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Friday, March 6

Assessment Opt-Outs
OH won’t penalize school districts
Ohio won't penalize school districts if large numbers of students skip this year's state test, state Superintendent Richard Ross announced. A growing number of parents are pulling their kids out of new state tests this year as the state increases testing time and changes test providers. See the new ECS report on how states address the issue of opt-outs. (Plain Dealer, March 3)

Minority Issues
Many teens desire technology careers
The lack of diversity in tech, both gender-based and racial, is a hot button issue. So, it should come as welcome news that a recent research survey found that three of the top 10 desired careers among Black and Hispanic students from low to middle-income families were in the tech field. (Forbes, March 2)

Postsecondary
Free community college: Does it work?
President Obama's free community college proposal and Tennessee’s Promise have a direct ancestor in a program Tulsa Community College began in 2007. And the Tulsa Achieves free-tuition experiment is working, with the college's leaders calling it a “battle-tested” recipe for increasing degree production. (Inside Higher Ed, March 5)

School Choice
AL Supreme Court upholds accountability act
The Alabama Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that the Alabama Accountability Act was unconstitutional. A Montgomery County circuit judge ruled in May that the school choice law violated several constitutional requirements on legislative procedure. But the state Supreme Court disagreed. (AL.com, March 2)

Student Safety
VA legislature passes bills to address campus sexual assault
The Virginia House and Senate passed identical bills, H.B 1930 and S.B 712, addressing the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. The legislation ensures survivors have access to information about their options and support services, and establishes a procedure for handling charges of sexual assault. (Cavalier Daily, March 3)

 

Thursday, March 5

College and Career Readiness
UT floats bill to better train school counselors
A Utah bill would appropriate a $440,000 grant from the education fund to create an online training program to certify school counselors as "highly skilled" at providing college and career counseling, helping students enroll in necessary courses and find scholarships where available. (Deseret News, March 2)   

Common Core
LA school board to reopen exam debate
After months of arguments, about 300,000 students in grades 3 through 8 will take Common Core tests in earnest for the first time. But some parents want their children to skip the exams, and several state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members contend the state Department of Education should waive penalties for schools and districts when students “opt out” of the assessments. (The Advocate, March 4)    
  
Education Standards
WY bill allows debate on science standards
The Wyoming bill removes a budget footnote the Legislature passed last year that blocked the State Board of Education from spending any funds to consider the Next Generation standards. Those are an educational framework created by national science groups and officials from 26 states. (Wyoming Tribune Eagle, March 3)

School Choice
OH study challenges thoughts on open enrollment
A study found that students who open enrolled out of Ohio’s urban school districts — including Akron, Youngstown and Cleveland — performed better academically than their new classmates in the suburbs. (Beacon Journal, March 4)

Teacher Compensation
NC proposal would boost beginning salaries
Beginning teacher pay in North Carolina would rise to $35,000 under a budget proposal to be unveiled by Gov. Pat McCrory. The state would also set aside money that principals could use to pay teachers as they see fit, to reward teachers for taking on more responsibilities or to recruit a teacher in a hard-to-fill position. (Charlotte Observer, March 4)

 

Wednesday, March 4

Assessments
IN works to avoid repeat of testing uproar
Indiana needs to improve communication between its education leaders, hire more staff and establish committees to guide its student assessment process to prevent a repeat of the “thorny issues” surrounding the length of this year’s ISTEP+ exam, two consultants hired by the state say. (Associated Press, March 2)

Common Core
NM students walkout to protest new tests
New assessment tests that have angered parents and teachers across the nation prompted walkouts by hundreds of high school students in New Mexico. The backlash comes as millions of U.S. students started taking the rigorous tests aligned with the Common Core. (CBS, March 2)

PARCC Exams
Thousands in NJ opt out
In one New Jersey school district, approximately 30 percent of the students opted out of the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam, and hundreds more have opted out in individual schools. (ABC, March 2)

Postsecondary
Role as minority-serving institutions expands for community colleges
Although they often operate at the margins, nearly 22 percent of the nation’s community colleges are minority-serving institutions and are responsible for enrolling about 55 percent of college-going minorities, according to a new report. (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, March 1)

Teaching Careers
States see sharp decline in new teachers
Several big states have seen alarming drops in enrollment at teacher training programs. The numbers are grim among some of the nation's largest producers of new teachers: In California, enrollment is down 53 percent over the past five years. It's down sharply in New York and Texas as well. (NPR, March 3)

 

Tuesday, March 3

Charter Schools
AL bill would allow charters in 2016-17
Alabama could establish as many as 50 charter schools in the next five years under a draft bill now making the rounds among Montgomery policymakers. The state is one of eight that does not have charter schools, independent schools funded by public school systems under contracts known as charters. (Anniston Star, Feb. 25)
  
College Completion
Colleges are trying to get students to make a course correction
Barely half of college students in the United States earn degrees within six years, and that is pushing up the amount of outstanding student debt in this country, estimated to be $1 trillion. Students who spend an extra year or two often finish up with crushing debt. And the dropouts are left with debt and dismal prospects of earning enough money to repay the loans. (Washington Post, Feb. 28)

Common Core
As testing is ushered in, more choose to opt out
A new wave of standardized exams is sweeping the country, arriving this week in classrooms in several states and entering the cross hairs of various political movements. In New Jersey and elsewhere, the arrival has been marked with well-organized opposition, a spate of television attack ads and a cascade of parental anxiety. Did you see the ECS report on assessment opt-outs? (New York Times, March 1)

Teacher Tenure
Policies moving from legislatures to courts
Opponents of the nation’s teacher unions won a landmark victory last year in a California lawsuit that challenged tenure protections. Now the largest unions in the country are using a similar tactic, as teachers turn to the courts to fight for one of their most pressing interests: An end to test-based evaluations they say are arbitrary and unfair. (Washington Post, February 28)

Teacher Training
MN bill would force disclosure of teacher prep effectiveness
Under pressure on multiple fronts, Minnesota’s teacher training programs are facing a new push to begin publicly reporting how well they prepare future educators. The bill would require the programs to release such information, including how many of their students graduate, and how many are granted licenses and go on to actually teach. (Minn Post, Feb. 27)

 

Monday, March 2

Common Core
WI bill would exclude test scores from school grades
Test scores from this year’s new Common Core-aligned exam that students are set to take would not be used in Wisconsin report cards under a bill circulating among lawmakers this week. (State Journal, Feb. 25)

Education Funding
UT bill would give $ to STEM, special ed teachers
A new education funding bill on its way to the Utah State Senate would give teachers in special education and STEM subjects more money.  Those teachers would make $4,100 more than teachers in other subjects. (ABC Utah, Feb. 25)

Education Research
What was learned in 2015?
Studies, research papers, doctoral dissertations, conference presentations — each year academia churns out thousands of pieces of research on education. NPR looked over that list and compiled a summary of some of what we learned from the ivory tower in 2014. (NPR, Feb. 26)

Postsecondary 
TX bill aims to curb rising cost of tuition
A proposed Texas bill would tie any increases in tuition rates to quantifiable, performance-based metrics. Some of the performance metrics would include: four- and six-year graduation rates and first-to-second-year persistence rates. (Avalanche-Journal, Feb. 26)

Teacher Evaluations
Principals may have more say in teacher grades
Under a proposed revamp of Louisiana's educator evaluation system, public school principals would have a greater hand in evaluating teachers. The plan also calls for judging principals in part on their schools' performance score. (Times-Picayune, Feb. 25)

 

Friday, Feb. 27

Bullying
MO lawmakers threaten loss of funding
A recent incident has bolstered a push for legislation to require schools to strengthen policies against bullying. And if that doesn’t get school administrators’ attention, lawmakers said they will consider hitting them in the pocketbook. (Kansas City Star, Feb. 25)

Common Core
As repeals falter, critics try new tactic
Conservative lawmakers in state after state are running into difficulty rounding up votes to revoke the academic standards outright. Instead, some are trying a new tactic: sabotaging, in incremental steps, the academic guidelines and the new Common Core exams rolling out this spring. (Politico, Feb. 26)

English Language Learners
OR success trims years off instruction
Over the past six years, Oregon schools have become dramatically more successful at helping students from other language backgrounds master English within five or six years. As a result, English as a second language courses have become sparse in middle and high schools. (Oregonian, Feb. 21)

Postsecondary
KS bill mandates financial prospectus on degree programs
Under a proposed bill state universities, community colleges and technical schools in Kansas would be compelled to summarize statistics on higher education expenses, average time between graduation and full-time employment, job salaries and the average length of time necessary to repay student loans. (Topeka Capital-Journal, Feb. 24)

Workforce Development
CO bill encourages tech careers
Colorado’s House Education Committee approved a bill that would tweak the state’s school and district rating system to give credit for high school graduates who move into career training programs, as well as those who attend college. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Feb. 25)

 

Thursday, Feb. 26

At-risk Students
How family influences education
Spending your teenage years in a single-parent family puts you at a larger educational disadvantage today than it did 40 years ago, claims a new study. The college completion rate also was 26 percentage points lower for 24-year-olds who lived in single-parent homes as teens. (Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 25)

College Completion
Is the dropout problem really that bad?
Almost 41 percent of students who start college won’t finish, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The data is grim, but it could also be unnecessarily pessimistic, according to this report. (Bloomberg Business, Feb. 24)

Postsecondary
Senator promises rewrite of Higher Education Act
During a Congressional hearing, Sen. Lamar Alexander said that he is committed to finishing a rewrite of the Higher Education Act by the end of this year as he backed a plan written by colleges and universities to roll back federal requirements on higher education. (Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 25)

Postsecondary
Some professors question traditional 4-year model
In U.S. higher education, it is often state that a traditional undergraduate degree, earned in four years while living on or near campus, is a good way to prepare young people to get a job and become well-rounded thinkers. Some notable critics are pushing back. (Los Angeles Times, Feb. 25)

Teacher Evaluations
TN bill would tweak the evaluation process
A bill from Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration that temporarily would alter the weight of student test scores in Tennessee’s teacher evaluation process passed with no opposition in the House Administration and Planning education subcommittee. (Chalkbeat Tennessee, Feb. 24)

 

Wednesday, Feb. 25

Common Core
Social media reshapes the debate

The online fight over Common Core -- fired off in 140-character bursts -- is allowing a new kind of activist to gain political influence. Parents and teachers, policy wonks and politicians, teachers unions and libertarian groups are among the 53,000 tweeters who sent 190,000 tweets using the #CommonCore hash tag during the six-month period following September 1, 2013. Learn more about the #commoncore Project. (Hechinger Report, Feb. 24)

Postsecondary
LA eyes higher cost for popular majors

As state leaders look for ways to address what threaten to be cataclysmic cuts to higher education funding in Louisiana, one idea that has been discussed is whether colleges could charge higher fees for more in-demand majors. (The Advocate, Feb. 23)

School Grades
No A-F grades in ME this year

The Maine Department of Education will suspend the A-F school grading system this year because students are taking a new assessment test and the state will not have enough data to measure their progress, education officials said. (Portland Press News, Feb. 23)

Student Discipline
Students lose millions of days of instruction

Suspension rates dropped for many of the nation’s school districts, but U.S. students still lost about 18 million days of instruction to out-of-school punishments in the 2011-2012 school year. (Washington Post, Feb. 23)

Technology
ID backs broadband stopgap funding

The Senate has voted unanimously in favor of a stopgap funding bill for school broadband services in the wake of the Idaho Education Network debacle. The bill now goes to Gov. Butch Otter. (Spokesmen-Review, Feb. 23)
http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/boise/2015/feb/23/senate-unanimously-backs-school-broadband-stopgap-funding-sends-

 

Tuesday, Feb. 24

Assessments
Opting out can cost students, schools in OH

Parent groups have sprouted throughout the state to protest the new state exams aligned with Common Core standards. Students and their parents can opt out of state testing, but there are consequences for their teachers and for some students if they do. Look for a new ECS report on opt-outs this Thursday. (Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 23)

Assessments
New tests are challenging, students rebel

Backlash is kicking into high gear this spring as millions of students start taking new, more rigorous exams aligned with Common Core standards. Officials say the high-stakes assessments are crucial to evaluating student progress and competitiveness. (CBS, Feb. 20)

Common Core
Poll: Misperceptions abound

Many Americans are confused about the Common Core, according to a new poll that finds widespread misperceptions that the academic standards — which cover only math and reading — extend to topics such as sex education, evolution, global warming and the American Revolution. (Washington Post, Feb. 20)

Teacher Performance
MN looks to revamp rules on layoffs

Minnesota is one of fewer than a dozen states where a teacher’s job security is determined largely by the date he or she was hired. Amid growing pressure to improve educational outcomes, some lawmakers want to require school districts to consider performance when deciding which teachers keep or lose their jobs. (Star Tribune, Feb. 21)

Teacher Recruitment
Some ND schools are housing teachers

In an effort to compete for employees as housing is scarce and salaries topping those of the oilfield are scarcer, school principals are becoming landlords in western North Dakota. Many employers offer housing allowances, or help new hires find housing in this side of the state. (Dickinson Press, Feb. 22)

 

Monday, Feb. 23

Assessments
TX bill would exempt many from H.S. grad exam

Senate Education Committee members considered legislation that would ease Texas' high school graduation test requirement for the first time in 28 years. (Dallas Morning News, Feb. 19)

Common Core
Mixed reviews as OH begins new tests

This week, students across Ohio started taking the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests. The computer-based tests are centered around Common Core and, at least so far, feedback is varied. (Newark Advocate, Feb. 19)

Curriculum
AP history survives in OK

Responding to uproar, a conservative Oklahoma lawmaker backs off bill to curb funding for AP history that he says downplays American exceptionalism, saying the bill was poorly worded. (Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 19)

Curriculum
AR wants cursive writing back in class

All that's needed to return cursive writing classes to Arkansas classrooms is a signature by Gov. Asa Hutchinson -- and if he signs it, it will probably be in cursive. (Associated Press, Feb. 19)

Early Learning
CO works to prevent preschool expulsions

The odds of getting expelled from preschool are higher than the odds of getting expelled from the K-12 system. And a 2014 report also revealed that minorities and boys are disproportionately expelled from preschool. It’s statistics like these that prompted a recent federal push for states to address the issue, a process now unfolding in Colorado. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Feb. 19)

 

Friday, Feb. 20

Assessments
CO looks at impact of testing mandates
The Colorado Board of Education voted to give a pass to school districts that fail to meet requirements for student participation on state-mandated tests. But it is unclear whether the board's move will have a significant impact, or how the federal government will respond. (Denver Post, Feb. 18)

Assessments
FL Gov. Scott calls for fewer tests
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, acknowledging the ongoing backlash over the amount of testing in the state’s public schools, said he will suspend a test scheduled to be given to 11th graders this spring. (Associated Press, Feb. 19)

Common Core
Repeal bill advances in AZ
The House Education Committee passed a bill to repeal the Common Core academic standards being taught in Arizona. The bill, which still must make its way through the Legislature, would revert to the standards that were in place before Common Core was adopted in 2010. (Arizona Republic, Feb. 19)

Postsecondary
Study: Higher education is a $63B boon to NC
A new report says higher education as a whole in North Carolina had a $63.5 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2012-13. Researchers said the conservative estimate is equivalent to the creation of 1 million new jobs and 14.6 percent of the total gross state product of North Carolina. (News and Observer, Feb. 18)

School Funding
KS appeals ruling that schools are underfunded
A court ruling that Kansas schools are unconstitutionally underfunded fails to take into account some sources of funding, according to the state’s formal appeal of the ruling. A three-judge panel ruled that the state’s school funding is “inadequate from any rational perspective.” (Wichita Eagle, Feb. 18)

 

Thursday, Feb. 19

Assessments
Achievement tests stretch for hours in Midwest
Indiana students in grades 3 through 8 take a practice test that increased to 6 hours from 1 hour this year, and the total test time rose to 12 hours from 6. The new 12-hour time frame has caused an uproar among parents, teachers and some administrators. (The Times, Feb. 14)

Assessments
NC committee wants to cut testing
A North Carolina group wants to eliminate many of the hours-long, high-stakes tests that stress many students and whose results have come to define public schools and replace the end-of-year tests with three or four shorter tests given during the year. (Charlotte Observer, Feb. 13)

Curriculum
OK bill has issues with AP history
The legality of teaching Advanced Placement courses in Oklahoma public schools was raised during a House Common Education Committee hearing on a bill aimed at the AP U.S. history guidelines. The legislation gives sole control of curriculum and assessment to the state. (Tulsa World, Feb. 17)

Postsecondary
A closer look at free community college
When President Barack Obama proposed making two years of community college free it seemed like a way to give more Americans a start at college or a technical degree that could lead to a good job. Two-thirds of community college students seem poor enough to qualify for free tuition, but fewer than half get enough grants. (The Hechinger Report, Feb. 16)

Teacher Evaluations
NM educators file new suit over system
A coalition of educators, Democratic lawmakers and two teachers unions have filed yet another lawsuit against the Public Education Department and its secretary-designate, Hanna Skandera, claiming that the state’s teacher evaluation system is unconstitutional and full of errors. (The New Mexican, Feb. 15)

 

Wednesday, Feb. 18

Assessments
More parents, teachers choosing to opt out
Education officials hold that standardized tests are important tools for measuring student progress, assess student performance, prevent social promotion and hold districts accountable. But not everyone is buying into those arguments. (Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 15)

Common Core
New tests debut this week, starting in OH
Ohio will be the first state to administer one of two tests in English language arts and math based on the Common Core standards developed by two separate groups of states. By the end of the school year, about 12 million children in 29 states and the District of Columbia will take them, using computers or electronic tablets. (Associated Press, Feb. 17)

Competency-based Education
WA moves forward with competency-based degree
Eight Washington State community colleges will offer an online, competency-based business degree, as emerging form of higher education wins fans -- and some critics -- in the state. Washington’s two-year colleges have joined more than 200 other institutions around the country that are giving competency-based education a whirl. (Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 17)
   
Educational Levels
U.S. millennials fare poorly compared to other countries
Comparisons of the educational levels of Americans with those of other industrialized nations rarely reassure those in the United States. And a new analysis released today by the Educational Testing Service is likely to be unsettling to many. (Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 17)

Health in the Classroom
Amid measles outbreak, new rules on teacher vaccinations
While much of the attention in the ongoing measles outbreak has focused on student vaccination requirements and exemptions, less attention has been paid to another group in the nation's classrooms: Teachers and staff members, who, by and large, are not required to be vaccinated. (Associated Press, Feb. 16)

 

Friday, Feb. 13

Assessments
Feds approve OK waiver to eliminate double testing
The U.S. Department of Education approved a request by Oklahoma education officials to waive the requirement for grade-level math assessments for middle school students who take end-of-instruction exams in algebra I, algebra II or geometry. (Tulsa World, Feb. 11)

Career/Technical Education
LA exploring different diploma options
Students in Louisiana used to have three options for a high school diploma -- TOPS university, basic or career diploma. The state Department of Education's Jump Start initiative has done away with basic and offered an educational overhaul to the career diploma that affects current high school freshmen. (Town Talk, Feb. 8)

School Performance
Struggling MI schools may get a break
Officials with the Michigan Department of Education say they want to take a break from identifying schools for improvement until the state has enough consistent testing data to make fair decisions. (Detroit Free Press, Feb. 10)

Teacher Tenure/Licensing
MN looking at changes to tenure, licensing
Legislation that changes teacher tenure protections and teacher licensing received its first committee hearing in the Minnesota House. The would require public school districts to negotiate local policies for layoffs and other staffing decisions that emphasize a teacher’s performance over seniority. (Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 10)

Waivers
WA aims to regain NCLB waiver
Last year, Washington became the first state in the nation to lose its exemption from parts of the No Child Left Behind Act. State lawmakers are renewing their attempts to change the state’s teacher evaluation system, a move they say would help Washington regain its waiver. (News Tribune, Feb. 10)

 

Thursday, Feb. 12

Assessments
CO attorney general says no to testing waivers
The State Board of Education does not have the legal authority to grant waivers from parts of the state’s language arts and math assessments, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has ruled. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Feb. 10)

College Completion
PA promotes getting credit from the school of life
To encourage more people to complete their degrees, Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges announced the launch of the College Credit FastTrack site, designed to help students complete portfolios online and learn how else to receive credit for previous learning. (Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 9)
 
Mathematics
AZ takes new approach to help high school students
Since 2013, Arizona has required all high school students, even those not headed to college, to take four years of math to graduate. Fortunately for some, 18 districts in the state offer new special math classes for technical education students. (Arizona Republic, Feb. 11)

Postsecondary
MI Gov. Snyder proposes budget boost
Gov. Rick Snyder plans to ask the Michigan Legislature to approve a $28 million increase in state spending for university operations when he unveils his 2016 executive budget. That two percent bump is the largest ongoing funding increase the governor will propose, according to his office. (MLive, Feb. 10)

World Languages
In DE, looking for teachers who 'don't really exist'
By 2020, nearly 1/10 of Delaware's public school students are expected to be in language immersion programs. That means about 10,000 students will spend half their day, every day learning in a foreign language. But to pull it off, the state needs dozens of specially qualified teachers. (Newsworks, Feb. 10) 

 

Wednesday, Feb. 11

Charter Schools
MI House to look at authorizer accreditation
Charter schools advocates in the Michigan House of Representatives revealed plans to put an accreditation process in place for charter school authorizers. It's hoped that having the 40 charter school authorizers in the state go through an accreditation process would ensure quality in the state's public school academies. (MLive, Feb. 6)

Postsecondary
PA proposes host of education bills
More than a dozen bills aimed at making college more affordable and lessening students' debt loads were proposed by Pennsylvania lawmakers. (Express Times, Feb. 8)

School Reform
More state takeovers of public schools is possible
The recent takeover of the Little Rock School District by the Arkansas State Board of Education has surprised even seasoned school reform observers. But as schools nationwide could find themselves the targets of similar moves. (USA Today, Feb. 9)
  
Technology
Tech savvy? WA lawmakers want proof
Under a proposal from state superintendent Randy Dorn, Washington school districts would have to report to his office how their students are meeting technology literacy requirements -- whether it’s through a test, a culminating project or computer-oriented coursework. (Tri-City Herald, Feb. 9)

Workforce Development
IN focuses training efforts on in-demand careers
Closing the skills gap between workers and employers with jobs to fill has been on Indiana's "to do" list for about a decade. It now has become a priority. (Indianapolis Star, Feb. 8)

 

Tuesday, Feb. 10

Civic Education
New citizenship test: A point and counterpoint
Some states are beginning to require students to pass the same test given to immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship to graduate from high school. USA Today takes a look at both sides of the issue. (USA Today, Feb. 8)

Common Core
WI students to see new version of standardized tests
Wisconsin students will take a scaled-back but more rigorous version of a new kind of standardized test beginning in March. There is, however, a report that a technical glitch means school districts will get a less advanced version instead of a more complex system that isn't working properly. (Associated Press, Feb. 7)

Early Learning
Preschool is a hot topic in MN, with a question mark
Early childhood education is finally a marquee item on Minnesota’s political agenda. There is a surplus of at least $1 billion on the table and Gov. Mark Dayton and his Capitol partisans have declared education their top priority when it comes to spending it and preschoolers the first kids in line. But which preschoolers? (MinnPost, Feb. 5)

Graduation Requirement
CO considers lowering the bar for high school
Colorado officials are contemplating significant changes to expectations students must meet to earn a high school diploma, including lowering the bar in some cases and eliminating science and social studies requirements, leaving only English and math. (Denver Post, Feb. 8)

High School Diplomas
Big drop in equivalency diplomas in NY
Just over 13,000 students across New York state earned a high-school equivalency diploma in 2014 after the debut of a new, tougher set of tests -- 20,000 fewer than the number who earned a GED at a 2008 peak. (Chalkbeat New York, Feb. 9)

 

Monday, Feb. 9

Degree Completion
GA bill would award 8,000 belated H.S. diplomas
The Georgia General Assembly is about to change the lives of 8,000 people never able to graduate high school because they failed part of the Georgia High School Graduation Test. The bill frees former Georgia high school students from having to pass the GHSGT to earn their diplomas. (Atlanta Journal Constitution, Feb. 5)

Early Learning
TX proposes pre-K incentive plan
Two lawmakers in the Texas House have presented a plan for a major overhaul of early education in the state. House Bill 1100 would create an incentive payment system for school districts offering full-day pre-kindergarten programs. (Texas Tribune, Feb. 3)

NCLB
Feds deny TX waiver request
Texas is trying to continue its exemption from the federal No Child Left Behind Act put into effect in 2001. The U.S. Department of Education turned down the Lone Star State’s most recent waiver request for numerous reasons. (The Courier, Feb. 5)

Online Education
Study: Sluggish growth for online learning
The number of students taking online courses continues to climb, albeit at the slowest rate in more than a decade. About 5.3 million students took at least one online course in fall 2013 -– up 3.7 percent from the previous fall. (U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 5)

Postsecondary
VA advances sexual assault bill
Though Virginia lawmakers remain divided about how to protect victims of campus sexual assault and college communities a panel of delegates advanced a bill that would force police to notify the commonwealth’s attorney within 48 hours of the start of an investigation. (Washington Post, Feb. 3)

 

Friday, Feb. 6

Bullying
MT may join rest of country with anti-bully law
Montana legislators are considering whether to join every other state in the nation in putting anti-bullying policy into law. A bill introduced in the Montana House Education Committee would define bullying, prohibit it in public schools and require public school districts to adopt their own policies addressing the issue. (Associated Press, Feb. 4)

Common Core
ND committee rejects bill to eliminate standards
A majority of lawmakers on the House Education Committee indicated they want to see the current standards that guide learning in math and English language arts stick around. The bill in question aims to rid North Dakota of the Common Core. (Bismarck Tribune, Feb. 4)

Early Learning
Pre-K pays off by lowering special ed placements
Attending state-funded prekindergarten substantially reduces the likelihood that students will end up in special education programs later on, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University. For an overview of effective early education strategies, check out ECS’ Initiatives from Preschool to Third Grade. (NPR, Feb. 3)

Grading Schools
Some in NC worry about release of performance grades
Parents, teachers and school districts are steeling themselves for the first-time release of A-F performance grades for state public schools. The grades are required under a new law that backers say will make it easy for parents to judge schools. (News Observer, Feb. 3)

Grading Teachers
TN teachers union files lawsuit regarding teachers' rights
The Tennessee Education Association, Tennessee’s largest teachers union, filed a lawsuit against state and district officials stating that the use of test scores to judge teachers of non-tested subjects is a violation of those teachers’ rights. (Chalkbeat Tennessee, Feb. 5)

 

Thursday, Feb. 5

Assessments
Confusion in CO over the time spent testing
Widely varying numbers of the hours Colorado students spend taking tests were cited to score points and bolster arguments when state legislators began reevaluating the state’s system of mandatory assessments for students starting in kindergarten and ending in high school. What’s the actual number? (Denver Post, Feb. 3)

Education Funding
Critics protest MD Gov. Hogan's proposed cuts
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed funding for education threatens to create larger classrooms and cut teaching jobs, opponents of the plan said. But Hogan's budget secretary said the governor is open to dialogue about how to address tough financial choices his administration inherited. (Associated Press, Feb. 3)

Education Funding
WI Gov. Walker's proposal includes more reforms
Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposes no significant increase for public school funding in Wisconsin, but it would allow more opportunities for students to use public money to attend private, religious schools or charter schools outside traditional districts. (Journal Sentinel, Feb. 3)

Postsecondary
What will bachelor's degrees from CA community colleges be worth?
When 15 California community colleges received preliminary approval to offer four-year degrees recently, officials touted the move as a way to provide highly trained workers at a lower cost. But will employers know what to make of the new bachelor's degrees when they start appearing on resumes? (Los Angeles Times, Feb. 4)

School Transportation
IA lawmakers scrounge up bus money for rural areas
A bill in the Iowa House would allow school districts to levy taxes to supplement transportation costs, but some say the legislation doesn't do enough to help rural districts. (Iowa Public Radio, Feb. 3)

 

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Common Core
CO board wants state to opt out of standards
The State Board of Education voted in support of a measure that would pull Colorado out of the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC testing group, reduce state assessments and give districts more testing flexibility. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Jan. 30)

Common Core
ND education officials push back on repeal measure
Education officials told North Dakota lawmakers that it would be a mistake to repeal new state English and math standards that outline what students should know and when. (Associated Press, Feb. 2)

Education Funding
How states are spending their dollars
The amount of money states spend on each student for instruction and instruction-related services decreased nearly 3 percent nationwide between the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years, new data from the Department of Education show. (U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 29)

Struggling Schools
LA board votes to take over Little Rock district
The Arkansas Board of Education voted Wednesday to take control of Little Rock schools less than six months after a federal judge granted more independence to the historically embattled district and ended a quarter-century of payments to boost integration. (Associated Press, Jan. 28)

Technology
KY lawmaker: Label coding as a foreign language
With nearly a quarter of the state lacking access to broadband Internet, computer code may already seem like Greek to many students in Kentucky. Now one lawmaker wants to put it on that level officially.  (Courier-Journal, Jan. 29)

 

Tuesday, Feb. 3

Common Core
CO board wants state to opt out of standards
The State Board of Education voted in support of a measure that would pull Colorado out of the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC testing group, reduce state assessments and give districts more testing flexibility. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Jan. 30)

Common Core
ND education officials push back on repeal measure
Education officials told North Dakota lawmakers that it would be a mistake to repeal new state English and math standards that outline what students should know and when. (Associated Press, Feb. 2)

Education Funding
How states are spending their dollars
The amount of money states spend on each student for instruction and instruction-related services decreased nearly 3 percent nationwide between the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years, new data from the Department of Education show. (U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 29)

Struggling Schools
LA board votes to take over Little Rock district
The Arkansas Board of Education voted Wednesday to take control of Little Rock schools less than six months after a federal judge granted more independence to the historically embattled district and ended a quarter-century of payments to boost integration. (Associated Press, Jan. 28)

Technology
KY lawmaker: Label coding as a foreign language
With nearly a quarter of the state lacking access to broadband Internet, computer code may already seem like Greek to many students in Kentucky. Now one lawmaker wants to put it on that level officially. (Courier-Journal, Jan. 29)

 

Monday, Feb. 2

Common Core
Concern in LA as parents look to opt out of tests

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members are calling for a special meeting as parents across Louisiana threaten to hold their students out of the state's standardized testing in March. (The News-Star, Jan. 29)

Early Learning
GA says 4-years-old is too young for kindergarten

Georgia lawmakers are considering a proposal that would prevent 4-year-olds from enrolling in kindergarten. Proponents say many 4-year-olds aren't ready for a kindergarten environment. Check out ECS' early learning guide for policymakers. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 29)

Federal Oversight
TN lawmakers to Feds: Keep out

Tennessee lawmakers are turning to the federal government for help with a task that might seem self-contradictory -- keeping the federal government at bay. (Associated Press, Jan. 29)

Hispanic Students
25 states see big gap in Hispanic education

U.S. population growth is being driven by Hispanics, but in 25 states whites are at least twice as likely to have college degrees. States are beginning to highlight that gap as a serious problem in an economy that is generating more jobs for educated workers and fewer jobs for high school graduates, let alone high school dropouts. (Stateline, Jan. 29)

Postsecondary
College presidents, White House at odds

A core premise of the Obama administration's college ratings plan is that colleges and universities need to be held more accountable for student outcomes. College presidents, meanwhile, warn a ratings system could discourage colleges from recruiting students they're not confident will graduate. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 30)

 

Friday, Jan. 30

Common Core
WI exploring new tests in response to concerns
Wisconsin’s use of a student test linked to the controversial Common Core State Standards has come under further question in the wake of a report on increased costs and progress on legislation revamping the school-accountability system. (State Journal, Jan. 28)

Early Learning
Doctors prescribe reading as part of well-child visits
A child's next visit to the doctor may include more than a checkup, as some pediatricians are now prescribing reading — and even providing the books. Check out Emily Workman’s ECS report on third-grade reading policies. (HTR News, Jan. 19)

Postsecondary
Credit hour is here to stay … for now
The Carnegie Unit has been around for more than a century, and unless someone can come up with a better way of tracking college credit, it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, according to a report. It presents challenges, but it has value because it sets minimum instructional standards. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 29)

Postsecondary
Politics of the 529 plan
The White House's retreat on a plan to hike taxes on college savings plans underscores support for higher education tax credits, which many researchers criticized as disproportionately helping the wealthy. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 29) 
  
Teacher Unions
IN statehouse labor battle renewed
The battle over teachers unions in Indiana might be on again. A bill heard in a Senate committee would challenge unions’ very right to represent teachers in a school district at the negotiating table with the school board. (Chalkbeat Indiana, Jan. 28)

 

Thursday, Jan. 29

Assessments
FL says opting out is not an option
In response to questions about opting out of Florida’s annual state testing system, education commissioner Pam Stewart wrote that students are required to take the tests and teachers could face disciplinary action if they actively encourage skipping the exams. (Tampa Bay Times, Jan. 27)

Education Funding
U.S. schools are separate, unequal
The U.S. spends significantly more on education than other OECD countries. Yet, more money spent doesn’t translate to better educational outcomes. In fact, American education is rife with problems, starting with the gaping differences between white students and students of color. (U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 28)

Postsecondary
Study: Budget cuts linked to rise in out-of-state enrollment
A new study asserts that there’s a link between state budget cuts for public colleges and universities and a rise in enrollments of out-of-state students. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 28)

Postsecondary
WI looks to cut higher ed. finding by $300M
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced a $300 million cut to the 26-campus University of Wisconsin System. The planned cuts, the largest in state history, will come as a pair of $150 million cuts in each of the next two years. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 28)

Teacher Training
NC proposes changes at university level
Major changes could be coming to North Carolina’s public university teacher training programs, which have seen a precipitous drop in students in the past five years. (Raleigh News Observer, Jan. 27)

 

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Common Core
NC commission weighs its options
Will North Carolina keep, revise or toss the Common Core State Standards? It's the charge of the Academic Standards Review Commission to decide what the state's future K-12 standards for English and math will look like, and so far it's still uncertain. (Star News Online, Jan. 26)

Postsecondary
TN Promise sets sights high for change
Since Gov. Bill Haslam signed Tennessee Promise into law eight months ago, it has attracted a chorus of praise from other states, education experts and the White House. But leaders in the state can't afford to rest on their laurels. (Tennessean, Jan. 24)

School Finance
TX Supreme Court to hear case
The Texas Supreme Court announced it would hear the state’s appeal of a massive and long-running lawsuit challenging the way the it funds public schools. (Statesman, Jan. 23)

Teacher Evaluation
IN proposes student scores count for 50% of teacher grade
Student test scores could account for as much as 50 percent of teachers’ performance evaluation ratings under a proposal the Indiana State Board of Education is expected to consider. (Chalkbeat Indiana, Jan. 26)

Teacher Quality
Opinion: Debunking one myth about U.S. teachers
Several new research papers suggest that U.S. teacher quality never declined as badly as a widely cited 2010 report said had in fact already turned around markedly for the better. (Hechinger Report, Jan. 27)

 

Tuesday, Jan. 27

College Readiness
AL 10th graders not on track
Only 17 percent of Alabama 10th graders met or exceeded standards in math on ACT Plan, part of a new set of assessments aligned with the state's College and Career Ready Standards, results released this week by the Alabama Department of Education showed. (AL.com, Jan. 22)

Common Core
What happens when it becomes less common?
The Common Core State Standards were envisioned as a way to measure most of the nation’s students against a shared benchmark, but education experts say political upheaval and the messy reality of on-the-ground implementation is threatening that original goal. (Washington Post, Jan. 25)

Minority Issues
Undocumented college students feeling extra stressed
Undocumented college students have a much higher level of anxiety than the population at large, likely caused by a unique set of challenges they face as a result of their legal status, according to a report. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 26)

Postsecondary
Higher education proposals get high profile in MN
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is looking at a slew of higher education-related bills proposed this session by lawmakers who are looking to postsecondary education as a way to help address everything from gaps in health care between metro and outstate areas to a massive wave of baby boomer retirements. (MinnPost, Jan. 22)

Postsecondary
PA tries more tuition experiments
Bloomsburg University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania are going to be the latest state universities to test the idea of scrapping their flat full-time undergraduate tuition rate and move to a system that charges students on a per-credit basis, starting in the fall. (Penn Live, Jan. 25)

 

Monday, Jan. 26

Academic Standards
IN proposal would ditch new standards for old
If a new bill proposed by state Sen. Mike Delph passes this year, Indiana could do a complete about-face and dump its newly implemented academic standards that aim to prepare students for college and careers and reinstate standards approved nearly a decade ago. (Chalkbeat Indiana, Jan. 16)

Charter Schools
UT exercise hints at funding reform
As part of a budgeting exercise, the Utah school board's three-member leadership team recommended shifting funding from public schools to charter schools. The proposal is largely theoretical, but some worry it shows the changing philosophical makeup of the public school oversight committee. (Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 22)
 
Education Funding
NV Gov. Sandoval stands tall for education

Gov. Brian Sandoval challenged those who criticize his budget, which includes $1.1 billion in new and extended taxes, asking for a viable, alternative plan to finance Nevada's future -- especially its struggling education system. (Reno Gazette-Journal)

School Funding
Money an issue after OR directive
Somewhat hesitantly, the Oregon Board of Education voted to direct districts to gradually begin scheduling more of their students for a full school year. School superintendents and principals showered board members with protests that they can only give students more teaching time if they get a big dose of new money. (Oregonian, Jan. 22)

School Standards
NC schools ordered to explain 'double-speak'
The judge overseeing a 20-year-old lawsuit wants to know whether North Carolina officials are trying to define their way out of their duty to educate all of the state's children. (Associated Press, Jan. 20)

 

Friday, Jan. 23

Assessments
AZ schools chief wants to cut new test
Arizona's new superintendent of public instruction, Diane Douglas, is calling on the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey to ditch a new school standards test adopted less than three months ago. (Associated Press, Jan. 21)

Assessments
IN eyes new standardized tests
Some state senators have proposed replacing Indiana's current ISTEP standardized school tests with non-state specific exams that would be less expensive. (Associated Press, Jan. 20)

Education Policy
NY Gov. Cuomo proposes big overhaul
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to push for a broad overhaul of state education policy, including raising the state’s cap on charter schools, increasing the state’s role in teacher evaluations and lengthening the time it takes for teachers to earn tenure. (Chalkbeat New York, Jan. 21)

Teacher Evaluations
CA districts ignore student performance in evaluations
Major California school districts are failing to comply with a state law that requires them to evaluate teachers in part by how much their students have learned, according to a study. (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 21)

Technology
Can schools require your Facebook password?
A new Illinois state law can now compel students to hand over their social media login credentials to their school if school and state officials believe it can help prevent hostile online behavior — raising privacy concerns. (Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 21)

 

Thursday, Jan. 22

Civic Education
Overtesting concerns could sink IN bill
The question of whether Indiana high school graduates should pass a civics test is running up against an emerging concern that Hoosier children are simply taking too many state tests. Read the bill. (Chalkbeat Indiana, Jan. 20) 

College Completion
Part-time college may be better option for some
Attending college full time isn’t always the best way to get to graduation, at least for adult community college students who have previously pursued a degree and dropped out. That’s the central finding of a new study. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 21)

NCLB
ME at risk of losing waiver
Maine must make changes to its teacher and principal evaluation rules or risk losing a waiver that exempts it from the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind. (MPBN News, Jan. 16)

Postsecondary
Obama's plan for the final two years
The White House highlighted a range of higher education policy ideas in the days and weeks leading up to President Obama’s penultimate State of the Union address. This guide offers the administration’s higher education priorities and legislative proposals as the clock ticks on its final two years in office. (Inside Higher Ed., Jan. 20)

School Reform
Group calls for evidence of what works 
Trillions of dollars are spent on education reforms around the world without any effective evaluation to see if changes have worked, says the OECD(BBC, Jan. 19)

 

Wednesday, Jan. 21

Career Readiness
College grads, potential employers disagree
It turns out that college students are being well-prepared for their future careers — at least in their own minds. Ask employers, and it's a very different picture. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 20)

Early Learning
LA preschool teachers to get more training
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education decided preschool teachers must take classes of their own to learn more about young children's care and development. The move is part of a statewide push to improve pre-school, authorized by Act 3 of the 2012 legislative session and related laws. (Times-Picayune, Jan. 13)

School Grades
VA advances repeal of A-F school grading scale
A bipartisan effort to repeal an A-F grading scale for entire schools is advancing in the General Assembly. The A-F scale for schools was adopted in 2013 at the urging of then-Gov. Bob McDonnell as a public measure of school quality based on student test scores. (Associated Press, Jan. 19)

State of the State
NV Gov. Sandoval makes big education push
In his State of the State address, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval called for a $1.1 billion tax increase and a major expansion of education programs. It's a bold agenda for a state that has consistently rejected moves to add money to its education system, has the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation besides the District of Columbia and ranks near the bottom in per-pupil funding. (Associated Press, Jan. 18)

Teacher Accountability
NM clarifies rules on teacher firings
In the wake of criticism from teachers unions and educators, the state’s Public Education Department will let school districts decide whether to fire teachers rated ineffective or minimally effective — for at least a year. (New Mexican, Jan. 19)

 

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Assessments
MS withdraws from PARCC
The Mississippi Board of Education voted to withdraw from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers as it prepares to seek new bids for state tests. (Associated Press, Jan. 16)

Common Core
Cost of WI tests millions more than expected
The cost of testing Wisconsin students over the next two years will be at least $7.2 million more than originally estimated, state documents show. (Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 18)

Education Funding
Philadelphia trails in per-pupil spending
Compared with big-city peers, the Philadelphia School District spends less per pupil than almost any other education system in the country — even Detroit's. (Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 16)

Postsecondary
Higher ed funding bumps up, but …
Most states increased higher education spending last year but half still spend less on college-related programs than they did five years ago, according to a new report. Overall, state higher ed spending this year is up 5.2 percent nationwide. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 19)

Taxes and Education
Proposed tax hike would benefit education
The White House announced a series of tax proposals that would raise taxes on financial institutions and wealthy individuals, simplify education tax credits and pay for his plan for free community college education. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 19)

 

Monday, Jan. 19

Civic Education
AZ passes first-of-its-kind civics bill
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill making a high school diploma in the state contingent upon students passing the same test given to candidates for U.S. citizenship. The class of 2017 will be the first to have the new requirement. (NPR, Jan. 16)

Civic Education
AZ civics bill is just a start
Arizona high school students would need to correctly answer at least 60 of the 100 questions on the naturalization test offered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to graduate, under a bill passed the state legislature. (KJZZ, Jan. 15)

Civic Education
ND advances civics test requirement
Legislation that would require North Dakota high school students to pass a civics exam based on the U.S. citizenship test before they can graduate cruised through the House of Representatives. (Grand Forks Herald, Jan. 15)

Civic Education
Opinion: Civic education vital for school-age children
There have been many campaigns by the national media and celebrities to encourage young people to play a more active role in politics. When students are required to study civics and government, they have no choice but to learn how the political process functions and interacts with the economic processes of the country. (State Press, Jan. 12)

Civic Education
Opinion: To revive our democracy, revive civic education
If we’re looking to long-term solutions to revive our democracy, reviving civic learning must be a priority. Congress, Arne Dunca, and the Obama administration must make reviving effective civic learning a cornerstone of a new education policy. (The Hill, Jan. 14)

 

Friday, Jan. 16

Arts Education
Standards push seeps into arts
Advocates for arts education have come up with an idea: convince states to adopt new art standards along the lines of the Common Core to get schools to focus on art again. (Hechinger Report, Jan. 12)

Charter Schools
FL Gov. Scott wants $100M for charters
Gov. Rick Scott proposed to spend $100 million on construction and maintenance at Florida’s charter schools next year, a $25 million increase certain to spark another round of clashes in the Legislature over education. (Palm Beach Post, Jan. 15)

Early Learning
Is reading in kindergarten harmful to some?
The Common Core standards call for kindergartners to learn how to read, but a new report by early childhood experts says that forcing some kids to read before they are ready could be harmful. (Washington Post, Jan. 13)

Education Funding
NV partnership yields budget reports
Nevada’s Clark County School District released the first reports from an initiative announced last year to bring business leaders in to analyze the district’s budget. The committee created three subcommittees to look at the effect that spending has on school performance. (Las Vegas Journal-Review, Jan. 14)

School Accountability
With critics on all sides, WI bill moves forward
What's the fastest way to unite tea party conservatives, voucher advocates, Democratic lawmakers, school district administrators and key Senate Republicans? Yet another stab at a school accountability bill, it appears. (Journal Sentinel, Jan. 12)

 

Thursday, Jan. 15

Assessments
CO task force recommends reduction
Despite agreeing that Colorado tests its students too much, a state task force was unable to find many places to cut tests other than in high school, a reflection of both stringent federal requirements and divergent views over the value of assessments. (Denver Post, Jan. 12) 

Bullying
MI includes term cyber bullying in bill
Cyber bullying is now an official type of prohibited bullying under Michigan law after Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill passed by the Michigan Legislature last month. (MLive, Jan. 13)

Graduation Requirements
NY eases requirements for new immigrants
Students who arrive in the U.S. during high school and are still learning English could now find it slightly easier to earn a diploma, thanks to a new change to New York’s graduation requirements. (Chalkbeat New York, Jan. 13)

Postsecondary
WA's funding formula fracas
Washington State’s performance-based funding formula has failed to move the needle on community college student retention and completion rates, according to a new research paper. But officials at the state’s two-year college system are contesting the findings. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 14)

Standards
WV backs away from controversial science standards
The West Virginia Board of Education voted to withdraw changes proposed to the state’s science education standards. The new version does not include the controversial alterations regarding climate change. (Charleston Gazette, Jan. 14)

 

Wednesday, Jan. 14

Competency-Based Education
Feds experiment with CBE
The Department of Education will allow at least 40 colleges to experiment with competency-based education and prior learning assessment, granting them a waiver from certain rules that govern federal financial aid. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 13)

Early Education
Regular naps are key to learning
The key to learning and memory in early life is a lengthy nap, say scientists. Trials with 216 babies up to 12 months old indicated they were unable to remember new tasks if they did not have a lengthy sleep soon afterwards. (BBC News, Jan. 12)

School Finance
TX proposes super school finance districts
School districts across Texas would be merged into super districts for tax purposes only under legislation filed by the chairman of the House Public Education Committee. (Dallas Morning News, Jan. 12)

School Funding
AZ Gov. Ducey to announce funding revamp
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will announce a proposal to get more money into classrooms in his state of the state address. He also said he wants a requirement for high school students to master U.S. civics to be the first bill on his desk. (The Associated Press, Jan. 11)

School Funding
FL Gov. Scott pitches record high education funding
After promising to boost education spending to a record high, Florida Gov. Rick Scott released a plan to spend $7,176 per student in 2015-16, $261 more than what's currently being spent and $50 more than the all-time high set in 2007-08. (Tampa Bay Times, Jan. 12) 

 

Tuesday, Jan. 12

Assessments
Despite success, concerns follow test prep
Working with struggling students, third-grade teachers at a Virginia school opted to teach to the test and saw remarkable results. But as the teachers celebrated the gains, some soul searching began: They felt uncertain about the accomplishment and its educational value. (Washington Post, Jan. 10)

NCLB
Duncan defends No Child Left Behind
As a new Congress gets to work to rewrite the 2002 federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration is drawing what Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls a line in the sand — the federal government must continue to require states to give annual, standardized tests in reading and math. (Washington Post, Jan. 9)

Physical Education
What is lost when college cut physical education?
Colleges are cutting back on physical education just as a growing body of research indicates that regular physical activity is key to cognitive development and helps people focus, process information faster, and remember things more easily. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 12)

Student Aid
TN Sen. Alexander introduces simplification bill
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, only recently formally elected to his post as chair of the Senate education committee in the new Congress, quickly made clear what his top higher education priority would be for the coming year: student aid simplification. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 8)

Student Data
Obama to seek limits on student data mining
President Barack Obama on Monday is expected to call for tough legislation to protect student privacy, adding his voice to a sizzling debate about the best way to bring the benefits of technology into the classroom without exposing students to commercial data mining. (Politico, Jan. 11)

 

Friday, Jan. 9

Assessments
CO board votes to give districts waiver option on testing
A divided Colorado State Board of Education voted 4-3 to allow school districts to seek waivers from administering the first part of PARCC tests in language arts and math, scheduled to be given in March. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Jan. 8)

Early Learning
Study: Reading aloud to children benefits all ages
For the younger children — ages 6 to 11 — being read aloud to regularly and having restricted online time were correlated with frequent reading; for the older children — ages 12 to 17 — one of the largest predictors was whether they had time to read on their own during the school day. (New York Times, Jan. 8)

Education and Workforce
Issues plague state data systems
After eight years of work and $640 million in federal spending, state data systems that seek to link education and the workforce remain riddled with holes, according to a new report. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 8)

Postsecondary
MI picks SAT over ACT for free admission testing
Juniors in Michigan’s public high schools will be able to take the SAT college admission test for free starting in 2016, ending the dominance there of a rival test, the state announced. (Washington Post, Jan. 7)
 
Postsecondary Funding
Grade F: States trail in college funding, tuition
As states slowly recover from the Great Recession, many are still struggling to replenish funds for higher education. In fact, nearly every state still spends less on higher education now than in 2007, according to a new report. (U.S. News & Report, Jan. 6)

 

Thursday, Jan. 8

Curriculum Standards
W.V. education board wades into climate change debate
West Virginia Board of Education members made national news with changes made to the Next Generation Science Standards blueprint for the 2016-17 school year in an effort to create debate on whether greenhouse gas emissions by human activity is changing the planet's climate. (Register-Herald, Jan. 6)

English Language Learners
U.S. Dept. of Ed. updates guidelines for teaching ELLs
For the first time in three decades, the U.S. Department of Education has issued updated, cohesive guidelines for school districts to follow in educating English language learners. (Tampa Bay Times, Jan. 7)

Postsecondary
GA experiments by merging 4-year, 2-year colleges
Georgia higher education officials approved a plan that will merge Georgia State with Georgia Perimeter College, a mostly two-year institution. The combined college would bear the Georgia State University name and be the largest university in Georgia. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 7)

Student Safety
Bills target gun rights education in S.C. schools
Who instructs children on the gun rights and safety has traditionally been left out of the state’s school systems, but bills pre-filed in both chambers of the South Carolina Legislature would bring gun rights squarely into focus in the classroom. (Greeneville News, Jan. 6)

Teacher Training
Equipping teachers to prepare proficient readers
A lot has been written about the importance of reading proficiently by third grade. We've heard the familiar debates about whether it's sound practice to retain students who don't meet that mark. But now some states are taking another approach toward third grade reading proficiency: one that focuses on the teacher rather than the student. (Education Week, Jan. 6)

 

Wednesday, Jan. 7

Funding
In AK, budget crisis renews fight for education spending
Lawmakers aren’t the only ones strategizing for the upcoming legislative session. Leaders from a group called Great Alaska Schools are meeting regularly to renew their fight for education. As of December, the group was about 2,700 members strong. (KTVA, Jan. 6)

Graduation Rates
Looking at a new way to improve grad rates
Like most colleges, online institutions are under pressure to improve their graduation rates. Rather than just shutting its virtual doors to applicants, at least one university has begun referring underprepared students to an online course provider that does not offer degrees. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 6)

Postsecondary
5 things colleges can expect from Congress in 2015
When the 114th Congress convenes, Republicans will control the Senate for the first time in eight years. In the House of Representatives, they’ll have their largest majority since 1928. What does that mean for higher education? (Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 5) 

Public Concerns
Poll: Education is No. 1 priority for WA voters
Bolstered by a recovering economy, Washington voters have recovered enthusiasm for boosting public education along with signs of a willingness to pay for it, according to a statewide survey. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Jan. 6)

School Schedules
OH law changes calamity day policies for many
Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, many Ohio schools may schedule “excess” hours above the minimum number rather than calamity days. Hours missed above the minimum do not have to be made up. (News-Herald, Jan. 5)

 

Tuesday, Jan. 6

Home Schooling
More pupils, less regulation
Unlike so much of education in this country, teaching at home is broadly unregulated. Along with steady growth in home schooling has come a spirited debate and lobbying war over how much oversight such education requires. (New York Times, Jan. 4)

Postsecondary
Matching the 'undermatched'
Ever since a 2012 study found that a majority of high-achieving, low-income high school seniors don't apply to a single competitive college, educators and policymakers have been debating what to do about "undermatching," as the issue has come to be called.

Postsecondary
Online, class size doesn't matter
The study finds that increases in online class size have no impact on student grades, student persistence in the course or the likelihood of students enrolling in future courses. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 5)

Postsecondary
Public colleges now get more money from students than states
Back in 2003, public colleges were funded primarily by state governments. Since then, state funding dropped while tuition rose. And for the first time, according to a new study, students are putting more money into public colleges than the states. (USA Today, Jan. 2)

School Finance
KS judges rule school funding is inadequate
In a ruling more than 100 pages long, a Kansas district court stood by its 2013 ruling that school funding is unconstitutionally low, but declined to order the state to inject a specific amount of money. (Topeka Capital-Journal, Dec. 30)

 

Monday, Jan 5

Civic Education
Opinion: U.S. must step up civics without taking sides
Critics charge that education in good citizenship is being shortchanged by an American system that is focused on other "core competencies." The result is that too many products of that system are ignorant of the basics of how American democracy functions. (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 4)

Common Core
New year brings new challenges for standards
This spring, hundreds of thousands of students will be tested against the Common Core for the first time. How those students fare, and how parents and teachers react, will be crucial to the standard's future. (Vox, Jan. 1)

Education
Entry tests for K, more 2015 education predictions
NPR Ed offers a set of predictions for the education world in 2015, including kindergarten entry tests, a greater focus on competency-based education and a cooling of the Common Core debate. (Jan. 3, NPR)

NCLB
U.S. lawmakers begin work to overhaul NCLB
Republicans are working on a plan to rewrite No Child Left Behind in 2015, one that could end up rolling back the federal role in education and trigger national debates over standardized tests and teacher training. (Politico, Jan. 2)

Postsecondary
Ruling could pave way for more faculty unionization
The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling in December that could clear the way for much more unionization of faculty members at private colleges and universities. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 2)

 

Friday, Dec. 19

Community Colleges
A call for big changes to meet a big challenge
More than a decade of efforts to propel low-income and underserved students through community college have fallen short because colleges haven’t made systemwide commitments to strategies like streamlining degree requirements, accelerating remediation and rewarding colleges for raising graduation rates, according to a new report. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 18)

Distance Education
Sustaining SARA
Leaders of a national movement to ease the regulatory burden on colleges and universities that offer distance education say the effort has passed its tipping point after more than a third of the states have joined in less than a year. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 18)

English Language Learners
CA schools step up efforts to help 'long-term ELLS'
Students struggling with English are receiving more attention under a new California law and initiatives by L.A. Unified and other school districts. The law requires the state to define and identify a "long-term English learner," the first effort in the nation to do so. (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 17)

Postsecondary
Obama Administration to unveil college ratings plan
The Department of Education will release a much-anticipated outline of its college ratings system on Friday. Department officials have indicated that they will publish a draft framework that includes the metrics on which colleges would be rated by the federal government. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 18) 

Special Education
Rates vary wildly in MI by school district, race, gender and income 
In Michigan, the likelihood of your child being identified as needing special education services can vary dramatically. And experts say some children in special education could have avoided the designation had they received more educational support in early grades. (Bridge Magazine, Dec. 18)

 

Thursday, Dec. 18

Assessments
MD teachers union wants kindergarten tests suspended
The Maryland State Education Association is calling on the State Board of Education to suspend its Kindergarten Readiness Assessments, arguing that teachers lose too much instructional time administering the new computer-based tests and are not receiving useful data to improve teaching and learning. (Washington Post, Dec. 16)

Common Core
NC commission IDs priorities for new standards
Members of a state commission have identified their top priorities for revising the Common Core academic standards used for North Carolina’s public school students. They said they want to focus on increasing flexibility for teachers and school districts, rewriting the standards so they’re clear and understandable and identifying standards that are developmentally inappropriate. (WUNC, Dec. 16)

Postsecondary
Is the admissions office part of the problem of college access?
Access to college is a hot issue these days, with policymakers and colleges looking for ways to enroll more low-income, first-generation and minority students. Many people see the admissions office as a key part of the solution. But many believe that the admissions office, especially at highly selective institutions, is the agent that keeps these students out of college in the first place. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 17)

Postsecondary
TX higher ed commissioner: Increase focus on students
Texas’ next long-term higher education plan will be more ambitious and will refocus attention on the needs of students, said Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes. The current plan, Closing the Gaps by 2015, is likely to meet its enrollment goals and has surpassed its goals for increasing the number of degrees and certificates awarded annually. (Texas Tribune, Dec. 9)

School Grades
CO group releases school grades for parents
Colorado parents looking for more user-friendly information about their school’s academic performance last year can now search an updated online database that ranks schools on a familiar A-F grading scale. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Dec. 16)

 

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Assessments
A quarter of OH third-graders must retake reading test
More than 31,000 third-graders will have to retake their state reading exam to ensure passage to the next grade, but the students who barely passed their fall exams might be of bigger concerns to districts this year. (Marion Star, Dec. 15)

Common Core
OH bills to rein in testing, Common Core are dead
Bills to block the Common Core standards in Ohio and to limit testing of students have both died in the state legislature. (Plain Dealer, Dec. 15)

Math
Repeating algebra can do more harm than good
A growing body of research is showing that when you march a teenager through the same algebra class again, it doesn’t help much. Without addressing a child’s underlying learning issues or missing foundations, repetition alone is rarely effective and sometimes harmful. (Hechinger Report, Dec. 15)

Reform
NV education reform talks stress money
A lot of plans and not enough money. That was the message running throughout conversation for improving Nevada’s public schools, as stated by some of Nevada’s leading education officials and a reform-minded state lawmaker. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dec. 16)

Standards
WY bill would repeal science standard ban
A Wyoming bill would eliminate a budget footnote that prohibited the State Board of Education from spending money to review or adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, in part because the guidelines indicate humans have contributed to global climate change. (Casper Star-Tribune, Dec. 15)

 

Monday, Dec. 15

Common Core
Do teachers need to teach differently?
The Common Core wasn’t necessarily supposed to change how math is taught, but in many schools that’s exactly what’s happening. (Hechinger Report, Dec. 12)

Competency-based Education
Study: States need to reexamine policies
If states are serious about implementing competency-based education in the hope that it will prepare students for college and career, policy makers had better be ready to update their rules and regulations, according to a new report. (THE Journal, Dec. 11)

Education Funding
In MS, money gap grows to $1.5B
Since 2008, Mississippi legislators have spent $1.5 billion less on education than what's required. Across the country, state spending is lower than before the recession in 35 states, yet it hits Mississippi harder because the state's per-pupil spending levels were already among the nation's lowest and its percentage of students in poverty is the highest of any state. (Associated Press, Dec. 13)

Education Reform
Khan: Two big ideas for overhauling higher education
Khan Academy founder Sal Khan has a few ideas for how to radically overhaul higher education. First, create a universal degree that’s comparable to a Stanford degree, and second, transform the college transcript into a portfolio of things that students have actually created. (Venture Beat, Dec. 14)

Postsecondary
Accreditation panel issues Higher Ed Act suggestions
The federal panel tasked with advising the Department of Education on accreditation issues released a draft set of recommendations for changing accreditation during reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 12)

 

Thursday, Dec. 11

Campus Safety 
What about the police?
A Congressional hearing on campus sexual assaults focused on finding ways to inspire campus sexual assault survivors to have more confidence in law enforcement. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 10)

Dual Enrollment 
More KY high school students could earn college credits
More Kentucky students could earn college credit while still in high school under recommendations presented to the General Assembly's Interim Joint Committee on Education. (Lexington Herald-Leader, Dec. 8)

Federal Government
Budget deal unveiled
Congressional leaders agreed on a spending bill that would avoid a government shutdown and provide modest increases to student aid programs and scientific research. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 10)

School Staffing
OH Board of Ed backs ending '5 of 8' staffing rule
The Ohio Board of Education moved ahead with a plan to abolish school-staffing requirements that critics contend would allow districts to eliminate art teachers, librarians, counselors and other staff members. (Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 10)

Technology
DE to text students college application advice
Starting soon, Delaware students could be getting texts from the state Department of Education giving them help with applying to college. (Delaware Online, Dec. 6)

 

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Bullying
Cyberbullying prevention bill passes MI Senate
The Michigan Senate approved legislation that would require school districts and academies to modify existing anti-bullying policies to address electronic or online harassment. (MLive, Dec. 9)

College Completion
Few Chicago students earning a timely degree, it at all
About 14 percent of ninth-graders in Chicago Public Schools will earn a four-year college degree within 10 years of starting high school, according to a report. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 9)

Postsecondary
Rethinking low completion rates in MOOCs
Completion rates in free online courses are low — to critics, laughably so. But exactly how low are they? The answer might be a matter of interpretation. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 8)

School Calendar
ID officials see benefit in shorter school week 
An Idaho school district switched to a Monday-through-Thursday schedule to save money after facing severe funding cuts. Twelve years later, teachers and families have found that having Friday free means more time for lesson planning and other duties. (Associated Press, Dec. 8)

Teacher Pay
NM eyes teacher merit-pay pilot programs
The New Mexico Public Education Department is giving Santa Fe Public Schools $3.8 million to increase teacher salaries as part of a pay-for-performance pilot program for the 2014-15 school year. (New Mexican, Dec. 8)

 

Tuesday, Dec. 9

At-risk Populations
Plan aims to improve confined juveniles' education
Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday unveiled new guidance aimed at improving the quality of education for roughly 60,000 confined juveniles. (Associated Press, Dec. 8)

Common Core
Educators question future progress if MS backs away
Educators across Mississippi say the already-lagging state will “move backwards” if Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves throw out the Common Core academic standards and create new ones. (Hechinger Report, Dec. 7)

Minority Populations
U.S. education department to probe NY school funding
Federal education officials have granted a year-old request from two upstate school districts to investigate whether New York's school aid system shortchanges districts with large minority populations. (Associated Press, Dec. 8)

Postsecondary
Salaries of private-college presidents draws attention
Three dozen private-college presidents earned more than $1 million in 2012, analysis has found. Among private-college leaders, some paychecks stood out not for the total amount but for how much they differed from those of others on the campus. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 7)

Technology
MN school receives $10,000 tech grant
A Minnesota elementary school will be able to invest $10,000 into new technology for computer science after the non-profit Code.org awarded the technology grant for 'Hour of Code,' a global effort to increase computer science education. (ABC News, Dec. 8)

 

Monday, Dec. 8

Arts
Will OH’s change hurt art education
A proposed Ohio rule change will be the beginning of the end for school music and art — or a simple bureaucratic update with no real consequences — depending on which side of the debate to believe. (Marion Star, Dec. 7)

Education Reform
IN's battle for control of education continues
The 2012 election was more than two years ago, but ballot results appear to have settled little in Indiana’s ongoing education war between Democrats and public school supporters and conservative education reformers. (Associated Press, Dec. 7)

Funding
Outcome of AK education funding ruling unclear
A Superior Court judge has created a $220 million question for Alaska and, so far at least, no one seems to know the answer. (News Miner, Dec. 7)

Postsecondary
Graduating later in life doesn't hamper income
Data suggest that individuals who graduate college around the same time but at different ages are currently faring equally well in terms of personal income. (Gallup, Dec. 7)

Postsecondary
CO commission signs off on new funding model
The Colorado Commission on Higher Education gave unanimous approval to a new formula that would fund state colleges and universities based partly on performance factors such as student retention and graduation and service to low-income students. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Dec. 4)

 

Friday, Dec. 5

At-risk Youths
'Invisible' homeless kids challenge states
A reported all-time high of 2.5 million of American children are homeless. But these kids are often invisible, crashing with their families on friends’ couches, sleeping in all-night diners or hopping from motel to motel from week to week. (Pew Charitable Trusts, Dec. 3)

Common Core
CA rethinks how to report test scores
California policymakers say they intend to create a different system for reporting results of the upcoming tests on the Common Core standards than parents and schools have become used to in the era of the No Child Left Behind Act. (EdSource, Dec. 3)

Early Learning
New TX study shows impact
The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce released new findings Thursday showing how big of an impact early childhood education has on the economy. (KSAT San Antionio, Dec. 4)

Low-income Students
White House makes new commitments
The Obama administration is once again gathering hundreds of college presidents for a second White House-run summit that will promote new commitments to help low-income students. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 4)

STEM
Is there too much of a focus in the U.S.?
Some critics say the recent obsession with science and tech compromises other parts of kids' education. (The Atlantic, Dec. 3)

 

Thursday, Dec. 4

At-risk Students 
Extra funding boosts programs at D.C. schools

New staffing, updated technology and longer school days are thanks to an infusion of funds that D.C. schools received this year for the city’s most at-risk students. (Washington Post, Dec. 2)

School Finance
Facing cuts, more schools charge for busing

As school districts across the country continue to face budget cuts, the practice of charging parents a fee to let their kids ride the bus is becoming more common. (USA Today, Dec. 2)

Student Life 
Why students avoid academic help

Depending on the context, the rate at which students sign up for SAT prep can be dramatically different, and students indicated that they’re willing to turn down a free course just because their classmates would find out, according to a new findings. (The Atlantic, Dec. 2)

Teacher Pay
Report considers teachers' earnings trajectory

Teachers in some parts of the country reach the top of the pay scale later in their careers, making it difficult for them to reach middle-class status, according to a report. (New York Times, Dec. 3)

Teacher Prep
TN classroom results to factor into program grades

A policy adopted by the Tennessee State Board of Education in October will make programs that develop and train teachers in Tennessee the subject of new annual reports that measure the outcomes of their graduates. (The Tennessean, Dec. 3)

 

Wednesday, Dec. 3

Assessments
Report: Schools spend $2.5B on testing technology
For the 2012-2013 school year, sales in the testing and assessment category reached almost $2.5 billion, according to a report. (T.H.E. Journal, Dec. 1)

Career Readiness
Guidance offered on career preparation
Ensuring schools are adequately preparing students for careers is just as important as ensuring they prepare students for college, says a new paper that proposes districts add specific career-readiness measures. (EdSource, Dec. 2)

College Completion
Louisville college-education effort falling short
In 2008, Louisville set out to boost its college-educated workforce — setting the goal for half its working-age adults to hold associate or bachelor's degrees by 2020. But at the current rate, the goal won't be reached until 10 years later. (Courier-Journal, Dec. 2)

Common Core
PARCC shares lessons learned from field tests
During the spring of 2014, more than 1.1 million students in approximately 16,000 U.S. schools took field tests of a Common Core assessment developed by PARCC. So how did the field tests fare, according to the test administrators, test coordinators, and students who tested the test? (EdSurge, Dec. 1)

Postsecondary
A flexible future
As some of the country’s most rigorous research universities are contemplating a more modular future, experiments with blended learning may provide an early glimpse at their plans. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 2)

 

Tuesday, Dec. 2

Civic Education
IL group pushing to overhaul civics
With a few adjustments, an Illinois high school classroom became a political stage, with a lectern, microphone and students debating over taxes, education, guns and same-sex marriage. (Chicago Tribune, Dec. 1)

College Affordability
Colleges break pledge to help poor families
As institutions vie for income and prestige, the net prices they’re charging the lowest-income students, after discounts and financial aid, continue to rise faster on average than the net prices they’re charging higher-income ones. (Hechinger Report, Nov. 30)

Common Core
Sen. Vitter of LA reverses course
U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has joined Gov. Bobby Jindal in changing positions from support of Common Core educational standards to opposition. (Times-Picayune, Dec. 1)

Curriculum
NC school board hears about new take on US history
North Carolina's State Board of Education joined a building national debate over whether high school students should be taught that America is exceptional despite its faults, or whether the country's history should be explained more objectively. (Associated Press, Dec. 1)

Postsecondary
Teaching international students
As U.S. campuses have dramatically increased their international student populations in recent years, more and more faculty members are encountering a different demographic of student than they are used to – or at least they’re encountering that demographic more frequently. (Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 1)

 

Monday, Dec. 1

College Completion
Students' long paths carry major financial consequences
Bloated curricula, remediation roadblocks and students’ meandering path through college are contributing to a completion crisis that is costing students and their parents billions of extra dollars a year, according to a report. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 1)

Common Core
Stanford teams with CA teacher union to train
Stanford University is joining with the state’s largest teachers union to prepare schools for new learning goals that will change the way California students are taught and tested. (Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30)

Online Education
Private companies want to scoop up your child's data
Massive open online courses, first envisioned as a way to democratize higher education, have made their way into high schools, but Washington is powerless to stop the flood of personal data about teenage students from flowing to private companies, thanks to loopholes in federal privacy laws. (Politico, Nov. 29)

Postsecondary
College discipline system findings trouble officials
Lawmakers are calling for greater transparency in college discipline systems after a joint investigation revealed deep problems. (Columbus Dispatch, Nov. 30)

Waivers
Fight continues over WA’s NCLB waiver
Washington lost its waiver from onerous parts of the education accountability law in April, after the Legislature declined to bring the state’s teacher evaluation system in line with federal requirements. Now, the state schools chief and some state lawmakers plan to try again in hopes of regaining the state’s exemption from No Child Left Behind. (News Tribune, Nov. 30)

 

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Charter Schools
IN lawmaker orders review of failing schools
An Indiana lawmaker, alarmed by the increasing number of charter schools receiving a D or F from state regulators, is calling for a halt in new charter schools until problems with existing ones are addressed. (Associated Press, Nov. 22)

College Completion
TX goal: 60% should have a degree by 2030
Texas has made strides under a long-range plan implemented by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in 2000, but the number of degrees is not keeping pace with the state’s rapid growth. (Austin-American Statesman, Nov. 21)

Minority Issues
The impact of Obama's action on immigration
President Obama’s decision to extend limited legal status to up to 5 million of the nation’s 11.4 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally will open the doors to college to more people. But Republican governors who are fuming on the sidelines may try to stand in the plan’s way. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 21)

Postsecondary
Signs of hope for state funding
States are starting to reinvest in higher education, but they are not making up for the big cuts during the recent recession, according to a new study. (Community College Daily, Nov. 20)

Retention
MO tries alternatives to repeating grades
In many cases, holding back students to repeat a grade hasn’t worked. Neither has social promotion. So what would it take to get a pupil the needed help without the stigma of repeating a grade? Two schools in Missouri are shaking up schedules and class structures in an effort to find out. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nov. 16)

 

Monday, Nov. 24

Assessments
Testing in CO costs up to $78 million
Colorado state government and school districts spend up to $78 million a year on testing, and some kind of standardized testing takes place during every week of the school year, according to a new study. (Chalkbeat Colorado, Nov. 20)

Common Core
Common Core battle heats up in ND
Groups representing North Dakota businesses and school administrators are speaking out against proposed legislation that would require the state to dump the Common Core and craft its own standards for K-12 students. (Bismarck Tribune, Nov. 19)

Early Education
OH reading results show few retentions
Despite fear of widespread retention, more than 98 percent of third-grade students passed Ohio's new Third Grade Reading Guarantee -- earning a stamp of approval from the state and, at least in reading, clearance to move on to fourth grade. (Newark Advocate, Nov. 21)

Postsecondary
Sen. Harkin offers Higher Education Act rewrite
With just weeks left before he retires from Congress, Sen. Tom Harkin has finalized his proposal to rewrite the Higher Education Act. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 21)

Teacher Shortages
International teachers fill AZ district shortages
More Arizona school districts are searching internationally to find candidates for difficult-to-fill math and science positions. (District Administration, Nov. 21)

 

Friday, Nov. 21

Postsecondary 
Does selectivity matter?
Survey findings suggest that the average student experience can vary widely from one college to another. The results suggest that a college's enrollment size and level of selectivity "bears little relationship" to student engagement and experiences with faculty. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 20)

Postsecondary
University of California showdown
University of California administrators are prepared to raise tuition 27 percent by the end of the decade, despite the objections of students. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 20)

School Finance
CA board approves school funding rules
After soliciting input for over a year, the State Board of Education approved final regulations governing how California districts spend funds they receive through the Local Control Funding Formula. (EdSource, Nov. 17)

Student Discipline
Suspensions a problem in MN school district
Students in Minnesota’s Rochester School District are being suspended at a staggering rate for relatively minor offenses, with minorities and the disabled faring the worst. (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Nov. 18)

Teacher Certification
Passing rate declines as N.Y. uses new certification
New York State saw a 20 percent drop in the number of candidates who passed teacher certification tests last year as tougher exams were introduced. (New York Times, Nov. 19)

 

Thursday, Nov. 20

Performance-based funding
Colleges may look to 'game the system'
Performance-based funding is increasingly popular among policymakers who want public institutions to graduate more students, more efficiently. Yet colleges may cope by using grade inflation or admitting fewer at-risk students. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 19)

Postsecondary
Riskier majors could payoff
Students’ choice of academic majors can be influenced heavily by how information about their potential earnings is framed. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 19)

Reading Skills
Students read way below important measuring stick
American students are reading more nonfiction, but not as much as Common Core standards recommend, and their reading tends to be far less challenging than it should be to prepare them for college or careers. (Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 18)

Teacher Compensation
OH measure connected to merit pay advances
Ohio is one step closer towards repealing the law that mandates a minimum salary schedule for teachers — opening the door to a merit-based pay system. (StateImpact/NPR, Nov. 18)

Workforce Development
Employers, educators, policymakers must work together
The conversation about the skills gap and national talent shortage has risen in volume over the last several months, as the conundrum of open jobs and unemployed Americans persists. (Forbes, Nov. 18)

 

Wednesday, Nov. 19

College Completion
Flood of students at recession’s peak, discouraging results
Only 55 percent of the students who entered college in the fall of 2008, at the peak of the Great Recession, had earned college degrees or certificates by May 2014, according to a report. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 18)

Postsecondary Revenue 
Colleges and universities charge more, keep less
Forced to keep discounting their prices as enrollment stagnates, U.S. universities and colleges expect their slowest growth in revenue in 10 years, the bond-rating company Moody’s reports. (Hechinger Report, Nov. 17)

Poverty Issues
CA students in high-poverty schools lose learning time
California high schools with high-poverty students lose nearly two weeks of learning time annually because of teacher absences, testing, emergency lockdowns and other disruptions compared with their more affluent peers in other schools. (Los Angeles Times, Nov. 17)

Student Discipline
Schools moving away from zero tolerance
Many schools are beginning to rethink zero-tolerance discipline policies and adopt more measured approaches instead. (The Atlantic, Nov. 17)

Textbooks
Controversial TX textbooks headed to classrooms 
Did Moses influence the Founding Fathers? Was slavery not a key contributor to the Civil War? These are questions scholars say are raised by social studies textbooks headed for classrooms that are misleading, racially prejudiced and, at times, flat-out false. (USA Today, Nov. 17)

 

Tuesday, Nov. 18

Charter Schools
Public charters failed to meet TX standards, still operating
The Texas Education agency revoked the charter of the Honors Academy Charter School District for not meeting state academic standards, but the schools are still open. (New York Times, Nov. 15)

Common Core
TN moves to repeal new standards
Two Tennessee state senators filed legislation to repeal the state’s Common Core standards even though Gov. Bill Haslam has called for a public review of the higher benchmarks in English and math. (Associated Press, Nov. 17)

Early Learning
Helping language skills by texting parents
Educators have puzzled over how best to reach parents and guide them to do things like read to their children and talk to them regularly. A new study shows that mobile technology may offer a cheap and effective solution. (New York Times, Nov. 15)

English Language Learners
Some parents lie on CA survey to ID ELLs
California education officials say it's tough to know how many parents lie on the home language survey they are required to fill out before their children start public school, but it’s clear that some parents are untruthful. (Associated Press, Nov. 16)

Postsecondary
International enrollment climbs 8%
The number of international students enrolled at U.S. universities increased by 8.1 percent, to 886,052 in 2013-14, according to a report. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 17)

 

Monday, Nov. 17

Assessments
CO H.S. seniors protest new tests
Thousands of Denver-area high school seniors are refusing to take new state standardized tests, saying they're a distraction as they work to get into college and a waste of time and money. (Associated Press, Nov. 13)

High School Graduation
S.C. on-time grad rate climbs again
South Carolina’s on-time high school graduation rate is at an all-time high with more than 80 percent of students graduating within four years, new report cards show. (Associated Press, Nov. 15)

Student Debt
Average college grad has $28,400 in debt
Student debt has hit another record — with the typical 2013 college grad who borrowed commencing post-collegiate life with loan bills totaling $28,400, according to a Project on Student Debt report. (Time, Nov. 13)

Teacher Recruitment
DE’s bonus program draws few teachers
Despite the lure of an extra $20,000, Delaware’s controversial bonus program for teachers attracted only nine highly rated educators to low-scoring schools in its third year. (Delaware Online, Nov. 13)

Waivers
Ed Department to extend NCLB into 2018
The Department of Education is letting states apply to renew their waivers from No Child Left Behind for three and in some cases four more years, but they'll have to do more to show they're turning around low-performing schools and closing student achievement gaps. (U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 13)

 

Friday, Nov. 14

Common Core
Portland, OR, board approves 'achievement compact' goals
After at first refusing to file state-mandated goals for subject areas linked to new Common Core standard tests, the Portland Public Schools board voted to set state-mandated “achievement compact” targets at 100 percent student proficiency. (The Oregonian, Nov. 11)

Postsecondary
CA program sees surge in associate degrees
The number of community college students who earned an associate degree through the California Community Colleges and California State University “A Degree with a Guarantee” transfer program more than doubled to 11,673 in 2013-14. (Lake County News, Nov. 11)

Postsecondary
Tuition and borrowing growth slows
College prices are still climbing, but they’re doing so at a slower pace than they were for the past several years, and the amount of money borrowed for higher education last year fell for the third straight year. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 13)

School Equity
SC Supreme Court finds for poor districts
In a legal decision that could redefine South Carolina’s public education system, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state has failed in its duty to provide what it says is a “minimally adequate” education to children in the state’s poorest school districts. (The State, Nov. 12)

Student Debt 
It rises again for Class of 2013
Students in the Class of 2013 who took out loans to attend public and private nonprofit colleges graduated with an average of debt of $28,400, a 2 percent increase from the previous year. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 13)

 

Thursday, Nov. 13

Higher Education
New amendments likely to hurt LA
Louisiana voters passed three new constitutional amendments that will further constrain the state budget and leave higher education more vulnerable to funding cuts starting next year. (Times-Picayune, Nov. 12)

Homelessness
Communities struggle to reach students
More than 1.1 million public school students in the United States do not have permanent homes. It is a problem in both rural communities and large cities — children and youth who have become the hidden homeless. (NPR, Nov. 11)

Military Issues
Veterans' college enrollments swell in WA
The number of veterans on Washington’s college campuses have increased dramatically in recent years. More than half are enrolling at community colleges, which are trying to beef up support to help them succeed in school. (Seattle Times, Nov. 10)

Remedial Education
CA seeks overhaul to curb dropouts
Boosting graduation rates of community college students who need remedial coursework has been a long-standing challenge, but a team of community college professors are gaining followers to their efforts. (EdSource, Nov. 11)

Teacher Training
Rigorous or rigor-less?
Education departments systematically award higher grades than do other academic departments at their universities. A new report links those high grades with a certain type of low-caliber assignment commonly found on the syllabuses of education courses. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 12)

 

Wednesday, Nov. 12

Financial Aid
Another college-access issue: Aid jargon
Should families really have to learn a new language to figure out how to pay for college? (Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 11)

Postsecondary
Low-income, minority students losing ground in KY
Low-income and minority students are losing ground at Kentucky's colleges and universities after repeated funding cuts by state lawmakers. (Lexington Herald-Leader, Nov. 10)

Standards
OH Board of Ed. weighs on staff-student ratio
The Ohio State Board of Education is examining a proposal to change the standards for school faculty ratios in several departments ranging from art to physical education. (NBC, Nov. 11)

Technology
Coding education programs expand in U.S.
Hundreds of continuing education programs have cropped up across the country to train (or in some cases re-train) workers whose jobs had either been innovated or rationalized out of existence during the recession in 2008. (Tech Crunch, Nov. 10)

Tuition
TN's free-tuition program not for the undocumented
Undocumented high school students will not be able to take advantage of Tennessee Promise, the state’s new free community college program. (Associated Press, Nov. 10)

 

Tuesday, Nov. 11

College Readiness
MS makes progress preparing students for college
Mississippi has taken important steps to help prepare students for success in higher education, but more needs to be done to address disparities (Hechinger Report, Nov. 7)

Financial Aid
Aid doesn't cover rising costs for low-income CA students
Low-income students are facing sticker shock at California colleges and universities as financial aid has fallen behind the rising cost of higher education, a new report shows. (Los Angeles Daily News, Nov. 6)

Funding
Districts, parents sue PA over education funding
School districts, parents and others filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tom Corbett, state education officials and legislative leaders, saying that Pennsylvania fails to uphold its constitutional obligation to educate children adequately. (Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 10)

Technology
Social media gains momentum in online education
There isn't much precise data available on social media's presence in the realm of online education, experts say. But what does exist indicates that professors of both online and in-person classes are more open to incorporating social media into class material. (U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 5)

Textbooks
FL county goes digital
Miami-Dade County schools has launched an ambitious program to get portable, digital devices into the hands of all 350,000 students in the district — part of a state mandate to bring more technology into classrooms. (Miami Herald, Nov. 7)

 

Monday, Nov. 10

Attendance
Grades, attendance matter for middle schoolers
Schools that want to prepare their students for college had better focus on getting their middle schoolers to class every day and on helping children raise their grades instead of their standardized test scores. (Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 7)

Mental Health
KY to use $8.1M grant to respond to youth mental health
The Kentucky Department of Education is receiving $8.1 million through a five-year federal grant to help teachers, schools and communities recognize and respond to mental health problems in young people. (Associated Press, Nov. 6)

Postsecondary
Short-term certificates boom, but don’t lead to jobs
Short-term community-college certificates, which have been growing rapidly in popularity as a way to get students quickly and cheaply into jobs, do not, in fact, help most recipients land employment or earn more money. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 6)

School Calendars
More IA schools count by hours
This year, Iowa law allows schools to base their calendar year on either 180 days or 1,080 hours, an average of six hours per day. Given that option, 299 of Iowa’s 338 school districts, or 88.5 percent, switched from days to hours-based calendars. (The Gazette, Nov. 9)

School Start Times
IN group takes time zone debate to state educators
A group that wants all of Indiana to move into the Central time zone is again taking its push to the State Board of Education, armed with a report that says schoolchildren are being harmed by the decades-long embrace of the Eastern time zone and its adoption of daylight saving time. (Associated Press, Nov. 6)

 

Friday, Nov. 7

Civic Education
Missed chance to teach kids about midterm elections
Schools across the country are being used as polling stations, but the students who attend them may not understand why these elections matter. (The Atlantic, Nov. 4)

Common Core
Ohio House committee votes to repeal
A bill to repeal Common Core education standards in Ohio passed a House committee — but there is doubt about whether it has the momentum to go further. (Columbus Dispatch, Nov. 6)

Competency-based Education
Texas to go big with CBE
The University of Texas System’s plans to make its first foray into competency-based education will be limited to the medical sciences, for now. But the new, curriculum will involve multiple institutions around the state, with a track that eventually will stretch from high school, or even middle school, all the way to medical school. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 6)

Early Learning
Crisis brewing in MS among early learners
A report revealed that two-thirds of Mississippi’s youngest students enter school unprepared to learn and are, in fact, well below where they should be in terms of literacy. (Cabinet Report, Nov. 5)

Governance
Boards putting higher education at risk
Inattentive college and university governing boards are putting American higher education at risk, according to a new set of guidelines for trustees issued by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 6)

 

Thursday, Nov. 6

Demographics
Half of IL students considered low-income
Numbers released by the Illinois State Board of Education show that — for the first time ever — low-income children now outnumber middle-class students in the state’s schools. (Chicago Public Radio, Nov. 3)

Elections
What the GOP's win means for education
The final midterm election results are still being tallied, but Rick Hess and Mike McShane attempt to discern the outlines of what the results mean for education. (U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 5)

Postsecondary
Ballot measures, bonds and colleges
Governance change rejected in North Dakota and new student aid fund nixed in Oregon. Elsewhere, voters approved bond measures sought by higher education. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 5)

School Grades
IN approves schools' key 'A-F' grades
The State Board of Education approved "A-F" school grades showing that more than half of Indiana's 2,000-plus schools earned an A under the key school rating system. (Associated Press, Nov. 5)

Teacher Tenure
MO voters reject measure
Missouri voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to limit state teacher-tenure protections and tie educator evaluations to student performance data. (Associated Press, Nov. 4)

 

Wednesday, Nov. 5

College Textbooks
Open, but undiscovered
Faculty members see open education resources as just as good as the products produced by traditional publishers, according to a survey, but few have actually heard about OER. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 4)

Competency-based Education
UT system spearheads 'mobile-first' courses
The University of Texas system announced it is creating a competency-based education program that will offer courses students can take on mobile devices, for fields that most need graduates statewide, such as medical sciences. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 4)

Education Reform
What's big business got to do with it?
There are hopes that businesses can play a role in changing the broken "pipeline" from schooling to career, including the concept of building an "education highway" where students can enter and exit depending on where they want to go professionally. (EdSurge, Nov. 3)

Non-traditional Students
IN commission looks to help
The Indiana Commission for Higher Education says the state should make more resources available for non-traditional adult students and issued recommendations. (Inside Indiana Business, Nov. 3)

Teacher Evaluations
N.Y. teacher files suit over 'ineffective' label
A Long Island teacher has filed a lawsuit against the state Education Department charging the teacher evaluation system is statistically flawed. (Washington Post, Oct. 31)

 

Tuesday, Nov. 4

Assessments
AZ selects new standardized test
Arizona education officials awarded a $19 million contract Monday for a new set of standardized tests that students will start taking this spring. (Capitol Media Services, Nov. 3)

Minority Issues
Wealthy towns secede from impoverished districts?
If a California effort works, it could offer a template for wealthy districts around the country that have sought independence from their less well-off partners but have been stymied by allegations that they are looking out for their own children at the expense of other people’s kids. (Hechinger Report, Nov. 3)

Postsecondary
Minority Ph.D.s missing in STEM fields
Most black and Latino doctoral students in STEM fields are not earning their degrees within seven years, and many are leaving their programs. (Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 3)

Technology
AL students, teachers adjust to iPad initiative
Students, teachers and administrators are negotiating the learning curve involved with an ambitious iPad initiative launched by an Alabama city school system. (Dothan Eagle, Nov. 2)

Vouchers
Student performance better in Louisiana
Performance is improving a bit for Louisiana students attending private schools at taxpayer expense, but only about 44 percent of those students have reached a “basic” achievement level. (Associated Press, Nov. 3)

 


 

 


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