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Everyone’s Getting Straight A’s: Common Core State Standards 101

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September 11, 2013 03:43 pm


We’re back with another edition of Straight A’s, the Alliance’s bi-weekly education newsletter! We round up reports, hearings, and the biggest news in educaton in each issue and bring it straight to your inbox (or RSS feed… or twitter feed… or facebook feed… or…)! You can read the full issue online here. If you would like to receive it in your email, send a message to Here are snippets from the articles in this issue.

In September 2011, with the U.S. Congress unable to pass legislation to rewrite and renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—currently known as No Child Left Behind—President Obama outlined a plan to provide states with waivers from specific provisions of the law in exchange for state-led reform efforts to close achievement gaps, evaluate teachers and principals, promote rigorous accountability, and ensure that all students are on track to graduate ready for college and a career. Since then, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has approved waiver requests from forty-one states and the District of Columbia. US Department of Education Outlines Procedure for NCLB Waiver Renewals

The Obama administration’s policy of allowing states to request waivers from key provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—“raises serious concerns about whether traditional subgroups of students will continue to receive the attention and support they need in order to graduate high school ready for college and career,” according to a new report from the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), a diverse coalition of national civil rights and education organizations representing communities of color. Findings from the report, Maintaining a Focus on Subgroups in an Era of Elementary and Secondary Education Act Waivers, are based on CHSE’s analysis of thirty-five waiver applications that were approved as of April 2013. Maintaining a Focus on Subgroups

While forty-six states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), approximately two-thirds of Americans say they have never heard of them, according to recent results from the PDK/Gallup Poll. To better inform the public about the standards while also addressing the many misimpressions surrounding them, the Alliance for Excellent Education released a new report, Common Core State Standards 101. The report examines how the states originated and developed the CCSS initiative and how to ensure that the standards deliver on their promise to fundamentally improve the quality of teaching and learning in the United States. Common Core State Standards 101

Only 26 percent of high school graduates from the Class of 2013 met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, according to The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013, released by ACT on August 21. As shown in the graph to the right, 64 percent of ACT-tested graduates met the English benchmark, compared to only 36 percent for the science benchmark; 31 percent of graduates did not meet any of the benchmarks. The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013

Digital badges offer students the opportunity to pave their own learning pathways and allow employers to verify necessary workforce skills, a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education and Mozilla finds. The report, Expanding Education and Workforce Opportunities Through Digital Badges, explores digital badges and how they can be used to improve student learning and outcomes, as well as expand vocational and interest-based skills for learners of all ages. Digital Badges


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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.