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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.
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Posted:
January 20, 2015 02:55 pm
Featured Entry:

Core of the Matter: How Higher Standards Are Helping Students (#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 Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Ahead of state legislative sessions every year, I am often asked similar questions. How will the political landscape impact education? What will it mean for the Common Core State Standards? Are higher standards doomed?

While I understand the recurring inquiries, they always bring me back to the beginning. In 2009, state leaders from around the country created the Common Core State Standards because states were setting standards too low. Working together to design new standards was, in part, a recognition that every student, in every school, in every state, deserved to be challenged academically.

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Categories:
Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, Equity
Posted: January 28, 2015 12:05 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Senate Discusses Teacher Evaluations and Student Test Scores in NCLB Hearing

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Posted:
January 28, 2015 12:05 pm
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The Senate continued its most serious effort to date to rewrite the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law with a hearing Tuesday that focused on improving the nation’s teachers. Lawmakers from both parties indicated that they would not seek to continue the Obama administration’s push to link teacher evaluations and teacher pay to student test scores. The Washington Post

Over the next six months, national experts will hop-scotch to a dozen cities to collaborate with school leaders in workshops on tough questions about how to make classrooms effective. These workshops are the next step in the Future Ready effort to encourage more schools to infuse technology into the classroom. The Hechinger Report

President Obama will drop his proposal to effectively end the popular college savings accounts known as 529s, but will keep an expanded tuition tax credit at the center of his college access plan, White House officials said Tuesday. The New York Times

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Posted: January 26, 2015 02:13 pm

Afternoon Announcements: ESEA Reauthorization, Senate Hearings Continue

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Posted:
January 26, 2015 02:13 pm
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Twelve years after the passage of No Child Left Behind, and eight years after it was supposed to be revised and updated, Sen. Lamar Alexander, the new chairman of the Senate committee on education, says now is the time for its long-neglected makeover. TIME Magazine

A recent Alliance webinar addressed policy and practice changes supporting struggling learners during Common Core implementation, where experts agreed that educator professional development is critical to implementing the standards and related curricular changes, especially when working with “students on the other side of the opportunity gap”. Education Daily

Mississippi legislators passed with wide support a bill Thursday that proponents say will give the state more control over public education standards but admit it would have no effect on the schools currently teaching the Common Core State Standards. The Hechinger Report

Teachers in California are tackling one of the greatest challenges facing educators: building support among bewildered parents for the Common Core EdSource

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Posted: January 23, 2015 01:00 pm

Deeper Learning Digest: Exploring New Avenues for Deeper Learning

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Posted:
January 23, 2015 01:00 pm
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The ‘Deeper Learning Digest’ is a bi-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.


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spelled out his priorities for a new federal education law January 12, laying out his vision for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Duncan called for scrapping the ‘broken’ law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and emphasized the critical role of ESEA in protecting the rights of all students to a quality education that will set them up for success.

Robert Rothman, senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education, writes that two less heralded events in education during the same time as Alexander’s and Duncan’s proposals might offer more of a progressive insight to driving education forward. As one offers a guide to states to support local districts in developing and advancing student-centered, personalized learning models, the other – an initiative from the Department of Education and the Alliance, allow more than 500 leaders to share ideas and access resources to help them design new education systems. While ESEA remains vital to the future of education, according to Rothman, other enterprises should not be overlooked.

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Categories:
Deeper Learning, Deeper Learning Digest, Digital Learning, Elementary & Secondary Education Act
Posted: January 23, 2015 12:30 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Secretary Duncan Sets a Goal to Increase Diversity Among U.S. Teachers

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Posted:
January 23, 2015 12:30 pm
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To remedy the lack of diversity that continues among U.S. teachers – who remain overwhelmingly white and female – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan set a 2015 goal to add thousands more black male teachers in U.S. schools.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday tapped former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to serve as chairman of his education foundation, turning over the organization to the former diplomat and academic. The Associated Press

An annual report based on two large-scale surveys of education decision-makers reveals that school technology budgets are growing stronger, school leaders are seeking Common Core-aligned instructional materials, and there is a growing demand for tools that improve teaching and personalized learning. eSchoolNews

President  Barack Obama ’s push to start taxing college-saving accounts, including the popular “529” accounts, would affect millions of Americans who are stashing money for their children’s education, stirring debate about how to structure federal student aid and how to define the middle class. The Wall Street Journal

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Posted: January 23, 2015 10:47 am

Introducing “Federal Flash,” A Weekly Update on Education Developments from Washington, DC in Five Minutes or Less

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Posted:
January 23, 2015 10:47 am
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Today, the Alliance for Excellent Education introduces “Federal Flash,” a brand-new weekly video series that will keep you in the loop on important developments in education policy in Washington, DC. In less than five minutes, the Alliance will review the latest federal activity while previewing what to expect in the week ahead.

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Categories:
Elementary & Secondary Education Act, Federal Education Reform, Federal Flash, No Child Left Behind
Posted: January 22, 2015 02:15 pm

#EdTech Perspectives: Addressing Access & Equity Gaps

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Posted:
January 22, 2015 02:15 pm
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 This guest blog post was written by Kate Hicks, a teacher at Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy in Los Angeles, CA and is part of the Alliance’s Digital Learning Day Blog Series. Digital Learning Day 2015 takes place March 13.


Watts is a changing community: its population is shifting and the historically African American neighborhood is welcoming families from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and even China. Students from all over the world, eager to learn and grow, congregate just north of the 105 freeway in South Los Angeles to attend Locke High School. While the community may be known for some of the largest public housing projects west of the Mississippi, it is also known for the iconic Watts Towers, community-based Watts Café, and a legacy of civic activism and civil protest.

Technology is scarce on our campus and often it is hard to balance which necessities need to be met first: ninety-nine percent of our students receive free lunch and many also are clothed and sponsored by staff members for extra curriculars. Most sophomores at our school read and complete math work below grade level and have six academic classes to help catch up, but no electives for art or technology.

With the transition to the Common Core, we had a chance to let students express themselves and share their learning with the larger community. It was my chance, as an English teacher, to fill in the gaps. Also, in a world with tremendous difficulties students face each day,[1] we needed practice finding audiences for our writing. We needed to celebrate our stories and bear witness to our suffering.

What was a teacher to do?

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Categories:
Blended Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Digital Learning Day Series, Education Technology, Technology
Posted: January 22, 2015 01:45 pm

Afternoon Announcements: HELP Committee Begins Work on NCLB

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Posted:
January 22, 2015 01:45 pm
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A Republican-controlled Senate committee began work Wednesday on revising the landmark No Child Left Behind education law, focusing first on federally mandated testing of America’s schoolchildren. The committee’s chairman, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has released a draft bill offering a lot more leeway to states in designing their own assessment systems. The Associated Press

During the hearing, many educators spoke of their experience to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, voicing their opinions on testing and the NCLB bill.  The Huffington Post

A new video series produced by the Alliance for Excellent Education is seeking to highlight gains made under the Common Core academic standards adopted by Kentucky in 2010. Kentucky is one of five states the Washington, D.C.-based national policy and advocacy organization has chosen to spotlight as what it considers a Common Core success story. WUKY

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Posted: January 21, 2015 11:45 am

Morning Announcements: Obama Talks Improving Education and Access in State of the Union Address

President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address
Posted:
January 21, 2015 11:45 am
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Parents, teachers and policymakers who listened to Tuesday night’s State of the Union address heard an earful from President Barack Obama about his intentions to retool education’s bookends by making community college free, expanding child care and increasing cybersecurity for students. Highlighting the need for high-speed broadband for everyone, Obama called on Congress “to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.”

Senate education committee leader Sen. Lamar Alexander says he wants to work out a bipartisan deal this spring to rewrite the landmark education law No Child Left Behind. as he angles to revamp rules about how often students are tested, how much power the education secretary should have, and when to intervene in schools deemed failing and more. Politico

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Posted: January 20, 2015 11:45 am

Morning Announcements: Student Privacy, Free Community College Likely Education Topics for State of the Union Address

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Posted:
January 20, 2015 11:45 am
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There are two education topics that President Obama will definitely talk about during his State of the Union speech—increasing online privacy measures for schoolchildren, and providing free community college for all Americans. But what other education issues will Obama push for in tonight’s Address?  Quartz

For the first time, more than half of U.S. public school students live in low-income households, according to a new analysis from the Southern Education Foundation. The analysis finds that in 40 of the 50 states, low income students comprised no less than 40 percent of all public schoolchildren.

Chicago Public Schools are set to defy a mandate to launch a standardized exam districtwide this spring, despite the potential for sanctions that could include some loss of federal funding. The Chicago Tribune

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Posted: January 15, 2015 03:30 pm

#EdTech Perspectives: Isn’t every day Digital Learning Day?

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Posted:
January 15, 2015 03:30 pm
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The Alliance for Excellent Education couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to showcase some of the most innovative educators, schools, and programs across the country during its fourth annual Digital Learning Day on March 13.

Often, people ask, “Wait, shouldn’t every day be Digital Learning Day?!” While it is absolutely correct that high-quality digital learning opportunities should be available to all students every day, it’s also true that technology integration into schools and programs must be an intentional and reflective process.

The Alliance is proud that Digital Learning Day has not only become a platform for encouraging education innovation, but also for allowing the education community to appropriately reflect on strategies, practices, and policy reforms that are helping more students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career. Since its inception in 2012, thousands of teachers and schools across the nation have held activities on Digital Learning Day. And each year, the Alliance organizes a National Town Hall that highlights examples of how great teaching, combined with effective technology, can positively impact America’s schools.

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Categories:
Blended Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Digital Learning Day Series, Education Technology, Technology
Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.