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Stats That Stick: November 16, 2011

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November 16, 2011 09:04 pm

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Here are this week’s Stats That Stick courtesy of our policy intern, Bill DeBaun:

Number of finalists receiving 2011 Investing in Innovation (i3) grants from the U.S. Department of Education: 23
587 applicants were competing for almost $150 million in funding. This is the second year of the i3 grant competition, which funds innovative and promising education strategies that have a good record of success. Last year, 49 grants worth approximately $650 million were awarded. The largest grant awarded this year is likely to go to Old Dominion University Research Foundation, which asked for almost $25 million for a grant “providing high-need middle schools with increased access to challenging math courses.”

Number of states (including DC) that have signed on to the Common Core State Standards Initiative: 47
Montana became the 47th state (including the District of Columbia) to support the English/language arts and math common core state standards on November 4. That number almost dropped back to 46 less than a week later, but Alabama’s State Board of Education passed a resolution by a 6–3 vote reaffirming its commitment to the standards.

Price poor families will pay for broadband internet service under an initiative from the FCC: $9.95 per month

One-third, or approximately 35 million, of American households do not have access to broadband internet. Starting next summer under the Connect-to-Compete initiative, homes with children eligible for free school lunches will also be eligible to receive broadband internet at a discounted rate for two years. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “cobbled together” the deal, which includes all of the nation’s major cable companies. “The broadband adoption gap in the U.S. is very large, and the costs of digital exclusion are high and getting higher,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

Number of indicators in the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department’s “Leading Health Indicators”: 26
The Leading Health Indicators are 26 indicators under 12 topics that measure public-health progress. The indicators are adjusted every ten years. This year, for the first time, HHS added “students who graduate with a regular diploma four years after starting ninth grade” as an indicator. HHS sets the target for this indicator at 82.4 percent graduation rate, which would be an increase of 7.5 percent over the baseline by 2020.

Number of states meeting the early-bird deadline for No Child Left Behind waivers: 11

Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee all submitted their application for an NCLB waiver on Monday, beating the deadline for the first round. These states’ applications will be received in December, and waivers could be awarded as early as January. In their applications, states needed to describe how they will implement college- and career-ready standards and tie them to state assessments, how they will adopt a differentiated accountability system, and how they will create teacher- and principal-evaluation systems based on student growth models.

Number of years since the General Educational Development (GED) program was overhauled: 69

The GED was created in 1942, and it has never undergone the type of revamping that it’s about to experience. Recently announced plans to redesign the GED will shift to focus on content in high schools’ current curricula as well as aligning to new common math and reading standards. A shifting labor market that needs workers with some postsecondary training, along with suboptimal high school and college completion rates necessitated this change, according to the GED testing service.

Number of applicants for 758 physical therapist positions in Maine: 5

This sticky stat is indicative of a larger problem in the state of Maine: employers have jobs that they need filled, but applicants don’t have the job skills to fill them. “There is a gap between what the work force demands and what our schools produce,” said Adrienne Bennett, spokesperson for Gov. Paul LePage. “We’ve got to close this gap if we’re going to be competitive in the global economy. That’s the message that the governor is trying to reiterate and get out to the public so we can have a common understanding of where we’re at right now.” Health care, technology, math, and science are the fields most in need of skilled workers.

Number of free “spotlights” from Education Week: 3
These special issues are filled with a collection of articles hand-picked by Education Week editors. The new issues focus on professional learning communities, data-driven decisionmaking, and reinventing professional development. In total, Education Week provides spotlight issues on more than twenty different subjects.

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