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Posted: September 08, 2010 03:32 pm

Morning Announcements: September 8, 2010

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September 08, 2010 03:32 pm
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Morning_AnnouncementsIn an op-ed in the Providence Journal, Massachusetts secretary of education Paul Reville writes, “By adopting the Common Core, we’ve set a clearer, higher target for educational success. Now it’s time to see that all our children reach it.”

The Governor of Michigan would like lawmakers to require the school year to last more than 180 days.

The Columbus Dispatch editorial board asks “How can overall better performance go along with fewer kids graduating?”

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Posted: September 07, 2010 06:18 pm

Race to the Top of the Tests

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September 07, 2010 06:18 pm
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Students_and_AssessmentsWhile the $3.5 billion Race to the Top program has captured the attention of much of the education world, a smaller grant program might have an equal if not greater impact on schools across the United States. On September 2, the U.S. Education Department awarded a total of $330 million to two consortia of states to develop new assessment systems. If these consortia fulfill their ambitious plans, states will soon transform the way they test students in dramatic ways.

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Posted: September 03, 2010 03:21 pm

Morning Announcements: September 3, 2010

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September 03, 2010 03:21 pm
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Morning_AnnouncementsWashington Post
columnist Jay Matthews discusses how students’ struggle to apply their AP or International Baccalaureate credits towards their college degrees.

At a new experimental school in Michigan, two teachers and an executive administrator will lead instead of a principal and assistant principal.

Michigan receives nearly $82.7 million in school improvement grants for twenty-eight of the lowest-performing schools in the state.

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Posted: September 02, 2010 06:15 pm

Why Our Kids (and I) Are Still Full of Hope

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September 02, 2010 06:15 pm
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As a teacher, I loved every single second with my seventh graders—even on those days that resembled an emotional roller coaster without seatbelts.  But I left teaching after three years because I had become so frustrated with the policies outside of my classroom such as poor teacher preparation, zero tolerance policies, crumbling facilities, and superficial evaluations that affected my students once they stepped outside my door.  At the time, the education system just didn’t seem to inspire hope in teachers and students.  I almost became cynical and just plain angry, but I knew that I didn’t want to become another burnt-out teacher.

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Posted: September 02, 2010 04:12 pm

Morning Announcements: September 2, 2010

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September 02, 2010 04:12 pm
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Morning_AnnouncementsToday the U.S. Department of Education awarded two state coalitions a total of $330 million in federal aid for the design of new assessment systems aligned to the recently developed common-core standards.

A nonprofit group in Connecticut has developed a five-year plan to change cultural views toward math and science and get students to take personal responsibility for their own learning.

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Posted: September 01, 2010 03:24 pm

Morning Announcements: September 1, 2010

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September 01, 2010 03:24 pm
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Morning_AnnouncementsThe New York Times takes a look at value-added modeling, a method to calculate the value teachers add to their students’ achievement, based on changes in test scores from year to year and how the students perform compared with others in their grade.

An article in Washington Monthly takes a look at College Dropout Factories. To read more about high school dropout factories, check out the Alliance’s brief, Prioritizing the Nation’s Lowest-Performing High Schools.

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Posted: August 31, 2010 08:16 pm

Transforming Teaching and Learning

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August 31, 2010 08:16 pm
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TransformingTeaching_LearningWhile 36 states plus the District of Columbia have moved to adopt the common core state standards, to fundamentally improve teacher and leader effectiveness, the federal government will need to provide support for their implementation.  Setting standards is only the first step in an improvement process; states must implement assessments that measure whether students are meeting the standards, develop or acquire curricular materials aligned to the standards, and, most importantly, must prepare teachers to teach to the new standards. The federal government can have an important role in improving teacher education by leveraging resources and creating incentives to enable states to develop systems consistent with expectations for student learning.

Traditional licensure exams have come under attack for their lack of authenticity and ability to measure whether teachers will be effective in the classroom. On the other hand, studies show that that rigorous, validated, standards-based performance measures, such as those used by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, can be a powerful tool for capturing how teaching is enacted in a complex context and for providing feedback for continuous improvement. These measures use multiple elements such as direct observations and videotapes, analyses of student work, and measures of student learning. They can serve a number of policy purposes—to strengthen the quality of preparation and credentialing programs, induction systems, professional learning and licensure, and compensation and advancement. The federal government could support the development of robust teacher performance assessments that serve as a key component of evaluation systems along with the use of growth measures for student achievement.

Professional learning and continuing education should focus—not solely on the accumulation of course credits—but on developing skilled practice by providing teachers with more coherence in the feedback and supervision they receive. In addition, support and training should address the urgent need to conceptualize teaching differently, shape differentiated roles for teachers and school leaders, and create novel team-based approaches to organizing learning environments.  Educator development policies that ignore using a fuller, fairer sense of teachers’ performance will, in effect, serve to undermine teaching as a profession.

One of the most important ways that the federal government can support the improvement of teacher preparation is by investing in research in effective practice. A recent report by the National Research Council found that the state of research on teacher preparation is woefully inadequate; the study could not find answers to some of the most basic questions about a critical component of the U.S. education system. By placing a priority on research on teacher preparation, and disseminating results widely, the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences can build the knowledge base about effective practices and drive improvements.

To learn more about the misalignment of current policies that shape teacher development in the United States and ways to reframe human capital systems to deliver on the promise of next-generation learning, check out a Call for Action: Transforming Teaching and Learning to Prepare High School Students for College and Careers.

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Posted: August 31, 2010 03:52 pm

Morning Announcements: August 31, 2010

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August 31, 2010 03:52 pm
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Morning_AnnouncementsEducation Week
takes a look at states’ progress in complying with No Child Left Behind’s requirement that states report graduation rates for subgroups of students, such as English-language learners or economically disadvantaged children.

The Christian Science Monitor profiles Arne Duncan and his career path leading up to serving as the 9th U.S. Secretary of Education.

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Posted: August 30, 2010 04:05 pm

Morning Announcements: August 30, 2010

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August 30, 2010 04:05 pm
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Morning_AnnouncementsNineteen states are participating in the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium, a pilot program to develop performance-based assessments for teacher candidates.

Washington Post columnist George Will writes about black children’s “Daunting divide in achievement and family life.” And education columnist Jay Matthews takes a look at how the achievement gap has been reported in the district.

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Posted: August 27, 2010 07:34 pm

Project Win-Win

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August 27, 2010 07:34 pm
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The Institute for Higher Education Policy has paired up with the Lumina Foundation for Education to create Project Win-Win, an effort to contact former community college and college student dropouts and let them know that either a) their academic records qualify them for an associate’s degree that can be retroactively awarded or b) they were only short of earning an associate degree by a few credits and are welcome back to complete their education.

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.