Afternoon Announcements: Idaho Students Describe Common Core-Aligned Assessments as Tough but Fair

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Posted:
April 30, 2014 12:15 pm

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New online-based tests in Virginia will mean shorter testing times. The written tests took, on average, 40 minutes longer than the Internet-based ones. The Washington Post

Students in Idaho described the new Common Core-aligned tests as tough but fair. “You’ve got to work out your own problems and explain your answers for things,” one student said. Idaho Statesman

Congress members told US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that they don’t understand the administration’s thought process on NCLB waiver policy. Politics K-12

New York’s Board of Regents approved a policy that would delay an assessment-based test required for teachers to receive their license. Teacher Beat

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4 Bad Education Metaphors We Need to Stop Using

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Posted:
April 29, 2014 03:26 pm

Education is full of metaphors. Some are good: the principal as conductor of an orchestra. Some are overused: Learning as a light bulb, or a book symbolizing knowledge. But some are just wrong, and yet they are repeated again and again. Here are four bad education metaphors that we need to stop using.

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Afternoon Announcements: Philanthropists Award Grants to DC Groups to Expand Blended Learning

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Posted:
April 29, 2014 12:27 pm

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A group of philanthropists has awarded grants to groups in DC in an effort to expand blended learning – a combination of online and traditional instruction – to improve college and career readiness. The Washington Post

Will Missouri be the second state to repeal the Common Core State Standards, after Indiana did so earlier this month? Washington Times

And speaking of Indiana, the State Board of Education adopted new standards this week. Chalkbeat Indiana

Thirty public schools have partnered with the nonprofit Code.org to encourage students to learn computer programming. NPR

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Afternoon Announcements: US Graduation Rate Highest in History

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April 28, 2014 01:53 pm

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For the first time ever, the US high school graduation rate has hit 80 percent. According to federal data released today, the country could hit a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. Politico

The 2014 Building a Grad Nation report was released today by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance, and the Alliance for Excellent Education. The report finds that the US is on track to graduate 90 percent of students by 2020. Building A Grad Nation

Among the ways the nation has worked to increase the high school graduation rate is closing “dropout factory” schools. Houston Chronicle

California is a key state in staying on track to reach a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020. The state, which educates more of the nation’s low-income and Hispanic students than any other state, needs to improve. The Sacramento Bee

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More on the Assessment Consortia Field Tests

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Posted:
April 28, 2014 12:38 pm

computer lab via woodleywonderworks on Flickr

Read part 1 in our two-part series on answering your questions about the Common Core-aligned assessments field tests.

On March 20, the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted a webinar with leaders of the two consortia developing assessments to measure the Common Core State Standards: Jacqueline E. King, the director of higher education collaboration for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and Jeff Nellhaus, the director of policy, research, and design for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). The webinar, which took place as field tests for both consortia’s assessments were getting under way, drew a great deal of interest. Hundreds of educators and policy makers signed up to watch it, and viewers submitted dozens of questions to the panelists.

Although King and Nellhaus answered many viewer questions, they could not get to all of them in the ninety-minute event. But they agreed to respond to many of the questions they couldn’t get to at the time. Here are their answers.

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Morning Announcements: Arne Duncan Denies Washington State’s NLCB Waiver Request

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April 25, 2014 10:51 am

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan denied Washington state’s request for a waiver renewal that would have continued exempting it from the most stringent parts of the No Child Left Behind Act. Now the state will have to comply with all of the requirements of the law. The Washington Post

“The Obama Administration will release draft accountability rules for the nation’s teacher-preparation programs this summer.” Politics K-12

Teachers were asked how they think implementing the Common Core State Standards is going in their classrooms. The answers are insightful. PBS NewsHour

Are apprenticeships receiving renewed focus? State Impact

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Afternoon Announcements: Few US Students Learning Computer Science

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Posted:
April 24, 2014 03:29 pm

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Few students in the United States are learning computer science in school, despite their growing dependency on technology. The Washington Post

This detailed guide follows the history of Race to the Top all the way to the present, complete with key players and the different phases of the contest. Politics K-12

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has finally reached a decision on Washington State’s request for a renewed waiver from some of the rigors of the No Child Left Behind Act: the request was denied. Huffington Post

Teachers want a say in what technology their schools invest. After all, they will be the ones using it and teaching students how to use it. The Hechinger Report

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Discipline and Diplomas: Keeping Students at Their Desks

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Posted:
April 24, 2014 11:52 am

students at desks via US Army Corps of Engineers on flickr

The following post was written by Donique Reid, a policy and advocacy intern at the Alliance for Excellent Education.

In January, individuals crowded into Frederick Douglas High School in Maryland to listen as federal officials praised the school district for reducing student suspensions. The event came shortly after the US Departments of Education and Justice issued new federal guidance around school discipline policies. The new policies emphasize restorative justice and aim to end practices that often disproportionately discriminate against students of color.

In an address to the nation, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, acknowledged that under current school discipline policies across the nation, students of color and those with disabilities are far more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white counterparts. According to the Civil Rights Data Collection on school discipline, African American students are three times more likely to be suspended than white students, even when they commit similar offenses. The new guidance encourages states to amend policies that target specific students and to abandon zero-tolerance policies that suspend or expel students, even on their first offense, in schools.

Encouraging districts to focus on prevention and supportive approaches to increase student engagement and, ultimately, keep students in the classroom, will lead to improved school climates and improve student learning outcomes. But not everyone seems to agree.

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Afternoon Announcements: Latest Round of Investing in Innovation Contest to Start This Week

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Posted:
April 23, 2014 04:09 pm

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Chronic absenteeism is linked to health problems in a new strategic plan from a school district in Oregon. SF Gate

Early college programs in Ohio allow students to earn college credit before completing high school. State Impact

A new study finds that 2 in 5 Americans are earning postgraduate degrees. At this rate, America will join the ranks of the world’s most educated nations by 2025. NPR

The latest round of the Investing in Innovation federal competitive grant competition begins this week. Between 10-12 winners will share $135 million. Politics K-12

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Meeting of the National Adolescent Literacy Council

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Posted:
April 22, 2014 03:09 pm

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On April 10, the National Adolescent Literacy Coalition brought together more than sixty educators, researchers, and policymakers to learn about advancing literacy in an era of increased demands for a highly literate, twenty-first century citizenry. What became clear in a series of presentations was that scaling up consistent, evidence-based literacy practices as part of secondary-level coursework continues to be a complex challenge.  

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