Afternoon Announcements: Explaining Improves Learning

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Posted:
May 31, 2013 08:07 pm

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Panelists at a symposium for the annual Association for Psychological Science research meeting this month discussed the benefits of asking children and students to explain what’s going on for their learning development. Explaining not only helps them reaffirm their knowledge of facts but understand the underlying concepts, as well. Education Week

Ads targeting students and parents for back to school clothing and supplies are already surfacing, even though the school year hasn’t yet finished. Analysts expect the reason is because of the faltering economy; the goal is to encourage purchasing now because of uncertainty over what the future might bring. New York Times

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Afternoon Announcements: New Mexico to Receive $1M to Bolster AP Program

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Posted:
May 30, 2013 08:14 pm

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Coursera, a provider of massive online open courses (MOOCs), announced earlier this week that they will expand their services to introductory level classes. Up until now, MOOCs have primarily been offered at the university level only for specialized, or advanced, classes. Reuters

This blogger argues that student loan debt isn’t only destroying the borrowers plagued by it, but it’s ruining the economy as well. Borrowers with significant debt delay big ticket purchases like houses and vehicles, and the economy suffers because of it. US News & Money

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Beyond the Pop Quiz

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Posted:
May 30, 2013 08:00 pm

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It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time to talk digital learning! Today’s post comes from Sandy Hayes, an English teacher in Becker Public Schools, current president of the National Council of Teachers of English, and a member of the Project 24 Team of Experts.
Evaluation, test, critique, measure, grade, feedback, rating, informative, summative, appraisal.  Assessment has become a complex and multi-headed hydra in our classrooms.  As a full-time 8th grade English teacher with 8 days of school remaining, this challenge is certainly in the forefront of my thinking.  How much growth have my students made this year?  How do I know?  What have they learned to do or do better that I haven’t noticed?  Am I looking at the right things?  How could I have done better?  What really matters?

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Digital Learning Series, Gear: Data & Assessment

Deeper Learning Is Deep Knowledge

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Posted:
May 30, 2013 04:30 pm

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Tom Loveless’s recent commentary on deeper learning confused me. What he described does not resemble any example of deeper learning I have seen, or the kind of learning the Alliance for Excellent Education has been advocating for all students.

Loveless asserts that deeper learning is hostile to content knowledge. He claims that it is an attempt to “dethrone the prominent role of knowledge in schools”; that it purports that “knowing about science is inferior to doing science.”

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Afternoon Announcements: Nevada Focuses Attention, Funds on ELLs

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Posted:
May 29, 2013 08:10 pm

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District leaders are calling for more time for teachers to prepare for the transition to the Common Core State Standards. “We must make adequate time for a thoughtful conversation about how assessments can be used to provide instructionally useful information to schools in a timely manner,” say four organizations representing school district leaders in a statement. “Adequate” is not defined. Politics K-12

Some education leaders in Nevada want to increase per pupil spending on English-language learners. With a disproportionate number of students learning English in school, the sees a possibility of increasing overall graduation numbers and potential earnings by focusing on ELLs. Education Week

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Afternoon Announcements: Delaware Commits $5 Million to Education Technology

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May 28, 2013 06:47 pm

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The House of Representatives approved a Republican proposal to keep student loan interest rates from doubling in July of this year. It would align student interest rates from year to year with the government’s cost of borrowing. It’s unclear if the Obama administration and the Senate will pass the bill. Washington Post

The highest-poverty schools in Kansas are primed to experience the brunt of budget cuts due to slashed federal education spending. The Kansas State Department described the loss of funding through Title 1 as “major.” Education Week

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Revitalizing Assessments With Technology

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May 24, 2013 01:35 am

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It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to talk digital learning! The following blog post comes from Erin Frew, Principal of New Tech West High School in Cleveland and one of the Project 24 Team of Experts.

As the principal of New Tech West High School, a Project Based Learning model, in Cleveland, OH, one of my large areas of emphasis has been assessment. Technology can be used to speed the use of formative assessment to guide instruction as well as create spaces for students to imaginatively demonstrate what they have learned through their projects.  Student creations take a variety of forms, whether it is through using photo editing software to create a collage or utilizing a music app to record a song.  

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Digital Learning Series, Gear: Data & Assessment

Afternoon Announcements: America Holds Most College Degrees, but the Lead is Narrowing

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May 23, 2013 08:22 pm

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New analysis on charter schools in Boston reveal that students tend to perform better on aptitude tests like the SAT, but the schools have higher than average high school dropout rates. Boston Globe

The Christina School District in Delaware has decided not to participate in the state’s Race to the Top plan. This follows in the wake of several other school districts in Ohio who considered dropping out of the state’s grant because the costs weren’t worth the federal grant money. Politics K-12

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Everyone’s Getting Straight A’s: House Spending Plan Would Cut Education

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Posted:
May 23, 2013 06:52 pm

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It’s time for another edition of Straight A’s, the Alliance for Excellent Education’s bi-weekly e-newsletter. You can read the entire issue online, pick from the article snippets below, or receive Straight A’s in your inbox by emailing JAmos@all4ed.org. Here are the articles featured in this issue:

A spending plan being circulated by U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) would cut funding for the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education appropriations bill by about $35 billion, or 22 percent less than the current level, in favor of protecting spending for the military and homeland security. Working within an overall spending limit of $967 billion, Rogers chose to allocate a total of $625 billion for the Defense, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security appropriations bills, a cut of $4 billion or less than 1 percent from the current level. Getting Defensive

In a May 9 speech at Manor New Technology High School in Austin, Texas, President Obama called on Americans to rally around what he called the “single-greatest challenge” facing the nation—reigniting the “true engine of economic growth”—a rising, thriving middle class. He listed three things necessary to create more jobs and opportunity for the middle class: (1) making America a magnet for good jobs; (2) ensuring that hard-working people can achieve a decent living; and (3) helping people earn the education and develop the skills they need to succeed in good jobs. Obama Sees Deeper Learning in Action

Originally signed into law more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) technically expired in 2007. On several occasions over the last few years, various attempts have been made by both political parties in Congress to rewrite the law, but they ultimately fell short. Since 2012, President Obama has granted waivers to thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia from some of NCLB’s requirements, including the one requiring that 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Although Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed concerns about the waivers, they have been unable to pass legislation to replace them. ESEA in Play?

State education agencies (SEAs) must play a pivotal role in the implementation and performance of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)—adopted by forty-six states and the District of Columbia—if states are to see gains in teacher effectiveness and student learning outcomes, a new policy report from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the Aspen Institute finds. The report, Teaching to the Core: Integrating Implementation of Common Core and Teacher Effectiveness Policies, offers ten organization and functional recommendations to help state departments succeed in carrying out the new responsibilities necessary to see long-term improvements in teacher and student outcomes. Teaching to the Core

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Afternoon Announcements: State Education Spending Per-Pupil Lowest in Three Decades

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Posted:
May 22, 2013 08:09 pm

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When Arne Duncan testified this week before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on the President’s 2014 fiscal year budget, he received numerous questions on student loan interest rates that are set to rise this summer, No Child Left Behind Waivers, and the Common Core State Standards. Politics K-12

New census report data shows how much states are spending per pupil on education. New York spends the most per-student, and Utah spends the lease. Overall, states are spending less per-pupil than they were in previous years. Stateline

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