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to ECS e-clips
from the Education Commission of the States

A daily bite of top state education news.

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Friday, August 29

Career/Technical Education
Job market demands help boost interest in CTE
With schools focused on preparing kids for college, shop class has gone the way of stenography class in much of the U.S., and more companies are pushing high schools to graduate students with the real-world skills business needs. (Bloomberg News, August 25)

Charter Schools
More states create independent approval boards
A small but growing group of states have created independent charter boards to ostensibly add a layer of rigor to the systems that approve, oversee, and close charter schools. (Education Week, August 28)

English Language Learners
Florida ready to challenge federal testing rules
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ready to take the federal government to court over testing rules for students learning English. (NPR/StateImpact, August 27)

Postsecondary
California takes a less-prescriptive approach
California's two most powerful state politicians have taken a gentler approach in their push for public institutions to get creative with inexpensive and efficient degree offerings. (Inside Higher Ed, August 28)

School Finance
Texas school funding still unconstitutional
A judge declared Texas' school finance system unconstitutional for a second time, finding that even though the Legislature pumped an extra $3 billion-plus into classrooms last summer, the state still fails to provide adequate funding or distribute it fairly among wealthy and poor areas. (The Associated Press, August 29)

 

Thursday, August 28

Commentary
8 of the toughest challenges schools still face
What has been accomplished in three decades-plus in regard to the state of American education? A lot. But we have so far still to go, writes Chester Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. (Education Week, August 27)

Common Core
Louisiana Gov. Jindal suing Feds
Gov. Bobby Jindal filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards. (The Associated Press, August 27)

Early Learning
Are principals prepared to evaluate pre-K teachers?
More principals than ever are going to be overseeing pre-K teachers this year, but many have little experience with early childhood education. (Chalkbeat Tennessee, August 26)

Education Funding
PA educators advocate for fair funding formula
Nearly a dozen veteran Pennsylvania educators are hitting the road with a mission: To find enough support to fix a broken education system. (Lancaster Online, August 27)

Postsecondary
Tuition discounts play a role in rising costs
The cost of attending college continues to rise, with tuition increases outpacing national inflation. One often overlooked cause is the practice of tuition discounts, according to a new report from ECS. (ECS, August 28)

 

Wednesday, August 27

Career Readiness
No easy answers in California
The "career" piece of "college and career readiness" continues to challenge the state advisory committee that is charged with reworking the primary measure of school effectiveness in California. (EdSource, August 25)

Curriculum
STEAM adds the arts into STEM
Supporters of adding the arts to STEM education say a more focused inclusion of the arts helps kids become creative, hands-on learners by sparking innovation. (NPR/StateImpact, August 25)

Early Learning/Technology
Educators: Use technology cautiously
While advancements in technology have allowed for new tools and applications for teaching in a pre-K setting, educators warn that caution must be taken in choosing developmentally appropriate software. (International Examiner, August 21)

Remedial Education
The role standardized reporting plays
In this interview, ECS Policy Analyst Mary Fulton examines the value of national college preparedness standardization as a mechanism to overcome some of the major issues surrounding remedial college education. (The Evolllution, August 25)

Workforce Development
Look to Germany for solutions, say U.S. employers
Many college graduates need years of on-the-job training to get up to speed. Some hiring managers, a few policymakers, and a handful of community colleges are accepting help to solve this problem from an unexpected source: the Germans. (The Hechinger Report, August 25)

 

Tuesday, August 26

Charter Schools
Charter high schools disappearing in Missouri
Only one alternative charter high school is still operating in Missouri, prompting supporters to suggest the state change the way it measures progress at a school that serves only students who struggle academically or drop out. (The Associated Press, August 24)

Common Core
Kentucky to review new standards
Arguing that politics has overtaken discussion of Common Core education standards, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday called on the public to review the standards and suggest changes. (The Courier-Journal, August 25)

NCLB
Vermont board opposes standardized testing
The Vermont State Board of Education is taking a stance against the testing policies of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, weeks after the state's education secretary sent a letter to parents saying the "broken NCLB policy" has identified nearly every school in Vermont as low performing. (The Associated Press, August 24)

Standards/Assessments
Florida Gov. Scott wants a thorough review
Florida Gov. Rick Scott rolled out a series of education proposals that touch on everything from high-stakes testing to the cost of college and represents a break from some of the signature moves put in place by former Gov. Jeb Bush. (The Associated Press, August 24)

Technology
How streaming media could threaten the mission of libraries
Electronic files and online networks are great for sharing and preserving books, videos, and music. So why are librarians so nervous? (Chronicle of Higher Education, August 22)

 

Monday, August 25

Common Core
Some Ohio schools could opt out of state tests
Common Core opponents spent another day urging lawmakers to pass a bill to eliminate the education standards in Ohio, and a key sponsor said it could lead to high-performing schools being able to opt out of most state testing. (Columbus Dispatch, August 21)

K-12 Education
Kansas schools to navigate education changes
After more than a decade of national education policy that promoted a test-centric view of schools, a better approach is finally materializing in Kansas, according to the state’s interim education commissioner. (Topeka Capital-Journal, August 22)

Postsecondary
CA approves bachelor's degrees at community colleges
California's Legislature approved legislation that would allow 15 of the state's community college districts to issue four-year degrees. (Inside Higher Ed, August 22)

Postsecondary
Some community colleges allow students to skip remediation
A growing number of states have begun to require community colleges to allow more students with academic deficiencies to skip remediation and enroll directly in college-level courses. (Inside Higher Ed, August 21)

School Vouchers
N.C. judge rules private school vouchers unconstitutional
A North Carolina Superior Court Judge ruled that a 2013 law to use public money for tuition at private and religious schools violates the North Carolina constitution. (News Observer, August 21)

 

Friday, August 22

Accountability
Education Dept. tries to ease testing worries
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that states can apply for extra time before they use student test scores to judge teachers' performance. (The Associated Press, August 21)

Accountability
Report urges fewer tests, more peer review
Accountability for the public schools should be far less test-driven and more the product of teachers holding one another to high professional standards. (Education Week, August  21)

Diversity
This fall, minorities will be the majority
For the first time in U.S. history, ethnic and racial minorities are projected to make up the majority of students attending American public schools this fall, ending the white-majority population that has existed from the beginnings of the public education system. (The Washington Post, August 21)

Postsecondary
Veterans may get in-state tuition in any state
Starting next year, recent veterans in every state should be able take advantage of in-state tuition rates, thanks to a little-publicized provision in a $16 billion federal law. (Governing Magazine, August 19)

Technology
Coding classes strive for broader interest
There are equality gaps in computer sciences, and organizations, businesses and educators are aware of them and doing what they can to close them. (St. Cloud Times, August 20)

 

Thursday, August 21

College Readiness
U.S. achievement gaps abound
More students than ever are taking the ACT college admissions test, but student achievement remains flat, as nearly one-third of students are not meeting any college-readiness benchmarks. (U.S. News & World Report, August 20)

Common Core
Judge blocks Louisiana Gov. Jindal
A Louisiana judge swatted down Gov. Bobby Jindal’s attempt to use his executive authority to repeal the Common Core in his state. (Politico, August 19)

English Language Learners
Florida, U.S. Education Dept. at odds
Federal education officials have decided Florida does not know best when it comes to school accountability and English language learners. (Tampa Bay Times, August 19)

Postsecondary
Best path for transfer credit
Moving along the community college to four-year university pipeline is the most likely to lead to successful credit transfers in higher education. (Inside Higher Ed, August 20)

Teacher Effectiveness
Hawaii gives high marks to its educators
An overwhelming majority of Hawaii's 11,000-plus teachers were rated "effective" or "highly effective" educators. (Hawaii Reporter, August 20)

 

Wednesday, August 20

Common Core
Poll: Public opinion dips on new standards
The share of the public that say it favors the Common Core State Standards slipped noticeably between 2013 and 2014, according to a new poll. (EducationNext, August 19)

Early Learning
Outgoing Iowa senator to push early education
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin has a “wish list” of legislation he hopes to get through congress and to the president’s desk before he retires, including the “Strong Start for America’s Children Act.” (Radio Iowa, August 19)

Postsecondary
California colleges benefit from out-of-state students
More than a fifth of all University of California system freshmen will come from such places as Texas, Washington, China and India and each will pay an additional $23,000 in tuition, providing the system with an estimated $400 million in extra revenue. (Governing, August 18)

Postsecondary
Oregon’s tuition-free plan fizzles
Oregon's attention-getting proposal to offer students tuition-free college if they agree to repay a small portion of their earnings for years afterward got the official thumbs down from Oregon's higher education board. (The Oregonian, August 15)

Teacher Quality
S.C. senators mull teacher quality, retention
Recruiting and keeping quality teachers in South Carolina, and moving ineffective ones out of the classroom, will be the focus of a new Senate panel exploring the state of the S.C. teaching profession. (The State, August 19)

 

Tuesday, August 19

Curriculum/Standards
U.S. can look abroad for education fixes
With the U.S. trying to fix its lagging educational system, it might just learn a thing or two from Poland, which in the past decade has moved sharply forward from the rear of the international pack. (USA Today, August 12)

Early Learning
Michigan’s investment to benefit thousands
Michigan’s big investment in a state-funded preschool program will give thousands of additional children a shot at a better start to their education this coming school year. (Detroit Free Press, August 18)

Postsecondary
Can data fix what ails the traditional lecture?
In a culture of accountability, some professors call on technology to collect information about student participation in the classroom. (Chronicle of Higher Education, August 11)

Postsecondary
Humanities, STEM majors don’t cross paths
A new study confirms a common fear: humanities majors and STEM majors dwell in separate academic silos. (Inside Higher Ed, August 18)

Technology
Finding ways to fund coding schools
Though coding schools are proving to be big business, one of the major issues plaguing the landscape is the lack of financial support for students. (Fast Company, August 18)

 

Monday, August 18

Accreditation
VA schools may lack full accreditation
Nearly one-third of Virginia’s public schools will not earn full accreditation this fall after reading and science scores dropped precipitously on state-mandated standardized tests. (The Washington Post, August 14)

Common Core
Math Textbooks to Get Online Ratings
A new group billing itself as a “Consumer Reports for school materials” will soon begin posting free online reviews of major textbooks and curricula that purport to be aligned to the Common Core. (Education Week, August 15)

Evaluations/Assessments
Teachers, students awash in tests, evaluations
Some teachers and students say they spend less time in meaningful discussions and more time worrying about the tests that will help decide those teacher evaluation scores. (The Hechinger Report, August 17)

Postsecondary/Workforce
The benefits of multi-state sharing
Reports released by WICHE's Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange found that four states' sharing of data on college and workforce outcomes improved their understanding of how their citizens fared after high school. (Inside Higher Ed, August 15)

Standards
S.C. education board OKs timeline
The South Carolina Board of Education approved a timeline that calls for the final OK to come in March for new math and reading benchmarks for South Carolina students. (The Associated Press, August 13)

 

Friday, August 15

Charter Schools
Michigan authorizers at risk for suspension
More than a quarter of Michigan's charter school authorizers are "at risk" of being suspended because of low academic performance and problems with contract transparency. (MLive, August 11)

Common Core
Survey: Half of teachers feel unprepared
Teachers are getting steadily more training in the Common Core, but they're not feeling much more prepared to teach it, according to a survey. (Education Week, August 14)

Postsecondary
Education research replication lacking
New analysis finds that education researchers, unlike scholars in many other disciplines, don't check one another's work. (Inside Higher Ed, August 14)

Proficiency
In Nevada, reality is worse than the numbers
It’s no secret Nevada schools are doing poorly, but that’s not the entire picture. The truth is even worse than the statistics would have you believe, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 13)

Technology
The real value of online education
Only about 5 percent of online students complete a MOOC course and receive a certificate of accomplishment. Yet more than 80 percent of students who fill out a post-course survey say they met their primary objective. (The Atlantic, August 13)

 

Thursday, August 14

Collaborative Learning
'We' are smarter than 'Me'
Students in workshop programs encouraging teamwork on challenging programs consistently achieved GPAs more than double the class average. (EdSurge, August 9)

Postsecondary
The struggle to engage parents of first-generation students
If so-called helicopter parents typically hover above students from more elite and educated families, many first-generation college students have the opposite problem. (Inside Higher Ed, August 13)

School Grades
Ohio revises district and school report cards
The Ohio Department of Education is making more than 100 revisions to district and school ratings in the state following an investigation into attendance data-scrubbing. (The Associated Press, August 13)

STEM
Science academies a hot trend in N.J.
With schools set to open, the hottest trend in education is the launching of special academies for STEM, aimed at training future high-tech workers and capturing the fascination of young people born to a digital age. (NorthJersey.com, August 11)

Student Discipline
S.C. board to consider conduct grades
A South Carolina Board of Education member says students' report cards should include conduct grades. Currently, districts can choose to grade students' conduct. It's unclear how many do. (The Associated Press, August 13)

 

Wednesday, Aug. 13

Common Core
Louisiana dispute heads to court
After months of traded accusations between Gov. Bobby Jindal and Louisiana's education leaders, the heated public feud over the Common Core education standards shifts to courtrooms this week. (Daily World, August 11)

English Language Learners
Florida extends grace period for ELL students

Florida students learning English as a second language will have two years to master their skills before their test scores count in school accountability measures. (The St. Petersburg Tribune, August 11)

NCLB
OK could see mid-year teacher layoffs

Mid-year teacher layoffs are a possibility if Oklahoma's No Child Left Behind waiver is rejected by the U.S. Department of Education. (Oklahoma Watch, August 12)

Postsecondary
Colleges under pressure to stem sexual assault

Over the past three years, a network of advocates for victims of sexual assault has made the case that campus rape is far more prevalent than most colleges like to admit. (USA Today, August 11)

Student Welfare
Virginia creates 'Children's Cabinet'

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe created the Children's Cabinet, which will focus on the education and general welfare of youth through 21 years of age, and the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success, which will center on children from infancy to third grade. (Roanoke Times-Dispatch, August 11)

 

Tuesday, Aug. 12

Minority Issues
Black men need more education to get a job

African American millennial men need two or more levels of education to have the same employment prospects as their white peers, according to a report. (The Atlantic, August 11)

Religion/Postsecondary
New trend for college grads, religious affiliation

Research finds that, starting for those born in the 1970s, a college degree increases the chances that someone will report a religious affiliation, reversing an historic trend. (Inside Higher Ed, August 11)

School Start Times
Should MO districts adapt to teen sleep patterns?

When high schoolers head back to school this week, they'll also return to a daily schedule set up to steal hundreds of hours of their sleep during the year, and one that goes against their internal biological clocks. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 10)

Transparency
CO districts take on new transparency law

School district lobbyists did their best to kill the idea during the 2014 legislative session, but now that new financial reporting requirements are law, school districts and the Colorado Department of Education are scratching their heads and sorting out how to make them work. (Chalkbeat Colorado, August 8)

Unions
KS teachers union sues state over termination law

The Kansas National Education Association filed a lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court asking a judge to declare unconstitutional a new law that strips teachers of a right to a hearing before they are fired. (The Kansas City Star, August 11)

 

Monday, Aug. 11

Financial Literacy
Texas to implement mandatory classes

Texas K-8 educators this year will begin implementing a new mandatory personal financial literacy curriculum. Lessons include financial gifts versus borrowed money, how to calculate income tax and interest rates, and more. (San Angelo Standard-Times, Aug. 7)

Assessments & Standards
Ed. Dept. to release guidelines

States soon could have more guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on the peer-review process for standards and assessments. (Education Week, Aug. 6)

Civic Education
CA program pushes students toward civics

California educators unveiled a new curriculum that focuses on more than test scores and grades, and pushes students to get involved in their communities after high school. (CBS News, Aug. 5)

Curriculum
OK agricultural program gets recognition

An agricultural literacy program that teaches Oklahoma students from kindergarten through the 12th grade that soybeans sprout from seeds and milk is good for you is getting national recognition. (The Associated Press, Aug. 8)

Technology
TN district opts for digital resources

A Tennessee school district opted not to purchase social studies textbooks and instead have asked teachers to use websites and other digital resources. (The Tennessean, Aug. 5)

 

Friday, Aug. 8

Common Core
Louisiana Gov. Jindal asks judge to stop tests
In the latest salvo in the ongoing fight over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards, Gov. Bobby Jindal has amended his lawsuit and is now seeking a court injunction to immediately stop the state from using the tests tied to Common Core. (The Times-Picayune, August 6)

Common Core
Ohio could be next state to buck standards
Leadership in the Ohio House announced hearings on the national standards and tests are slated to begin Aug. 12, and the state could consider a potential withdrawal from Common Core later this year. (The Daily Signal, August 6)

High School Graduation
Does raising graduation requirements work?
If the goal of adding more math and science courses to high school graduation requirements is better preparing students for in-demand technical fields, states may have to do more to produce results, according to a new report looking at test scores in Illinois. (Governing, August 6)

Postsecondary
Study questions critique of graduation rates
New research from professors at Florida State and Vanderbilt Universities questions the assumption that minority students will be less likely to graduate at minority-serving than at predominantly white institutions. (Inside Higher Ed, August 6)

Teacher Evaluations
Missouri ballot to feature teacher evaluation plan
A ballot initiative to weaken tenure and tie teacher evaluations to student performance has enough signatures to appear on the November ballot. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 6)

 

Thursday, Aug. 7

Assessments
S.C. test scores fall in all grades, in most subjects
South Carolina's elementary and middle school students posted worse overall scores on state-standardized tests last spring across all grades compared to 2013. (The Associated Press, August 6)

Early Learning
Report: Time to retire half-day/full-day labels?
Labeling pre-K and kindergarten programs “half-day” and “full-day” is making it hard to track the hours kids spend in school and thwarting research on how much time would be optimal, according to a new report. (EdCentral, August 5)

High School Graduation
Texas posts top graduation rates
Texas education officials posted record-breaking graduation rates, but critics question how they’re calculated. It is the third year in a row that the state has posted record-breaking high school graduation rates. (Texas Tribune, August 5)

School Vouchers
Ohio investigation pushes back deadline
The Ohio Department of Education has announced that it is extending the deadline for school voucher applications, citing its investigation into data scrubbing that could lead to possible changes to school report cards. (The Toledo Blade, August 4)

Student Planning
Louisiana ed. dept. publishes high school guide
Louisiana's education department has published a guide for high school student planning, to highlight state policies and programs for counselors, teachers and parents. (The Associated Press, August 6)

 

Wednesday, Aug. 6

Early Learning
NYC pre-K expansion collides with church-state divide
A one-page document issued by New York City officials to religious schools weighing whether to host full-day prekindergarten classes raised concerns. Rather than state that all religious instruction is prohibited, the city's guidelines say that religious texts may be taught if they are "presented objectively as part of a secular program of instruction." (The New York Times, Aug. 4)

Federal Programs
Head Start: After 50 years
Few other federal programs so fully embody the heady optimism and charge-ahead spirit of the War on Poverty as Head Start, envisioned 50 years ago as part of that sweeping presidential initiative and brought to life in the summer of 1965. (Education Week, Aug. 5)

Funding
California's budget emphasizes funding for education
California's newest budget package of $152.3 billion in state spending emphasizes large increases for education, pays down debts, and proposes a 32-year plan to fully fund the teachers' pension system. (Reuters, Aug. 4)

School Reform
Connecticut education scandals could hurt reform efforts
The leader of Connecticut's largest teachers' union sees the recent education scandals in Hartford and New London as evidence that nontraditional school-reform efforts are unraveling and could collapse under their own weight. (The Hartford Courant, Aug. 4)

School Structures
Some Florida districts adopt 'combination schools' model
Schools combining elementary and middle grades, and even high school grades, are increasingly popular with parents and researchers who say students perform better. (Miami Herald, Aug. 3)

 

Tuesday, Aug. 5

Advanced Placement
N.J. summer camp preps students for AP
A New Jersey high school is holding AP Pre-season, a weeklong summer camp to teach the writing, study and critical-thinking skills essential for success in Advanced Placement courses. (The Star-Ledger, Aug. 3)

Common Core
Analysis: Louisiana dispute gets personal
The clash over whether Louisiana's public schools should teach to the Common Core education standards has devolved into a bitter public feud that will have one-time political friends sitting on opposite sides of courtrooms, according to an analysis. (The Associated Press, Aug. 3)

Legislative Sessions
Select K-12 issues gained state legislative traction
In a year when 46 states will hold legislative elections and 36 will select governors, lawmakers in various states pushed ahead on education priorities, including pre-K education, teacher evaluation, and revisions to school funding formulas. (Education Week, Aug. 4)

School Standards
Some lawmakers want to rewrite education standards
The backlash against the Common Core has prompted lawmakers in at least 12 states to get more involved in setting their own K-12 academic standards, injecting politics into a process usually conducted in obscurity by bureaucrats. (The Washington Post, Aug. 2)

Science Standards
Science classrooms could soon look very different
Twenty-six states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards. The goal, officials say, will be to teach students a new way of scientific thinking in which the focus will be less on what they know and more on how they conduct questioning and learn. (Delaware News Journal, Aug. 2)

 

Monday, Aug. 4

Assessments
ACT, SAT free for Ohio H.S. students
This fall's Ohio high school freshmen can take the ACT or SAT for free when they're juniors, courtesy of the state. It's one of many changes that are coming to K-12 education, beginning with the 2014-15 school year. Those include new graduation requirements for the class of 2018. (Plain Dealer, July 31)

Common Core
Confusion reigns in Mississippi
There is huge confusion in Mississippi and nationwide about what the Common Core standards are, who created them, and how they are changing instruction. In June, Gov. Phil Bryant called the Common Core “a failed program,” months before all school districts have fully transitioned to the standards. (The Hechinger Report, July 31)

Common Core
Louisiana Sen. Vitter supports standards
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter offered definitive support for the Common Core education standards, a position that puts him at odds with Gov. Bobby Jindal but that could bolster business community backing as the senator fundraises for the 2015 governor's race. (Associated Press, August 1)

Postsecondary
New benefits for veterans
The U.S. Senate passed a proposal that would require public universities that want to continue receiving GI Bill benefits to offer recent veterans in-state tuition. Veterans’ spouses and dependents would also be eligible for the benefit. (Inside Higher Education, August 1)

Special Education
All N.Y. students held to same academic standards
New York students with disabilities will be held to the same academic standards and take the same standardized tests as other kids their age next school year, the U.S. Education Department said, spurning the state's efforts to change the policy. (Huffington Post, July 31)

 

Friday, Aug. 1

English Language Learners
California looks at bilingual education
After nearly two decades, bilingual education in California could stage a resurgence if the state Senate approves a bill in August that would put the issue on the ballot in November 2016. (EdSource, July 29)

NCLB Waivers
Tensions roil in Indiana
A new critique of Indiana's efforts to maintain its exemptions from the No Child Left Behind requirements, written by top staff to Gov. Mike Pence, is widening a rift between state education leaders as federal officials near a decision on the waiver. (The Associated Press, July 31)

Postsecondary
Boosting completion rates
Instead of focusing only on helping new students succeed, colleges should also be reeling in some of the four million who intended to earn degrees and finished at least two years of study before falling off track, according to a report. (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 29)

Postsecondary
More paying out of pocket
In a reversal of a recent trend, more of the college cost in 2013-14 — 42 percent — was covered by parents' or students' income or savings. That share had been declining for three years. (USA Today, July 31)

Rural Education
Improvement is key to helping S.C.'s poor
A better public education, particularly for South Carolina's poor, rural school districts, is a crucial avenue to transform communities that have been devastated by a changing economy, according to a panel. (The Post and Courier, July 30)

 

Thursday, July 31

Education
The two realities facing education
There are two inescapable realities facing American education: the growing diversity of the nation's students and the unrelenting demand for jobs that require employees to solve problems, innovate and adapt. (Huffington Post, July 30)

Legislation
Missouri Gov. Nixon: Bad session for education
Missouri's 2014 legislative session was the "worst six months for public education in recent memory," Gov. Jay Nixon said. The governor outlined several ways he said lawmakers put public education on the back burner, including the attempted fix to the school transfer law. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 30)

Postsecondary
Community colleges ask for help on loan-default measure
Advocates for community colleges are pressing federal lawmakers to make adjustments to a student loan law they say is a “blunt tool” that could unfairly penalize colleges where only a small portion of students default on their federal loans. (Inside Higher Ed, July 30)

Postsecondary
Temple Univ. to make test scores optional for admission
In an effort to cultivate talented students who don't test well, Temple University says it will become the first national public research university in the Northeast to make standardized test scores optional for admission. (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 29)

Workforce
Busteed: 'Educonomy' is next big thing for workforce
Though the economy and education have long been topics of top concern to Americans, we haven’t created strong linkages between the two. Yet there is nothing more important we can do as a country than to build the world’s most effective "educonomy." (FastCompany, July 29)

 

Wednesday, July 30

Assessments
Change is on the horizon for testing in Indiana
Since the 1990s, Indiana and other states have adopted statewide standardized tests intended as a check to ensure students are learning what they need to succeed in the upcoming years of school and later in college or the workplace. But this decade has seen a backlash against testing from those who believe it has gone too far. (Chalkbeat Indiana, July 28)

Common Core
Ohio House pushing for repeal
School districts have spent years preparing to implement the education standards known as Common Core — which are set to start this coming school year. Now House Republicans are renewing their efforts to repeal the standards, and the bill could be on the fast track to the House floor. (NPR StateImpact, July 28)

Common Core
Supporters gear up for renewed push of standards
Supporters of the Common Core academic standards have spent big this past year to persuade wavering state legislators to stick with the new guidelines for math and language arts instruction. Given the firestorm of opposition that took them by surprise, they consider it a victory that just five states, so far, have taken steps to back out. (Politico, July 29)

Postsecondary
Tens of millions have attended to college, left without degree
At a time when policymakers are intensifying their calls to get more students in and through college, 31 million adults are stuck in limbo — having completed some college — but not enough to earn a degree, according to a new report. (U.S. News & World Report, July 29)

Science Standards
Evolution compromise heads to S.C. education panel
State education leaders in Georgia may ask high school students to treat evolution as any other scientific theory. That means the students should understand that the theory — like any in science — can be tested by experiments and could change as science develops. (The Herald, July 28)

 

Tuesday, July 29

Curriculum
Tennessee schools look to revive cursive writing
Cursive handwriting is making a comeback in Tennessee, with performance benchmarks in the works to guide the teaching of the fading art to students. Proposed cursive standards would begin in second grade, accelerate through third grade and finish in fourth grade. (The Tennessean, July 25)

Special Education
Balancing special education needs with rising costs
A growing number of families with special-needs children are seeking private schooling at public expense, but they have butted up against attempts to keep spending under control. (The New York Times, July 27)

STEM
New Florida university to focus on STEM
Florida Polytechnic University, what will soon-be Florida's 12th state university, will be dedicated almost exclusively to producing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees. With early challenges like recruiting students, no immediate accreditation and no tenure for professors, the school's viability is still a question. (The Associated Press, July 27)

Teacher Evaluations
Changes in store for New Mexico’s evaluation process
Several changes will be made to New Mexico’s teacher evaluation system to give schools more flexibility and address data reporting mistakes that caused flawed evaluations this spring. The most controversial piece -- basing 50 percent of the evaluations on standardized student test scores -- remains in place. (Albuquerque Journal, July 26)

Waivers
Washington state stands alone on federal law
Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s plan to give schools a break from student-testing mandates in the federal No Child Left Behind law appears to be working in 42 states and the District of Columbia. But one state actually lost the flexibility Duncan began promoting in 2011: Washington. (The Spokesman-Review, July 28)

 

Monday, July 28

Charter Schools
N.C. bill heads to governor's desk
The North Carolina House approved a charter school bill after partisan debate over whether it exposes gay students to discrimination and provides appropriate disclosure of salaries paid with public money. (Charlotte Observer, July 25)

Common Core
Oregon wants flexibility when rating teachers
The Oregon Department of Education is siding with part of a Portland School Board request to delay the use of test results under the new Common Core standards for developing statewide ratings for educators. (The Oregonian, July 24)

English Language Learners
Feds back English learner lawsuit against California
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. (EdSource, July 25)

Postsecondary
U.S. House overhauls higher education tax breaks
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved an overhaul of higher education tax breaks and passed legislation changing how federal student loan counseling works. (Inside Higher Ed, July 25)

Summer School
It's not always clear how much students are learning
Thousands of children have spent much of this summer in classrooms taking enrichment classes or trying to catch up in reading or math. What’s unclear is just how much they’ve learned. Like education departments in most states, neither the Missouri nor the Illinois education departments collect data to see whether they’re getting a good return on their summer school investment. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 21)

 

 

 
 
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