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from the Education Commission of the States
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Friday, Sept. 19

Free community college could cost OR taxpayers
A proposal to make community college free to Oregonians would cost the state from $10 million to $250 million a year, depending on which students are eligible and whether room and board are covered. (Oregon Live, Sept. 12)

High impact, low participation
Community colleges now have solid data on which strategies work best to help students get to graduation. While more colleges are using those techniques, far too few students are benefiting from them. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 18)

More pressure than ever for admissions directors
Last year was a difficult one for college admissions — with institutions reporting more and more difficulty filling their classes. Things aren't any better and they may be a little worse, according to a survey. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 18)

Student Grades
Some OH schools phasing out letter grades
Increasingly, Ohio school districts are looking to gauge if a child has reached certain standards by using number grades — rather than letter grades — that assess mastery of material within each subject. (Dayton Daily News, Sept. 16)

Student Health
N.J. aims to boost school breakfast programs
Legislation to boost breakfast programs in New Jersey schools, particularly for underprivileged children, in order to help give them a leg up on academics advanced in the Senate. (New Jersey Newsroom, Sept. 17)


Thursday, Sept. 18

Seven states propose citizenship test for H.S. students
Groups in Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah are asking lawmakers to ask high school students to take the same civics test required of those seeking citizenship. (Greenville Online, Sept. 17)

Texas may limit AP history test
Texas may limit the sway of a new national Advanced Placement U.S. History course and exam amid arguments that they're rife with anti-American biases. (The Associated Press, Sept. 17)

Early Learning
Too much homework in elementary school?
Students in middle and high school are being assigned about the same amount of homework today as they were in 1984, but the load for elementary-school students has increased. One elementary school is replacing homework in certain grades with PDF -- play, downtime and family time. (Education Week, Sept. 15)

Education Research
U.S. Senate panel clears research bill
The Senate education committee cleared an education research bill with bipartisan support, altering the House-passed version only slightly before readying it for a full Senate vote. (Education Week, Sept. 17)

Undermining Pell Grants
Hundreds of colleges charge low-income students tuition that is half or more of their household’s entire yearly income, according to a report that seeks to shed light on colleges’ aid practices and to prod Congress to change the structure of Pell Grants. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 17)


Wednesday, Sept. 17

At-Risk Students
New definition of homeless would give kids more help

A bill before Congress aims to amend the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's definition of "homelessness," which would help children and families living in motels, cars or temporarily with others to obtain needed services. (Deseret News, Sept. 15)

Early Learning
Florida suspends K-2 reading tests

An online reading test Florida required for kindergartners and other young students was halted Monday after numerous complaints about technology glitches. (Orlando Sentinel, Sept. 16)

Efforts to help graduate more needy students

Eleven public research universities around the country that enroll some of the most economically and racially diverse student bodies in the nation have formed a collaboration aimed at increasing the numbers of low-income students who start and graduate from college. (Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 16)

Teacher Prep
Poll: Public favors more rigorous teacher prep

Americans place a great amount of trust and confidence in their public schoolteachers - and in return they want a higher bar for those entering the profession and more support for the men and women educating their children. (U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 16)

With tech taking over, worries rise

Technology companies are collecting a vast amount of data about students, touching every corner of their educational lives -- with few controls on how those details are used. (The New York Times, Sept. 15)


Tuesday, Sept. 16

College Readiness
New SAT to align with Common Core
Students in the class of 2017 will take an overhauled SAT that seeks to redefine what it means to become college ready. While the traditional SAT has focused on testing students' innate abilities, the new exam will be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. (U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 12)

Early Learning
Details of Louisiana's pre-K overhaul unveiled
Two top state officials spelled out details of Louisiana’s ongoing overhaul of its often criticized early childhood education system. The changes stem from a 2012 state law, and the new setup is supposed to be effective statewide in the fall of 2015. (The Times-Picayune, Sept. 15)

Financial Literacy
Iowa officials seek to improve financial teaching
Iowa students should be learning how to make informed financial choices as part of their education, Gov. Terry Branstad said as he accepted a series of recommendations from a group charged with reviewing financial literacy teaching in the state. (The Associated Press, Sept. 15)

Boost for need-based aid
States last year doled out roughly the same amount of student aid money in 2012-13 as they did the previous year, but they increased the share of money flowing to students based on financial need, according to a new survey(Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 15)

Education groups question Texas textbooks
The new social studies textbooks up for consideration this week by the Texas Board of Education have already come under heavy fire for their emphasis on America’s Christian heritage. And another new analysis raises more red flags. (Politico, Sept. 15)

Monday, Sept. 15

Common Core
The great debate
Embrace the Common Core State Standards? Do not embrace the Common Core? That was the question in New York when four people -- two for embracing and two against -- participated in a recent debate about the controversial initiative. See the ECS report. (The Washington Post, Sept. 14)

Early Learning
IN newspaper touts early education 
If the great majority of our children are well equipped to thrive in the 21st century economy, then it's likely our state and nation will thrive as well. The reverse also is true: If they struggle, we'll all struggle. So says the editorial board of Indianapolis' largest newspaper. (Indianapolis Star, Sept. 12)

Minority Issues
CA truancy data shows racial divide 
Black elementary schoolchildren in California were chronically truant and faced suspension from school at disproportionately high rates compared to other students last year, according to a study. (The Associated Press, Sept. 12)

Postsecondary/Student Voice
Opinion: Demand open source textbooks 
A student at California State University, Fullerton, writes about textbook costs. This line stands out: In the past decade, the price for new textbooks has increased 82 percent. Look for an ECS report on open source textbooks this week. (The Daily Titan, student newspaper of CSU-Fullerton, Sept. 10)

Technology/Rural Issues
When schools can't get online 
About 70 percent of America's elementary schools still rely on slow Internet connections. But in rural areas, the challenges -- and costs -- make getting broadband particularly complicated. (The Hechinger Report, Sept. 10)


Friday, Sept. 12

Competency-Based Education
What's accreditors' role in CBE expansion?
A surge in new competency-based degree programs has created challenges for the accreditors tasked with approving them. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 10)

WA Supreme Court finds Legislature in contempt
The Washington state Supreme Court is holding the Legislature in contempt for not making enough progress toward fully funding public education but, for now, is holding off on sanctions. (The Seattle Times, Sept. 11)

Industry deepens connections with higher ed 
Corporations increasingly are investing in college programs in the quest for future employees with real-world skills. (U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 9)

Student Health and Wellness
New reports grade schools on reading, writing and recess
When parents in Colorado check state-mandated reports to see how their child's school is faring academically, they can also quickly learn if that school has a nurse, if it offers 30 minutes of daily physical activity for students, and if it has a school-based health center. (Education Week, Sept. 10)

Survey: Students like tech in the classroom
Students are optimistic about the role mobile technology can play in their education, according to a recent study. Data show 81 percent of students surveyed believe such technology helps personalize learning. (eSchool News, Sept. 9)

Thursday, Sept. 11

Common Core
What have states actually done with new standards?
Amid all the headlines in the past year of states dropping – or threatening to drop – the controversial Common Core State Standards, it can be tough to parse out just how many actually followed through. Read the ECS report. (The Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 10)

Addressing the 'murky middle'
Students who end first year with G.P.A. between 2.0 and 3.0 have been neglected by academic support programs, says research based on data from 60 institutions. Is this where colleges can have the biggest impact on retention? (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 10)

Professional Development
Does investment improve teacher outcomes? 
Billions of dollars are spent each year on teachers' professional development, but questions linger as to whether the money is helping teachers, schools and students. (The Washington Post, Sept. 6)

Teacher Evaluations
Study: Principals leery of data
Despite a trove of data on teacher effectiveness that has accumulated from the rollout of teacher-evaluation systems in recent years, many principals are not using that information to guide decisions about hiring, assignments, and professional development. (Education Week, Sept. 10)

Teaching 9/11
Teaching a new generation about a tragedy
Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11, how they found out and what they thought it meant when it happened. But as the watershed day turns 13, there is a burgeoning generation of students who did not live through it. How do younger Americans learn about 9/11? (, Sept. 10)

Wednesday, Sept. 10

Common Core (New from ECS)
States and the (not so) new standards
There has been a flurry of activity around the Common Core State Standards, and while it seems the landscape is changing all the time, there has been very limited change in state standards. A new report from ECS captures a snapshot of where states currently stand in regard to those standards. (ECS, Sept. 10)

Graduation Rates
Keeping 9th graders on track can move grad rate
Students who end their ninth grade year on track are four times more likely to earn a diploma than those who fall off-track, according to new research. (Education Week, Sept. 9)

Measuring what?
The New York Times kicked off its higher education conference by releasing what it called a "revolutionary college index" that ranks institutions that enroll students from low-income backgrounds. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 9)

Student Health
Most parents support federal standards for school meals 
A survey of more than 1,000 parents found that more than 70 percent reported being in favor of government school nutrition standards. (The Hill, Sept. 8)

Teacher Effectiveness
S.C. senators discuss teacher dismissal process
A South Carolina Senate panel is considering whether changes are needed to make it easier to get rid of incompetent teachers. But teacher advocates and attorneys said the current process works. (The Associated Press, Sept. 9)


Tuesday, Sept. 9

Early Learning
OKC schools head says repeal 3rd-grade reading law
Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu is calling on legislators to repeal the state’s third-grade reading law because he says it does not serve the individual needs of children. (The Oklahoman, Sept. 6)

Humanities are alive and kicking
Maybe the sky didn't fall on the humanities after all. A new report suggests much more stability in humanities departments between 2007-08 and 2012-13 than is widely assumed to be the case. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 8)

States collaborate to keep track of students
After frequently hitting roadblocks when trying to track students who moved out of state – whether as youngsters moving with their families or to attend college or take jobs elsewhere – several states recently participated in a pilot project to share data on student outcomes. (Stateline, Sept. 5)

State Standards
Many start behind with new TX math standards
Most Texas public school students probably started the new school year behind in math, even if their grades and STAAR scores were fine last year. That’s because the state math standards had an earthquake-size change over the summer. (Dallas Morning News, Sept. 5)

Advances open up new avenues for cheating
Cheating's nothing new. But students and educators heading back to school this month say technology is helping to take skirting the rules to a new level. (Asbury Park Press, Sept. 8)


Monday, Sept. 8

Early Learning
How NYC prepared for pre-K
New York City has hired about 1,200 teachers, instructional coaches, enrollment specialists, social workers and other employees for its ambitious pre-kindergarten program that  was put to the test when more than 50,000 4-year-olds began their first day of school. (Capital New York, Sept. 4)

Education Policy
Is Alabama a battleground state for policy and reform? 
With mid-term elections approaching, recent events in Alabama suggest the state may be a battleground for education policy and reform. (, Sept. 4)

For-profit education stocks on fire 
The for-profit education sector has gotten schooled in recent years by bad publicity and intensifying regulation, but some companies are now getting gold stars from Wall Street. (CNN Money, Sept. 7)

Teacher Certification
Indiana approves changes to certification rules
Job seekers who hold a four-year college degree and 3.0 GPA can now teach in Indiana classrooms once they pass a content knowledge exam -- even if they haven't been trained as an educator. (Chalkbeat Indiana, Sept. 3)

Teacher Pay
S.D. groups to propose teacher salary bill 
Representatives from several South Dakota education organizations will go before a legislative planning committee Monday with a plan they say would increase public school teacher salaries. (The Associated Press, Sept. 7)


Friday, Sept. 5

Early Learning/Minority Issues
In Illinois, preschool access worst for Latinos
High-quality preschool helps children from poor families prepare for kindergarten and beyond. Yet as the child poverty rate is climbing, those are the kids least likely to attend such programs. (The Hechinger Report, Sept. 4)

Where do candidates for governor stand
Each of the five Democratic and Republican candidates for governor have outlined plans ahead of the Sept. 9 primaries that they say will help improve and expand access to education and keep Massachusetts among the top rung of states in the national rankings. (The Associated Press, Sept. 3)

Gambling on the lottery
A growing number of states are using lottery money for college scholarships. But the politically popular lottery funds often fail to live up to their expectations, according to a new report from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 4)

School Schedules
How the U.S. compares
People may wonder if children in the U.S. spend less time in the classroom than kids in other countries. The answer: Not really, though it’s hard to say for sure. (Pew Research Center, Sept. 2)

Policymakers stand behind STEM push 
Although a recent study found that almost 75 percent of those who have STEM bachelor’s degrees have jobs in other fields, policymakers, advocates and executives continue to push STEM education as a way to close achievement gaps and produce U.S. innovation. (The Washington Post, Sept. 1)


Thursday, Sept. 4

Achievement Gap
Can music help underprivileged students succeed?
There is much evidence that poverty hinders the development of young brains. However, new research finds one important aspect of neural functioning is gradually strengthened when underprivileged children engage in music lessons. (Pacific Standard, Sept. 2)

Competency-based Education
Wisconsin gets approval for competency-based program
The U.S. Department of Education last week granted approval to a self-paced, competency-based program from two institutions in the University of Wisconsin System.(Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 3)

Online Education
Most TX college classes cost more online than on campus
State leaders have hailed online education as the elixir for mushrooming college costs, but online courses have proven to be more expensive for most students than traditional classrooms in Texas. (Dallas News, Sept. 2)

Officials push back on college ratings plan
Since President Obama announced his college ratings plan more than a year ago, many higher education groups here have mounted the political equivalent of a full-court press against the proposal. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 3)

Remedial Education
How a more common approach could improve success
Do states really have a solid grasp of how many and which students require remediation? Do states know whether these students succeed in, and beyond, remedial courses? A recent report suggests that answer, in most cases, is a qualified, "no." (College & Career Readiness & Success Center, Sept. 2)

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Early Learning
Minnesota rolls out free all-day kindergarten
This year, for the first time, the state of Minnesota is picking up the $134 million tab for full-day kindergarten, a move educators hope will provide an academic jump-start for the state’s youngest learners. (Star Tribune, Sept. 2) 

U.S. urged to curtail dropout rates of minority men
The federal government should require all colleges to create early-alert systems that flag students with low test scores, missing assignments, or spotty attendance. That would be one way, according to a report released on Tuesday, to curb the alarming number of minority men who drop out of college. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 2)

Book: Undergrads 'drifting' through college
Many undergraduates, according to a new book, are "drifting through college without a clear sense of purpose," with more than a third of students not demonstrating any significant improvement in learning over four years in college. (Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 2)

School Safety
Security measures increase as schools open
A number of schools have boosted security as the school year begins across the region and across the country. (The Washington Post, August 31)

Teacher Tenure
California Gov. Brown appeals ruling
Gov. Jerry Brown appealed a court ruling that struck down tenure and other job protections for California’s teachers, setting himself apart from leaders in some other states who have fought to end such protections or at least raise the standards for obtaining them. (The Associated Press, Sept. 2)

Tuesday, Sept. 2

Common Core
Debate over new standards turns political

Millions of students will sit down at computers this year to take new tests rooted in the Common Core standards for math and reading, but policymakers in many states are dealing with a variety of concerns. (The Associated Press, August 30)

Early Learning
Early ed. can boost economic, social mobility

This opinion piece argues that education officials have reason to focus on a child’s earliest years. Research shows that 90 percent of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. (The Palm Beach Post, Sept. 1)

Minority Issues
Requirements deter would-be ‘Dreamers’

An estimated 426,000 young people nationwide meet all but one of the requirements of the immigration program launched two years ago: a high school diploma or GED.(Los Angeles Times, Sept. 1)

Little consensus on MOOCs in higher ed.

The low percentage of students who complete massive, open, online courses on their own have educators rethinking how the new format for college coursework can best be put to use. (PBS, August 27)

What it takes for schools to ‘go digital’

With a laptop program and blended learning initiative, some school officials are joining a nationwide movement intended to transform public education through the use of technology. (The Hechinger Report, August 28)



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