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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.
August 19, 2014 11:50 am
Featured Entry:

Core of the Matter: If New Designs in Teaching and Learning Come to Pass, Vulnerable Learners Win with the Common Core (#CoreMatters)

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For at least the last two decades, public policy related to education equity in this country has been focused on very modest targets.  In the late 1980s, the report A Nation at Risk led to state-driven efforts to pass minimum competency legislation, essentially learning basic skills in core academic subjects.  The 1990s gave rise to the so-called standards-based reform movement with an emphasis on specific learning outcomes in key content areas.  Proficiency was the new target. The Common Core State Standards are a welcome departure from these uninspired targets in that these new standards focus on much more ambitious learning outcomes.

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College & Career Readiness, Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, Students of Color, Teacher Preparation
Posted: August 20, 2014 04:40 pm

Common Core Glass is Thirty-Five States Full—No Matter What National Polls Might Say

Bob Wise
August 20, 2014 04:40 pm
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Opinions on the Common Core State Standards are everywhere. This week alone has seen the release of two different polls purporting to tell us what people think about the state-developed set of academic standards that describe what students need to know and be able to do in English and math in order to graduate from high school ready for college and a career. What do those polls say about public opinions on the Common Core? It depends.

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College & Career Readiness, Common Core State Standards, Polling
Posted: August 20, 2014 12:17 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Louisiana efforts to save Common Core sees major victory

August 20, 2014 12:17 pm
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A Baton Rouge judge ruled in favor of a New Orleans charter school group and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Tuesday in their fight to proceed with Common Core tests, finding Governor Bobby Jindal caused “irreparable harm” to students and schools when he froze the testing contract for third through eighth graders. The Times Picayune

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the latest in the Alliance’s ‘Core of the Matter’ blog series. Dr. Kent McGuire, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Education Foundation and a member of the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Board of Directors, writes that achieving the potential of the Common Core means that the nation must figure out how to transform the education workforce.

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Posted: August 19, 2014 03:00 pm

Afternoon Announcements: LA school officials adopt new policies to reduce arrest rates in schools

students at desks via US Army Corps of Engineers on flickr
August 19, 2014 03:00 pm
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After years of arresting students for on-campus fights and damaging school property, Los Angeles school officials are adopting new policies to reduce the number of students who are disciplined in the juvenile court system. The New York Times

A fight over the future of academic standards in Louisiana has generated dueling lawsuits, a standoff between Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state superintendent of education he appointed, and a sense of chaos among educators and parents. The New York Times

In the face of a top-down hierarchy ruling many public schools these days, some teachers are taking back their classrooms by moving to schools where they create the curriculum. PBS NewsHour

A residency program in the Baltimore, MD area is aiming to solve the ‘teacher burnout’ problem. The Baltimore Sun

Race, poverty, and geography converge in the longest trial in South Carolina’s history to improve education for public school students. Aljazeera America

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Posted: August 18, 2014 02:34 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Philadelphia school year on track despite $81 million budget deficit
August 18, 2014 02:34 pm
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Robert Rothman, senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education, discusses the results from the New York common core state test, saying student performance levels can sometimes be misleading. The Hechinger Report

Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Friday that a series of temporary spending cuts would help administrators to close an $81 million budget deficit and that classes would start as scheduled next month. The New York Times

The standardized state of U.S. schools today grew from the Reagan blueprint, ‘A Nation at Risk.’ Why that legacy matters now. The Christian Science Monitor

As the school year approaches, President Obama is stressing the importance of students preparing themselves for college saying it’s up to students to challenge and push themselves this fall. The Hill

Montgomery County, MD has issued a new Code of Conduct that views out-of-school suspensions as a last resort and emphasizes disciplinary consequences that allow students to learn from mistakes and repair harm. The Washington Post

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Posted: August 15, 2014 03:31 pm

Deeper Learning Digest: The Jobs/Skills Mismatch

August 15, 2014 03:31 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. And please be sure to follow @deeperlearning on Twitter for more on #deeperlearning.

In this week’s Deeper Learning Digest, we focus on the current mismatch between the skills that employers are seeking and the skills—or lack thereof—that many of today’s job applicants possess. Our first two bloggers reference recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that over 9.7 million Americans were unemployed in July while nearly 5 million jobs in the U.S. were currently going unfilled.

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College & Career Readiness, Deeper Learning
Posted: August 15, 2014 01:22 pm

Afternoon Announcements: August 15, 2014

August 15, 2014 01:22 pm
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We wrap up another week of education news. And we continue to fight the good fight to make every child a graduate, prepared for college and a career.

Duncan Extends NCLB Waivers for Five States Education Week
Five states—Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Wisconsin—will get to keep their No Child Left Behind waivers for another year, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday. But two of the extensions come with some pretty big buts.

Tests Show NYC Made Bigger Gains in Reading WNYC
While students across New York State made gains on this year’s math tests in grades 3 through 8, scores remained stagnant in the English Language Arts. The results in New York City were slightly better, with students making progress in both categories and narrowing the gap between city and state scores.

Third of Va. Schools Could Lack Accreditation Washington Post
Nearly one-third of Virginia’s public schools will not earn full accreditation this fall after reading and science scores dropped precipitously on state-mandated standardized tests, according to state education officials.

Could ‘Community Schools’ Work in Philly? Newsworks
In Philadelphia, 40 percent of school-aged kids live in poverty. One in five students has had some contact with the Department of Human Services. In an effort to help city children achieve academically despite socioeconomic and cultural trappings, City Council has started examining the idea of turning schools into social-service hubs. On Wednesday, Council held its first hearing on the possibility of creating “school-based family service centers,” commonly known as “community schools.”

New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia
Posted: August 14, 2014 02:19 pm

Afternoon Announcements: August 14, 2014

Morning_Announcements4 (1)
August 14, 2014 02:19 pm
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Lots of news today!

Education Week has a lot of good ed news from today and yesterday:

Insiders: Slim Hope for ESEA Reauthorization Politics K–12 blog
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act will never be reauthorized. At least that’s what 20 percent of education “insiders” surveyed by a Washington consulting group think. The new survey released Thursday by Whiteboard Advisors found that 72 percent of a small group of key education influentials agreed that, at the very least, Congress won’t update the federal education law until after December 2015.

With Fractions, Common-Core Training Goes Beyond ‘Invert and Multiply’ Curriculum Matters blog
“Who would draw a picture to divide 2/3 by 3/4?” asked Marina Ratner, a professor emerita of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley, in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece. Ratner meant the question as rhetorical—she’s an adamant opponent of the Common Core State Standards in math and spends the article arguing that they’re making math education in the country worse. Her point was that drawing such a picture is a waste of time and makes the problem overly complex.

Despite Training, Half of Teachers Feel Inadequately Prepared for Common Core Curriculum Matters blog
Teachers are getting steadily more training in the common core, but they’re not feeling much more prepared to teach it, according to survey results released Thursday by the Education Week Research Center. Results from the study show that while far more teachers are attending common-core training, they are giving those sessions low marks for quality.

Other Education News and Op-Eds

This op-ed is written by Eric Sheninger, principal at New Milford School in NJ. Sheninger will be a special guest during the Alliance’s August 28 webinar “Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times”
Schools Need to Work Better for Kids than Adults Huffington Post
The world is changing, but many schools are not. Are the needs of our learners being met, and will they be prepared to succeed in this world? When I think about this question my own child comes to mind.

Science Academies a Hot Trend for Fall in North Jersey
With schools set to open in about three weeks, the hottest trend in education is the launching of special academies for science, technology, engineering and math, aimed at training future high-tech workers and capturing the fascination of young people born to a digital age.

State Data Finds Nearly Half of Michigan Schools Need Improvement USA Today
Nearly half of Michigan’s schools need improvement and only 50 schools statewide earned the highest accountability rating by the Michigan Department of Education, according to data released this morning. In addition, as many as 30 schools statewide have fallen to the bottom of the heap for at least three years in a row, making them ripe for potentially being placed in a state reform school district.

Why Los Angeles Sends Failing Students on to the Next Grade Hechinger
When Alberto Cortes was held back in fourth grade because of low math skills, he thought his world had come to an end. “The first day of going back to fourth grade, I see all my friends with new teachers there in fifth grade,” Cortes said. At first the humiliation and embarrassment of retention motivated Cortes to try hard in his classes. But by seventh grade, he was smoking and doing graffiti to impress kids and shed his reputation as the “dumb” older kid.

Ed Reality Worse Than Numbers Show Las Vegas Review-Journal
It’s no secret Nevada schools are doing poorly, “remaining at the bottom of all those lists,” but that’s not the entire picture, said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga on Wednesday. The truth is even worse than the statistics would have you believe, he added.

California, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey
Posted: August 12, 2014 03:18 pm

How to Better Target Federal Grant Programs to Improve Students’ College and Career Readiness

August 12, 2014 03:18 pm
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The Alliance for Excellent Education recently submitted comments in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) request for feedback on the way it operates discretionary grant programs such as the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) and the Investing in Innovation Funds (i3) program. The fifteen priorities and definitions that ED proposed are intended to replace the current supplemental priorities for discretionary grants programs that were published in 2010.

The Alliance was particularly pleased to see an emphasis on projects that are fully aligned with standards that prepare students for both college and a career. Below are some of the specific recommendations the Alliance provided on deeper learning, adolescent literacy, teacher effectiveness, leveraging technology, and students’ transition from middle to high school and high school to college. The Alliance believes these recommendations will better target discretionary grant programs to practices that most effectively increase the number of students who graduate from high school college-and career-ready.

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College & Career Readiness, Federal Education Budget, Uncategorized
Posted: August 12, 2014 12:59 pm

Afternoon Announcements: August 12, 2014

August 12, 2014 12:59 pm
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Yesterday, we lost a brilliant actor and comic genius when Robin Williams died. NPR offers a nice story on What Robin Williams Taught Us About Teaching.

What the U.S. Could Learn from the Polish Education System USAToday
Is it time for the student to offer the teacher a few lessons? Twenty-five years ago, Americans like economist Jeffrey Sachs were running around Poland helping to turn moribund socialism into a vibrant market economy. Now, with the U.S. trying to fix its lagging educational system, it might just learn a thing or two from Poland, which in the past decade has moved sharply forward from the rear of the international pack and beats the U.S. on most performance measures. And it didn’t even spend a lot money to get there.

Creating an Ever-Flexible Center for Tech Innovation New York Times
Dan Huttenlocher does not like walls. This is not so much an aesthetic preference as it is a practical concern. Walls divide people and define spaces. They restrict movement. They discourage exchange. And they are a pain to move if your needs change, especially when they are stuffed with cables, ducts and other infrastructure accessories.

A $5 Billion Bounty: How to Use eRate Support for Wi-Fi eSchool News
The eRate will provide $5 billion over the next five years to help schools and libraries install Wi-Fi and other technologies needed to deliver broadband within their buildings; this article explains how.

New York
Posted: August 11, 2014 01:29 pm

Afternoon Announcements: August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014 01:29 pm
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White Students No Longer in the Majority Boston Globe
For the first time ever, US public schools are projected to have more minority students than non-Hispanic whites, a shift largely fueled by growth in the number of Hispanic children.

Black Men Need More Education Than White Men to Get Jobs Atlantic Monthly
A new report shows yet another way African Americans face systematic disadvantage on the job market.

Boosting College Readiness Is Goal for New City Schools CEO Baltimore Sun
As hundreds of Baltimore public school graduates prepare to set foot on a four-year college campus in Maryland this month, nearly half will notice something familiar on their schedules: a class they took in high school.

Poverty and the Perception of Poverty–How Both Matter for Schooling Outcomes An opinion piece by OECD’s Andreas Schleicher (posted August 8, 2014) in eSchool News
Socio-economic disadvantage is a challenge to educators everywhere. Compensating for students’ socio-economic disadvantage is one of the greatest challenges facing teachers, school leaders and education systems as a whole. However, data from PISA show that some countries are much better at this than others.

Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.