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Monday, June 29

At-Risk Students
NY to target students on verge of homelessness
The New York City Education Department is teaming up for the first time with the Department of Homeless Services to target students who are at risk for becoming homeless. Workers from both agencies are visiting 25 of the city’s most at-risk schools this week to raise awareness of available services. (New York Daily News, June 24)

Education Funding
Federal education funding is plummeting
Over the last five years, Congress has cut federal funding for K-12 education by nearly 20 percent, about five times more than overall spending cuts, according to a new report. (U.S. News & World Report, June 24)

Education Funding
Judge: PA Ed. Dept. on hook for curriculum deficiencies
Following budget cuts started in the 2011-2012 school year, parents in Philadelphia filed 825 complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. A Commonwealth Court judge shared an opinion on an ensuing lawsuit supporting some of the parents' complaints and moving the case forward. (NewsWorks, June 23)

Financial Aid
No cushion for more low-income students
Nearly three-quarters of the 8.6 million students who received the federal Pell Grant to attend college last year reported having no savings or other cash on hand. That compares to 60 percent of federal grant recipients five years earlier. (Washington Post, June 24)

Student Health
CA votes to remove vaccine exemptions
The California Assembly has joined the state Senate in voting to approve a controversial bill requiring all children attending school to be vaccinated against measles and other common, preventable illnesses -- effectively eliminating so-called "personal belief exemptions" that allowed parents to opt out. (NPR, June 25)


Friday, June 26

DE advances opt-out bill
In a see-saw drama, the Delaware House of Representatives first rejected but then revived the controversial bill to allow parents to opt out of the state standardized test. That means one of the most fiercely debated bills of this legislative session ping-pongs back to the Senate. (News Journal, June 24)

College Remediation
FL seeks better picture of law’s affect
Colleges across Florida are getting a more accurate look at how changes in the state’s remedial law have affected students. Traditional students who decided not to take remedial courses, after being advised to do so, were more likely to fail college-level or gateway courses. (Inside Higher Ed, June 25)

Computer Science
Should IA require the course?
Iowa high school students should have to complete computer science coursework to graduate, a state committee recommended. (Des Moines Register, June 23)

Higher Ed Accountability
Ratings without ... rating
A U.S. Department of Education accountability system planned for release this summer will not compare colleges or assign scores, but will instead be a data-rich, consumer-facing tool on access, affordability and performance. (Inside Higher Ed, June 25)

No Child Left Behind
Feds extend more waivers
The Obama administration is giving seven more states – Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and West Virginia – and the District of Columbia continued flexibility from the requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law. (Associated Press, June 23)


Thursday, June 25

In CO, STEAM helps with STEM
Much of Colorado’s economic future depends on a coordinated effort by schools, universities, governments and businesses to produce a workforce trained with an emphasis on STEM subjects. But others say that focus shouldn’t obscure the value of education in the arts and humanities to a quality workforce. (Denver Business Journal, June 23)

OR Gov. Brown makes opt outs easier
Gov. Kate Brown announced that she signed a bill making it easier for parents to opt their children out of taking state standardized tests. But she said educators and state officials should convince parents not to do so. (Oregonian, June 23)

Common Core
Years in, teachers lament lack of materials
Five years into the implementation of Common Core, 45 percent of school districts reported "major problems" finding good aligned textbooks, and another 45 percent reported "minor problems," according to a survey. (Associated Press, June 23)

Financial Education
Knowledge of potential earnings empowers students
Researchers have discovered that providing students with information about earnings from a particular degree program led low-income students to choose programs that will likely enable them to earn more by age 30 than they might have otherwise. (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, June 22)

Student Health
NJ looks at marijuana use for sick students
As the family of a severely ill teenage girl in south Jersey sues for her right to consume medical marijuana oil at school, two state lawmakers introduced a bill that would require school boards to set policies that would allow it to be used in schools across the state. (, June 23)


Wednesday, June 24

Charter Schools
IN sees burst of new charters since ’11
The number of charter schools in Indiana has grown rapidly since a 2011 state law passed expanding authority to approve and oversee them to new sponsors, and the acceleration looks likely to continue over the next two years. (Chalkbeat Indiana, June 22)

Financial Aid
OR looks at scholarships for undocumented immigrants
Democratic leaders have given the green light to a bill that would make certain illegal immigrants in Oregon eligible for state-funded, need-based college scholarships. The bill also would award state opportunity grants to the neediest students first instead of on a “first come, first serve” basis. (Register-Guard,  June 17)

Poor hurt most as states cut financial aid
Twelve states plus Washington D.C. now spend more on merit-based aid than need-based aid, and many others have increased funding for scholarships based on academic achievement instead of need. Some states have cut financial aid for everybody, leaving hundreds of thousands of eligible low-income students without help simply because the states’ money ran out. (Hechinger Report, June 22)

School Accountability
UT Board discusses further changes
Members of the Utah State Board of Education gave preliminary approval to adopt more changes to the state’s school grading system, a controversial accountability program that gives schools a letter grade based on year-end assessments and other metrics. (KSL, June 20)

Special Education
Some funding in LA could change
A controversial special education bill will become effective when Gov. Bobby Jindal signs it into law, the state Education Department's attorney confirmed. The recent legal opinion is an answer to some educators' questions. (Times-Picayune, June 22)


Tuesday, June 23

NY schools swap tests for projects 
Nearly 50 Manhattan schools have a waiver from the state to offer alternatives to most of the five Regents tests required to graduate. Students still must take the English exam but for the others they can provide portfolios or special projects. (WNYC, June 22)

Course Placement
Test sending too many into remediation
ACT is phasing out Compass, a popular course placement test that colleges use to determine whether students need to take remedial courses. Recent research has shown that Compass – and similar exams – funnels too many community college students into remediation. (Inside Higher Ed, June 18)

Low-Income Students
MA revises count of impoverished students 
Massachusetts has scrapped a decades-old method for defining low-income students in public schools, resulting in a dramatic decline in the number considered to be living in poverty, according to a review of state data. (Boston Globe, June 22)

Teacher Effectiveness
CA to spend $500M to boost effectiveness 
Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature have agreed to allocate a half billion dollars for a range of programs to enhance “teacher effectiveness” in California, the largest amount to be dedicated for that purpose in years. (EdSource, June 19)

Teacher Issues
CT officials try to lure bilingual teachers
Education officials in Danbury, Conn., hope an infusion of state funds and new legislation will help attract more bilingual teachers, who they say are desperately needed for students learning English. (News Times, June 17)


Monday, June 22

Common Core
Standards back on LA’s BESE agenda
The volatile debate on how to revise Common Core is out of the Legislature but far from settled. A committee of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is set to approve 101 nominees to four panels that will spend weeks reviewing the new academic benchmarks. (Acadiana Advocate, June 18)

Degree Pathways
2 in 5 associate degrees lead to bachelor's
A new study shows that more than 60 percent of students who earned an associate degree when they were 20 years old or younger went on to earn a bachelor's within six years. For all students who earned an associate degree, 41 percent finished a bachelor's degree within six years. (Inside Higher Ed, June 17)

Education Funding
PA commission calls for sweeping overhaul
A state commission called for a sweeping overhaul of Pennsylvania's education-funding formula, aimed at closing the nation's biggest spending gap between richer and poorer districts. (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 18)

Online Learning
NV Gov. Sandoval endorses online university startup
Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a proclamation endorsing Western Governors University Nevada, a nonprofit online institution that offers competency-based undergraduate and advance college degrees in business, teaching, information technology and health professions. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 16)

Postsecondary Admissions
ID Board considers pre-accepting students
In an attempt to boost Idaho’s go-on rate, the State Board of Education is considering a “direct admissions” policy that would turn the college application process on its head. Instead of waiting for high school seniors to apply, the board could start pre-accepting qualified students to Idaho colleges and universities and send them letters to let them know they’re in. (Idaho EdNews, June 15)


Friday, June 19

Many in MA want to suspend standardized testing
A decision is needed on whether to scrap the long-running MCAS exam in favor of a new test tied to the national Common Core curriculum standards. Some school districts have been piloting the new exam, which education officials say will offer a better gauge of preparedness for college. (Mass Live, June 15)

Early Learning
AR kindergartners to learn engineering skills 
New science standards for Arkansas students for the first time include engineering courses beginning in kindergarten. High school students will also start learning earth science statewide. (NPR, June 15)

High School Graduation
Summer school enrollment jumps in CA district
The Los Angeles Unified School District is expanding its summer school program to 65,000 students as the district attempts to help them meet higher graduation standards. (KPCC, June 17)

Teacher Evaluations
NY evaluation wins final approval
The approved regulations allow school districts to create plans that give state tests and locally selected tests equal weight in a teacher’s final rating. The state had proposed offering the “50-50” option only for districts considered to have high-quality local assessments available. (Chalkbeat New York, June 16)

Teacher Prep
After lambasting teacher-ed programs, Art Levine creates one
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, headed by  Arthur Levine, is creating its own graduate school for teacher education in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offering master’s degrees through a competency-based program. (Chronicle of Higher Education, June 16)


Thursday, June 18

PA Senate approves exams delay
The state Senate unanimously passed a bill that would delay by two years a requirement that high school students pass Pennsylvania's Keystone exams – proficiency tests in algebra 1, biology and literature – to graduate. (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 16)

Campus Safety 
NY to define consent to combat sexual assaults
Under a deal between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, New York will have a statewide definition of affirmative consent as part of a law to combat campus sexual assaults. (Journal News, June 16)

English Language Learners
Court rules in favor of AZ English-language case
A ruling by a federal appeals court has all but ended a two-decade legal fight over Arizona's program for teaching English to children in schools. Arizona believes its program to educate students who don't speak English fluently meets all the necessary requirements, but opponents say it's a deeply flawed policy. (Associated Press, June 15)

High School Graduation
IN diplomas to get an overhaul
Students starting high school in 2018 would have three diploma options instead of four under a new – a college and career ready, honors and workforce ready. Currently there are four options: general, Core 40, Core 40 honors and career and technical honors diplomas. (Chalkbeat Indiana, June 16)

K-12 Curriculum
CO principals take advantage of flexibility plan
Nearly one-fifth of Denver principals are taking the district up on an offer to opt their schools out of centrally provided curriculum or professional development programs next school year and instead choose their own. (Chalkbeat Colorado, June 16)


Wednesday, June 17

College Completion
MA board ties additional funding to grad rates
The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education is hoping to focus attention on and increase the incentive for the state's public colleges and universities to see that more students graduate and in a timely manner. (Republican, June 16)

Distance Learning
Opinion: The good and bad of online ed
Take a look at one opinion about some of the positives and negatives of online versus traditional education gleaned from experience teaching both types of courses. (Fiscal Times, June 16)

Dual Enrollment
KY looks to expand programs
While a few hundred Kentucky students are benefitting from the tuition-free residential programs for high school juniors and seniors, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said he is concerned about the state's remaining 43,000 high school students who could benefit from dual-credit programs in their home districts. (Lexington Herald-Leader, June 14)

Education Funding
A winner in LA’s state budget: K-12 education
In a session focused on a higher education funding crisis, the Louisiana Legislature gave primary and secondary schools a boost. The budget includes $3.7 billion for public schools. (Times-Picayune, June 15)

Teacher Training
Changing how teachers are taught
The training that teachers receive for their jobs is no obscure matter. Evidence increasingly points to teacher quality as the most important factor in determining how much students learn. (Christian Science Monitor, June 16)


Tuesday, June 16

NH Gov. Hassan vetoes opt-out bill
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed legislation that would have allowed parents to opt their students out of Common Core-aligned tests without consequences for the students or districts. Hassan said the bill could jeopardize federal funding and would send a message that the state doesn’t value high standards. (Associated Press, June 13)

College Credentials
An attempt to bring clarity to credentialing
Lumina Foundation announced that it has created a group to develop a framework and common language for the growing number of credentials, which range from degrees to alternative forms like badges and industry certifications. (Inside Higher Ed, June 12)

Common Core
Arkansas board rejects changing standardized test provider
The Arkansas state Board of Education voted to reject a request from the governor and a panel of education advisers to change the state's standardized test provider. Gov. Asa Hutchinson had recommended that Arkansas move from the PARCC exams to ACT tests. The state's current contract with PARCC expires June 30. (Associated Press, June 11)

Common Core
IA Board of Education: State exam is our decision
An analysis by the Iowa Department of Education says the Iowa Board of Education has the authority to determine the next state standardized exam, a conclusion that brings the board one step closer to adopting the controversial Smarter Balanced tests. (Des Moines Register, June 11)

Teacher Issues
Student teaching key to teacher retention
A new report has found that 82 percent of teachers who were trained by Urban Teacher Residency United, which partners with both San Francisco Unified and Aspire, the charter school organization that has 36 schools in California, were still teaching after five years on the job. (EdSource, June 11)


Friday, June 12

College Affordability
A path to debt-free college
Seeking to put some policy heft behind the vision of debt-free college, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined a sweeping college affordability agenda to "dramatically reform" higher education. (Inside Higher Ed, June 11)

Higher Ed Funding
Federal dollars finance ever-greater share
When it comes to government funding for higher education, the decline in state support is well documented. But a report shows that from 2000-2012, spending from federal sources per full-time-equivalent student increased by 32 percent, while state spending dropped by 37 percent. (Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11)

School Funding
CA to get huge funding increase
A projected infusion of California revenue next year will inject much more money into the new K-12 education finance system than school districts and state officials expected at this point — a additional $6.1 billion. (EdSource, June 9)

School Funding
WA Senate offers another way to fix budget
A new bipartisan bill from the Washington Senate makes another attempt at eliminating the state's dependence on local tax levies to pay for public schools, but it doesn't offer a concrete way to pay for it. (Associated Press, June 10)

Workforce Development
Remediation for job seekers
A growing number of two-year colleges are partnering directly with employers to create course content aimed at the skills those companies say they need. For example, a new consortium of four community colleges will work on course content with big companies in advanced manufacturing and financial services. (Inside Higher Ed, June 11)


Thursday, June 11

Common Core
OR may lose $140 million for enabling kids to skip tests
Oregon schools stand to lose $140 million a year or more in federal funding if state lawmakers vote to enable parents to opt out of standardized testing more easily, a top U.S. education official is warning. Under H.B. 2655, the state would generate two performance ratings for schools with high opt-outs.(Oregonian, June 9)
Education Funding
Few states have boosted funding since recession
A new report based on public school funding and Department of Education data has revealed that only four states have increased education funding since 2008 and defined states by "fairness" in education funding using different measures. (McClatchy, June 8)

High School Graduation
IA leads nation in grad rate
The national high school graduation rate is an impressive 81 percent. So impressive, President Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union address this year: "Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high." And Iowa leads all states with 90 percent. (NPR, June 9)

Minority Issues
7 Native American education bills to watch
Congress has before it several pieces of legislation that could have major impacts on the education of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian children. (Indian Country, June 10)

Changing the education equation
Education is a long-accepted tradition, but when compared with nearly every sector of the economy, is also one that’s lagged in adapting to the times. That’s the culprit of a big learning disconnect with the most diverse and connected generation in history. (Forbes, June 10)


Wednesday, June 10

College transfer 
ME announce sweeping credit transfer deal
Maine’s university and community college systems signed an agreement that will allow students to complete more than a year of general education classes and transfer them between any of the state’s 14 public institutions. (Portland Press Herald, June 8)

Common Core
AR to pull out of PARCC testing
Arkansas will change its provider of standardized tests, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced, the first shake up from an ongoing review of whether to retain Common Core standards. The state will terminate its agreement with PARCC and instead contract with ACT and ACT Aspire for the 2015-16 school year. (Arkansas Business, June 8)

Common Core
TN begins rigorous review of standards
After more than a year of debate and a six-month public review of the Common Core State Standards, a 42-member committee of educators from across the state set to work, tasked with weeding through 4,000 pages of feedback and drafting a new set of academic standards that are more Tennessee-specific. (Chalkbeat Tennessee, June 3)

Early Learning
MD embraces play for kindergartners
Concerned that kindergarten has become overly academic in recent years, this suburban school district south of Baltimore is introducing a new curriculum in the fall for 5-year-olds. Chief among its features is a most old-fashioned concept: play. (New York Times, June 9)

Student Debt 
Corinthian Colleges debt relief unveiled
The federal government will forgive the debt of thousands of former students of the now-defunct for-profit Corinthian Colleges. The Obama administration announced a new debt relief plan that will extend to all federal borrowers who can prove they were defrauded by their college. (Inside Higher Ed, June 9)


Tuesday, June 9

Face-to-face, cyberbullying form toxic combo
Not all bullying is equal, according to a new study, with the old-fashioned, real-life variety more damaging than the cyber kind. A combination of both, however, could be the real danger to kids. (Today News, June 3)

College Transfers
Many credits lost in the transfer shuffle
Even with articulation agreements between two-year and four-year institutions, a significant number of credits may end up lost in the shuffle. With more political and education leaders convinced that smooth transfer is essential to more people earning more degrees, the issue is attracting more attention. (Inside Higher Ed, June 8)

Common Core
Compromise will get overwhelming approval in LA
Louisiana lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed legislation for a compromise over the Common Core academic standards. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would drive the review of Common Core and possible development of new standards. (Times-Picayune, June 5)

Early Learning 
New CO early childhood non-profit launches
A new non-profit, Early Milestones Colorado, is meant to accelerate innovation by serving as an intermediary to the various state agencies, community organizations and private sector groups that do early childhood work in the state. (Chalkbeat Colorado, June 5)

Postsecondary Tenure
WI debate roils UW Board of Regents
With angry faculty members from several campuses looking on, a committee of University of Wisconsin System regents voted to go along with the intent of Republican legislative leaders in broadening the reasons in which tenured faculty can be dismissed. (Journal-Sentinel, June 4)


Monday, June 8

Academic Standards
NJ unveils plans for standards review
New Jersey’s top education official said that he will unveil plans for a sweeping review of academic standards to answer Gov. Chris Christie’s call for an overhaul. The governor said that the Common Core set of standards “simply isn’t working” and was a case of federal overreach. (The Record, June 3)

MI policy would ban opt outs in Ann Arbor 
An Ann Arbor Public Schools policy could require all students to take state exams, and consequences of not taking the exam could be severe for some students. If students don't take all state assessments, the district could remove the students from application-based schools and programs. (, June 3)

Charter Schools
CT overhaul bill heads to Gov. Malloy
A bill changing how Connecticut approves charter school applications, and also requiring a new level of transparency on the schools and their management organizations, is on its way to Dannel P. Malloy’s desk. (CT News Junkie, June 3)

School Safety
New CO bill raises questions
A bill signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper has school districts across the state wondering how it will impact them. The measure makes school districts and individual teachers subject to lawsuits if they don’t “exercise reasonable care” in guarding against major school violence incidents, such as shootings or sexual assaults. However, the question school districts are asking is, what is reasonable? (Daily Sentinel, June 3)

Workforce Development
More corporations paying employees’ tuition
Several companies have announced recently that they will pay to send their employees to college – or back to college. At the same time, many institutions have entered or are in the process of entering the adult learner market.(Inside Higher Ed, June 3)


Friday, June 5

Civic Education
IL class required for graduation
For the first time in a decade, Illinois is preparing to add another requirement to the list of classes high school students must take to get their diplomas — a civics course — and it's generating controversy, confusion and opposition. (Chicago Tribune, June 3)

Common Core
MO throws test out the window
Missouri public school children spent untold hours this spring prepping for a new computer-based standardized test. That test has now been banned by the Legislature. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 3)

Student Health
Some MD schools to provide free meals for all
Maryland's Hunger-Free Schools Act makes it possible for low-income schools to provide free meals to all students, cutting down on hunger and embarrassment. (Christian Science Monitor, June 2) 

Teacher Evaluations
NY teacher can challenge rating
A veteran elementary teacher won the first round of her legal challenge to New York’s evaluation system, which she contends is unfair to her and colleagues because of statistical flaws. (Newsday, June 3)
Teacher Tenure
NC attempt to end tenure ruled unconstitutional
In a state where public schoolteachers have marched on the state Capitol and staged walk-ins to protest pay and policy reforms, the N.C. Court of Appeals issued a ruling that buoyed the spirits of the rallying educators and struck a blow to the Republican education agenda in North Carolina.. (The News & Observer, June 2)


Thursday, June 4

College Tuition
OR bill to waive tuition concerns leaders
A bill that would waive tuition for Oregon community college courses has triggered concerns among community college associations and presidents that adequate funding and infrastructure are not in place to properly implement the proposal. (Statesman Journal, June 2)

Early College
MS to open first early college program
Mississippi will offer a program that allows students who successfully finish it to graduate with two degrees: a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. The program is similar to one in rural North Carolina. (Hechinger Report, May 31)

Performance-based Funding
MN colleges must meet higher standards
Minnesota public colleges and universities will have to make more progress in increasing graduation rates, cutting costs and awarding degrees to receive full funding. In the higher education funding bill, state lawmakers withheld 5 percent of funding for fiscal year 2017 until institutions meet a handful of targets. (Duluth News Tribune, June 1)

School Performance
NV bill focuses on underperforming schools
Nevada’s Assembly approved legislation that allows the state to designate underperforming public schools as turnaround schools and requires school districts to lay off the least effective teachers and administrators when staff reductions are necessary. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 1)

New app can essentially predict GPA
In a small experiment, researchers at Dartmouth College have shown that data automatically collected by an Android app can guess how students are spending their time, predicting their end-of-term grades with scary accuracy. (NPR, June 2)


Wednesday, June 3

College Board, Khan Academy team up on SAT prep
The revised version of the SAT college entrance exam won't be offered until March but students can start preparing for it with a new, free online study program affiliated with the test. The College Board has joined forces with Khan Academy. (Los Angeles Times, June 2)

Minority Issues
Feds approve first waiver for tribal school
The Obama administration for the first time granted an Indian tribe's school flexibility from some of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law. The waiver will allow the school to have its own standard for measuring yearly progress, one that is different from the state's. (Associated Press, June 1)

Private Schools
LA, Feds debate monitoring of vouchers
The U.S. Justice Department defended its attempt to monitor Louisiana’s private school voucher program during a hearing in New Orleans. But one of the three judges was clearly skeptical of the government's argument. (Times-Picayune, June 2)

GA wants to fully digital by 2020
Georgia’s goal is to have all instructional content purchased by local school boards to be in an electronic format and all local school systems to provide a wireless computer device to each of their students as the principal source of reading or accessing instructional content by July 1, 2020. (Ledger-Enquirer, May 30)

Undocumented Students
CT expands eligibility for in-state tuition
State lawmakers approved a bill that requires the state’s public colleges to offer in-state tuition to children who attended a Connecticut high school for two years. It also would allow immigrant children who are victims of labor abuses or sex trafficking to pay in-state tuition. (CT Mirror, May 29)




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