Afternoon Announcements: Friday, August 31

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Posted:
August 31, 2012 05:05 pm

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Before you hit the road for that last weekend at the beach, we invite you to enjoy today’s afternoon announcements. Besides, wouldn’t you rather read the latest education news over sitting hours in a traffic jam?

Our first two articles for today focus on the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Bay Times reports on former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s speech at the convention yesterday, when he called the need for better schools “the great moral and economic issue of our time.” The Huffington Post has the complete text of Bush’s speech.

Also reporting from Tampa, Alyson Klein of Education Week says that the common core state standards are “dividing” the Republican party. “On the one hand,” she writes, “there’s Jeb Bush, a key Romney surrogate and the former GOP governor of Florida. He points out that a majority of GOP governors have embraced the standards.” On the other hand is Gayle Ruzeicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, and a delegate to the Republican National Convention,” who calls the standards “Obama Core.”

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Categories:
Common Core State Standards, Florida, NCLB Waivers

Morning Announcements: August 30, 2012

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Posted:
August 30, 2012 02:28 pm

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Good morning and welcome to our Thursday announcements!

The big news today is that Virginia and the U.S. Department of Education have agreed to a “do over” of the Commonwealth’s NCLB waiver. After receiving backlash on the achievement goals for different groups of at-risk students, Virginia will submit a new waiver application with revised achievement targets. This story has potentially large implications for the waiver process. Education Week and The Washington Post have takes on this story.

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Categories:
Illinois, Teachers & Leaders

Stats That Stick: August 29, 2012

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Posted:
August 29, 2012 08:51 pm

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These are stats. They stick. This post is aptly named, no?

Number of California community college students on a waiting list at the beginning of the fall semester: 470,000.
The Los Angeles Times reports, “More than 470,000 community college students are beginning the fall semester on waiting lists, unable to get into the courses they need, according to a survey of California’s two-year colleges that captures a system struggling amid severe budget cuts. The survey, to be released Wednesday, quantified the myriad problems affecting the system, many of which have been anecdotally reported by students on many campuses. The colleges expect steep declines in enrollment and class offerings compared with last fall.”

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Categories:
California, Economic Impacts, Education and the Economy, New Mexico, Stats that Stick

Afternoon Announcements: August 29, 2012

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Posted:
August 29, 2012 08:29 pm

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It’s time for your Wednesday announcements. No pith, jokes, or philosophical conundrums today, we’re just sending positive thoughts and good hopes toward those affected by Hurricane Isaac. Stay safe out there, folks.

A survey from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office estimates that over 470,000 students are on waiting lists this fall to get into courses they need. The Los Angeles Times reports that the survey “quantified the myriad problems affecting the system, many of which have been anecdotally reported by students on many campuses.” This problem is largely due to significant budget cuts.

New Hampshire, come on down, you’re soon to be the next contestant for a No Child Left Behind waiver. The Concord Monitor reports that New Hampshire’s draft waiver application will be released this week.

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Categories:
California, NCLB Waivers

Afternoon Announcements: August 28, 2012

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Posted:
August 28, 2012 09:25 pm

Morning

Woo, these announcements were a long time coming this afternoon. Let’s keep it short but sweet today, shall we?

Today’s announcements revolve around a new report from Education Week titled “Schools Open Doors To New E-Learning Rules.” This report includes a number of articles that digital and e-learning mavens will find interesting. Here are some of the articles for your consideration:

New Laws, Programs Expand E-Learning Options” describes state efforts to expand choices for students outside of their school building.

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Categories:
Digital Learning

Thoughts of Finland

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Posted:
August 28, 2012 07:05 pm

Bob Wise Headshot_1_2 - Welcome to the alliance

I’ve spent five days in Finland searching for its education “secret sauce.” During a time when the United States stirs a stew of assessment-based accountability and comprehensive teacher evaluation, Finland persistently tops the international rankings with a soup dominated by school and teacher autonomy.

Want to be able to compare schools by student outcome? No one keeps that data in Finland,nor is there annual standardized testing for students. Think that students need more time in school? Compulsory schooling in Finland starts at age 7, the school day is relatively short, and homework almost nonexistent. Excited about value-added systems? “We trust our teachers,” is a constant response in Finland, and the teacher in the classroom operates with amazing autonomy.

No one should start the Finnish pilgrimage without reading Pasi Sahlberg’s Finnish Lessons, a very readable recounting of Finnish education reform with some history thrown in. Well known internationally, Sahlberg is Director-General of the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. With countless delegations trekking each year to Finland to visit schools, CIMO is the center for coordinating the explosive growth in educational tourism and Sahlberg is the head tour guide.

Sahlberg is also a constant presence in the United States. He’s seemingly meeting and advising every week with educators, policymakers, researchers, and nonprofit organizations. While he doesn’t agree with the direction of U.S. education policy, what is important is his deep understanding of the American system’s many elements. His ability to explain difficult concepts to outside observers is invaluable.

This basic interpretation becomes critical because Finns and Americans often seem ensnared in their own version of Lost in Translation. For instance, Finland boasts about autonomy for each local municipality (think of an American school district minus the independently elected school board) and teacher, but the national government has developed a “National Core Curriculum.” However, any teacher here will tell you about developing their own curriculum. Is there a national “curriculum,” and all that this would entails in the US, or isn’t there?

It turns out that the National Curriculum is a fairly short document which seems to be closer to our Common Core State Standards. Each school and teacher develops an extensive curriculum to meet the broad goals in the national document. So there is at least a broad overarching statement of what a student should know. One major difference is that the Finnish version does not spell out requirements by grades.

To understand the Finnish system, I had to learn to stop viewing every situation from my US perspective. If the starting point is simply comparing the US system with the Finnish, there will always be this disquieting disconnection because the positive outcomes of what I am observing do not fit neatly into US policy comparisons. Only when I surrendered preconceptions and began to think from a Finnish point of view (and thanks, Pasi, for providing a useful guide in your book), could I begin to relate. Just as the Finnish language is unique (it’s neither Scandinavian, Latin or Russian in origin) so too is its education system.

More to come …

Categories:
International Comparisons

Afternoon Announcements: August 27, 2012

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Posted:
August 27, 2012 08:55 pm

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Hello and happy Monday! While we’re being oxymoronic with phrases like “happy Monday,” let me just say that we have a little giant of bittersweet announcements today complete with quiet riots and serious jokes. If you like what you see here, please fill our comments with something more than a deafening silence. We’ll see you tomorrow!

U.S. News and World Report starts us off today with this bold headline: “High School Grads in China, India Are Better Prepared for College.” The assertion comes from a recent Center for American Progress and Center for the Next Generation report that finds that, “As many U.S. school districts try to do more with less after a steady stream of funding cuts, lawmakers in India and China are making substantial investments in their public education systems. China’s investment in high school education rose from $4.1 billion to $13 billion between 2001 and 2006, an increase of 212.6 percent…India spent $44 billion on education in 2008, a substantial increase from the country’s $11 billion annual investment in the late 1980s.” As a partial result of these investments, high school attendance and graduation rates both increased.

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Categories:
International Comparisons

Afternoon Announcements: August 24, 2012

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Posted:
August 24, 2012 07:39 pm

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Happy Friday everyone. Not much in the way of announcements today, but here’s what we’ve got. Enjoy the weekend!

First, we head to Oklahoma where The Oklahoman tells us that Richard Petrick, director of the Ohio-based Business Alliance for Higher Education and the Economy predicted this week that the state may have trouble keeping its workforce educated enough to fill the positions available. The best economic stimulus is a diploma, folks, have you heard?

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Categories:
California, Economic Impacts

Afternoon Announcements: August 23, 2012

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Posted:
August 23, 2012 08:09 pm

smallmicrophone

It’s really Thursday. I know that seems nearly impossible, but it is indeed Friday Eve. Let’s not mince words, things are confusing enough because it seems like Wednesday. Here are some announcements!

The Birmingham News reports that, based on ACT’s report The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2012, released this week, almost 70 percent of college-bound Alabamians may face difficulties in their first year of college. “31 percent…of ACT-tested 2012 graduates in Alabama did not meet any of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in English, mathematics, reading and science, suggesting they are likely to struggle in first-year college courses in all four of those subject areas.”

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Categories:
College & Career Readiness

Stats That Stick: August 23, 2012

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Posted:
August 23, 2012 07:55 pm

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Here’s a brief list of things that are sticky: chewed gum, honey, super glue, molasses, duct tape, and the following statistics. Enjoy!

Percentage of jobs lost by the least-educated in America from late 2007 to early 2012: 10 percent.
A new study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds that “even during the recession, as millions of jobs vanished, the number of people with bachelor’s degrees who had jobs did not decline. And even as employment rose during the recovery, people who did not go to college continued to lose ground, shedding 200,000 jobs from early 2010 to early 2012.” The New York Times has more on this.

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Categories:
Higher Education, No Child Left Behind, Stats that Stick, Students of Color