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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.
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Posted:
December 16, 2014 04:40 pm
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Core of the Matter: Equity and Deeper Learning (#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 Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond and New York University Professor Pedro Noguera. 

Growing acknowledgement that U.S. schools, particularly those working with traditionally underserved populations, are not preparing all students adequately for college and career success has sparked a series of reform efforts.  Among these is the development of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that emphasize critical thinking and analytic skills needed for today’s knowledge-based society and workplace. These standards intend to create “fewer, higher and deeper” curriculum goals.  If implemented successfully, they could support the kind of teaching that would enable students to develop deeper learning competencies, including a flexible understanding and ability to apply core academic content, to solve complex problems, to work collaboratively, to communicate effectively, and to learn how to learn — goals that are not currently supported in the existing accountability system.

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College & Career Readiness, Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, Deeper Learning, Equity, Students of Color, Teacher Preparation, Teacher Quality, Teachers & Leaders
Posted: December 19, 2014 09:00 am

Year in Review: Alliance’s Top Blog Posts of 2014

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Posted:
December 19, 2014 09:00 am
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As the year comes to a close, the Alliance is taking a look back on its most talked about – and Tweeted – High School Soup blog posts. Over this year, the Alliance debuted several blog series, such as our Future Ready Series and Common Core Equity Series, both featuring the voices of education experts from across the U.S. as well as those here at the Alliance. In addition, High School Soup featured guest blogs on topics such as education technology, deeper learning, and linked learning. In this blog post, we’re listing the top five of 2014.


5.    Joshua Delaney, a former policy intern at the Alliance, gave his insights to what it was like teacher with the Common Core as a former metro-Atlanta high school algebra and special education teacher. In August, Josh’s blog Lessons One Teacher Learned About the Common Core was featured as part of the Alliance’s Common Core Equity Series focusing on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and struggling students. In his post, Delaney challenges anyone who is unsure about the Common Core to read the actual standards and ask whether they represent anything that a child should not be expected to learn and do.

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Assessments, Blended Learning, College & Career Readiness, Common Core Equity Series, Connected Learning, Deeper Learning, Future Ready, Future Ready Blog Series, High School Reform, Technology
Posted: December 18, 2014 02:01 pm

Afternoon Announcements: D.C. Board of Education Delays Vote on More Flexible HS Grad Requirements

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Posted:
December 18, 2014 02:01 pm
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The D.C. State Board of Education on Thursday night voted unanimously to table a vote on proposed revisions to graduation requirements that would create more flexible routes to a high school diploma, citing the need to give the community more time to respond. The Washington Post

In its inaugural data released Wednesday, California officials identified nearly 350,000 students in grades six through 12 who have attended California schools for seven years or more and are still not fluent in English. But a new law would require the stat e to define and identify a “long-term English learner,” the first effort in the nation to do so. The LA Times

U.S. News & World Report has used exclusive data to analyze how successful colleges and universities have been at graduating their low-income students compared with their overall student bodies. This analysis, according to U.S. News, measures the relative graduation rate performance of students who have received Pell Grants, which are federal financial aid awards for low-income families.

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Posted: December 17, 2014 12:00 pm

Afternoon Announcements: NYC Teachers Score High with New Teacher Evaluation System

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Posted:
December 17, 2014 12:00 pm
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Nine out of 10 New York City teachers received one of the top two rankings in the first year of a new evaluation system that was hailed as a better way of assessing how they perform, according to figures released on Tuesday. Although very few teachers in the city were deemed not to be up to standards, state officials and education experts said the city appeared to be doing a better job of evaluating its teachers than the rest of New York State. The New York Times

The Oakland Unified School District is at the forefront of a new approach to school misconduct and discipline. Instead of suspending or expelling students who get into fights or act out, ‘restorative justice’ seeks to resolve conflicts and build school community through talking and group dialogue. NPR

Minneapolis schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson is stepping down in early 2015, as the school district wrestles with persistent issues like achievement gaps between racial groups. Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

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Posted: December 16, 2014 01:53 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Report – U.S. Students Spends Six Hours a Week on Homework

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Posted:
December 16, 2014 01:53 pm
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Teens in Shanghai spend 14 hours a week on homework, while students in the U.S. spend about six. That’s according to a new report on data the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development collected from countries and regions that participate in a standardized test to measure academic achievement for 15-year-olds, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The Atlantic

The New York State Board of Regents want the state to increase education spending by $2 billion next year, a spike that would include an extra $70 million for the city’s pre-kindergarten expansion. Chalkbeat NY

According to a U.S. Department of Education report, black girls were suspended more than girls of any other racial group. Between 2011 and 2012, 12 percent of African-American girls in public elementary and secondary schools were suspended, while just 2 percent of their white counterparts were suspended, statistics some say are indicative of a larger, discipline problem. The Huffington Post

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Posted: December 15, 2014 12:30 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Report – Grade Retention Has Dropped Dramatically in the Last Decade

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Posted:
December 15, 2014 12:30 pm
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A new study from the American Educational Research Association  found that the rate at which kids are held back — in education circles it’s called “grade retention” — has dropped dramatically. From 1995 to 2005, the overall retention rate hovered near 3 percent. But, from 2005 to 2010 it fell to 1.5 percent. NPR

Along with increasing the E-Rate funding cap by $1.5 billion, making the program the third largest source of federal funding to schools with $3.9 billion yearly, on December 11 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also approved an increase in required rural broadband speeds for companies that receive Connect America funding. edSurge

Alternative paths proposed by Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson that rethink seat time for DC high schools would allow students to get a diploma faster or, in some cases, without having to spend time in a traditional high school.The Washington Post

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan waded into Philadelphia’s public school financing crisis—and, more broadly, funding issues in Pennsylvania and the nation in an Op-Ed to the Philadelphia Inquirer Friday calling out the injustice of inequitable school funding.

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Posted: December 12, 2014 01:25 pm

Deeper Learning Digest: Soft Skills Are Deeper Learning Skills

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Posted:
December 12, 2014 01:25 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.


A student’s ability to display a deep understanding of academic skills is important, but what about that same student’s development of ‘soft’ skills? The way a young person communicates, interacts, and collaborates in an academic or workplace setting are increasingly important. Laura S. Hamilton, a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and Brian M. Stecher, associate director of RAND Education point out that these skills which are growing in importance go largely unmeasured in schools. Hamilton and Stecher call for research to develop better measures these competencies. Learning Deeply

A new report from the Jobs for the Future Students at the Center  initiative offers evidence of the ways digital tools in the classroom can support deeper learning.  Rafael Heller, a principal policy analyst at Jobs for the Future, writes that the report, authored by Christopher Dede, shows that technology has not previously supported innovation in the classroom, but rather heloped teachers to the “same old, ineffective things more efficiently.” Still, Heller adds, “When developers have been careful to ground their work in principles of effective instruction… technology-based instruction has shown significant, positive effects on student learning.” Learning Deeply

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Assessments, College & Career Readiness, Deeper Learning, Deeper Learning Digest
Posted: December 12, 2014 01:00 pm

Afternoon Announcements: FCC Votes “Yes” on Expanding High-Speed Internet Access in Nation’s Schools and Libraries

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Posted:
December 12, 2014 01:00 pm
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 The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday adopted a broad expansion and overhaul of its program to bring high-speed Internet into schools and libraries. The E-Rate program will grow by $1.5 billion, to a spending cap of $3.9 billion, the first change in the base spending cap since it was set in 1997. The New York Times

Overall retention rates for grades 1 through 9 declined by almost half from 2.9 percent in 2004-05 to 1.5 percent in 2009-10, according to “Patterns and Trends in Grade Retention in the United States, 1995-2010,” a report released Thursday by the American Educational Research Association (AERA). EdSource

Pearson has won a competitive tender from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop the framework for 2018′s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is widely used as a benchmark for evaluating education systems worldwide. The Journal

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Posted: December 12, 2014 12:15 pm

Connecting Over ConnectED Coffee

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Posted:
December 12, 2014 12:15 pm
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This post was written by Mary Wegner, Ed.D, Superintendent of  Sitka, Alaska School District.


To say it was an honor to be selected as part of the ConnectED to the Future  event at the White House is an understatement. Every one of the 100+ superintendents who were at this event is a leader who creates learning spaces that help students connect to their learning and to their future. I found it fitting that the first thing we experienced once through the White House security process was a cup of coffee served in a cup bearing the Presidential seal. This is not a cup of coffee like every other cup of coffee, and the ConnectED to the Future event was not like any other gathering of superintendents.

As the sole superintendent from the great state of Alaska, I knew none of my fellow #FutureReady Superintendents before the event began; however, by the time the event ended I had made personal and professional connections that I hope will last a lifetime. We felt the historic significance of being part of this inaugural group of superintendents, and we didn’t want to lose the momentum.

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College & Career Readiness, Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Education Technology, Future Ready, Teachers & Leaders, Technology
Posted: December 10, 2014 12:35 pm

Afternoon Announcements: FCC Slated for Vote on Modernizing the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries

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Posted:
December 10, 2014 12:35 pm
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On Thursday, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is slated to vote on modernizing the E-rate program for schools and libraries across the country. A new analysis released today by the Alliance finds significant gaps in U.S. students’ access to high-speed internet. According to FCC data, roughly two-thirds of the nation’s students lack access to high-speed internet with African-American, Latino, low-income, and students in rural areas being more likely to attend schools with slow connections. If the votes to increase funding for E-rate, some 43.5 million more students will benefit from high-speed Wi-Fi. The Alliance offers state by state analysis on E-rate, considering what an additional $1.5 billion annually to improve internet access could mean for U.S. schools and libraries.

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Posted: December 09, 2014 11:40 am

Morning Announcements: Louisiana Receives NCLB Waiver Extension

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Posted:
December 09, 2014 11:40 am
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Federal officials have again granted Louisiana a renewal of its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver. The U.S. Department of Education said Monday that Louisiana has implemented reforms that go above and beyond the law’s requirements. The Republic

Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be required for the first time to take ethnic studies classes as part of an effort to encourage stronger cultural understanding. The LA Times

About 7,500 New Orleans school employees who lost their jobs after Hurricane Katrina appear to have exhausted their options in Louisiana courts after the state Supreme Court decided Monday to reject the plaintiffs’ request for a rehearing. The Times Picayune

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.