December 15, 2015 04:03 pm
Core of the Matter: Stemming a “Rising Tide of Mediocrity” with College- and Career-Ready Standards (#CoreMatters)
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 Dr. Lillian Lowery, former Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. In January, the Alliance will launch a new blog segment focusing on the Every Student Succeeds Act and its implications for traditionally underserved students. Watch this space for upcoming posts from that new series.
By Dr. Lillian Lowery
“Our nation is at risk. The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity. If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. . . .”
—from A Nation at Risk, the 1983 report from President Ronald Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education
February 04, 2016 03:58 pm
This week Acting Secretary of Education John King released guidance on reducing unnecessary testing in the nation’s schools. The new guidance is intended to “help states identify and eliminate low-quality, redundant or unhelpful testing.” The document is addressed to the Chief State School Officers and is a detailed follow up to President Obama’s Testing Action Plan unveiled in October 2015, after the release of a report on the scope of testing in schools by Council of the Great City Schools. More on that here in case you missed it.
February 03, 2016 04:51 pm
As the 2016 presidential election heats up, with the Iowa caucus this past Monday and the New Hampshire primaries coming up next Tuesday, eSchool News highlights several key K–12 education issues that should be on the candidates’ radar and present in debates. Although candidates have touched on several topics, including the Common Core State Standards and college affordability, eSchool News argues there are other pressing areas in education that should be addressed, “from new laws and policy, equity and broadband internet access, to open educational resources.”
February 02, 2016 05:47 pm
President Obama recently announced his initiative to expand access to computer science in K-12 education. During his weekly address, Education Week reports, Obama called computer science a basic skill, not an optional skill, in today’s economy. The president’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2017 will include $4 billion for states and $100 million for districts to help bring computer science so that all students have access, including girls and students of color, the article notes. “In many ways, the move is symbolic,” guest blogger Liana Heitin writes in the Ed Week piece, “[it’s] a way for Obama to reiterate his commitment to STEM and pencil in computer science on the next president’s to-do list.”
January 29, 2016 10:40 am
Rafael Heller, principal policy analyst at Jobs for the Future and former Alliance for Excellent Education staffer, shares candid perspectives on teacher change in Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog and introduces two recently released papers on deeper learning. In his post, Heller explores the idea that many education reforms occur at a policy level, but very few changes are actually made in the classroom. He explains: “From one decade to the next, policy talk may swing back and forth among competing ideals, movements, and initiatives, but instructional practices change at their own pace (which is to say, very slowly).” This pattern drives the question of whether there are new and different ideas about education, or if we continue to re-package similar concepts over the years. This question is answered in the first of the two reports Heller discusses, called The Why, What, Where, and How of Deeper Learning in American Secondary Schools.
Daily Dish: How Programs in Tennessee, Colorado, and California Prepare Students for Success in College
January 28, 2016 04:17 pm
Innovative efforts to better prepare students for the demands of college and a career are taking hold in communities across the country. These solutions are increasingly needed, as states like Tennessee are seeing large numbers of high school graduates entering college without the necessary skills to succeed.
January 27, 2016 04:59 pm
A new report reveals startling data on the educational progress of traditionally underserved students in major metropolitan areas across the United States, USA Today reports. The study, released by the Center for American Progress (CAP), combined demographic data on students in twenty-one metro areas with scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test—also known as the “Nation’s Report Card”—which measures students’ reading and math skills, to show estimates of scores by student group.
January 21, 2016 04:42 pm
A new report shows that spending for education technology (edtech) has risen this school year, with more districts anticipating an increase in hardware and software spending compared to School Year 2014–15, THE Journal reports. “The expansion of instructional technology is being driven by an increase in online testing, ‘marketplace demand,’ and sheer innovation,” the article says. The report, State of the K–12 Market 2015, published by EdNet Insight, reveals that the use of digital content in schools is growing, and importantly, that districts expect these digital materials to support personalized learning. However, the findings also show that budgets for teacher training and tech support have dropped.
January 19, 2016 03:30 pm
During his first major speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Acting Education Secretary John King discussed the issue of educational equity under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As the new law, which replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB), shifts power to the states, King said “that the federal government retains key authority to ensure equity for all students—and he expects to use it,” reports Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog.