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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.
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Posted:
September 30, 2014 11:29 am
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Core of the Matter: Using Common Core Electives to Spark a Love of Reading (#CoreMatters)

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The following blog post is another in the Alliance’s “Core of the Matter” blog series focusing on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and struggling students. It was written by Nancy Barile, an English language arts teacher at a low-income urban high school in Massachusetts for the last twenty years. 

When I became a teacher at the age of 35, I chose to work in a low-income urban school because I felt strongly about the need for educational equity. I believed that all students could achieve—and achieve at the highest level. At the high school where I have taught English Language Arts for the past 20 years, over 80% of the students receive free or reduced lunch, meaning they live at or below the poverty level. A large number of these students are English Language Learners.

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Categories:
Adolescent Literacy, Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, English Language Learners, Equity, Literacy, Massachusetts
Posted: September 30, 2014 12:46 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Teachers become the students, introducing “Blended Learning” to the classroom

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Posted:
September 30, 2014 12:46 pm
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Oklahoma school administrators remain frustrated by the Legislature’s decision to repeal rigorous Common Core academic standards for public school students weeks before they were to go into effect. The Associated Press

Hundreds of suburban Denver high school students missed school again Monday as teachers shut down two high schools by calling in sick amid a controversy over proposed changes to an Advanced Placement history class and changes to their pay. The Associated Press

This summer, nearly 100 new and veteran teachers from the New York City public schools became students themselves. The subject? How to introduce blended learning into their classrooms. The Hechinger Report

Chicago Public Schools District spokesman Bill McCaffrey confirmed that there are at least 3,000 fewer students in the public school system. The decline keeps Chicago just ahead of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which enrolls roughly 380,000 students, including pre-K students, vocational students and those in charter schools. WBEZ

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Posted: September 29, 2014 11:35 am

Morning Announcements: New Analysis finds six key reasons the Common Core promotes greater student learning

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Posted:
September 29, 2014 11:35 am
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A new analysis from the Center for American Progress argues public pushback to Common Core has been influenced by politics, leaving many in the public confused about what the Common Core actually is because of misinformation.  Read the Center’s findings, including key reasons the Common Core promotes greater student learning. Center for American Progress

U.S. schools are now dealing with the fallout from the dramatic spike in the number of children and teenagers who crossed into the United States unaccompanied by family; the Supreme Court has ruled that they have an obligation to educate all students regardless of their immigration status. The Associated Press

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, after a controversial crackdown on unruly institutions by his predecessor, will try to strike a balance between safety and fairness by revising the code for discipline in city schools. The New York Times

In California, Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on a bill that limits the use of “willful defiance” as a reason to expel or suspend students signifies a growing commitment on the part of the state to find more positive approaches to disciplining students. EdSource

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Posted: September 26, 2014 11:45 am

Morning Announcements: Federal Policymakers visit Porterville, CA Linked Learning Schools

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Posted:
September 26, 2014 11:45 am
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 Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Delisle visited Monache High in Porterville, CA on Thursday to see for herself a program linking academics, career technical education and workplace experience. The Fresno Bee

New research from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) reveals that students who attend schools with a focus on deeper learning are more likely to graduate on time and demonstrate higher achievement and test scores, as well as an increased likelihood of college attendance. After you check out the report, be sure to check out this blog from Robert Rothman, senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education, delving in the great implications of the AIR study and what the results could mean for education equity.

Texas has gone from an example of the nation’s dropout crisis to the second-highest graduation rate in the country. But that climb has not been matched by success in measures of college and career readiness. The Texas Tribune

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Posted: September 25, 2014 01:47 pm

The Evidence Is In: Deeper Learning Students are Out-performing Peers

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Posted:
September 25, 2014 01:47 pm
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For more than four years, the Alliance for Excellent Education has been developing policies to enable more schools to foster a broad set of competencies for all students. Like a number of organizations, we believed that the complex global economy made it imperative for all young people to develop deep content knowledge and to be able to use that knowledge to solve problems and think critically, to communicate effectively, to collaborate with peers, to learn how to learn, and to develop academic mindsets. Working with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, we called these competencies “deeper learning.”

We were persuaded to take on this policy challenge by ample research on the changing workplace, notably by Richard Murnane and Frank Levy, and by the impressive examples of schools in Hewlett’s Deeper Learning Community of Practice. But we lacked concrete evidence that deeper learning would in fact produce better outcomes for young people, especially low-income children and children of color.

The Hewlett Foundation, to their credit, recognized this gap as well. So they commissioned a study by the American Institutes of Research, a highly reputable organization. That study was released this week.

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Categories:
College & Career Readiness, Deeper Learning, Gear: Curriculum & Instruction, High School Reform
Posted: September 25, 2014 10:25 am

Draft of 2014 School Leadership Standards Open for Public Comment

Posted:
September 25, 2014 10:25 am
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In response to the increased performance expectations for education leaders, two national organizations have released draft “refreshed” standards that outline the leadership skills and knowledge effective district and school leaders need to advance teaching and student learning. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) are seeking public feedback on the draft 2014 Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards via an online survey through October 10. The comments will be used to further refine the standards for release later this fall.

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Categories:
Teacher Preparation, Teacher Quality, Teachers & Leaders
Posted: September 24, 2014 12:16 pm

Morning Announcements: Latino students are posting record high school graduation rates, new report says

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Posted:
September 24, 2014 12:16 pm
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Hispanic children, the largest minority group in public schools as well as the fastest growing, are increasingly showing up in preschool programs, have made significant gains on national math tests, and are posting record high school graduation rates, but still lagged behind their white peers in academic achievement and were more likely to live in poverty and not finish college according to a new study from the nonprofit organization Child Trends released Wednesday. The Washington Post

Wealthier students tend to perform better on tests of reading comprehension than their poorer peers, a longstanding trend that has been documented amply. But with the Internet having become an indispensable part of daily life, a new study shows that a separate gap has emerged, with lower-income students again lagging more affluent students in their ability to find, evaluate, integrate and communicate the information they find online. The New York Times

Common Core has come under attack. Critics say the standards enlarge federal control of education — and do a lousy job teaching math. But defenders of the standards say attacks rely on gross distortions and misunderstandings. The Daily Caller

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the latest in our Core of the Matters series, where Gerry House, president of the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) discusses the need for educators, parents, and students to come to terms with the Common Core.

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Posted: September 23, 2014 11:30 am

Morning Announcements: Study says Common Core State Standards could be a big help to English learners in California

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Posted:
September 23, 2014 11:30 am
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New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows there are more homeless students in the nation than ever before, and many are living completely on their own, without parents or guardians.  During the 2012-13 school year, 1,258,182 students enrolled in public school across the country were homeless, according to the data released Monday. US News & World Report

The rigorous new Common Core standards represent both a daunting challenge and a promising pathway that could help close the achievement gap for the growing number of American students who enter school knowing little or no English. The Hechinger Report

The politics of Common Core aren’t nearly as important as what goes on between teachers, students, and curriculum in classrooms implementing these new sets of standards. Teachers and students play massive roles in the potential for effective outcomes via the new sets of standards. In the latest post from our Core of the Matters series, Gerry House, president of the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), argues that there are conditions that need to be implemented at the policy, state, and district level if we are to see optimal results from the Common Core.

Pennsylvania is rethinking the use of time for students. The state is piloting a new program that will allow schools to offer “flexible instructional days,” in which students won’t have to attend school in person in order for the work to count towards instructional days. The Journal

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the Alliance’s new report on how more effective and innovative uses of time can support increased and better learning opportunities for K-12 students.

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Posted: September 22, 2014 12:25 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Secretary Duncan responds to Gov. Jindal’s Common Core lawsuit

Posted:
September 22, 2014 12:25 pm
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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan mostly dismissed Gov. Bobby Jindal’s federal Common Core lawsuit against the Obama administration as petty politics during an interview with Yahoo! Screen. Click the embedded link to hear Duncan’s comments on a need to focus on what’s right for U.S. students.


As experience shows, simply purchasing and distributing tablets doesn’t mean students will be more engaged with their learning, and it doesn’t guarantee teachers will embrace tech-enabled instruction. Many factors contribute to the successful use of digital devices in the classroom. eSchoolNews

When the 2018-19 school year starts, every student in the Wausau School District in Wisconsin will receive some kind of portable computer device such as an iPad or Chromebook. But not before with dialing back a bit on the purchase of new devices over the next two years and focusing on training teachers to use the iPads and the like effectively, a necessary component to introducing technology to the classroom according to a recent study from the Alliance.

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Posted: September 19, 2014 12:07 pm

Deeper Learning Digest: Why should education be one-size fits all?

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Posted:
September 19, 2014 12:07 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.


The 2014 PDK Gallup Poll of the public’s attitudes toward public schools found that roughly 60 percent of Americans said they opposed the Common Core State Standards, saying they felt the new standards would limit the flexibility a teacher has in the classroom. But Robert Rothman, senior fellow at the Alliance, argues that “schools have shown that the Common Core does not limit the kind of teaching they want to do to develop students’ deeper learning competencies; instead, the Standards encourage it.” Learning Deeply

A new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) provides some answers to whether or not technology can enable students at risk to develop high-level abilities. The report, Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning, notes that simply providing students with technology, or using computers as electronic worksheets, is not enough. Schools need to attend to how the technologies are used. Learning Deeply

Did you miss the Alliance’s Sept. 9 webinar, “Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Schools Are Transforming Teaching and Learning,” featuring Monica Martinez? You can still check it out online to hear the discussion on Martinez’s new book that explores how schools are transforming teaching and learning to enable all students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they need for the twenty-first century.

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Categories:
Deeper Learning, Digital Learning, Equity, High School Reform
Posted: September 18, 2014 04:17 pm

Summit Public Schools: Another Face of Learning

Bob Wise
Posted:
September 18, 2014 04:17 pm
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During recent trips to California, I visited a few Summit Public Schools’s high schools that incorporate much of what the Alliance for Excellent Education advocates. Common Core implementation. Deeper learning outcomes of creative thinking, collaboration, problem solving, and student self-reflection on their learning. Blended learning of teaching and technology. Thorough application of data. Competency-based advancement. A focus on a heterogeneous student body, including the most traditionally underserved students.

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Categories:
College & Career Readiness, Deeper Learning, High School Reform, Secondary School Improvement
Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.