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Afternoon Announcements: Principals Discuss Closing the “Excellence Gap” for Students

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February 09, 2015 12:30 pm

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Dozens of principals from some of the nation’s most sought-after and selective public high schools gathered last week in Northern Virginia to discuss how to better serve children whose needs they said too often go unmet: High-achieving students from low-income families. Despite their talent, those students are less likely to make it to and through college than their more affluent peers, data show. The Washington Post

The General Educational Development (GED) test has transformed from what was essentially a reading comprehension and basic math test, to one that tests wide swaths of knowledge and includes problems from advanced classes on the math section that more closely resembles the Common Core aligned Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), While they’re meant to be more difficult than the tests they replaced, some are concerned that instructors may lack sufficient training to prepare students to meet the higher bar. The Hechinger Report

The main federal education law may finally get its long-overdue makeover in Congress this year. Formally, it’s the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, and was last overhauled in 2001, with President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. If Congress does rewrite the law, What can we expect? NPR

Colorado Board of Education officials are contemplating significant changes to common set of expectations all Colorado students must meet to earn a high school diploma, including eliminating science and social studies requirements, leaving only English and math. The Denver Post

President Barack Obama said Friday that he dropped a widely criticized plan to scale back tax benefits for college savings accounts because the savings weren’t worth it. Associated Press

This week, the New Jersey Assembly is taking up a bill that would establish a statewide policy for families sitting out of the tests and considering another measure that would delay the use of Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) scores for the next three years. NJ Spotlight

More than 100 learning companies recently signed on to a voluntary industry pledge on student privacy in effort to “maintain a comprehensive security program that is reasonably designed to protect the security, privacy, confidentiality and integrity of student personal information against risks,” still flaws in products for schoolchildren are being uncovered. The New York Times

African- American girls around the country were suspended from school six times more often than their white counterparts during the 2011-2012 school year, even though they only represent a small share of public school enrollment. That’s just one finding of a new study released last week, which looked at racism and sexism faced by black female students using data from the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

A new bipartisan student data privacy bill would impose requirements on outside vendors such as software and database companies that handle information about Colorado students. Chalkbeat CO

After winning a court order to improve academic conditions at one Los Angeles high school last fall, lawyers in a class action suit asked last week for an additional court order to compel the state to improve instruction time at five other California high schools in the 2015-16 school year. EdSource

A bill being pushed in the state of Washington would allow two years of computer science to count as two years of world languages for the purpose of admission into college in the state. THE Journal

Denver Public Schools is announcing plans this week to expand a teacher leadership program officials say marks a fundamental shift in the way school staffs are structured. Chalkbeat CO

Last month, administrators in Shelby County Schools in southwest Memphis, Tennessee announced a plan to shutter schools where only a quarter of students are meeting basic state reading and math expectations. This week, the district will hold two community meetings on Monday and Thursday to discuss the potential impact. Chalkbeat TN

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña inherited a department that tracked data closely and whose principals, many of whom during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure were drawn from the ranks of novice teachers and given managerial training, were given as much freedom as possible.  Fariña, in contrast, believes that principals need both more experience and more supervision than they had during the Bloomberg years. The New York Times

The number of students taking at least one course online is up 38% in Michigan, according to a report released today that also found a decline in academic performance and a troubling trend in a state that has made it easier for students to take more of their classes online. eSchoolNews

As schools everywhere shift to the Common Core, teachers are now realizing that they must now be able to determine the both the factors within a given text where students will need scaffolding as well as the type of scaffolding appropriate for the activity. Fortunately, there are a number of free apps that can help. eSchoolNews

 

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