Linked Learning 101

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April 16, 2014 02:15 pm

This week I sat down with Monica Almond, a policy associate at the Alliance for Excellent Education, to learn more about the Linked Learning educational approach. Linked Learning connects students to their interests through partnerships with local businesses, organizations, and educational institutions. Students learning in a Linked Learning environment have the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience in a variety of industries outside of school, better preparing them for college and a career. Monica is the Alliance’s policy lead on Linked Learning and shared some of her insight into this emerging approach. After the break, Monica answers 7 questions about Linked Learning.

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What do the Interstate Highway System and Technology Infrastructure in Schools Have in Common?

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November 16, 2013 02:06 pm

In Bob Wise’s latest column in the Huffington Post, he argues that the interstate highway system and technology infrastructure in schools have a thing or two in common. Namely, they’re both in need of an upgrade. As Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, sits in stand-still traffic on Labor Day weekend, he remembers back to the mid-1990s, when both infrastructures – technology and roads – went through dramatic overhauls.

In 1996, Congress granted the Federal Communications Commission authority to oversee a program called E-Rate that would provide discounted internet services to schools and libraries. At the same time, major roadways underwent an overhaul to improve efficiency to meet increased demands. As Wise notes so well, “While both the interstate highway system and technology access in schools underwent major transformations in the 1990s and neither fully meet current demand, major strides have been made to upgrade the former, while the latter is stuck in a previous century.”

Thankfully, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently considering ways to expand and modernize the E-rate program — the federal government’s program for connecting the nation’s schools and libraries to the Internet — and is accepting public comments about how to do so. The proposed changes to the E-rate program are not only the first since the E-rate’s inception in 1996, they are the best chance the nation has to provide faster Internet connections to the nation’s classrooms, schools, and libraries. With only one week left until comments are due to the FCC on September 16, everyone should take the time to visit www.99in5.org and urge the FCC to modernize and expand this critical program.

 

Continue reading about Wise’s stalled Labor Day weekend drive and how it relates to a critical time for technology upgrades in schools on the Huffington Post.

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Afternoon Announcements: Common Core Standards Transforming Curriculum in Connecticut

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September 24, 2013 01:52 pm

In what was billed as a major policy address, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the House Majority Leader, said in Philadelphia Monday that he would “leave no stone unturned in holding [U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder] accountable” for the Obama administration’s push to stop Louisiana from implementing a voucher program that allows low-income children to attend private schools on the public dime. Politics K-12

After seven decades, Louisiana is preparing to replace the GED test, an alternative credential to a high school diploma. Starting in January, Louisiana students will take a different high school equivalency test on English, math, science, and other areas. Education Week

A sweeping change now underway quietly in Connecticut is transforming school curriculum from kindergarten through 12th grade with the aim of raising achievement and ensuring that all students are ready for college and career. The new Common Core State Standards — a set of academic goals that were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers — are driving the changes. The Courant

Consumer demand for digital learning games and simulations is steadily increasing and expected to rise, a recent report concludes. But that level of interest in using games and simulations does not appear to be as evident in K-12 schools, according to the lead researcher for the study. Education Week

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Afternoon Announcements: Achievement Gap Persists on Ohio Standardized Tests

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September 23, 2013 04:12 pm

The TODAY show featured Jim Ziolkowski, CEO and Founder of buildOn, along with buildOn students from Banana Kelly high school in the South Bronx to show how the organization is working to break the cycle of illiteracy, poverty and low expectations through service and education. Education Nation

At least 36 public schools in Northern Virginia fell short of full state accreditation this year, up from 14 last year, a consequence of tougher academic standards and state tests that have been introduced in recent years. The Washington Post

The gap between black and white students’ scores on Ohio’s standardized exams persists even when economic advantages are considered, according to a data analysis by The Columbus Dispatch. Education Week

After struggling to attract students when it first launched in 1998, Ossining High School in suburban new york had a science research program that was thriving by 2001. Last year, the Intel Corporation chose the program out of 18 national finalists to receive the top prize in a contest celebrating excellence in science instruction. The Hechinger Report

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Afternoon Announcements: New Jersey Considering Requiring Higher GPA for Teacher Candidates

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September 19, 2013 01:49 pm

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Tens of millions of dollars are pouring into the battle over the Common Core academic standards, which aim to set a course for students’ progression in math and language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade. Politico

Delaware announced on Wednesday a new effort to encourage high-achieving low-income students to apply to top colleges, saying it would send application fee waivers and other information to every such high school senior in the state. The New York Times

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Afternoon Announcements: New Web Tool Shows Suspension Rates By District

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September 18, 2013 04:13 pm

The number of suspensions issued in Fairfax County high schools last year decreased by 18 percent from the prior year, according to school records. In the 2011-2012 academic year, the schools reported 3,425 total out-of-school suspensions, which includes short-term suspensions lasting four or five days and those that exceed 10 or more days. In the 2012-2013 school year, principals issued a total of 2,794 suspensions. The Washington Post

Suspension rates for elementary and high school students in every district in the state, and in much of the nation, are now easier to find using a new web tool announced Tuesday by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, a part of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. EdSource

The number of students arrested in school in Connecticut has declined in recent years, but many of those arrests were avoidable, according to a report from Connecticut Voices for Children, an advocacy group. Education Week

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Afternoon Announcements: A New York High School Goes Completely Digital

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September 17, 2013 04:21 pm

 

Archbishop Stepinac High School in New York has become one of the first high schools in the country to drop all textbooks like dead weight and replace them with a “digital library.” When students started classes Monday, they were zipping to an app or website on their tablet or laptop and had instant access to all 40 texts in the Stepinac curriculum, not to mention all sorts of note-taking, highlighting and interactive features. The Journal News

Until recently, schools mostly looked at the student body’s overall attendance rate and the truancy–or unexcused absences–of individual students. Now a growing number of states and school districts are increasing their focus on students who are “chronically absent” from school–whether the absences are excused or unexcused. States have different definitions of chronic absence, but it is often defined as missing at least 10 percent of the school year for any reason. Huffington Post

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Afternoon Announcements: Kentucky a National Leader in Common Core Implementation

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September 16, 2013 02:59 pm

“The first few years of implementing the Common Core was hard because the kids didn’t have the foundation,” said Kathy Young, fifth-grade elementary school teacher in Kentucky. “But now that the foundation has been laid, it’s getting easier to teach, and the kids have responded well — they are meeting the challenges we have given them.” Courier-Journal

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Afternoon Announcements: Kindergarten Applications Going Digital

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September 13, 2013 03:01 pm

California lawmakers approved a bill that would scrap the state’s current student-testing program, despite an Obama administration threat to pull federal dollars from the state if the legislation becomes law. Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration’s signature $4 billion Race to the Top initiative, designed to spur far-reaching education reforms across the country and raise student achievement, is largely a failure, an analysis released Thursday concludes. Politico

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The Common Core: Beyond “A Poster on the Faculty Room Wall”

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September 12, 2013 03:31 pm

The following is a guest blog post from Amy Coe Rodde and Lija McHugh, leaders in The Bridgespan Group’s education practice. They have both worked extensively in the field of K-12 education, supporting state, district, nonprofit and philanthropic leaders in the pursuit of significant improvement in student outcomes at scale.

The success of the Common Core State Standards will be determined by whether they improve teaching and learning in our schools and drive student success in college and careers. But there is a big risk that we as a country are going to miss this opportunity to foster these improvements. As New York Commissioner of Education John King said, “We have to make sure the Common Core doesn’t become just a poster on the faculty room wall. Instruction has to change….If we don’t understand how big this change is and how much work it will take, then we will not get it done.”

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