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November 09, 2017 08:23 am
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Want to Implement Personalized Learning? Permission Granted!

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Can two conferences held thirty-five miles apart indicate that a personalized learning movement is growing, especially if they take place in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley? And is there a common message when talking to wide-ranging audiences of teachers, ed-tech entrepreneurs, cutting-edge educators, and district leaders who must confront constant challenges of running a district while envisioning the future of learning?

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Deeper Learning, Every Student Succeeds Act, Personalized Learning
Posted: June 15, 2010 07:21 pm

A General Motors Moment

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June 15, 2010 07:21 pm
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Bob Wise Headshot_1_2 - Welcome to the allianceI recently spent two days in West Virginia making presentations for the statewide local education fund, the Education Alliance , about the economic return from boosting high school graduation rates and the necessity of having a college- and career-ready standard as the benchmark. To read more about my discussions there, read my guest post on the organization’s new blog .

The previous week, Governor Joe Manchin called the state legislature into special session to take up eight bills designed to strengthen West Virginia’s run at the second round of the Race to the Top (RTT) competition. After a week of legislative wrestling over the usual issues—charter schools, teacher evaluation, performance pay—everyone agreed to call time out, recess for two weeks, and a working group of the main stakeholders, including the unions, are meeting to see what can be resolved.

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Posted: June 15, 2010 02:15 pm

Bob Wise and Bob Fulmer on Cutting the High School Dropout Rate

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June 15, 2010 02:15 pm
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In a recent op-ed in The Huffington Post, Bob Wise, President of the Alliance and former governor of West Virginia, and Bob Fulmer, executive director of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, discuss the high school dropout crises:

How Cutting Teen Dropout Rates Could Stimulate the Economy

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Recently, President Obama had this to say: “This is a problem we cannot afford to accept and we cannot afford to ignore. The stakes are too high — for our children, for our economy, and for our country.”

Was he talking about defense or national security? No. Was he talking about global economic recovery? No. Instead, he was highlighting the silent epidemic that is our national high school drop-out rate.
The sobering fact remains that three out of every 10 students in U.S. public schools still fail to finish high school with a diploma. That amounts to more than 1.2 million students lost from the graduation ceremonies every year, or about 7,000 students lost every day. And it gets worse for minorities. Just 55 percent of Latino, 51 percent of African-American, and 50 percent of Native American students finish high school with a diploma.

Click here to read to read the full piece.

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Posted: June 14, 2010 02:15 pm

The First 55 Minutes: Defining the National Dropout Crisis with Consistent and Accurate Graduation Rate Calculations

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June 14, 2010 02:15 pm
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This week, the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center released the latest results of their annual look at high school graduation rates. In the June 10th issue of Education Week, “Diplomas Count 2010: Graduation by the Numbers – Putting Data to Work for Student Success”, EPE provides a look at national, state-by-state, and even district level graduation rates.

 

Diplomas_Count_Graph - 55 minutes

The overall message is grim: the slow-but-steady improvement we had been seeing in the last decade has stopped and has now slipped backwards for two years in a row (see the chart to the right). According to EPE, the national graduation rate has fallen almost half of a percentage point to 68.8%. And, though each subgroup actually saw slight improvements (a seemingly contradictory juxtaposition with a declining national rate, but explained by EPE as the result of changing demographics), the gap between white students and students of color remains unacceptably large.

These results are disheartening, but shouldn’t come as a surprise. Though in the past several years the nation has become more aware and committed to the dropout crisis that is threatening the nation’s high schools and their communities, we have only begun to make significant and systemic commitments to improving high schools and addressing the dropout crisis.

When trying to solve a crisis as large and with such significant consequences as the dropout crisis, it’s easy to put the cart before the horse. However, as Einstein famously said, if faced with just one hour to save the world, he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and just five minutes looking for solutions. In the case of the dropout crisis, we have skipped the first 55 minutes and jumped straight into the last five. Sadly, the reason we’ve done this is because we don’t have the information we need to adequately define the problem.

The need for a report such as EPE’s is evidence of this point: EPE’s independent calculations—which are a well-conceived but still best-guess estimate of actual graduation rates—are necessary because we have yet to calculate graduation rates across states and districts using an accurate and consistent calculation method. (To read more about this issue and the different calculations currently in use by states, see the Alliance’s page on “Federal High School Graduation Rate Policies and the Impact on States” here).

A first significant step to rectify this information void was taken in 2008 when the U.S. Department of Education issued regulations requiring that states use an accurate and common calculation method to measure the graduation rate in their high schools. However, states aren’t required to report graduation rates using this calculation method until the 2010-11 school year and several have received waivers to postpone the transition to the new calculation because they do not have the data systems in place to allow for such a calculation.

Of course, compliance is key and the 2008 regulations will only prompt consistent and accurate graduation rate reporting if states fully comply. Therefore, despite the progress we’ve made with the establishment of the regulations, the onus remains on states and the U.S. Department to be vigilant and committed to implementing them. Without the data that the regulations promise to provide, we’ll face a tough climb trying to move the dropout crisis past the first 55 minutes and into the solutions.

Incidentally, a part of the solution, the 2008 regulations also required that states set meaningful goals for improving graduation rates and hold schools accountable for meeting those goals. Stay tuned for more posts on what this means, what states have pledged to do, and if we’re ready to face the reality that accurate graduation rates could present, especially to districts and states that are currently using particularly egregious calculation methods.

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Posted: June 09, 2010 09:20 pm

The Economic Benefits of Reducing the High School Dropout Rate

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June 09, 2010 09:20 pm
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Back in January, the Alliance for Excellent Education released a blockbuster new study that provided convincing evidence for reducing the high school dropout rate in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The study, supported by State Farm ®, found that if high school dropout rates were cut in half in Baltimore, for example, which had a total of 9,700 students dropout in 2008, then the “new graduates” in the Baltimore metropolitan area would likely have:

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High School Dropout Rates
Posted: June 06, 2010 02:05 am

Gov. Wise Speaks at Common Standards Release Event

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June 06, 2010 02:05 am
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On June 2, 2010 the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers released the common core state standards at an event held at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia. The English language arts and mathematics standards for grades K–12 were developed in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including content experts, states, teachers, school administrators, and parents. The standards establish clear and consistent goals for learning that will prepare America’s children for success in college and work. Click on the image to watch video from the event.

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Posted: June 02, 2010 06:20 pm

The Alliance’s Priorities for the Rest of 2010

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June 02, 2010 06:20 pm
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In my previous blog post , I told you where the Alliance has been. Now I want to tell you about where we hope to go.

The Alliance has always zeroed in on helping all students not only graduate from high school but graduate “college and career ready.” This is a phrase that we hear a lot these days, and currently forty-eight states, through their Bob Wise Headshot_1_2 - Welcome to the alliancework in the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), are working together to define what it means. From the initial planning four years ago with the National Governors Association , the Council of Chief State School Officers , the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy , and Achieve , the APreview Changeslliance has been involved from the inception of the common core initiative.

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Posted: June 01, 2010 09:04 pm

CBS News on the High School Dropout Epidemic

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Posted:
June 01, 2010 09:04 pm
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Last Friday, May 28, 2010, CBS Evening News ran a story on the high school dropout epidemic. The story looked at the severity of the crises, the link between education and the economy, and some emerging solutions from the Philadelphia area.

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Posted: May 27, 2010 04:13 pm

From Alliance Intern to Teacher In Training

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May 27, 2010 04:13 pm
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During my final semester at Georgetown University, I was able to take a class in the philosophy of education, intern at the Alliance for Excellent Education, and start the process towards becoming a teacher in the school district of Philadelphia. With a strong interest in educational reform, I started the semester with many questions and a hope that many would be answered. Reflecting upon these past four months, I realized I have developed more questions than answers. My questions, however, have become more focused. Being able to learn about issues such as technology’s role in education and the specific needs of exceptional students, I am more acutely aware of the challenges we face in reforming our education system.

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Posted: May 26, 2010 09:56 pm

More than One Third of Recent High School Dropouts Living in Poverty

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Posted:
May 26, 2010 09:56 pm
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High school dropouts aged 25 to 34 years old were twice as likely to be living below the poverty line in 2008, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The report, Poverty in the United States: 2008, finds that 34.7 percent of 25-34 year olds without a high school diploma were living in poverty in 2008, compared to 16.7 percent of individuals whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma. Conversely, only 4.4 percent of individuals aged 25-34 with at least a bachelor’s degree were considered poor.

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Posted: May 25, 2010 09:14 pm

Education and the Economy in Metropolitan America

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Posted:
May 25, 2010 09:14 pm
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Last week, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program released the State of Metropolitan America , an impressive and timely in-depth look at the nation’s changing urban areas. In the report, the authors describe the uneven higher educational attainment of urban residents. In particuar, they focus on older adults—who tend to be more educated than their younger peers. The authors credit this disconnect to a new reality in which a growing number of young adults attend postsecondary education but never complete a program or degree.

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.