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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: October 20, 2014 12:30 pm

Afternoon Announcements: US Dept. of Ed. Secretary Duncan says ‘standardized tests must measure up’

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Posted:
October 20, 2014 12:30 pm
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In a weekend editorial for The Washington Post, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed how necessary it is that high-quality” standardized testing measure up and meet the needs of students, teachers, schools, and school districts. He adds all policymakers – himself included – bear the responsibility to provide support and assistance to state and district leaders as the work to make quality assessment available for all students.

With the implementation of the Common Core, College Board is making changes to most science and history AP courses in an effort to emphasize teaching college critical thinking in high school. The Hechinger Report

Federally owned schools for Native Americans on reservations are marked by remoteness, extreme poverty, few construction dollars, and are among the country’s lowest performing. The Obama administration is pushing ahead with a plan to improve the schools that gives tribes more control. The Associated Press

This election season, both Republican and Democratic candidates alike have made education issues a major part of their platforms for the mid-terms. But Republicans in some states including Florida, Kansas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are on the defensive about education. Politico

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Posted: October 17, 2014 11:55 am

Kentucky’s Results Provide Strong Endorsement for Common Core State Standards

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Posted:
October 17, 2014 11:55 am
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In 2010, Kentucky faced a situation common to many states: its students were passing courses and scoring high on state tests, but evidence from other sources, including ACT scores and college-remediation rates, showed that too many students were not prepared for college or careers. These harsh truths provided the impetus for a major overhaul of the state’s education system. That same year, Kentucky became the first state to adopt the new Common Core State Standards, which are designed explicitly to chart a path toward college and career readiness, and ever since, school districts across the state have been doing the hard work of redesigning instruction, assessment, and teacher preparation to ensure that all students reach those benchmarks. In Kentucky, these standards are called the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS).

Earlier this month, the Kentucky Department of Education released statewide college and career readiness rates for the 2013-2014 school year. The results speak volumes; over the past four years, the percentage of Kentucky high school graduates ready for college and careers has increased from 34 percent to 62 percent in 2014.

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Assessments, College & Career Readiness, Common Core State Standards
Posted: October 17, 2014 11:52 am

Deeper Learning Digest: Common Core means Deeper Learning, and district leaders get that

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Posted:
October 17, 2014 11:52 am
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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.


A recent survey from the Center on Education Policy found that more than 75 percent of district leaders polled said the implementation of the Common Core would lead to improved skills among students, suggesting those leaders understand that the new standards represent different expectations for student learning. In recent blogpost, Alliance Senior Fellow Robert Rothman considers what those poll results mean for deeper learning. Rothman writes, “All students deserve to develop the deeper learning competencies they will need to succeed in college and the workplace, and now the Common Core State Standards make those competencies the expectations for every student in more than 40 states.”

Students are more engaged and excited when learning is project-based, advocates say, which gives students more “ownership” over their education, and asks for their ideas about ways to learn the concepts. eSchoolNews

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Categories:
Assessments, Common Core State Standards, Deeper Learning, Gear: Curriculum & Instruction, High School Reform
Posted: October 17, 2014 11:30 am

Morning Announcements: LAUSD Superintendent Resigns

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Posted:
October 17, 2014 11:30 am
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The Los Angeles Unified school board on Thursday officially accepted the resignation of Supt. John Deasy and voted to appoint his predecessor, Ramon Cortines, to fill the post on an interim basis. After three-and-a-half years, much of it mired in controversy over technology missteps like the rollout of a $1.3 billion iPad program and a court case that struck down teacher tenure laws in California, the schools chief and the board have agreed to part ways. But what’s truly at the heart of Deasy’s departure?

More than 100 educators in the District met for a day-long training Thursday on implementing the new Common Core academic standards.  The “Ahead of the Curve” conference offered an unusual opportunity for teachers and school leaders from charter and traditional schools to work together. The Washington Post

Charter schools in DC spent $18,150 per student during the 2011-2012 school year, while Prince George’s County Public Schools spent $10,408 on each child it served, a significant difference between the highest and lowest spenders in the Washington region, according to a study released Wednesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The Washington Post

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Posted: October 15, 2014 12:15 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Poverty strongest factor in whether high school graduates go on to college, report says

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Posted:
October 15, 2014 12:15 pm
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New data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center, a research organization that conducts longitudinal studies in American education, found school poverty – not minority level – continues to be the strongest indicator of college enrollment. College enrollment rates in the first fall after graduation for students from low income public high schools ranged from 47 percent to 58 percent. In comparison, students from higher income, low minority suburban high schools had the highest college enrollment rates — 73 percent according to the data.

Many colleges don’t mandate courses in core subjects like U.S. government, history or economics, according to the sixth annual analysis of core curricula at 1,098 four-year colleges and universities by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The analysis found that just 18% of schools require American history to graduate, 13% require a foreign language and 3% economics. The Wall Street Journal

The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $1.1-million plan to provide a longer school day, additional classes and tutoring to Thomas Jefferson High School students who lost instructional time as a result of widespread scheduling problems this semester. The proposed changes come on the heels of Jefferson students and teachers joining a lawsuit over non-academic classes. The LA Times

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Posted: October 14, 2014 12:30 pm

Afternoon Announcements: High school students get an early shot at college credits

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Posted:
October 14, 2014 12:30 pm
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An increased focus in California and across the nation on better preparing students to succeed in college and careers is translating to more interest in programs like those offered public schools like Middle College High and similar counterparts, early college high schools, giving students the chance to earn as much as an associate’s degree upon high school graduation. EdSource

Many K-12 students can’t take the classes that will help them prepare for college because their schools don’t offer those courses. According to a new report from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), one solution to the gaps lies in setting up a “course access” program. The Journal

In Mississippi, kindergarteners have the lowest average daily attendance rate of any K-8 grade; just 94.5 percent during the 2012-13 school year. The absences are leading to both academic and financial consequences in a state where students already lag behind their peers throughout the country. The Hechinger Report

The principal of the  long-struggling Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn handed in his resignation last week — and offered Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Education Department one of its sternest public rebukes yet, criticizing the plans to fix public schools.  On Monday, families organized by StudentsFirstNY rallied outside the school, calling on the mayor to announce a clear improvement plan improvement. Chalkbeat NY

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Posted: October 10, 2014 03:21 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Enrollment in teacher preparation programs in California declining

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Posted:
October 10, 2014 03:21 pm
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Enrollments in teacher preparation programs in California are continuing to decline at a precipitous rate, according to new figures from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In the 2012-13 school year, enrollments in teacher preparation programs dropped to 19,933 – down 53 percent from 2008-09. EdSource

The average SAT score in Fairfax County, VA – the 10th-largest school division in the country – jumped five points in 2014, even as students around the country saw scores remain stagnant. The Washington Post

Prince George’s County, MD school board members have used district-issued credit cards to pay for thousands of dollars in meals at local restaurants, spending that some are calling a misuse of school system funds even though it does not appear to violate the rules. Daily News 724

More than two months into the school year, Indianapolis Public Schools is close to having permanent principals for all of its buildings. But School 90, one of the district’s best performing elementary schools over the past five years, is the last school yet to be assigned a new principal. Chalkbeat IN

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Posted: October 09, 2014 01:28 pm

Afternoon Announcements: District leaders say Common Core will lead to improved skills among students

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Posted:
October 09, 2014 01:28 pm
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A majority of school officials responsible for implementing the Common Core State Standards say the new national academic benchmarks are more rigorous than their previous state standards and will improve the skills of students, according to a new national survey by the Center on Education Policy released Wednesday, with more than  three-fourths of the district leaders said implementation would lead to improved skills among students. The Washington Post

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the Alliance’s response to the survey on behalf of Robert Rothman, senior fellow for the Alliance. Rothman writes, Those findings suggest that district leaders now get it. The Common Core is not just “raising the bar,” as some put it; it is not just a matter of doing the same thing a little harder. The standards represent different expectations for student learning. “

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke with Radio Boston Wednesday, commenting on commented on the Common Core State Standards during the visit, saying nothing is more important for public schools than having high standards for education for students. Duncan said he recognized the concern over teacher evaluations and how they relate to the standards, but wants educators to remember that the standards represent only ‘a piece of those evaluations.’

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Posted: October 09, 2014 12:12 pm

The Common Core Means Deeper Learning. District Leaders Get It.

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Posted:
October 09, 2014 12:12 pm
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The recently released survey by the Center on Education Policy of district leaders on the Common Core State Standards has attracted headlines for its finding that half will not implement the standards until this year at the earliest. That finding has stirred worries that the results from new tests this year will not be good.

It is worrisome that only a third of districts have fully implemented the standards in both English language arts and mathematics, and only a third said they had adequately prepared all teachers to teach the standards. And nearly half said finding aligned curriculum materials and providing appropriate professional development was a “major challenge.”

But the survey also had some encouraging news about the future of the standards. Consider the district leaders’ responses to questions about the standards themselves. More than three-fourths of the district leaders said implementation would lead to improved skills among students; in 2011, just over half agreed with that statement. And nearly nine in 10 district leaders said the Common Core required fundamental changes in instruction, up substantially from half in 2011.

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Categories:
Achievement Gap, Common Core State Standards, Gear: Curriculum & Instruction, High School Graduation Rates, High School Reform
Posted: October 08, 2014 12:00 pm

Afternoon Announcements: New report – Using learning time creatively can aid in college and career readiness

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Posted:
October 08, 2014 12:00 pm
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A new report from the Center for American Progress and the Alliance for Excellent Education finds that, used in conjunction with the rigorous Common Core standards, initiatives that creatively use time to accomplish ambitious academic and professional goals—such as Linked Learning—are transformative in helping students achieve positive education outcomes. Center for American Progress

A new agreement among the public colleges in Washington will raise the value of student performance on tests designed to measure whether 11th graders are on track to meeting the new Common Core state standards. Students who score at the top two levels will be placed directly into college-level math and English when they enter any Washington public two- or four-year college. The Seattle Times

The average score on the SAT exam edged up two points for Montgomery County, Maryland’s class of 2014, compared with results for graduates a year earlier, as performance was stagnant nationally and slipped in Maryland, according to figures released Tuesday. Montgomery school leaders partly credited the county’s progress to gains by Hispanic and African American students, whose scores improved by 10 and six points, respectively. The Washington Post

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.