Every time a new Common Core poll is released, a lot of people rush to find out what’s the state of public opinion on the standards. Or maybe to find out if teachers like the standards more or less than last year.
One recent survey, however, didn’t even pose the “popularity” question. Instead, it focused on wonky-sounding topics: “Curriculum and professional development.” But stay with me for a moment. This stuff matters — a lot.
Name the batch of funding that accounts for a quarter of the money that public universities dole out in financial aid. Can’t?
It’s called merit aid, and a large portion of the college-going public is paying its way through school relying on it. One-third of all undergraduates receive merit aid; the same is true for nearly half of all private school students. Hope Scholarships in Tennessee and Georgia are examples of merit aid programs, though merit aid often comes from the institutions directly.
The midterm election results have big implications for education, from Republicans’ success in retaking the U.S. Senate to new governors coming in and a slew of education ballot measures, most of which were defeated.
The widely watched race for California’s schools superintendent came down to the wire, with incumbent Tom Torlakson edging out challenger Marshall Tuck — a former charter schools administrator:
We knew it wouldn't be easy. They were tough, but we were tougher. After all, we're teachers - we did our homework. http://t.co/D6wuD2dHD4
The nation’s charter schools sector appears poised for still more growth — and potentially increased geographic diversity — as several states that have long resisted the push for charters may finally allow them. Also, a fresh round of federal grants and new expansion plans by charter networks are fueling the upward trend.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who has been a staunch defender of the Common Core, this week announced that the Volunteer State will launch a review of the standards, including inviting public input on what specifically should be changed. This decision appears to represent a big shift for the Republican governor, who last spring spoke before a packed ballroom at the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar with a message of staying the course on the standards for English/language arts and mathematics in the face of political resistance.
Amid the strong and growing drumbeat of complaints about overtesting at the K-12 level, many education reporters and others may be left wondering how much time students really spend taking standardized tests. And who is demanding most of this testing, anyway? The federal government? States? Local districts?
From politicians to policymakers, the argument goes that sustaining America’s competitive edge will rely largely on more students graduating college.
But while the nation has notched successes in sending more students to postsecondary institutions, the college dropout rate remains stubbornly high. One major reason for the attrition: Millions of high school graduates are academically unprepared for the rigors of higher ed.
If you’re into numbers, you may want to consider the University of Pennsylvania over Yale. Computers? Try Stanford. If the media is your desired career path, New York, Hofstra and Duke universities should be on your list.
California has limited schools’ ability to suspend or expel students for “willful defiance,” passing a law over the weekend that curbed the practice.
Approved by Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, the measure is considered the first statewide law in the nation to apply limits on a school’s ability to punish a student for “willful defiance” – a catch-all term that many social justice advocates say disproportionately targets minority students for allegedly disobeying school officials.
The federal government today released a snapshot of how well borrowers with federal student loans are repaying their debts, indicating that fewer Americans are defaulting on their college loans compared to past years, but that the figures still exceed pre-recession levels.
In May, Missouri lawmakers approved a compromise to keep the Common Core in place for at least two more years but require more oversight and public input. And as Joe Robertson of the Kansas City Star reported, a total of eight committees comprised of lawmakers and parents were supposed to convene at the statehouse this week to begin the work of revising the standards.
After spending more than $3.5 billion on a program to improve chronically low-performing schools — only to see mixed results — the Obama administration is proposing major revisions to the menu of turnaround efforts that low-performing schools can undertake to qualify for funding under the program.
Stephanie Dupaul of Southern Methodist University put the theme of EWA’s 2014 Higher Education seminar, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Covering the College Student Experience,” to effective use during a session exploring the use of data by colleges:
“Good education policies are meaningless if students aren’t at their desks.”
That’s California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’ response to a new report out this week that found low-income students were truant more often than their wealthier peers.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Harris’ office partnered with a research group to evaluate the attendance trends of 32 school districts that educate 150,000 students, finding that 90 percent of the students who missed 36 days or more of school were low-income.
A new rating system backed by the White House aims to evaluate nearly all of the nation’s colleges and universities. Roughly 6,000 schools that educate around 22 million students are about to endure an unprecedented amount of federal scrutiny.
And though a version of the Postsecondary Institution Ratings System is scheduled to be unveiled in the fall, policy watchers are still unsure of what’s in store.
Prompted by the controversy over the type of equipment the Ferguson police department used during protests over the death of Michael Brown, news organizations across the country started requesting information about a U.S. Department of Defense program that provided police departments with defense equipment.
Why should education reporters care?
Some of those police departments happen to belong to school districts, colleges and universities.
When Mark Milliron met with an advertising team to promote a new type of college in Texas, he wasn’t expecting fireworks. Still, the pitch floored him.
“The Texas Two-Step: Sign Up. Succeed.”
It was the sentence that would appear on billboards and in radio advertisements, enticing thousands of working adults to enroll in an online college – Western Governors University Texas. And it totally missed the point.
Education journalists took a field trip to Impact Academy of Arts and Technology this week to see project-based learning in action, including observing classrooms and watching a student defend her project on World War II and the Holocaust. Check out some Tweets from the visiting reporters, as well as more highlights from the first day at the EWA seminar at Stanford University.
How can assessments get beyond rote memorization and capture the skills most valued to prepare young people for college and the workforce? Can tests effectively measure critical thinking and creativity? Will standardized tests tied to the Common Core provide a richer picture of student learning?
If 49 multiplied by 5 is 245, why would a student think the answer is 405? And who is more likely to know this – a mathematician or an elementary math teacher?
Elizabeth Green, the author of “Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (And How to Teach It to Everyone), posed this question to a roomful of education reporters at EWA’s October seminar in Detroit.