- Congress Tweaks School Improvement Grants, i3 in Spending Bill, Education Week: Congress got rid of Obama’s signature Race to the Top initiative in the omnibus bill, but did keep SIG and i3. However, it looks like i3 will take a different approach by focusing solely on high school redesign.
- NYC Teachers Score Highly Under New Evaluation System, NY Times: 9 out of 10 NYC teachers received one of the top two rankings under the new evaluation system.
- Few Girls, Minorities Took AP Computer Science Exams, Education Week: As the exam celebrated its 30th year, more students are taking the test however girls and minorities remain woefully under-represented. In Montana, not a single girl, African American or Hispanic student took the test.
- NY State Education Commissioner to Leave Post, NY Times: John King will leave his post for a high-level position under Sec. Arne Duncan. The staunch advocate for the Common Core will leave the state at the end of the year.
- FCC Pumps Additional $1.5B into E-Rate Funding, US News & World Report: This month, the FCC approved additional funds to help schools that need the most support with access to technology and high-speed internet. The program has received flat funding for more than a decade, so this is a significant development.
- EdTech Market Grows More than 5%, Education Week: Education business sold nearly $8.4 billion in digital products to the US pre-K-12 market in 2012-2013, according to preliminary survey results released by the Software & Information Industry Association.
- YC Ramped up Afterschool Programs Over Safety, Supper and Sports, The Hechinger Report: Thousands more kids are attending afterschool programs in the nation’s largest school district. The programs have the potential to fill a gaping need of extended learning time, but critics are asking where is the academic rigor.
- LA Unified to Offer Chromebooks, LA Times: In what feels like weekly developments in the LAUSD tech saga, the district will give schools the option to buy Chromebooks instead of mandating iPads like last year.
- Here’s a Plan To Turnaround US Education, and Generate $225 Trillion, Forbes: Forbes is running a special section on transforming US education. The company brought together researchers, ed policy experts, and education investors. It’s a lengthy but truly informative piece about some of the biggest levers for improving ed. Want to know one of the key elements? Blended learning.
- Big Districts Push Publishers on Digital Content, Education Week: A handful of large districts are pushing big publishers to overhaul the way they deliver instructional materials, a movement that experts say could upend long-established purchasing patterns and help educators easily access materials from multiple vendors.
- Are We On the Verge of a Mass CCSS Repeal? The Hechinger Report: Last month’s elections spell trouble for the CCSS. With the standards increasingly being assailed by conservatives as federal intrusion into public education, and with 2/3 of state law-making bodies being controlled by Republicans, a new round of scrutiny on the standards is predicted.
- It Pays to Increase Your Word Power, Fordham Institute Blog: This blog examines the advantages of increasing the size of a child’s vocabulary, and how that will be absolutely key for closing the achievement gap. “The promise of achievement and upward mobility depend upon a base level of language proficiency.”
- Key To Scaling in EdTech, edSurge: Co-founder of GSV Michael Moe recently discussed the major themes driving innovation in education and investments in startups. He also asks the question many are pondering: will this freemium thing really work?
- Focus on Middle Grades Seen As Pivotal to HS and College Readiness, Ed Week College Bound Blog: There is a growing movement to motivate young adolescents and get them planning for their futures. The United Way just wrapped up a program in 13 cities that encouraged school-community partnerships aimed at improving outcomes of 10-15 year olds.
- Student Reading Practices Lag Far Behind National Goals, The Journal: Renaissance Learning, which produces an integrated reading program and delivers online quizzes to students on the books they’ve read, reports that students are reading far fewer non-fiction texts than the recommendations from National Assessment of Educational Progress requires.
- Four Lessons from DC Teachers Who Catalyzed City Wide School Redesign, edSurge: In this opinion piece, the author studies the ways that two schools in DC—E L Haynes Public Charter School and Wheatley Education Campus, are re-imagining student learning to better personalize instruction.
- Edtech Implementation Without Supports Cannot Stand, Ed Week blog: Successful edtech implementations are tough stuff, this blog notes. And what gets most often overlooked? Ongoing support for teachers in using the different tools.
- The A-Games Project: A new study out of University of Michigan examines the way teachers use digital games for formative assessment. The report was created from a survey of about 500 teachers in the fall of 2013.
- Near-Term Effects of Summer Learning on Learning Opportunities: The Wallace Foundation issued a report on the impact of voluntary summer learning on students from low-income communities. Findings are interesting: there is improved performance on math assessments, yet no impact on assessments of reading.
- New Census Bureau Stats Show How Young Adults Compare to Previous Generations: Compared to their counterparts in 1980, young adults today are more likely to be foreign born, speak another language, and 1 in 5 are living in poverty as compared to 1 in 7.