High School Graduation Rates, New Jersey

Morning Announcements: November 23, 2010

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Posted:
November 23, 2010 03:38 pm

Morning_Announcements4 (1)According to Washington Post education columnist Valerie Strauss, “Things aren’t going well at Central Falls High, the Rhode Island school that became famous early this year when all of the teachers were fired and President Obama praised the “accountability” move.”

Twenty-one New York school districts have pooled their share of federal Race to the Top money to form a regional consortium aimed at raising student achievement, the Times Union reports.

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Categories:
Accountability, Idaho, New York, Wyoming

Morning Announcements: November 22, 2010

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Posted:
November 22, 2010 03:26 pm

Morning
The Sunshine News in Florida takes a look at Florida’s graduation rate and how it was calculated.

The New York Times writes about computers and cellphones and the constant stream of stimuli they offer as well as the challenges that they present to focusing and learning. Also in the Times, columnist Thomas Friedman discusses Arne Duncan’s “national teacher campaign”, an effort to take the profession much more seriously and elevate it to where it should be.

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Categories:
Federal Education Reform, Florida, Hawaii, High School Graduation Rates, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina

Report Round-Up: November 19, 2010

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Posted:
November 19, 2010 10:54 pm


Report_Round-Up[1]The 2010 Campus Computing Survey from the Campus Computing Project. This survey suggests budget woes and internal politics are more likely to impede the growth of online programs at colleges than skepticism and regulation.

Formative Assessment and Next-Generation Assessment Systems: Are We Losing an Opportunity? from the Council of Chief State School Officers. This report argues that we are at risk of losing the promise that formative assessment holds for teaching and learning.

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Categories:
Achievement Gap, Assessments

Do High School Seniors Have the Reading and Math Skills to Succeed in College?

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Posted:
November 19, 2010 02:16 pm

Not enough of them do according to test results released yesterday from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card. Only 38 percent of the nation’s twelfth graders read at a proficient level while 26 percent read below the most basic level, according to the 2009 results. In math, only 26 percent of twelfth-graders performed at proficient level; 36 percent performed below the most basic level.

Overall, the performance of twelfth graders nationwide in reading and math has improved since 2005. However, the average reading score was lower in 2009 compared to 1992. Additionally, significant achievement gaps persist among major racial/ethnic groups.

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Categories:
Assessments, College & Career Readiness

Stats That Stick: November 17, 2010

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Posted:
November 17, 2010 11:18 pm

Stats_That_Stick[1]To graduate one million more students by 2020 without increasing costs, degree productivity needs to improve by 23 percent.
McKinsey & Company

Approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online college course in fall 2009, the most recent term for which figures are available.
The Sloan Consortium

260,327 students studied abroad for credit during the academic year 2008/09, compared to 262,416 the previous year, a modest decline of 0.8%.
Institute of International Education

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Categories:
College Graduation Rates, Stats that Stick

Morning Announcements: November 17, 2010

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Posted:
November 17, 2010 04:34 pm

Morning_Announcements3Groups such as the American Association of School Administrators and the National School Boards Association are eyeing regulatory relief under No Child Left Behind, Education Week reports.

The Grand Rapids editorial Board calls for teacher unions to work with the Michigan Legislature to reform teacher tenure laws.

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Categories:
High School Graduation Rates, New Hampshire, No Child Left Behind, Rhode Island

Straight A’s Examines Election’s Impact on Education Reform, Focuses on New Reports on International Math Comparisons and the Performance of Black Males

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Posted:
November 16, 2010 09:36 pm

straight aHere’s a quick summary of the articles in the Nov. 15 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 here.

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Categories:
Achievement Gap

Morning Announcements: November 16, 2010

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Posted:
November 16, 2010 02:59 pm

Morning_Announcements4 (1)The Washington Post reports on a panel of top educators that is recommending major revisions of teacher training programs. Maryland, California, Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee have pledged to implement the recommendations. To read more about individual states’ commitments: Check out stories in the Oregonian and the Denver Post.

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Categories:
Achievement Gap, Teacher Preparation