- In State of Union, Obama Pitches College Access, Child-Care Aid, Education Week: In his second-to-last SOTU, President Obama discussed expanding college access, investing in early childhood education, covering childcare costs, and ensuring we’re giving every child a chance for a successful future.
- Chancellor Set to Centralize Management of NYC Schools, NY Times: Chancellor Fariña is set to make some changes to the decentralized school system—a hallmark of the previous administration. The plans signal a turn to a more top-down management structure that existed before Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002.
- Redesigning Schools for Today’s Students & Beyond, edSurge: NSVF new leader Stacey Childress lays out a vision for the organization focused on new school designs. In this piece she says that the organization is going to “find and fund high-potential teams with innovative school designs, support their planning, and connect them to each other.”
- Majority of US Public School Students in Poverty, Washington Post: For the first time in 50 years, the majority of students in public schools come from low-income families, as measured by the school lunch program, the federal proxy for poverty.
- Silicon Valley Turns Its Eye to Education, NY Times: This piece examines investors’ interests in edtech and specifically looks at the different business models that are being tested on the market from free, to freemium, to fees-for-service/product.
- Obama Proposes Student Digital Privacy Act, The Journal: The White House has been busy this month—a new proposal is designed to ensure that the data being collected in an educational context is used for ONLY educational purposes. This is an especially important proposal that the edtech community at-large will need to take into consideration.
- Emanuel Unveils Second Term Agenda, Chicago Sun: Mayor Emanuel released his priorities for schools with a significant focus on high schools. Among the agenda items, he will be proposing that computer science becomes a graduation requirement for high schoolers.
- Arne Duncan To Call for NCLB Revamp, Politico: Many anticipated Sec. Duncan’s address this month, which included a plan for completely revamping the 14 year-old law. The law expired in 2007 and efforts to revise parts of it over the years have all failed.
- Quality Counts Introduces New State Report Card, Education Week: In the annual assessment of all-things K-12 in this country, Education Week has ranked the states once again on the biggest “chance for success”. The nation as a whole received a C grade; while MA maintained its top position with a B.
- Inside the Brain of a Struggling Reader, District Administration: This blog post examines why a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for every child, and how brain differences play a crucial role in literacy development.
- After-School & Youth Development Programs Support CCSS Implementation, Ed Week Opinion: There is an emerging need for the afterschool and youth development fields to support K-12 efforts to close the opportunity gap and improve student outcomes. Two leaders at School’s Out Washington have some suggestions on how OST programs can be innovative partners in implementing the CCSS.
- Author Offers Guide to Bringing Games into the Classroom, Games + Learning: A NJ middle school teacher has for years integrated digital games into the classroom and now he’s written a guidebook for teachers who want to gamify their classrooms. It’s part history of gaming and education and includes practical advice as well as a big picture look at the state of innovation in ed.
- Is Duolingo’s Move to Schools a Model for Edtech Market or Outlier? Games + Learning: This month the language app announced it would be launching a school version, allowing teachers to track students. It will remain completely free, and many in the edu-world are already anticipating its success since it can be easily adopted with existing hardware and there are no purchasing system to go through.
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Blended Learning, MindShift: This blog post examines some of the successes that blended learning has had—such as using tech to understand how to better group students. However, many of the teachers in the article note that just because you’re using a program with fancy tech does not mean it will do the teaching for you; you must be quick on your feet and make the program work for your students.
- 2015: The Year of Curriculum-Based Reform?, Fordham Institute Blog: In what is being called one of the most ignored aspects of education reform, the author of this blog post is hopeful that this is the year that content gets some much-needed attention. The light has been cast on how large the gaps in learning actually are in this country, in part because of the CCSS. The conclusion: curriculum and content matter.
- Ten for ’15: Looking Back and Forging Ahead, Huffington Post: Classroom, Inc. board member Michael Levine examines five major takeaways from past ed reform efforts (such as accountability and standards) and includes five resolutions (such as putting families and teachers as top priorities).
- Kids & Family Reading Report: Scholastic is out with a new study that shows that in-school reading time is critical to developing a love of reading.
- Building a Better School Day: A new report focuses on how schools are using fed incentives to add more learning time to the school year. A few of the big takeaways included: challenges persist to reconfigure the school day like bus schedules and teachers’ contracts; community partnerships are key to providing extra services that go beyond the school budget; and education officials need greater flexibility in how the extra time is implemented so that individual student needs can be met.
- Digital Badges: Here’s a stellar fact sheet from the Alliance for Excellent Education on digital badging.