Gov. Wise Discusses Future of Promise Scholarship in West Virginia

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January 31, 2014 03:58 pm

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Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, spoke on a panel this week to discuss and promote the future of the Promise Scholarship. Gov. Wise signed the Promise scholarship into law during his tenure as governor.

The scholarship, a key component of Gov. Wise’s education legacy in West Virginia, is state-funded and merit-based. It originally covered 100% of in-state tuition at West Virginia colleges for high school seniors that met a certain grade point average requirement. In recent years, budget cuts have led to a decrease in the amount of each scholarship awarded.

The Promise Scholarship Forum Panel was sponsored by Generation Charleston and the Young Talent Network of Charleston. Six fellow education leaders joined Wise on the panel, including West Virginia Senator Lloyd Jackson from the State Board of Education.

“People have got to realize that the single best investment they can make is in the Promise… That’s why it’s so critical that those of you in this room and many others make sure that the legislature and elected officials know how important it is,” said Gov. Wise. “The future of the Promise is really making sure that everyone understands the vision of it and the necessity of it.”

Read more about the event on The Charleston Gazette.

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Afternoon Announcements: 275 Districts Apply for $100 Million High School-Redesign Competition

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January 31, 2014 01:32 pm

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Rep. George Miller, a co-author of the No Child Left Behind Act, said that he never expected the legislation to stir up an obsession over standardized testing. This interview with the Rep. is a great read. EdSource

In audio segment, Glenn Reynolds, author of a new book on the importance of digital learning for the 21st-century, talks about how technology can be a great equalizer in education. WNYC

The South Dakota House rejected a resolution that would half the expansion of the Common Core State Standards. Rapid City Journal

Around 275 school districts have applied for a chunk of the $100 million high school redesign competition run by the Obama administration to improve high schools. Politics K-12

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Digital Learning and a Bold Brand of Teacher Leadership

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January 31, 2014 09:45 am

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This guest post comes from Barnett Berry, CEO and partner of the Center for Teaching Quality. See Barnett talk more about teaching and digital learning on Digital Learning Day, February 5, 2014! 

Where digital learning blossoms, you can find strong teacher leaders. Consider, for example, Talladega County, Alabama, where four teachers gained the support of administrators to lead a dramatic instructional transformation.

We live in age of top-down mandates (and big tech contracts). But we all know what makes digital learning successful: the expertise of practicing teachers in using technology to personalize students’ experiences. As researchers and advocates have documented, “technology can provide more opportunities for teachers to design learning experiences and content that incorporate proven pedagogical practices.”

Even as learning “goes digital,” teachers will continue to play a vital role in effective use of new technologies to boost the progress of individual students.

Pressing questions we face in 2014

How can we make the most of this moment in the history of digital learning, when technology is available to more schools than ever? What will help teachers to use digital tools and resources to maximize, personalize, and transform learning, rather than merely adding 21st-century shininess?

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Afternoon Announcements: Keep an Eye on the Florida Gubernatorial Race

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January 30, 2014 02:07 pm

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Before he retires, U.S. Senator Harkin, the Senate education committee chairman, has three things he wants to accomplish: raise the minimum wage, reauthorize the workforce investment act, and expand early-childhood education. Politics K-12

The most important gubernatorial race for education is happening in Florida between sitting Gov. Rock Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist. Politics K-12

New data shows that while schools overall are suspending fewer students for “willful defiance,” African American students are still disproportionately suspended for that reason compared to their peers. EdSource

A House committee in New Mexico approved a proposal that would increase funding for K-12 by $149 million and give education employees a pay raise of at least 3 percent. The question is: will the Governor approve it? Education Week

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5 Ways To Make Every Day Digital Learning Day

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January 30, 2014 01:22 pm

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Twitter never fails to inspire me. Every time I participate in a Twitter chat, I am blown away by the passionate educators and the amazing things happening in classrooms all around the country. And that’s what Digital Learning Day is all about – celebrating that, and finding ways to bring it to every classroom, every teacher, every student.

So last week’s #edtechchat (listen to the BAM Radio Network story), I asked the question:

What would it take to make every day Digital Learning Day? 

After all, as we say often here at the Alliance, we’ll know we’ve succeeded when nobody understands what the day means – when every day is a learning day.

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How Talladega County’s Teachers Led Our District into the 21st Century

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January 30, 2014 08:37 am

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This guest blog post comes from Sharon Tankersley Wright, a faculty member at Childersburg High School in Talladega, Alabama. Learn more about Talladega on Digital Learning Day, February 5, 2014! 

You’ve seen her on posters, mugs, and t-shirts, rolling up her shirtsleeves and exhorting, “We Can Do It!” Sporting a polka-dotted red bandanna, Rosie the Riveter is a figure of propaganda, but she stands in for real women during WWII who saw a need, stepped up, raised morale on the home front, and became legends in their own time.

In 2007, teachers in Talladega County, Alabama, saw a need: our students’ apathy was growing ever deeper. During lunch, at faculty meetings, through emails, while exercising together after school, we asked why. Why didn’t students find their learning experiences engaging? Why weren’t they inspired to do their best? And—most of all—what could teachers do about it?

Talladega County teachers tackled this question with the fierceness of WWII riveters, and our efforts changed the face of education in our district.

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Three Ways to Encourage Student Discovery

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January 29, 2014 08:05 pm

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This guest blog post is from Nancy Hniedziejko, the library media specialist for Myers Elementary School in the School District of Cheltenham Township, Elkins Park, PA.

As a 21st century librarian, my title includes media specialist. The American Association of School Librarians answers the question, “What does a school librarian do?” with the following.

… the school librarian develops, promotes and implements a program that will help prepare students to be effective users of ideas and information, a lifelong skill.

I’m drawn to the words, “help prepare students to be effective users of ideas and information, a lifelong skill.” Students love technology. It’s that simple. When I present a new tool or application, the hush that falls over the room is unlike other more traditional lessons. The speed at which they embrace and implement new tools is rapid and typically self-directed. The students easily help and support each other as well. But, are they prepared to be effective users of ideas? Is the goal to be a great app user or do we want them to be responsible global digital citizens who contribute to the new millennium? My focus this year is to answer this question.

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Afternoon Announcements: Obama Advocates for Race to the Top, Early Learning in State of the Union Address

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Posted:
January 29, 2014 04:27 pm

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In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama stressed the importance of Race to the Top and early-childhood learning as ways to improve education in America. Politics K-12

On-time graduation rates have reached a new high in Maryland, according to new data released for the class of 2013. Graduation rates rose to 85 percent from 83.6 percent in 2012. The Washington Post

The Detroit News reported earlier this week that 14 percent of school districts in Michigan do not have the minimum Internet bandwidth needed to support online tests for students. The Times-Herald.com

Adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards has been slow among states. Of the 26 states that helped develop them, only eight have formally signed on. Education Week

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Afternoon Announcements: Maryland Schools Move Away from Suspensions

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January 28, 2014 04:04 pm

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Schools around the state of Maryland are changing their approach to discipline in an effort to keep students in classrooms instead of suspending them. The Baltimore Sun

President Obama will give his annual State of the Union address tonight. How big of a priority will education be? Politics K-12

The U.S. Department of Education followed through on a promise to withhold nearly $10 million of Race to the Top grant money from Georgia if it did not fix its problems with teacher evaluations. The state failed to adhere and forfeited the money, for now. Politics K-12

New analysis of the 2013 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that fourth-graders in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia have some of the nation’s largest gaps in reading proficiency when broken down by income level. The Washington Post

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“Go” or “No Go” on Common Core? Next Six Months Will Be Key in Many States

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Posted:
January 28, 2014 03:02 pm

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The next six months may be some of the most critical for K-12 education in recent memory. And that is not just more political hyperbole from a former politician. Indeed, my twenty years of serving in legislative bodies underscores this prediction. When the adjournment gavel bangs by summer to close most of the states’ legislative sessions, major decisions affecting education for decades will have been made.

An old saying is “The President proposes, the Congress disposes.” Now substitute the words governor” and “legislature” for the 50 states and DC.

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