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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.
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Posted:
September 16, 2014 01:50 pm
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Core of the Matter: Coming to Terms with the Common Core (#CoreMatters)

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Accepting the reality of the Common Core State Standards has been difficult for many. Educators, government officials, parents and even students are all struggling with what the Common Core means.  It is rare that we have seen such controversy over setting new standards in our country. Remember the controversy over Beta vs. VHS, the universal switch to unleaded gas, or Blu-Ray as a standard for movies? Each of these standards took place with barely a whisper from the opposition. So, what brought the Common Core to the level of frustration people on all sides of the equation are feeling?

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Assessments, Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, Teacher Evaluations, Teacher Preparation, Teacher Quality
Posted: September 16, 2014 02:50 pm

Afternoon Announcements: NY officials discuss allowing high schoolers to swap history Regents test for a career exam

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September 16, 2014 02:50 pm
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Starting next year, eRate applicants will be able to see how much other schools are paying for similar kinds of services, under one of many changes designed to keep costs down and simplify the nation’s school wiring program, offering greater transparency into eRate contracts that could lead to better pricing on telecommunications services, internet access, and internal connectivity for U.S. schools and libraries. eSchoolNews

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the Alliance’s recommendation for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase the funding cap for the E-rate program.

The New York Board of Regents discussed reducing the number of Regents exams needed to graduate from high school from five to four on Monday.  Under one proposal, students would still have to pass a fifth exam, but they would be able to choose from a broad menu of tests in fields like culinary arts and carpentry. ChalkBeat NY

More than a third of states with waivers from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act say they want to take the U.S. Department of Education up on its recent offer to put off incorporating student test-scores into teacher evaluations until the end of this school year. Politics K-12 Education Week

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Posted: September 15, 2014 03:35 pm

Afternoon Announcements: More schools follow “BYOD” policies in efforts to boost digital education for students

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September 15, 2014 03:35 pm
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A recent debate sponsored by the organization Intelligence Squared U.S., tackle the growing debate over the Common Core State Standards. Check out the dialogue from the debate, “Embrace The Common Core,” which featured Carmel Martin, former assistant secretary of education for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education, and Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

As school districts adopt curriculum and create lesson plans to meet Common Core State Standards, educators are moving beyond the strict memorization of multiplication and addition tables to ways aimed at helping students conceptualize math problems and how to adopt them to real-life situations. Green Bay Press Gazette

The idea of allowing students to use their own technology in schools to enhance academic instruction has increased in a number of school systems, including those in Fairfax and Prince William counties in Virginia, as educators look for ways to boost student tech use. The Washington Post

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the Alliance’s latest report, Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning, which considers how technology can close achievement gaps and improve learning outcomes for at-risk students.

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Posted: September 11, 2014 02:04 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Interactive technology ‘substantially improves’ academic achievement for underprivileged youth

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September 11, 2014 02:04 pm
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Interactive technology that allows students to create and explore substantially improves academic achievement, particularly for underprivileged youth, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education which reviewed more than 70 studies on the use of technology in the classroom. EdSource

About 70 percent of America’s elementary schools still rely on slow Internet connections. But in rural areas, the challenges—and costs—make getting broadband particularly complicated. How some districts are getting creative and skirting the digital divide. The Hechinger Report

D.C. is monitoring “in-seat attendance” — a measure that shows how many kids are actually present on any given day and it’s helping Public Schools and the D.C. charter school board figure out which schools have the biggest attendance challenges overall, and also flags days or weeks when attendance falls off. The Washington Post

Musical training doesn’t just improve your ear for music, it also helps your ear for speech. That’s the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years had a greater ability to process language. NPR

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Posted: September 10, 2014 12:32 pm

Afternoon Announcements: West Virginia starts a statewide efforts put personalized learning within students’ reach with Project 24

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Posted:
September 10, 2014 12:32 pm
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Education leaders in West Virginia are moving forward with an ambitious plan to bring personalized learning to students in a statewide effort under the Alliance’s initiative Project 24. With all 55 counties in the state participating, every student in the state has a chance at experiencing purposeful and effective use of technology and digital learning.  eSchoolNews

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the Alliance’s Sept. 4 webinar, “West Virginia: First State to Implement Project 24 at the State Level to Personalize Learning for All Students” to learn more on the implementation of personalized learning in the state.

Most of the states that originally adopted the Common Core are standing by the standards as national debate rages on, though they’re calling them something different. The Common Core State Standards by any name still equips students with college and career readiness. The Washington Post

For more than a decade, Newsweek has published an annual list of America’s Top High Schools, ranked primarily according to a ratio of AP/IB exams to the number of students graduating. This year the publication released two lists – an absolute list and a relative list they’re calling “America’s Top High Schools for Low-Income Students.” Check out the two lists to see what high schools ranked.

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Posted: September 09, 2014 12:37 pm

Afternoon Annoucements: Secretary Duncan and First Lady stop in Atlanta for Dept. of Education’s “Partners in Progress” tour

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September 09, 2014 12:37 pm
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The U.S. Department of Education’s “Partners in Progress” back-to-school bus tour kicked off Monday with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visiting Spelman College, America’s first historically black college for women, in Atlanta. Duncan was joined by Michelle Obama at nearby Booker T. Washington High School, where the First Lady urged African American teenagers in a tough Atlanta neighborhood to push ahead with their studies and make it to college, whatever hardships they face on the way.

A number of elite colleges in the U.S. have changed policies and made compromises elsewhere to recruit the kind of talented low-income students who have traditionally excelled in high school but not gone to top colleges, recruiting a more economically diverse student body. The UpShot – The New York Times

A survey conducted by Harris Poll for Pearson found 90 percent of students said tablets will change the way they learn and 89 percent said the devices would make learning more fun. The survey also found 79 percent of student respondents said they felt the devices would help them do better in class. Check out the poll of some 2,252 students in grades 4-12 to see more results on their feelings towards mobile learning.  Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey 2014

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Posted: September 08, 2014 03:19 pm

Afternoon Announcements: D.C. gets one-year extentsion of its waiver from key parts of NCLB law

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September 08, 2014 03:19 pm
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The Obama administration on Friday approved the District’s request for a one-year extension of its waiver from key parts of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.  The extension includes provisions that expand support for schools that are struggling the most and push back the use of science tests in determining a school’s performance. The Washington Post

For a number of students in California’s public schools, the implemented Common Core math standards are adding up to big changes in learning – which students calling the new lessons more fun and easier to learn. The SFGate

New Jersey continues a tug-of-war over implementing the Common Core State Standards. However, according to education official, lost in the controversy is a lack of understanding of the actual standards and the knowledge that the rigorous standards have been part of the state’s education landscape for nearly two decades. The NJ Spotlight

Officials in Philadelphia say the opening of three new high schools shows the troubled district is trying to innovate even while massive layoffs loom. The new schools are housed in existing buildings and aim to provide small, supportive environments. Superintendent William Hite will help unveil one called. The Huffington Post

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Posted: September 05, 2014 12:38 pm

Deeper Learning Digest: How deeper learning practices have redesigned the role of the teacher to that of facilitator

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September 05, 2014 12:38 pm
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The ‘Deeper Learning Digest’ is a weekly roundup of articles, blog posts, and other content around deeper learning. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed to stay up-to-date on all deeper learning news. Please be sure to follow @deeperlearning on Twitter for more on deeper learning.


Technology alone won’t be enough to improve teaching and learning to where it needs to be for 21st century skills, according to education strategist Monica Martinez and sociologist Dennis McGrath.  In the recent article, “Technology alone won’t transform teacher to facilitator,” Martinez and McGrath discuss how deeper learning practices have redesigned the role of the teacher to that of facilitator who uses technology as a tool in their educational aims, leading to a more collaborative education environment.

Be sure to sign up for the Alliance’s webinar Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. EST featuring Dr. Monica Martinez, who will share findings from her latest book, Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Schools Are Transforming Teaching and Learning.

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College & Career Readiness, Deeper Learning, Teachers & Leaders
Posted: September 05, 2014 12:36 pm

Afternoon Announcements: California Higher Education Systems Pledge Common-Core Support

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Posted:
September 05, 2014 12:36 pm
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The Common Core is a work in progress. There’s an adjustment period to anything new, and teachers, students and parents will all experience growing pains as they adjust to changing standards. But the outcomes of college and career readiness make it working out the kinks. In the latest blog entry from our Core of the Matter series, Tom Murray, the Alliance’s State and District Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Director, reflects on the tools and technology used to prepare students in past decades compared to the incredible work he’s seeing today as students learn and why the road to preparing student for the future runs through the Common Core.

The leaders of the four branches of California’s public and private higher education establishment have proclaimed their support of the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced tests, saying that they are adjusting admission requirements and teacher-preparation programs to line up with the new expectations. Education Week

The expulsion rate for in the past school year was about half of what it was two years before, and the rate of out-of-school suspensions decreased by about 20 percent in one year, according to a report released Thursday. The Washington Post

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Posted: September 04, 2014 12:34 pm

Afternoon Announcements: State awards Common Core test contract with nine more states expected to sign on

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September 04, 2014 12:34 pm
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Over the last two years, the bipartisan coalition that brought the Common Core State Standards into being has been supplanted by a growing movement of activists who variously claim that they are too tough, too easy, too liberal, too invasive, too extensive, or all of the above. But, regardless of the debate (or the polls over the Common Core continues, the glass remains 35 states full as many educators remain committed to college and career prep for students – and not the political battle.

California became the ninth state Wednesday to award a contract to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for the standardized tests in the Common Core that students will take next spring. Another nine states are expected to sign on, making 18 states committed to give the Smarter Balanced version of the standardized tests in math and English language arts. EdSource

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Posted: September 03, 2014 02:16 pm

Former Alliance Intern Discusses his Teaching Experience with the Common Core State Standards

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September 03, 2014 02:16 pm
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Former Alliance policy intern Joshua Delaney experienced first-hand what the Common Core State Standards could do in the classroom. As a high school algebra and special education teacher in the metro-Atlanta area in 2012, Delaney watched students who had previously struggled in his classroom engage critically and collaboratively in learning under the new standards.

In a video interview with Elizabeth Schneider, the Alliance’s senior vice president of strategic initiatives, Delaney further discusses his “Core of the Matter” blog focusing on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and struggling students.

“Finally, our students were held to the same high expectations as their peers across the country,” Delaney wrote in his blog. ”This was particularly meaningful to them given most were English language learners, had learning disabilities, and/or were eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches, all of whom have historically been held to lower expectations. The fact that they would be held to the same academic expectations as their more affluent peers inspired us to work even harder to ensure they had the same opportunity to achieve as any other student in this country.”

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Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, Georgia, Teachers & Leaders
Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.