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Morning Announcements: June 2, 2014

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June 02, 2014 11:42 am

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Is the Deck Stacked Against Black Boys In America? nprED
The numbers are grim. Black boys are more likely than white boys to live in poverty, and with a single parent. They’re also more likely to be suspended from school and land in prison, and less likely to be able to read. But what to do about it? That’s the question before My Brother’s Keeper, a White House task force created earlier this year. On Friday, President Obama released the team’s first 90-day progress report. The New York Times reports on this as well.

In Kentucky, Students Succeed Without Tests nprED
The white, split-rail fences of horse farms line the two-lane road that takes you southwest from Lexington. It’s a beautiful half-hour drive to Danville, Kentucky. Settled in 1783, the town is proud of its history. … A few minutes away, Bate Middle School is a more mundane ’70s-era, red-brick building. But what’s happening inside is anything but mundane. I’ve driven the 37 miles from Lexington to see one of the most closely watched efforts in the country to change the way schools assess student learning. Principal Amy Swann and the district’s Superintendent, Carmen Coleman, have completely overhauled their school’s educational philosophy, moving away from standardized tests toward an approach called performance-based assessment.

Policy, Leadership Direction at Stake in Chiefs’ Contests Education Week
Along with a crowded slate of gubernatorial and legislative elections this year, several races for state schools chief could lead to big changes in K-12 leadership and serve as test cases for the durability of such contentious issues as the Common Core State Standards and school choice.

Computer Science’s Diversity Gap Starts Early PBS
When Vanessa Hurst graduated from college in 2008 she became part of a rare breed: women who hold bachelor’s degrees in computer science. In the U.S. in 2001, 27.6 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded in computer science went to women, according to the National Science Foundation. By 2008, that number had dropped to a low of 17.7 percent. Though more recent numbers show a slight uptick to 18.2 percent in 2010, the field is still overwhelmingly male.

Shooting Bottle Rockets at the Moon: Overcoming the Legacy of Incremental Education Reform Brookings blog
In education, we never bother to calculate the thrust needed to carry our schools to our stated targets. Too often, we draw up proposals which are directionally correct: better professional development for teachers, higher teacher salaries, incrementally smaller class sizes, better facilities, stronger broad-band connections for schools, etc. However, we do not pause long enough to consult the evidence on expected effect sizes and assemble a list of reforms that could plausibly succeed in achieving our ambitious goals.  When we fail to right-size our reform efforts, we breed a sense of futility among teachers, parents and policymakers. We might as well be shooting bottle rockets at the moon.

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