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Everyone’s Getting Straight A’s: Government Shutdown’s Impact on Federal Education Programs

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October 10, 2013 03:39 pm


We’re back with another edition of Straight A’s, the Alliance for Excellent Education’s free, bi-weekly newsletter. In about the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, you will read about some of the most important news and learn of key events in education policy and practice. Click here for the full newsletter, or pick and choose from the highlighted articles below. If you’d like to receive Straight A’s in your inbox, email

With Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and Democrats in the U.S. Senate unable to enact a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the federal government, the nation experienced its first federal government shutdown since January 1996. The effects were immediate—federal employees were sent home, federal parks were closed, and the ripple effects began in other areas of the nation’s economy. Shutdown Showdown

As a result of the federal government shutdown, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has temporarily stopped accepting comments from individuals on how to modernize and expand the E-rate program, the federal government’s program for connecting the nation’s schools and libraries to the internet. Government Shutdown Slows Down E-Rate Reform

Nearly every teacher in the United States (97 percent) has heard of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and three-quarters (77 percent) of math and English language arts (ELA) teachers say the standards will have a positive impact on students’ ability to think critically and use reasoning skills, according to preliminary findings from Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change, released by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on October 4. Of the 20,000 public school teachers surveyed, only 1 percent believe the CCSS will have a negative impact on students’ critical-thinking and reasoning skills; 22 percent expect no impact or do not know enough to say. Primary Sources

On average, small public high schools of choice in New York City graduate students at a rate 9.5 percentage points higher than other New York City high schools, according to Sustained Progress: New Findings About the Effectiveness and Operation of Small Public High Schools of Choice in New York City, a new report from MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research firm. The schools, which primarily serve disadvantaged students of color, also produce graduates who are more likely to be college-ready and graduate low-income and students of color at higher rates. Sustained Progress

More than half (54.1 percent) of Kentucky’s high school graduates from the Class of 2013 were college- and career-ready, according to new results from the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) assessment, which is aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). That percentage represents an increase of 7 percentage points over the 2011–12 school year and an increase of 16 percentage points over 2010–11. Bluegrass Grads

A new report from Digital Learning Now! (DLN), Getting Smart, and The Learning Accelerator (TLA) offers recommendations to school leaders on how to develop and implement an effective blended learning model1 that focuses on accelerating student learning for college and career readiness. The report, Blended Learning Implementation Guide Version 2.0, reflects feedback from schools and districts, developments in the field, and educational technology trends since its original release in February. Blending Learning 2.0

The Digital Learning Transition Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed), led by the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University, kicked off its second course on September 30 with more than 1,700 education leaders from sixty countries and all fifty states signed up to participate. Registration for the course is open through Friday, October 11 at There is no cost to participate. Digital Learning Transition MOOC-Ed


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