Report Round Up: September 30, 2011

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Posted:
September 30, 2011 07:34 pm

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Check out this week’s education-related reports!

Trends in Chicago’s Schools Across Three Eras of Reform University of Chicago
This report from the Chicago Consortium on School Research found that in 20 years of near-constant reform efforts, Chicago’s elementary school students have made few gains, high school students have advanced, and the achievement gap between poor and rich areas has widened, contradicting impressions created by years of Chicago Public Schools testing data. The report examined performance across three eras of reform over the last two decades — a span including the Argie Johnson, Paul Vallas and Arne Duncan regimes. Researchers for the University of found that most publicly available data measuring the success of public schools in Chicago did not provide an accurate picture of progress.

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Dropout Factories, Federal Education Reform, Illinois

Morning Announcements: September 30, 2011

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September 30, 2011 02:39 pm

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According to the Huffington Post, House Republicans on Thursday unveiled plans to cut federal money for job training, heating subsidies and grants to better-performing schools. The draft measure for labor, health and education programs also seeks to block implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, cut off federal funds for National Public Radio and Planned Parenthood, and reduce eligibility for grants for low-income college students.

After months of negotiations, it’s finally happening: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has set a date to take up a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act., according to Education Week. The markup is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m. No details yet on the actual legislation, but it’s the product of 10 months of negotiations between U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the committee chairman, and Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming, the top Republican.

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Elementary & Secondary Education Act, Federal Education Reform, Illinois, NCLB Waivers, No Child Left Behind

A Dose of Budgetary Reality for Policy Makers and Education Advocates

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September 29, 2011 03:44 pm

As we head into the fall, jobs and the budget are at the forefront of national discussion. President Obama has announced and is now campaigning for his jobs plan. The bipartisan, bicameral super committee continues its own discussions on the federal budget. Within this discussion, there is a larger economic debate on how to spur recovery.

One side argues that cutting spending could deepen the recession, while the other side argues that failing to cut spending would deepen the debt and prolong the recession.  Amidst this lose-lose debate, = something is missing that’s more fundamental to the nation’s long-term economic health: how the nation is educating tomorrow’s workforce. Education programs will already see cuts as part of the 10-year trillion dollar cuts to discretionary spending and could be subject to further cuts if the super committee fails to reach an agreement. With this context as a backdrop, both policymakers and education groups need to respond to the realities the nation faces.

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Education and the Economy, Federal Education Reform

Morning Announcements: September 29, 2011

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September 29, 2011 02:36 pm

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Education Week reports that the Republicans running for president may be working to stand out from the pack on some issues, but it already appears that most of the nine current candidates are largely united when it comes to K-12 policy: They want to dramatically shrink the federal role. Some candidates, including Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas, are outspoken in saying they want to see the U.S. Department of Education scrapped.

On Friday, Education Sector is hosting the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at 9am at the Capital Hilton in DC, where he’ll announce a new plan for teacher education reform.

According to Education Week, several high-profile teacher-training and -professional-development groups that recently lost federal set-asides—from Teach For America to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards—will have an opportunity to recapture some of that funding under the terms of a newly unveiled $25 million federal competition.

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Categories:
Education Technology, NCLB Waivers, No Child Left Behind, Teachers & Leaders, Technology

Stats That Stick: September 28, 2011

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September 28, 2011 03:07 pm

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States with little to no mention of the American civil rights movement: 35
A new study from the Southern Poverty Law Center has  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, according to the New York Times. 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.

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Economic Impacts, Students of Color, Teachers & Leaders

Morning Announcements: September 28, 2011

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September 28, 2011 02:52 pm

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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.

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Categories:
Higher Education, Rural Schools, Technology

Moneyball or Moneylearning?

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September 27, 2011 05:53 pm

MoneyballI admit, after nearly 15 years in the field I have grown a bit tired of all the metaphors we try to apply to education. I can’t help but roll my eyes when I hear someone say the No Child Left Behind act forces all kids to jump over a high bar in track, or something like that. For the record, asking all kids to be prepared for college and career is NOT the same as asking random athletic feats of them. Or some advocates claim that education should be more like medicine, that doctors train for years in clinical settings,  have a general level of shared content knowledge, and are in touch with the latest research. Yes, doctors study longer, and yes, doctors engage in long, work-based learning that would be a great model for teachers. But news flash: the quality of care you get varies greatly by which doctor you go to. For example, in the pediatric field, some doctors are on board with delayed vaccinations schedules, some are in tune with the latest developments in detecting autism, and some are not. If you get cancer, are you going to just go to your local hospital or are you going to check out all your options, and if you can afford it, get checked out at Sloan Kettering or Mayo Clinic? And yup, low-income families are disadvantaged in health care, too.

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Data Systems, Digital Learning, No Child Left Behind, Technology

Morning Announcements: September 27, 2011

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Posted:
September 27, 2011 03:57 pm

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According to the New York Times, a report that is set to be released on Tuesday shows the percentage of students making it to the finish line at college is barely budging despite ever-increasing enrollment in college. The group, Complete College America, is a nonprofit founded two years ago with financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and others. Its report, which had the cooperation of 33 governors, showed how many of the students in states completed their degrees, broken down into different categories, including whether enrollment is full- or part-time, or at a two- or four-year institution.

Over objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill, President Obama is making it clear he will proceed with his blueprint education reform and an overhaul of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. And this time, Mr. Obama will have some bipartisan cover, as many Republican governors are backing his approach, according to the Washington Times.

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Categories:
California, College & Career Readiness, NCLB Waivers, No Child Left Behind
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Wise: Digital Learning Has Produced Noticeable Gains

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September 26, 2011 08:23 pm

Bob Wise Headshot_1_2 - Welcome to the alliance

The World Economic Forum recently announced that the United States fell to fifth place in its annual competitiveness rankings behind Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, and Finland—countries known not just for competitive economies but also for their world-class education systems. While the United States continues to enjoy benefits from earlier education investments, it risks falling further behind if it fails to embrace advances in technology that can improve education outcomes for all students.

Last Sunday’s New York Times article, “In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores,” gives an incomplete picture of the current—and rapidly developing—use of technology and digital learning. By focusing essentially on one Arizona school district, the article ignores the positive changes taking place in many other schools and districts as a result of innovative instructional methods that use technology to improve teaching and learning. Successful initiatives implement technology as part of a comprehensive plan that personalizes learning for the student, allows teachers to be more effective, and gives students access to richer content in an engaging way. While more research still needs to be done, there are many schools around the country that have achieved noticeable student gains by adding digital learning and technology focused on increased personalized learning for students and additional teacher training.

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Categories:
Digital Learning, Education Technology, Technology

Alliance Partners with NBC’s Education Nation to Get Diplomas = Dollars Infographic

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September 26, 2011 08:05 pm

alliance parThe Alliance for Excellent Education partnered up with NBC’s Education Nation and Visualizing.org in a challenge for graphic designers to create an infographic based on the Alliance’s economic data from 220 metropolitan areas, all 50 states, and Washington, D.C. linking diplomas and dollars. The winning entry, by Jonathan Schwabish and Courtney Griffith, is to the right (click to enlarge). 

Bob Wise, president of the Alliance, wrote a quick noteon the project and importance realizing the economic benefits in investiing in education:

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Categories:
Economic Impacts, Education and the Economy, High School Reform