Afternoon Announcements: DC Students Perform ‘Thriller’

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October 31, 2013 04:32 pm

thriller1, photo via The Washington Post

DC students wished the city an early “Happy Halloween” on Wednesday when they performed a rendition of “Thriller” for passersby in the downtown area. The Washington Post

When California controversially suspended its accountability testing for a year, no one knew what the federal Education Department would do in response. We now know that California could lose at least $15 million in federal Title 1 administrative funds by going against the Education Department. Politics K-12

High school graduation rates fell by 3.3 percent in Prince George’s County, but rates across the state of Maryland as a whole improved. The Washington Post

The Association of Alaska School Boards is hoping to get enough funding to provide every student across the state with a digital device in the form of a laptop or iPad. Newsminer.com

Categories:
Alaska, California, Maryland

How the Common Core State Standards Can Change Classroom Practice

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October 31, 2013 11:59 am

Fewer, Clearer, Higher: How the Common Core State Standards Can Change Classroom Practice by Robert Rothman

Many of the discussions about the Common Core State Standards use the metaphor of “raising the bar.” Search Google for “Common Core raising bar” and you get 11,600,000 hits.

It is true that the standards raise expectations for students and ask them to do more than most previous state standards required. This does not necessarily mean that the previous standards “dumbed down” expectations, as some have alleged. It means rather that the Common Core Standards are aimed explicitly at the knowledge and skills all students need to succeed in college and workplace training programs. That’s a new expectation.

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Categories:
Common Core State Standards

Afternoon Announcements: Mississippi Looks for Alternative Routes to a High School Diploma

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Posted:
October 30, 2013 04:11 pm

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High school students in Mississippi would have opportunities to replace low test scores that could prevent them from graduating. The state’s Department of Education has laid out several plans to help seniors receive their diplomas. WLOX 13

Achievement gaps among American Indian students and non-Indian students in reading and mathematics at fourth and eighth grades in South Dakota continue to persist. There was a 42 percent difference in graduation rates between the groups in 2012. Capital Journal

Foster child Kaleef Starks is a 4.0 student at the University of California-Los Angeles, but his road to get there was filled with heartache and struggles. Two-thirds of foster children never go to college and very few graduate. The New York Times

Long gone are the days of setting parent-teacher meetings week in advance and working around busy schedules. School districts around Washington, DC are creating mobile apps to make it easier for parents to check in on things like school lunch menus, connect with teachers, and check their child’s test scores. The Washington Post

Categories:
California, Mississippi, South Dakota

Afternoon Announcements: Volunteer Program Re-Enrolls High School Dropouts in Iowa

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Posted:
October 29, 2013 04:32 pm

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Waterloo Community School District volunteers in for an initiative called Reconnect to Graduate in Iowa go door-to-door making personal connections with students who have dropped out of high school, with the goal of re-enrolling them in school. Waterloo has re-enrolled 60 students since October 1. High School Notes

After more than a century of issuing degrees based on the number of hours students spent in classrooms – or how many credits they receive – the system may change to reward competency. The New York Times

Richard Weisenhoff, executive director of academics for Baltimore County Public Schools described implementing the Common Core State Standards as “very challenging.” He followed it up with saying, “It’s requiring a lot more out of our students. They’re going to be more fluent in mathematics, and they’re going to be better writers and readers…” The Baltimore Sun

With Congressional budget talks set to resume next week, President Obama is urging lawmakers to put more money into education. TIME

Categories:
Iowa, Maryland

Afternoon Announcements: Common Core State Standards Back on Track in Michigan

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Posted:
October 28, 2013 04:35 pm

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Former journalist and current Assistant Director of Communications at the Georgia Department of Education Dorie Turner Nolt will lead the press office for the Department of Education. Politics K-12

“If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs,” said President Obama at a recent visit to Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, New York. The president championed his education agenda on the visit. The New York Times

After the Michigan Senate voted to keep the Common Core State Standards, work to implement them picked up immediately. The senate vote approved necessary spending on implementation. Michigan Live

A lawmaker in Massachusetts is urging the state education commissioner to conduct an annual review of how the state’s school districts are implementing the McKinney-Vento Act, aimed at enrolling and serving homeless students. The Boston Globe

Categories:
Massachusetts, Michigan, New York

Afternoon Announcements: West Virginia High School Graduation Rate Up

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Posted:
October 25, 2013 04:14 pm

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A Washington teacher bet his students that if they could sell 20 pounds of candy to raise money for the school’s fall festival, he would dye his hair pink. If they sold 45 pounds, he’d dye his hair and eyebrows, too, all to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The students sold 46 pounds of candy. NBC

According to new data released from the West Virginia Department of Education, high school graduation rates have improved 8.5 percent since the fall of 2008. The growth is accredited to alternative education programs in schools and an anti-truancy initiative. West Virginia Metro News

This thoughtful, well-written article explores the struggle English-language learners face in wanting to feel connected to their heritage language, as well as learn English. “Heritage learners share many of the same motivations for studying a language with other foreign-language learners: academic requirements, job opportunities. But more than that, they’re looking for a connection to the wider culture they can’t get in typical classes that focus more on basic grammar and vocabulary. Heritage-only classes allow students to explore their language and culture with others who share the same experience of being a heritage learner.” NPR

The Michigan Senate has agreed to let the state continue implementing more rigorous and uniform education standards known as Common Core State Standards. Education Week

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/heist-dupont-circle-washington-dc_n_2341484.html

Categories:
Michigan, West Virginia

Afternoon Announcements: Impact Aid Districts to Receive Funds Early This Year

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Posted:
October 24, 2013 04:15 pm

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US eighth-graders in half the country did better than average on an international test in math and science. Even the top students, though, lagged behind South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. The highest scoring state was Massachusetts and the lowest was Alabama.  The Washington Post

Impact Aid school districts will receive a majority of the money they are owed early this year. Politics K-12

“In traditional schooling, time is a constant and understanding is a variable. A fifth-grade class will spend a set number of days on prime factorization and then move on to study greatest common factors — whether or not every student is ready. But there is another way to look at schooling — through the lens of a method called ‘mastery learning,’ in which the student’s understanding of a subject is a constant and time is a variable; when each fifth grader masters prime factorization, for instance, he moves on to greatest common factors, each at his own pace.” The New York Times

The Common Core State Standards are back on track toward implementation in Michigan, after all 38 members of the state Senate voted to spend money on them. Michigan Live

Categories:
Michigan

Common Core and Curriculum Controversies

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Posted:
October 24, 2013 12:14 pm

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On October 23, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute held an event on “Common Core & Curriculum Controversies.” The first two sections focused on math and English language arts issues and featured Jason Zimba, co-founder of Student Achievement Partners, and Tim Shanahan, Professor Emeritus at University of Illinois at Chicago, respectively. But the show-stealer of the event was the excellent panel of five teachers. I left more excited than I’ve been yet about the promise of common core to improve teaching and learning in this country for all kids, especially those who have historically been underserved.

One of the things the event re-focused me on is the promise that with this narrower, more focused core, remediation, particularly in math, should be a more straightforward matter.  Two of the teachers talked about the double blocks they offered so that students could take the higher level class at full strength and have time to get additional instruction around knowledge and skills that had not been previously gained.

Lane Walker from Francis Howell High School in St. Charles, Missouri, reported that she was using the lower level standards to build logic-based understanding of topics like fractions during this remedial time and that as a result, she was able to give her remediation students harder problems related to fractions than students taking only the higher level class.  She called the remediation class a “success class.” Cicely Woodard, who teaches at Rose Park Math and Science Middle School in Nashville, said that she absolutely believes and is seeing secondary students who have been way behind academically succeed under common core with this extra support.

There was also some discussion about preservice training. The teachers on the panel noted that some veteran teachers are having a harder time shifting while some student teachers have been well prepared in their programs for these shifts. Given the fact that so many novice teachers are placed in classrooms with historically underserved students, this could be a real opportunity in some respects if changes can be made in preservice preparation.

Video from the event is embedded below. I highly encourage people to watch the full event, and especially the teacher panel, which begins two hours into the event and runs about an hour.

Categories:
Common Core State Standards, Equity, Teacher Preparation

Afternoon Announcements: Puerto Rico Granted NCLB Flexibility

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Posted:
October 23, 2013 04:08 pm

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A letter from 13 advocacy groups to the Department of Education on No Child Let Behind waivers reads: “It is crucial that the department uphold its responsibility to monitor waiver implementation and determine whether states and districts are adequately serving the students who are the intended beneficiaries of ESEA’s policies; i.e., students of color, students from low-income families, English-language learners, and students with disabilities.”  Politics K-12

The US Department of Education granted Puerto Rico flexibility from the rigors of the No Child Left Behind Act, bringing the total number of states and territories with waivers to 44. Illinois, Wyoming, and the Bureau of Indian Education are still waiting for a response to their waiver requests. Politics K-12

Low-income students make up the majority in public schools in 17 states, according to new research from the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation. The states are primarily in the South, Southwest, and West Coast. Education Week

New legislation approved this week by the US House of Representatives would force school districts to conduct background checks on any employee with unsupervised access to kids. The legislation would require districts to use state criminal and child abuse registries. Politics K-12

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Everyone’s Getting Straight A’s: Increased Educational Attainment Linked to Economic Growth

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Posted:
October 23, 2013 02:25 pm

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Straight A’s: Public Education Policy and Progress is a free biweekly newsletter that focuses on education news and events in Washington, DC and around the country. Sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy the highlights from this edition. If you would like to receive Straight A’s in your inbox, email jamos@all4ed.org. You can read the full articles online here.

With all eyes on the economy this month, new findings from the Alliance for Excellent Education further cement the connection between improved education outcomes and economic gains at the national, state, and local levels. According to the detailed analysis, increasing the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent for just one high school class would create as many as 65,700 new jobs and boost the national economy by as much as $10.9 billion. Education and the Economy

High schools with a larger number of low-income students had lower college enrollment rates than schools with mostly higher-income students, regardless of the number of minority students or where the schools were located, finds a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. And, once enrolled in college, students from low-income high schools were less likely to persist to their sophomore year. High School Benchmarks

Using Seattle Public Schools (SPS) as a model, a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education shows how high-quality curriculum and innovative school designs that support the use of students’ home languages, as well as English, produce better outcomes for English language learners (ELLs). Embracing Linguistic Diversity

A new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Center for Digital Learning, Expert Perspectives: Future of Teacher Preparation in the Digital Age, shares views from experienced educators and national education leaders about the challenges and opportunities of teacher-preparation programs in the digital age. Expert Perspectives

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