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Note: Some news services have complicated registration systems. While we realize some readers may have trouble accessing these articles, we do occasionally include summaries of articles that we think are particularly valuable.

 

 

to ECS e-clips
from the Education Commission of the States

A daily bite of top state education news.

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Friday, July 25

Common Core
OK board votes again to delay standards-adoption plan
Oklahoma State Board of Education members said they need more time to gather information before approving the framework for developing new standards in math and English, voting to again delay adopting a formal plan to replace Common Core. (The Oklahoman, July 23)

Postsecondary
Baby steps for reauthorization of Higher Education Act
The U.S. House unanimously passed legislation boosting competency-based education and overwhelmingly approved an overhaul of how the Education Department discloses college data. The votes marked the first time that a body of Congress has formally weighed in on the ongoing efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. (Inside Higher Ed, July 24)

Student Achievement
Double dose of math has diminishing returns
Students required to take two math classes as sixth graders made gains initially but experienced a "fadeout" once they returned to a regular, one-math-class-a-year schedule, a new study has found. (Orlando Sentinel, July 23)

Student Health
Two Missouri districts to offer free meals for all
Beginning this August, two school districts in Kansas City will take advantage of a new federal provision that will give every one of their students free breakfast and lunch. Qualifying districts with high percentages of students receiving food assistance can trade their loss in revenue for savings in the expensive paperwork and bureaucracy in managing lunch accounts. (Kansas City Star, July 23)

Teacher Tenure
California seeks final ruling on teacher tenure
California Gov. Jerry Brown did not say if he plans to appeal a Los Angeles judge's decision to strike down tenure and other job protections for the state's teachers. Republican lawmakers and Democratic school reform advocates have been lobbying the governor to resist union pressure to challenge the ruling. (The Associated Press, July 23)

 

Thursday, July 24

Competency-based Education
Education Dept. will test student aid not based on credit hour
The U.S. Department of Education will give its blessing — and grant federal aid eligibility — to colleges' experimentation with competency-based education and prior learning assessment. The department announced a new round of its “experimental sites” initiative, which waives certain rules for federal aid programs so institutions can test new approaches without losing their aid eligibility. (Inside Higher Ed, July 23)

Early Learning
A path forward for early education reform
A new report charts a path forward for early learning in America with a series of essential improvements — and a few bold ideas that could fundamentally change the design of the birth-to-third-grade educational spectrum. (Forbes, July 22)

School Calendar
N.C. school experiments with year-round schedule
A public elementary school in North Carolina is beginning a three-year experiment by running on a year-round schedule for the first time. The students will get the same number of school days as others in the district, just distributed differently. (Western North Carolina Public Radio, July 21)

Teacher Compensation
Report: Experienced teachers earn meager income
Relatively low salaries for experienced teachers with bachelor's degrees are the norm, not the exception, in the U.S., according to a new report. For example, the average teacher in South Dakota with a bachelor's degree and 10 years of experience earns $33,600 per year — less than the average South Dakotan auto-repair worker. (Vox, July 23)

Technology
The modernization of computer science education
Most people are aware that there aren't enough engineers graduating from college today. By 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs available, but only enough graduates to fill 30 percent of these jobs. What can be done? (TechCrunch, July 23)

 

Wednesday, July 23

Common Core
Louisiana Gov. Jindal sued over Common Core
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards are suing Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy. Jindal said in a statement that the lawsuit has no merit. (The Associated Press, July 22)

Common Core/Postsecondary
Report: Colleges, universities need to get involved
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is supposed to prepare K-12 students for higher education — but college and university faculty members and administrators remain largely removed from planning and rolling out these new assessments and standards, according to a report. (Inside Higher Ed, July 22)

Early Learning
Opinion: What K-12 can learn from early education
K-12 policymakers could learn from the pre-K field, where educators serve families as well as children and many states offer incentives for teacher preparation, according to a member of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care. (Education Week, July 18)

No Child Left Behind
Feds reject Washington's request for exemption
Washington state has lost its latest bid for flexibility under the federal No Child Left Behind law, state officials said. U.S. Department of Education officials rejected a request made about a month ago by Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. (The Oregonian, July 21)

Postsecondary
Bill Gates talks performance funding, MOOCs
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates touched on a myriad of issues facing higher education institutions during a keynote address at the annual conference of the National Association of College and University Business Officers, touching on several key issues. (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 21)

 

Tuesday, July 22

Education Innovation
Report: U.S. ranks near the bottom
U.S. schools and classrooms rank near the bottom among the countries studied in a first-ever report on education innovation by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Only the Czech Republic and Austria ranked lower, with New Zealand tying the United States. (Education Week, July 20)

Minority Issues
Colleges woo Native Americans with new programs
a growing number of universities are offering programs to recruit and prepare Native American students for a transition to college life that can bring on a wrenching emotional conflict as they straddle two worlds. (The Associated Press, July 21)

Minority Issues
Top districts pledge to improve education for minority males
Sixty of the country's largest school districts, which enroll about 40 percent of all African-American and Hispanic male youths living in poverty, will join an initiative aimed at improving education for those students. (The New York Times, July 20)

Postsecondary
FAFSA fix will mean less aid for many
The U.S. Education Department will automatically reprocess the student-aid applications of tens of thousands of applicants who inadvertently overreported their income this year, costing many of the applicants their Pell Grants, the department has announced. (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 21)

Teaching Quality
Arizona struggles with lack of experienced teachers
Arizona has been grappling with a shortage of established teachers in public schools across the state, according to education officials. Large numbers of new teachers and teachers getting ready to retire have left a gap of experienced classroom instructors. (The Associated Press, July 19)

 

Monday, July 21

Common Core
Louisiana debate turns rancorous
The political brawl over Common Core has mushroomed into the biggest education fight in Louisiana in decades, veteran education officials said. Not only is the state’s top school board fighting with Gov. Bobby Jindal, but panel members are publicly battling with one another, and Jindal has stopped just short of accusing his hand-picked state Superintendent of Education John White of breaking the law. (The Advocate, July 20)

Common Core
Wisconsin Gov. Walker calls to drop standards
Gov. Scott Walker urged legislators Thursday to pass a bill in January repealing adoption of the Common Core State Standards and to replace them with “standards set by people in Wisconsin,” further muddying the future of Common Core in Wisconsin. (Wisconsin State Journal, July 18)

Early Learning
Florida lawmakers change third-grade retention law
As the Florida Education Association noted in its latest lawsuit, SB 850 did more than expand the state's school voucher system. It also changed the rules for Florida's controversial and oft-copied third-grade retention rules, first promulgated by Jeb Bush. (Tampa Bay Times, July 17)

School Funding
Arizona Gov. Brewer to appeal ruling on funds owed to public schools
Arizona schools will likely not see the $1.6 billion a court ruled the state owes them anytime soon. Gov. Jan Brewer said Thursday that the state will appeal a court ruling requiring Arizona to increase funding for Arizona's K-12 system. (Arizona Central, July 18)

Student Health
Georgia considers exemptions to school food standards
Georgia officials call new federal nutrition standards an overreach, and the state's Board of Education has proposed up to 30 exemption days per school every year. School officials can allow fundraisers to sell food no longer allowed in schools under a federal law passed in 2010. (The Associated Press, July 18)

 

Friday, July 18

Charter Schools
Tennessee board debates charter school expansion
Board members in Tennessee are planning a meeting to clarify its policy on leases to charter schools after a contested building was leased to a new charter school with no academic track record because it was willing to pay more money than a charter school with five years of proven academic results. (Chalkbeat Tennessee, July 16)

Common Core
Louisiana Gov. Jindal, ed. superintendent seek common ground
Gov. Bobby Jindal and Education Superintendent John White met to hammer out their differences and possibly come to a compromise on Common Core in Louisiana. The meeting comes after the ongoing dispute over testing aligned with the education standards. (WDSU News, July 17)

Postsecondary
Some for-profit colleges are finding a bumpy road
These are hard days for most for-profit colleges. Declining revenues and an ongoing regulatory crackdown has led to speculation that some in the sector — including one of the major, publicly traded companies — will go nonprofit to get out of the crosshairs. (Inside Higher Education, July 17)

Special Education
New evaluations find fewer states hit mark
Fewer states are fully meeting federal requirements for serving students with disabilities now that the U.S. Department of Education is focusing less on state compliance with voluminous special education rules and more on how well those students are being taught. (Education Week, July 17)

Vouchers
Florida teachers union challenges voucher expansion bill
The state teachers union filed a challenge to a controversial education law, saying it violates a constitutional requirement that each law be limited to a single subject. Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill in June. (Tampa Bay Times, July 16)

 

Thursday, July 17

Bilingual Education
Oregon searches for bilingual teachers as demand surges
As demand increases for dual-language immersion programs, finding qualified bilingual educators may be a challenge. In Oregon, where growth of language immersion programs is anticipated, some districts are seeking bilingual candidates who are still in college as part of a strategy to address a shortage of language instructors. (Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 14)

Common Core
N.C. moves forward; court says Oklahoma is OK
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signaled that he would sign a Common Core compromise bill that the House passed and the Senate signed off on. In Oklahoma, the state Supreme Court ruled that a bill repealing the academic standards is constitutional. (The Associated Press and The Oklahoman, July 15)

Early Learning
Early education should be part of elementary schools
Preschool programs should be integral parts of elementary schools with comparable funding levels and school hours; child-care professionals should be trained as teachers, not babysitters; and state data systems should include information about early education, according to a report. (The Washington Post, July 16)

Postsecondary
Free college idea picks up momentum
The idea of free college for almost everyone has unexpectedly leapt to the top of the conversation about the ever-rising cost of tuition. A new report recommends that the first two years of public universities and colleges be free nationwide, and some are going even further with a proposal to give every lower- and middle-class student a scholarship to cover the full cost of college. (The Hechinger Report, July 15)

Postsecondary
Moody's issues negative outlook for higher education
On the heels of a similarly downcast assessment by Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service issued a negative outlook for the higher education sector in the United States. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 16)

 

Wednesday, July 16

Charter Schools (New from ECS)
More states focus on charter school performance, authorizers  
A growing number of states have enacted legislation on the oversight and performance of charter schools in an effort to establish standards for the semi-autonomous public schools. While most states have charter school laws, more states are concentrating specifically on authorizers and the role those entities play. (ECS, July 15)

Common Core
Missouri Gov. Nixon endorses measure to replace standards
Gov. Jay Nixon signed a bill, HB 1490, that directs Missouri officials to come up with their own version of state school standards to replace the Common Core standards. Common Core will remain in effect while educator groups develop the state’s standards. (KMBC, July 14)

Common Core/Teacher Evaluations
N.J. Gov. Christie reduces impact of student test scores
The Christie administration’s rollback of new standardized tests as a measure for teacher evaluations marks a major concession by the governor, who has been a strong supporter of the new academic standards linked to those exams. (NorthJersey.com, July 14)

Postsecondary
Appeals court backs use of race in University of Texas admissions
A federal appeals court upheld the University of Texas at Austin's consideration of race in admissions. The ruling came in a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that public colleges could consider race in admissions, but only under strict conditions. Critics of affirmative action have hoped that those conditions were sufficiently narrow that when the appeals court took another look at UT-Austin's admissions policies, they would not meet those tests. (Inside Higher Education, July 15)

Postsecondary
Why America’s colleges are embracing big data
Trends that sweep throughout higher education — from for-profit colleges and community colleges to elite liberal arts colleges and public flagship universities — are rare. But an unusually diverse range of more than 150 colleges are now using some form of predictive analytics in an effort to fix their dismal graduation rates. (Vox, July 14)

 

Tuesday, July 15

Common Core
Maryland sees drop in test scores after switch to new standards
Reading and math scores on state tests for Maryland elementary and middle school students dropped to their lowest levels in seven years, according to an analysis of 2014 test data. Some officials expected the drop because schools are transitioning to the Common Core. (Washington Post, July 11)

Early Learning
D.C. bill would ban suspension of pre-K students
The District of Columbia's traditional and charter schools would be prohibited from expelling or suspending pre-kindergartners in most circumstances under new legislation that was introduced, part of a broader push to reduce punishments that keep students out of class. (Washington Post, July 13)

Teacher Compensation
School districts debate merits of master's degree for teachers
Efforts to eliminate extra pay for teachers who earn advanced degrees are gaining momentum in a small but growing number of U.S. schools, stirring a national debate about how best to compensate quality educators and angering teachers who say the extra training is valuable. (The Associated Press, July 12)

Teacher Evaluations
New Mexico to correct hundreds of teacher evaluations
Hundreds of teachers across the state who received flawed evaluations in May can expect to receive a corrected rating before school starts in mid-August. Since the state's Public Education Department distributed the evaluations, it has been working with local school district officials to correct a variety of mistakes found by teachers and their principals. (Albuquerque Journal, July 14)

Technology
Mississippi schools struggle to provide access to technology
The poorest and most rural areas of Mississippi have struggled to implement digital learning programs, compounding the state's most persistent educational problems. (The Hechinger Report, July 13)

 

Friday, July 11

Alternative Education
Researchers tout benefits of 'embodied' learning
Researchers are reviewing the effectiveness of "embodied cognition," a method that combines movement and learning to help students understand abstract concepts. Some learning programs apply the principle to educational technology, combining computers and movement. (The Hechinger Report, July 9)

College Completion
More students leaving higher education after first year
The portion of first-time U.S. students who return to college for a second year has dropped 1.2 percentage points since 2009, according to a report that looks like bad news for the national college completion push. (Inside Higher Education, July 10)

Curriculum Standards
New standards adopted by N.J. education board
New curriculum standards for subjects such as social studies, science and physical education were approved by the New Jersey State Board of Education. The board also reaffirmed its support for Common Core State Standards in math and language arts. (The Star-Ledger, July 9)

Flipped Learning
Study: More teachers adopt flipped classrooms
A growing body of research in support of flipped instruction has led to increased popularity and excitement among teachers for the learning model. A recent study shows that 78 percent of teachers now have flipped a lesson compared with 48 percent two years ago. (eSchool News, July 8)

Postsecondary
U.S. House approves three higher education bills
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives' education committee took the first step toward renewing the nation's chief higher-education law, approving a trio of bipartisan bills that would promote competency-based education, expand financial counseling for student-loan borrowers and streamline the information the government provides to prospective students. (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 10)

 

Thursday, July 10

Career and Technical Development
Students paying extra for skills not learned on campus
More and more programs are being started to help students master career skills before starting their first jobs, most costing thousands of dollars on top of the already high price of their higher educations. Which, for some critics, raises the question: Why aren't they learning this in college? (The Hechinger Report, July 8)

Early Learning
As N.Y. expands preK, private programs fear teacher drain
Directors who oversee independently run programs in New York City say that a program promising to be a boon for families of young children may end up being a loss for them, an unintended consequence of prekindergarten expansion. (The New York Times, July 8)

Teacher Evaluations
New R.I. law delays some evaluations
Teachers deemed "effective" and "highly effective" will see less frequent evaluations now that Gov. Lincoln Chafee has allowed a bill delaying assessments for those teachers to become law. (Providence Journal, July 9)

Teacher Tenure
Teachers to keep tenure in N.C., for now
North Carolina's teachers will no longer face the choice of getting a pay raise or keeping their tenure. Senate budget negotiators abandoned their proposal to eliminate tenure in exchange for an 11 percent pay raise. Though major issues remain, the offer removes another obstacle toward adoption of a state spending plan and adjournment of the legislative session. (Governing, July 9)

Workforce Development
Louisiana effort prepares students for the workforce
About 300 career and technical education teachers from across Louisiana started weeklong training courses as part of a push to prepare high school students to take full advantage of the state's growing jobs market. (The Advocate, July 9)

 

Wednesday, July 9

Common Core
N.J. Senate to vote on slowing new standards
The state Senate has scheduled a vote on legislation that establishes an Education Review Task Force to analyze the Common Core standards, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments and the use of students' test results in evaluating teachers. (Asbury Park Press, July 7)

Postsecondary
Math, science graduates earn top dollar
What you study — math and science are a plus — seems to matter more than whether your alma mater is public or private when it comes to finding a high-paying job after college, according to a report. (USA Today, July 8)

Poverty/Minority Issues
White House plan seeks to improve teachers in poor areas
The Obama administration announced an initiative to try to improve teacher quality at schools with high poverty rates and large minority populations. Under the initiative, states will be required to analyze data and submit plans to ensure students are taught by "effective educators." (The Wall Street Journal, July 7)

Remediation
How to fix America's college remediation issue
More students than ever are graduating from high school, but a significant portion are told they aren't ready for college-level studies. Remedial education at the college level is by no means a new issue, but it's one that both K-12 and higher education leaders are still working to solve. (U.S. News & World Report, July 3)

Summer School
Summer school numbers, cost hard to find
It's really hard to get a head count — either nationally or at the district level — of how many kids are going to summer school. What, exactly, is summer school? How much does it cost? And, the biggest question, does it work? In a nutshell, we have no idea. (NPR, July 7)

 

Tuesday, July 8

Early Learning
Illinois law: Kindergarten by age 6
Children must now enter kindergarten by the time they are 6 years old after an Illinois law went into effect. The previous requirement was 7 years old. The change puts Illinois in line with most other states. (The Associated Press, July 2)

Early Learning
Georgia to invest in early childhood education
Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning announced the launch of additional financial support for Georgia's early childhood educators to enhance their credentials through three new programs. (The Associated Press, July 2)

Financial Literacy
Duncan highlights need to improve financial awareness
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that seeing so many families without savings or a basic understanding about how to prepare for retirement has him worried about the future. He likened financial literacy education to learning a foreign language in that it's something that should be taught as early as possible. (Pensions & Investments, July 7)

Postsecondary
Schools work to focus incoming college students
Recent studies by Harvard University's Center for Education Policy Research found that an estimated 20 percent of graduating seniors from urban school districts in places such as greater Boston, suburban Atlanta, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, abandon their plans to attend college over the summer. Some schools are making efforts to stop this so-called "summer melt." (The Associated Press, July 7)

Standards
Online teacher communities could ease standards transition
The Indiana Department of Education launched dozens of new online communities to help teachers adjust to the state's new academic standards. The communities offer teachers the ability to discuss questions, share links, request resources or suggest additional categories for sharing within the group. (Indiana State Impact, July 1)

 

Thursday, July 3

Remedial Education: New from ECS
Reporting on and measuring remedial education varies significantly across the states, according to a new ECS report. A companion report offers states a common framework to more consistently report students’ remedial needs and progress. Read Inside Higher Ed’s article on the reports. (ECS, July 2)

Charter Schools
The pros, cons and caveats to automatic closure laws
More states are adopting default closure laws to boost the accountability of their charter sectors, but while there are benefits to these provisions there can also be disadvantages. (Education Week, July 2)

College Costs
New federal data show the cost of college tuition, school by school
The Education Department updated information on the costs to attend some 4,300 higher education institutions, as part of an annual effort to make costs more transparent and give families and students more information to pick the right college. (Education Week, July 1)

Science Standards
Wyoming board of education votes to suspend science standards review

The Wyoming state board is asking the education department to stop work on new science standards because of a budget footnote that bars the department from reviewing the Next Generation Science Standards in their process. (Wyoming Public Media, July 1)

Urban Districts
Under pressure, D.C. school system gets more aggressive about selling itself
The District’s traditional public school system is sending principals out to knock on doors in a campaign to sell itself to families, an aggressive move to boost enrollment and maintain market share after years of ceding ground to charter schools. (Washington Post, July 1)

2014 ECS National Forum on Education Policy
Under Secretary Ted Mitchell closes out forum
On the final day of the ECS National Forum, Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell noted that the average time to complete the revised federal student aid form -- FAFSA -- is now 20 minutes, down from close to an hour.

 

Wednesday, July 2

Common Core
Common Core will improve education, most district chiefs say
About two-thirds of district superintendents said they believe the Common Core State Standards will improve the quality of education in their communities, while 22 percent said the standards will have no effect, according to a new Gallup poll. (Education Week, July 1)

Career Pathways
What 8 states are doing to build better pathways from high school to careers
Eight states are tackling a growing disconnect between the education system and its economy by exposing high-school students to jobs, making education relevant to careers and beefing up alternatives to four-year degrees, according to a new report. (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 1)

Education Funding
U.S. states greet new fiscal year with more spending, school funding
Days before most states' new fiscal year begins, 40 states have passed budgets that boost spending and dedicate extra funding primarily for education, according to a report by the National Association of State Budget Officers. (Reuters, June 27)

NCLB Waivers
Indiana superintendent submits waiver plan on No Child Left Behind law
Indiana submitted its plans to correct shortcomings that jeopardize its No Child Left Behind waiver. If federal officials pull the waiver, schools would lose flexibility to spend federal funding and would face daunting student achievement requirements. (Indianapolis Star, June 30)

Teacher Licensure
Tenn. board of education considers streamlined teacher licensing
The Tennessee Board of Education passed a revamped teacher licensure policy that offers high-performing teachers a fast pass to teacher licensure and renewal. The policy reflects S.B. 1813 and S.B. 2240, which passed this session. (Chalkbeat Tennessee, June 30)

2014 ECS National Forum on Education Policy
Sal Khan, founder of the incredibly popular Khan Academy, opened the second day of the forum with an informative, engaging and hilarious session. Among the news from his talk: Khan Academy will be teaming with The College Board to create a new SAT that will reflect what students are learning in K-12.

 

Tuesday, July 1

Bilingual Education
States encourage bilingualism with diploma seals
Oregon is piloting a program to include bilingual seals on students' high school diplomas if they demonstrate proficiency in English and Spanish. California, New Mexico, Washington, Illinois and Louisiana are among the other states that are recognizing and rewarding bilingual education. (San Jose Mercury News, June 28)

Common Core
Michigan teachers scramble to create lesson plans, now that MEAP test is back on
After the Michigan legislature decided in June to throw out the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced test for next school year, educators are now scrambling to prepare lesson plans geared toward the previous state test. The result: A lot of teacher uncertainty about what they should emphasize in the classroom. (Mlive.com, June 29)

NCLB Waivers
NCLB waiver states struggle to turn around low-performing schools
Seventeen out of 34 No Child Left Behind waiver states for which monitoring reports have been released by the Education Department were cited for not following through on their plans for fixing up "priority" schools—those bottom 5 percent of performers, according to an Education Week analysis. (Education Week, June 30)

Remedial Education
Kansas state officials turn their attention to developmental education
Kansas higher education officials released recommendations to reduce remedial needs before students graduate from high school and provide funds to postsecondary institutions to develop instructional practices to improve the success of underprepared students. (Lawrence Journal World, June 30)

 

Monday, June 30

Charter Schools
N.C. House OKs charter school discrimination ban
The state House approved a measure that broadly bans discrimination against charter school applicants based on their sexual orientation or other federally and constitutionally protected classes. (The Associated Press, June 26)

Common Core
Connecticut governor promises $15 million more for new standards
Calling it the "Connecticut Core Initiative," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced plans to follow recommendations made by a task force to help implement the Common Core State Standards. (The Hartford Courant, June 26)

School Funding
Lawsuit claims Colorado's reduction mechanism is unconstitutional
A group of school districts and parents filed a lawsuit arguing that the device used by the legislature to control annual K-12 spending, the so-called negative factor, is unconstitutional. (Chalkbeat Colorado, June 26)

Teacher/Principal Evaluations
Maryland pledges collaboration on evaluation process
Maryland's teacher and principal evaluation system moved a step forward as state officials, teachers unions and other education organizations signed a written agreement pledging to collaborate on methods for assessing classroom effectiveness. (The Washington Post, June 27)

Technology
Some schools use a hybrid approach to classroom tech
In order to get technology into students' hands without breaking the bank, some school districts are taking a hybrid approach: Some students use devices provided by the district, while others use their own. (EdTech Magazine, June 25)

 

Friday, June 27

Charter Schools
Concerns over performance persist in Michigan
Two decades into Michigan's charter school experience, it's clear that some schools excel academically, others don't — and charters have not found the key to educating children in poverty. (Detroit Free Press, June 26)

Early Learning
D.C. considers guaranteed preschool for most of city
The District of Columbia proposed an idea that appears to have strong support: guaranteeing access to pre-kindergarten for students who live in-bounds for high-poverty schools. (Washington Post, June 25)

Postsecondary
Student-debt debate is stoked by caveats about data
A debate is raging about whether rising student-loan debt constitutes an existential crisis in American higher education or the natural outcome of more Americans' pursuing a college degree. But the devil is in the details. (Chronicle of Higher Education, June 25)

Student Health
U.S. students get top score for sleepiness
While U.S. students often catch flak for their performance on large-scale international assessments, they may be approaching world dominance on one such indicator: sleepiness. See a recent ECS report on school start times. (Education Week, June 26)

Teacher Training
Kentucky's teacher education efforts get mixed results
The programs that aim to prepare Kentucky teachers for the classroom got mixed reviews in a study by the National Council on Teacher Equality. The council reviewed 2,400 elementary, secondary and special education programs around the country. (WFPL News, June 25)

 

Thursday, June 26

Assessments
Some Indiana educators wary about impact of new tests
Indiana's plan to seek a contractor to design a new standardized test for the 2015-16 school year has some educators concerned the short timetable could create challenges for Indiana's teachers, students and parents. (The Associated Press, June 25)

Charter Schools
Converting Catholic schools to charters draws scrutiny
While conversions of Catholic schools to charters are rare, a number of schools have made the switch in recent years. A study this spring found enrollment grew dramatically following the change. (Education Week, June 25)

Graduation Requirements
Michigan governor OKs changes to high school rules
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed two laws that enforce changes in Michigan's high school graduation requirements affecting math, foreign language, and health and physical education classes. (MLive, June 25)

No Child Left Behind
Nebraska seeks pathway to obtain a waiver
Nebraska officials are looking for a way to break loose of No Child Left Behind as the federal law tightens its grip on the state's public schools. The state is talking with federal officials about whether there is a pathway for Nebraska to obtain a waiver and its push for 100 percent student proficiency. (Omaha World-Herald, June 23)

New from ECS
Different paths to the common goal of civic education
Successful policymaking for civic education requires broad support through a goal-oriented, non-partisan and collaborative approach. A new report highlights the variety of paths that have been employed around the country to reach that common goal.

 

Wednesday, June 25

Common Core
Louisiana teacher training continues focus on standards
Louisiana's universities were instructed to continue training teachers to the Common Core education standards even though Gov. Bobby Jindal is trying to derail the standards in public school classrooms. (The Associated Press, June 23)

Postsecondary
Historically black institutions are facing numerous challenges
Enrollment declines, cuts to government financial aid, leadership controversies and heightened oversight are working together to threaten some historically black colleges in new ways and perhaps even jeopardize their existence. (Inside Higher Education, June 24)

Special Education
Sex-abuse prevention urged for students
Advocacy groups seek to publicize the problem of sexual abuse of students with disabilities, highlighting strategies to protect a population statistically more likely to be victimized. (Education Week, June 24)

Student Health
More students will eat for free at school under federal program
Thousands more students could be eating school lunch completely free starting next fall, thanks to a four-year-old federal program that is finally expanding to all 50 states. (Stateline, June 23)

Technology
Is there a crisis in computer-science education?
Even as the Department of Labor predicts the nation will add 1.2 million new computer-science-related jobs by 2022, the United States is graduating proportionately fewer computer science majors than it did in the 1980s. (Mother Jones, June 24)

 

Tuesday, June 24

Academic Standards
State lawmakers assert influence over standards
Resentful over the hubbub surrounding Common Core, state lawmakers are taking steps to claim some of the authority that state boards of education have traditionally held over academic standards. In just the past year and a half, 10 states have enacted laws that place new restrictions or specifications on how state boards may adopt academic expectations. (Education Week, June 23)

Education Technology
Minnesota schools struggle with funding technology for kids
School leaders across the Twin Cities metro area are scrambling to put 21st-century technology in the hands of students, but finding a way to fund the classroom of the future isn't easy. Educators have lobbied state lawmakers for new funding to purchase things such as laptop computers, iPads and Chromebooks. But so far, those requests haven't been addressed. (St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 21)

Charter Schools
Report: Michigan spends $1 billion but fails to hold schools accountable
A yearlong newspaper investigation of Michigan’s charter schools found wasteful spending, conflicts of interest, poor-performing schools and a failure to close the worst of the worst. The report cites lax oversight, including a lack of state guidelines for shutting down charter schools or screening applicants for new ones. (Detroit Free Press, June 23)

Common Core
Mississippi governor, education leaders disagree on standards
State superintendent of education Carey Wright and board of education chairman Wayne Gann have fired back at Gov. Phil Bryant for signaling that he would be in favor of repealing Common Core. Bryant said Thursday that he expects repealing the new English and math standards to be an issue in next year's legislative session, and hinted that he'd support their removal. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger, June 20)

Graduation Rates
New York graduation rates tick up for most students but not English learners
While more students from almost every demographic group are graduating high school on time, a glaring exception is the state’s English language learners, who struggled for a second year to meet the state’s new graduation requirements. (Chalkbeat New York, June 23)

 

Monday, June 23

Assessments
Tennessee quits PARCC, leaving 15 members
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman and Fielding Rolston, the chairman of the state board of education, said their decision was sparked by a new law, House Bill 1549, which had recently been signed by the governor. (Education Week, June 20)

Vouchers
Florida governor expands state voucher program
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday approved an expansion of a statewide voucher program that will allow middle-income families to apply to receive vouchers starting in 2016. (Palm Beach Post, June 20)

Higher Education
Senators propose eliminating the FAFSA
Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Virginia, and Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, are co-sponsoring a bill to simplify the federal student aid system, eliminating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. (Inside Higher Ed, June 20)

English Language Learners
Florida board adopts new English-language-proficiency standards
After a vote by the state board of education this week, Florida has adopted a new set of standards to guide the language instruction of its 250,000 English-language learners. (Education Week, June 20)

Military
North Carolina governor signs bill benefiting military-connected students
A new state law requires the State Board of Education to identify students with military affiliation through a new reporting system. (Jacksonville Daily News, June 22)

 

Friday, June 20

School Funding
Doomsday scenario possible in Washington state case
ECS school finance expert Mike Griffith is featured in this blog post about what could happen in that state's face-off over school spending between state lawmakers and the state Supreme Court. (Education Week, June 19)

Common Core, New York
New York approves reprieve for low-rated teachers
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers reached a tentative deal Thursday that delays use of state Common Core test results to grade teachers rated “ineffective” or “developing.” (New York Post, June 19)

Common Core, D.C.
D.C. suspends evaluation of teachers using student test scores
District of Columbia Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Thursday that the district would suspend the evaluation of teachers using test scores while students adjust to new tests based on Common Core standards. (Associated Press, June 19)

Common Core survey
Nearly half of American adults haven’t heard of Common Core standards
Sick of hearing about the Common Core? A new MSN/Wall Street Journal poll finds nearly half of Americans haven’t even heard of the new standards. (Education Week, June 18)

Vouchers
Report says school voucher changes cost state $16M
An Indiana Department of Education report shows that changes to the state's private school voucher program are costing the state roughly $16 million. (Louisville Courier-Journal, June 18)

 

Thursday, June 19

Civic Education (New from ECS)
Secretaries of state can make lasting impact in civics
Among the responsibilities of individual secretaries of state in this country, the oversight of elections within their respective states plays a large role. Many attempt to go further and have started initiatives focused on civic learning and engagement. (National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement, June 19)  

Common Core
Louisiana Gov. Jindal moves to dump new standards
Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his plans to try and roll back Louisiana and the nation's largest educational change in a generation: the Common Core academic standards and a related standardized test. (The Times-Picayune, June 18)

Early Learning
California may add preschool seats for low-income students
California's general fund spending package passed by the Legislature is headed to the governor. The budget includes $264 million for expanding education before kindergarten. It would add 11,500 new preschool spots for low-income families. (The Associated Press, June 16)

Early Learning
Some Ohio third graders still struggle with reading
About 12 percent of third graders in Ohio can't read well enough to qualify to move on to fourth grade under the state's Third grade Reading Guarantee. (The Plain Dealer, June 18)

Postsecondary
Tough love for higher education accountability
As policymakers ponder new ways to hold colleges more accountable for how well they serve students, they should start by laying down some tougher minimum standards that institutions must meet to receive federal benefits, according to a new report. (Inside Higher Education, June 18)

 

Wednesday, June 18

Early Education
Kentucky to expand preschool education program
Kentucky officials are expanding a program that seeks to help parents turn everyday life into learning experiences for their preschool-aged children. (The Associated Press, June 17)

Postsecondary
Oregon's tuition-free plan would cost $20M annually
If Oregon were to allow 4,000 college students to attend community college or a public university tuition-free with the understanding that they will repay a portion of their income later, it would cost the state an additional $5 million to $20 million a year for about 20 years, officials said. (The Oregonian, June 11)

Teaching Quality
California advances bill that speeds up teacher dismissals
A bill to hasten the dismissal of some public school teachers appears to be speeding into law, but it won't calm the furor unleashed when a judge threw out key job protections for California instructors. (The Los Angeles Times, June 16)

Teacher Tenure
Effort to limit Missouri teacher tenure challenged
A lawsuit brought by public school teachers seeks to block a statewide vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit their tenure protections. (The Associated Press, June 17)

Teacher Training
Study: Many training programs are failing
A study from the National Council on Teacher Quality suggests that teaching colleges are too lenient in their admissions criteria and have failed to prepare their students to teach subjects like reading, math and science. (NPR, June 17)

 

Tuesday, June 17

Charter Schools
After fraud allegations, D.C. officials seek more oversight
Recent fraud allegations against leaders at two D.C. public charter schools have illuminated what city officials are calling a gap in their ability to effectively oversee the financial dealings of the fast-growing charter school sector. (The Washington Post, June 15)

Common Core
Louisiana governor vetoes bill passed by legislature
Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed a bill that many had seen as an endorsement of the Common Core academic standards. The governor has recently said he wants to scrap the educational benchmarks and its associated testing in Louisiana. (The Times-Picayune, June 14)

Early Learning (New from ECS)
Science knowledge gives young students a boost in all subjects
A new report from ECS finds that science does not detract from literacy development among young students and in fact contributes to the goal that all children can read proficiently by third grade. (ECS, June 17)

School Accountability
Indiana won't delay test-based accountability in 2015
Gov. Mike Pence said Indiana must keep school accountability in place in 2015 even if an overhauled ISTEP test results in lower student scores. (Chalkbeat Indiana, June 14)

Science Standards
Wyoming church group supports Next Gen standards
The Wyoming Association of Churches said that it supports the Next Generation Science Standards because science should be taught openly and not be based on any belief system. A leader in the group said the state Legislature's recent move to block the standards infringed on students' rights. (Casper Star-Tribune, June 16)

 

Monday, June 16

Accountability
Teacher, school accountability systems shaken up
Many states are moving to delay or alter test-based accountability for schools and teachers, as tests associated with the Common Core State Standards head for their debut nationwide in the coming school year. (Education Week, June 12)

Common Core
New standards trigger flood of legislation
As of May 15, lawmakers introduced over 340 bills in 46 states — every state that had had a regular legislative session this year — that addressed college- and career-readiness education standards, including the Common Core. Of those, 30 would slow down or delay college- and career-readiness standards and 35 would halt or revoke implementation altogether. (Stateline, June 13)

Minority Issues
Obama plans to bolster education for Native Americans
The Obama administration is rolling out more than a dozen modest steps designed to improve the Bureau of Indian Education, boost the academic achievement of Native American students and support economic development in tribal communities. (The Wall Street Journal, June 13)

Postsecondary
'Adaptive learning' gaining in popularity
Experts say adaptive learning — the use of software to create a more individualized learning experience for students — has promise in tailoring coursework and supports to students, which could boost retention and graduation rates. (Inside Higher Ed, June 13)

Teacher Evaluations
Hawaii makes changes amid concerns
The state Department of Education announced more than a dozen changes being made to its controversial teacher evaluation system amid growing angst from teachers and principals. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, June 13)

 

Friday, June 13

Career/Technical Education
Rhode Island advances CTE bills
Two rewritten bills that would change Rhode Island’s career and technical education system were approved in committees and are expected to be heard soon by the full Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives. (Providence Journal, June 12)

Science Standards
S.C. Board of Education rejects language change
The State Board of Education in South Carolina rejected proposed language that would require biology students to construct scientific arguments that seem to support and discredit Darwinism. (The Post and Courier, June 11)

Teacher Accountability
Ohio changes the way teachers are graded
The Ohio legislature decided that grades and ratings of Ohio's teachers shouldn't depend as much on student test scores. (The Plain Dealer, June 10)

Teaching Quality
California bill reforming teacher dismissals goes to governor
A bill making it easier to fire abusive educators heads to Gov. Jerry Brown two days after a judge found California's teacher tenure laws unconstitutional. (The Associated Press, June 12)

Teacher Tenure
Some states roll back teacher tenure protections
Even before a judge's scathing ruling against California's teacher tenure policies, the once-sacred protections that make it harder to fire teachers already had been weakened in many states -- and even removed altogether in some places. (The Associated Press, June 12)

 

Thursday, June 12

College Tuition
Florida approves in-state tuition for undocumented students
Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation that allows students who are undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition at Florida colleges and universities. (Miami Herald, June 10)

Early Learning / English Language Learners
Young students benefit when parents are literate in English
More than others, parents in immigrant households are the least likely to enroll their children in federal and state preschool programs, due mainly to language and literacy barriers. (Latin Post, June 10)

Postsecondary
Common Core gets support from higher education
More than 200 higher-education leaders have created a new organization to voice their support for Common Core, the controversial state-based educational-standards system. (The Christian Science Monitor, June 10)

School Accountability
New Mexico's colleges to be evaluated in 2015
New Mexico will begin issuing report cards for the state's six colleges of education in an effort to graduate better teachers. (Albuquerque Journal, June 11)

Student Outcomes
Judge strikes down Virginia school takeover plan
A circuit court judge found Virginia's embattled school takeover division to be unconstitutional because it "purports to create a school division that is not supervised by a school board." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 11)

 

Wednesday, June 11

Common Core
Gates Foundation backs accountability delay
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced its support for a two-year moratorium on tying results from assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards to teacher evaluations or student promotions to the next grade level. (Education Week, June 10)

Common Core
S.C. says new standards will be ready as early as Jan. 2015
After approving a bill to replace the Common Core with homegrown education standards, South Carolina said those new standards will be ready by the time the General Assembly returns in January. (The Post and Courier, June 9)

Early Learning
Launch of Colorado's new rating system postponed
The state has backed away from its planned July start date for a new mandatory quality rating system for early childhood education and officials now say they are aiming for a November launch. (Chalkbeat Colorado, June 9)

School Choice
N.Y. pushes to change specialized high school process
The New York City teachers union says it has several state lawmakers who will help push a bill that would change the extremely competitive process for getting into eight specialized high schools. (The Associated Press, June 9)

Teacher Tenure
California teacher tenure laws tuled unconstitutional
California's tenure protections for public school teachers were ruled unconstitutional by a judge presiding in a lawsuit brought by nine students. Read the ECS reports on trends in teacher tenure and view the 50-state database. (The Associated Press, June 10)

 

Tuesday, June 10

Common Core
Louisiana Gov. Jindal indicates desire to opt out
In his strongest criticism to date, Gov. Bobby Jindal said he wants Louisiana out of the Common Core and the tests that go with it. He has made similar statements in recent weeks. (The Advocate, June 9)

Postsecondary
California bill addresses sexual consent
A bill that passed the California Senate would require many of California's 2.3 million college students to make sure they have a "yes" — not just not a "no" — before they have sex. (Inside Higher Education, June 9)

Teacher Evaluations
Accuracy of N.M. evaluations questioned
Newly released state teacher evaluations that are based on erroneous data left New Mexico educators confused and frustrated, according to some Albuquerque school officials and the state Public Education Department. (Albuquerque Journal, June 7)

Waivers
Utah considers future of NCLB waiver
State education leaders are considering abandoning Utah's waiver to the No Child Left Behind law, partly as a statement about federal interference in Utah schools. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 6)

Accreditation (New from ECS)
States moving from accreditation to accountability
A number of states have seen their legislatures take a stronger role in accountability over the past 15 years — resulting in a move from state-administered accreditation systems to outcomes-focused state accountability programs. (ECS, June 10)

 

Monday, June 9

Common Core
Ohio bucks trend, sticks with new standards
Ohio's legislature, which is heavily Republican, reaffirmed the math and English standards it adopted along with 43 other states and the District of Columbia. (StateImpact/NPR, June 5)

Dual Enrollment
Costs, quality on radar as dual enrollment rises
As dual-enrollment programs surge in popularity, policymakers and advocates are wrestling with how to pay the costs and promote access for all high school students who are eligible to earn college credit, especially low-income and minority populations. (Education Week, June 4)

Postsecondary
ACT makes series of minor tweaks
ACT is unveiling a series of changes -- most involving the addition of new scores -- to its college admissions test. (Inside Higher Ed, June 6)

School Calendar
Duncan looks to end students' 'summer slide'
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan believes that much of what students learn during the school year slips away during the long summer break, and a solution is needed. (StateImpact/NPR, June 5)

Student Health
Illinois governor signs bill requiring H.S. CPR
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill requiring Illinois high school students to get trained on how to operate mobile defibrillators and to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation. (Chicago Tribune, June 5)


Friday, June 6

Assessments
Feds require new standardized test in Indiana
Indiana will have to impose a new statewide standardized test on K-12 students next year if it wants to maintain control over $200 million a year in federal education funding. (StateImpact, June 4)

Common Core
Oklahoma governor signs bill to axe Core
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that will replace the Common Core State Standards in English and math with academic standards to be designed by the state. (Oklahoma News9, June 5)

Common Core
N.C. moves to repeal new standards
Legislation that would replace the Common Core education standards is a step closer to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk after a vote in the state Senate. Senators backed their version of a law that would replace the standards. (Citizen-Times, June 5)

Postsecondary
Higher ed. groups divided over federal accountability
College leaders are not united in their views about the appropriate role for the federal government in holding institutions accountable. (Inside Higher Education, June 5)

Religious Studies
Ohio bills tweak credit for religion courses, more
Public school students in Ohio could receive credit for religious courses they take off campus during regular school hours as part of a slew of school-related changes that lawmakers advanced. (Zanesville Times-Recorder, June 4)

Teacher Accountability
Pennsylvania bill would base furloughs on evaluations
The Pennsylvania House Education Committee voted to advance legislation that would add economic reasons to the list of permitted situations when teachers and others could be furloughed. (PennLive, June 4)

 

Thursday, June 5

Charter Schools
Delaware bill lets state board restrict charter schools
A bill that received final approval in the General Assembly would allow the Delaware Board of Education to restrict geographic areas, grades and academic emphasis served by charter schools if it's determined they will affect surrounding districts. (The News Journal, June 4)

Common Core
S.C. bill requires replacement of standards
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has signed a bill that requires the state to adopt new content standards for the 2015-16 school year and drop the Common Core State Standards. (Education Week, June 4)

Competency-Based Education
From policy to reality in New Hampshire
A former chairman of the New Hampshire board of education has a new initiative he hopes will help schools institutionalize real-world learning opportunities for students. (Education Week, June 4)

Postsecondary
Will MOOCs undermine top business schools, or help them?
Massive open online courses are not currently cannibalizing tuition-based programs at top business schools, according to an enthusiastic report from the University of Pennsylvania. Rather, MOOCs could become a recruiting tool for tapping new pools of potential students. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 3)

Teacher Regulation
Kansas schools can hire teachers without education degree
The State Board of Education has agreed to allow schools to hire teachers for certain subjects who have expertise but no education degree. (The Associated Press, June 4)

 

Wednesday, June 4

Dual Credit
Researchers join forces to study high school policy
Researchers at the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Tennessee Department of Education will share in a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to launch a five-year study on the impact of a new dual-credit policy in Tennessee. (Michigan News, June 3)

Early Learning
Indiana preschool program delayed, future uncertain
Indiana's first state-supported preschool program won't be starting up this coming school year, and when that will happen remains uncertain. (The Associated Press, June 3)

English Language Learners
New York State Sets Focus on English-Learners
Education leaders in New York state are pushing a new agenda for English-language learners that calls for more accountability for their needs and more opportunities for rigorous bilingual and dual-language instruction. (Education Week, June 4)

School Safety
Ohio bill would require seatbelts on school buses
Ohio school buses would have to be outfitted with safety belts under legislation introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 2)

Teacher Accountability
Study: Teachers absent far too often
A study that looked at attendance for more than 234,000 teachers in 40 districts during the 2012-13 year found that 16 percent of all teachers were classified as chronically absent because they missed 18 days or more. (USA Today, June 3)


Tuesday, June 3

Rural Dual Enrollment (New from ECS)
States addressing dual enrollment challenges in rural areas
States are turning to dual enrollment, where high school students enroll in college courses, as one strategy to improve that rate. But they're encountering challenges unique to rural areas, such as finding high school teachers qualified to teach college-level courses. (ECS, June 3)

Assessments
Kentucky explores alternatives to standardized tests
Kentucky was the first state in the nation to adopt the Common Core and the tests that align with it. This spring, the 1,700-student Danville district thinks it's found a better way to teach the standards. (NPR, June 2)

College Prep
Minnesota's AVID efforts tackle achievement gap
School districts in Minnesota are seeing elementary and secondary students make positive gains thanks in part to the use of AVID — a college-readiness program. (The Star-Tribune, May 24)

Dual Enrollment
More students earning college credit during high school
Eighty-two percent of high schools nationwide offered dual enrollment programs, enrolling students in 2 million college courses during the 2010-11 school year — an increase from 71 percent of high schools in 2002-03. (The Associated Press, June 1)

STEM
STEM-focused schools yield mixed results
In 2010, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology called for 1,000 STEM-focused schools to open in the next decade. But the results of several new studies raise questions about the overall efficacy of this approach. (Education Week, June 1)

 

Monday, June 2

Common Core
New standards face a new wave of opposition
Opposition to the Common Core has gathered momentum among state lawmakers in recent weeks, with Oklahoma and South Carolina among states considering repeal-and-replace bills. (The New York Times, May 29)

Competency-Based Education
Maine gives school districts option on diploma law
The Maine Department of Education will allow school districts to slow the process of implementing a law that requires students to graduate from high school only after demonstrating they have met a set of state standards. (Bangor Daily News, May 30)

Early Learning
Vermont's universal preschool plan becomes law
A new law signed by Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin will open up early education to every child by offering 10 hours of early education to every 3- and 4-year-old in the state. (Vermont Press Bureau, May 29)

Special Education
Louisiana bill would empower IEP teams
Louisiana lawmakers approved a bill that would give teams of teachers, administrators and parents wide latitude in determining grade promotion and graduation requirements for students with disabilities. (Education Week, May 30)

Technology
Video games in the classroom?
Game-Based Learning and Gamification — the idea of incorporating video games into classroom instruction — are gaining some real traction in the teaching community. (EdSurge, May 28)

 

Friday, May 30

Early Learning
Montana Gov. Bullock draws attention to preK
Every Montana child should have access to a pre-kindergarten program, and Gov. Steve Bullock wants a program in place by September 2015. (Missoulian, May 28)

English Language Learners
California moves to roll back bilingual education ban
A challenge to California's ban on bilingual education in public schools took a step forward after the state Senate approved a measure aimed at overturning key sections of the law. (CBS News, May 29)

School Grades
States have room to improve in school accountability efforts 

States are struggling to create school accountability systems that are easy to find, meaningful to parents and filled with the data experts recommend, according to a review of school report cards in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

School Spending
Increases linked to better outcomes for poor students
In districts that substantially increased their spending as the result of court-ordered changes in school finance, low-income children were significantly more likely to graduate from high school, earn livable wages and avoid poverty in adulthood. (Education Week, May 29)

Waivers
Wyoming wants relief from No Child Left Behind
The Wyoming Department of Education plans to ask for relief from one element of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the agency said. (Casper Star-Tribune, May 28)


Thursday, May 29

Accountability
Judge overturns Alabama Accountability Act
A county circuit judge ruled that the Alabama Accountability Act, the school choice law passed by the Legislature in 2013, is unconstitutional. (The Huntsville Times, May 28)

Common Core
N.Y. education chief rallies for support
Education Commissioner John King Jr. is urging New York’s business and community leaders to support the Common Core curriculum standards. (The Associated Press, May 28)

Education Standards
Ohio moves to preserve state control
A committee of Ohio House and Senate members is expected to propose changes to state policy on education standards and halt any further partnership with other states in formulating new standards. (NPR/State Impact, May 27)

School Vouchers
Wisconsin school choice debate turns on the numbers
The release of Wisconsin’s statewide voucher program application numbers has prompted parties in different camps to use the same data — or different parts of the same data — to support their positions. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, May 27)

New from ECS
States have room to improve in school accountability efforts 
States are struggling to create school accountability systems that are easy to find, meaningful to parents and filled with the data experts recommend, according to a review of school report cards in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 

Wednesday, May 28

Special Education
Louisiana pilot program could serve as model
A pilot project in New Orleans could pave the way for sweeping changes in how the state funds special education students. (The New Orleans Advocate, May 27)

Student Debt
The Ripple Effect of Rising Student Debt
A collection of studies shows that the burden of student debt may well cause people to make different decisions than they would otherwise — affecting not just individual lives but also the entire economy. (The New York Times, May 24)

Student Safety
Report: Mass shootings on campus more frequent, deadly
Mass shootings were rare on and around college campuses years. But they've been escalating recently. Since the Virginia Tech shooting that killed 32 people in 2007, 28 others have been killed in mass campus shootings. (Vox, May 26)

Teacher Preparation
Federal grants emphasize STEM, Common Core
The U.S. Department of Education wants its upcoming $35 million investment in teacher preparation to focus on two main areas: Producing effective teachers in the STEM fields and preparing teachers to instruct to the Common Core State Standards. (Education Week, May 27)

Teacher Tenure (ECS in the News)
Tenure Rules Linked to Teacher Evaluations in More States

A growing number of states are using controversial teacher evaluations to determine which teachers earn and hold onto tenure, says a new report. (NBC News, May 22)

 

Tuesday, May 27

Principal Evaluations
States grapple with how to evaluate principals

The number of states that mandate principal evaluations has jumped in recent years, driven by rules tying federal education aid to such policies. But many are still grappling with the best ways to measure principal effectiveness and the extent to which student performance should be included in evaluating principals. (Education Week, May 23)

Career/Technical Education
CTE boosts reading, math scores in N.D.

New statistics from the state Department of Public Instruction show career and technical education can improve reading and math scores, especially for at-risk students. (The Bismarck Tribune, May 22)

Common Core
New Jersey bill calls for slower start to testing

A bill that would delay tying PARCC test scores to teacher evaluations in the state for up to two years, passed the New Jersey Assembly Education Committee. (NorthJersey.com, May 22)

Common Core
Oklahoma House votes to repeal standards

The Oklahoma House voted overwhelmingly to repeal Common Core standards and to replace them with standards developed by the state. The bill now goes to the Senate. (The Associated Press, May 23)

Teacher Tenure (ECS in the News)
Tenure Rules Linked to Teacher Evaluations in More States

A growing number of states are using controversial teacher evaluations to determine which teachers earn and hold onto tenure, says a new report. (NBC News, May 22)

 

Friday, May 23

Assessments
Tennessee to let schools out of TCAP requirement

A move by the state Department of Education to make exams better aligned to Common Core standards has delayed the release of end-of-year test scores, leaving school systems scrambling for answers. (The Tennessean, May 21)

Early Learning
Oklahoma House overrides reading bill veto

Thousands of 3rd graders will get a new chance to advance to the 4th grade even though they failed a basic reading test after the Oklahoma Legislature voted to overturn a veto by Gov. Mary Fallin. (Stateline, May 21)

School Safety
Ohio governor proposes added $17M in grant money

Ohio schools would see additional grant money made available for security upgrades and face penalties for failing to submit safety plans under a package of school safety initiatives proposed by Gov. John Kasich. (The Associated Press, May 22)

School Vouchers
Most Wisc. program applicants attend private school

Seventy-five percent of eligible students who applied for taxpayer-funded subsidies to attend private and religious schools this fall in the statewide voucher program already attend private schools, according to newly released data. (Journal Sentinel, May 20)

Workforce Development
Key federal legislation heads toward passage

After many false starts, members of Congress have reached agreement on a bill to reauthorize federal job-training programs. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 22)

 

 

Thursday, May 22

Common Core
Ohio Senate committee tweaks standards
Hoping to quell concerns about Common Core standards and new student tests, a Senate committee recommended passage of an education budget overhaul. (The Columbus Dispatch, May 21)

Curriculum
Illinois proposal allows school to drop certain topics
Legislation allowing schools to opt out of teaching topics like drivers' education and black history has received backing from an Illinois Senate committee. (Chicago Sun-Times, May 20)

School Assessments
Florida laws designed to help understand school progress
New laws should make it easier for parents to see how their children's schools and districts are doing compared to others in Florida, experts told the state Board of Education. (The Associated Press, May 20)

Teacher Licensing
Kansas working through licensing changes
Obtaining a teacher's license in Kansas is about to get a lot easier for those who teach in particular areas, but they will also become more expensive under plans being considered. (Lawrence Journal-World, May 19)

New from ECS
Teacher evaluations and tenure, layoff decisions
An increasing number of states are using teacher performance, as measured by evaluations, in key employment decisions about who gets – and keeps – tenure and who gets laid off. ECS released three short reports providing an overview of trends in state tenure laws since 2011, an examination of tenure and reduction-in-force policies and a look at teacher evaluations and decisions to grant or remove tenure.

 

Wednesday, May 21

At-Risk Students
Array of factors drives students from school
Often, there's not a clear, single factor but a collision of negative events that finally breaks a young person's will to go to school, according to a new report. (Education Week, May 20)

Financial Literacy
How early should it be taught?
Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely recently launched a push to make financial literacy a regular piece of the curriculum for Chicago's grade schoolers. (Governing, May 20)

Postsecondary
Arne Duncan touts 'middle college'
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan highlighted one innovative approach to reducing the cost of higher education: "middle colleges." (The Connecticut Mirror, May 20)

Teacher Licensing
Kansas working through teacher licensing changes
Changes are in store for the Kansas teacher licensing process under a new state law aimed at making it easier for people without education degrees to get into classrooms. (The Associated Press, May 19)

Technology
Massachusetts says computer coding is essential
Students as young as kindergartners are learning computer programming as Massachusetts schools join a growing national movement to prepare students for 21st-century jobs. (Boston Herald, May 20)

 

Tuesday, May 20

Postsecondary
Utah’s '66 by 2020' goal is on track
Utah's push to see two-thirds of adults holding a degree or certificate by 2020 will add $14.4 billion to the state's economy over 30 years through increased wages, Gov. Gary Herbert said. View the report. (Deseret News, May 16)

Rural Education
Report: Mississippi considered highest priority state
Rural schools in Mississippi are growing in enrollment and serving more low-income and minority students than previous years, according to a report. The state also ranks first when it comes to socio-economic challenges faced by rural students. (The Hechinger Report, May 19)

Science Standards
Wyoming divided over new guidelines
Some Wyoming lawmakers say that teaching standards that say human activity has affected the climate is a threat to the state's economic engine. (The New York Times, May 18)

Student Health
States tightening vaccine loopholes
As outbreaks of preventable diseases have spread around the country in recent years, some states have been re-evaluating how and why they allow parents to opt their children out of vaccines required for school attendance. (Education Week, May 19)

Teacher Tenure
In N.J., both sides agree new law is working
A majority of tenure charges filed by school boards against teachers in New Jersey since a new tenure law took effect in 2012 have been upheld by state arbitrators assigned to hear them. (The Press of Atlantic City, May 17)

 

Monday, May 19

Brown v. Board of Education
On 60th anniversary, a look at inequality
Saturday marked the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. Many inequities in education still exist for black students and for Hispanics, a population that has grown exponentially since the 1954 ruling. (The Associated Press, May 16)

Early Learning
Missouri looks set to allow state preschool funding
The Missouri Legislature sent a bill to provide delayed and limited state funding for public preschool programs to the governor on the final day of the session. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 16)

Language Arts
S.C. cursive writing bill carries steep price tag
A Senate panel narrowly advanced a bill requiring South Carolina's school districts to teach students how to write in cursive by 5th grade after questioning its $27.6 million price tag. (The Associated Press, May 15)

Postsecondary
Colleges look to Hispanics to boost enrollment
Enrollment numbers among white students has dipped in the southern United States, and colleges in the region have responded by recruiting Hispanic students. (The Hechinger Report, May 15)

Teacher Tenure
Court: N.C. anti-tenure law is unconstitutional
A North Carolina superior-court judge has ruled that a 2013 law dismantling the state's system of granting "career status" for teachers is unconstitutional. (Education Week, The Associated Press, May 16)

 

Friday, May 16

College Tuition
Students paying bigger share of college costs
Average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges grew from $7,008 to $8,893, or 27 percent, from 2008-09 to 2013-14, according to a study by the College Board. (Stateline, May 15)

Postsecondary
National enrollment slide slows a bit
The decline in overall college enrollment has slowed this spring, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, but not all the news is positive. (Inside Higher Education, May 15)

Remediation Rates
Fewer Colorado students need catch-up classes
College remediation rates in Colorado fell to 37 percent for the state’s high school class of 2012, down from a high of 41 percent in 2010. For the first time, that figure includes students who were graduating either early or late. (Chalkbeat Colorado, May 15)

Student Transfers
Missouri lawmakers approve overhaul of law
Lawmakers gave final approval to legislation overhauling a Missouri school transfer law that requires struggling schools to pay for students to transfer elsewhere despite criticism from Gov. Jay Nixon. (The Associated Press, May 15)

Teacher Licensing
Indiana gives initial OK to new requirements
The State Board of Education gave initial approval to an amended proposal that would allow college graduates with a B average in any subject to earn a K-12 teaching license in Indiana. (Indianapolis Star, May 14)

 

Thursday, May 15

Assessments
Oregon moves forward with new, tougher tests
The teachers union in Oregon wants the state to put off tough new statewide tests scheduled for next year because a majority of students are expected to fail. But state schools chief Rob Saxton has refused. (The Associated Press, May 13)

Postsecondary
Tennessee signs promise for free community college
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a law promising free community college tuition to every high school graduate in the state. Lottery funds would be used to cover the cost. (CBS News, May 13)

Reading/Literacy
Oklahoma sends reading proficiency bill to governor
A bill that would give parents and educators the joint ability to promote a student who fails the third-grade reading test was approved by the state House of Representatives and sent to the governor. (The Oklahoman, May 13)

School Schedules
Minnesota to abandon 4-day school week experiment
A money-saving experiment by a handful of Minnesota school districts that switched to four-day school weeks is winding down because of academic performance concerns. (The Associated Press, May 13)

Workforce Development
S.C. program engages students, career goals at early age
South Carolina is nearly nine years into an experiment to bring career counseling into its public school classrooms as a way to better connect graduating students to the ever-changing demands of the labor market. (National Journal, May 14)

 

Wednesday, May 14

Early Learning
Pre-K enrollment dropped, funding rose in 2012-13
Spending in state-funded preschools rose a modest $36 per child in the 2012-2013 school year, a new federally funded report says. But state preschool enrollment also dropped by about 9,200 children, the first time a decline has been catalogued since 2001. The report also highlighted gaps in the availability of pre-K nationwide. (Education Week, May 13)

NCLB
Wyoming won’t receive federal waiver
Wyoming will not receive a federal waiver that would ease consequences for schools under the No Child Left Behind Act. (Casper Star-Tribune, May 13)

School Grades
Florida to pause system for a year
Bills to overhaul the state's school grading system and respond to complaints about Florida's move to Common Core standards were among more legislation signed by Gov. Rick Scott. (The Associated Press, May 12)

STEM
N.J. Senate moves grants program bill
The New Jersey Senate passed a bill that would create a competitive grants program to promote student participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. (The Star-Ledger, May 12)

Teacher Training
Iowa enlists coaches, mentors
Des Moines, Iowa's largest public school district, is one of a few Iowa school districts that have revamped their new teacher mentoring programs in an effort to increase staff retention and improve student achievement. (Des Moines Register, May 12)

 

Tuesday, May 13

Blended Learning
Teaching that's tailored to learners
More teachers nationwide have adopted blended learning — an instructional method that, in some cases, allows them to flip their classrooms, tailoring lessons to students' individual needs. (Christian Science Monitor, May 11)

Charter Schools
Chasm between charters, public schools
Two decades since charter schools began to appear, educators from both systems concede that very little of what has worked for charter schools has found its way into regular classrooms. (The New York Times, May 11)

Performance Standards
Different standards for different students in Illinois
Illinois students of different backgrounds no longer will be held to the same standards — with Latinos and blacks, low-income children and other groups having lower targets than whites for passing state exams. (Chicago Tribune, May 11)

Postsecondary
Common Application makes changes
Creators of the Common Application for college admissions said they have made changes that should prevent snags that had the high school class of 2014 tweeting horror stories. (The Associated Press, May 10)

New from ECS
State responses to increasing student mobility
ECS reviewed transfer and articulation policies in the 50 states to get a sense of how policymakers are responding in law to these changes. In the modern postsecondary environment, it is clear transfer policies are more important than ever.

 

Monday, May 12

Civic Education
Massachusetts colleges adopt policy
The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has adopted a policy to make civics a key component of every undergraduate student's education at all state universities and community colleges. The board said the policy is the first of its kind in the nation. (Boston.com, May 8)

Common Core
Louisiana again rejects repeal bill
The Louisiana Senate Education Committee voted to kill a bill that would have repealed the Common Core academic standards, the latest in a string of failed attempts at rolling back the nationally recognized education benchmarks. (The Times-Picayune, May 9)

Early Learning
Pennsylvania governor pushes for more funding
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is making a pitch for more state money for early childhood education. His proposed budget calls for an additional $25.5 million for early education. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 9)

School Funding
Illinois data fuel reform debate
Newly released figures that show downstate school districts gaining at the expense of suburban ones have fueled a debate among lawmakers about a proposed overhaul of the complicated school funding formula that Illinois has used for almost two decades. (The Associated Press, May 8)

Science Standards
Wyoming is first state to reject standards
Wyoming, the nation's top coal-producing state, is the first to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components. (The Associated Press, May 8)

 

Friday, May 9

Assessments
Georgia moves to replace competency test
The state Board of Education voted to have a firm develop a standardized test to replace the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, which has been given to Georgia students for the past 14 years. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 8)

Education Funding
Tennessee hints at major overhaul
Tennessee's top education official wants a more uniform structure to decide how state education dollars are divided up among public school districts — but what that would look like is still unclear. (The Tennessean, May 7)

School Accountability
Indiana board set to address NCLB waiver concerns
The Indiana State Board of Education will hold a special meeting next week to ask questions about how the state ended up being put on notice by the U.S. Department of Education. (Chalkbeat Indiana, May 7)

Teacher Evaluations
Connecticut board endorses flexibility
The state Board of Education unanimously endorsed a recommended change in the teacher evaluation system that ensures that a teacher's review does not hinge on a single state standardized test score. (The Hartford Courant, May 7)

In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week
Three ways America can do more for its educators
There are numerous ways America's education system could better give teachers the respect they deserve while also giving the kids the education they need. Here are some examples. (Bustle, May 6)

 

Thursday, May 8

NAEP Scores
No improvement for nation's high school seniors
Only about one-quarter of U.S. high school seniors performed solidly in math on National Assessment of Educational Progress test, reinforcing concerns that large numbers of students are unprepared for college or the workplace. (The Associated Press, May 7)

Career/Technical Education
Ohio colleges receive grants for workforce development
Three universities and nine community colleges in Ohio have received a total of $3 million in grants to expand and develop new workforce development education and training programs. (The Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 7)

Common Core
Poll: Republican views not so clear-cut
Supporting or rejecting the Common Core State Standards might not be the political litmus test it's been portrayed to be for Republican candidates, according to a poll. (U.S. News & World Report, May 5)

Teacher Pay
N.C. Gov. McCrory pushes for teacher raises
Gov. Pat McCrory introduced the "Career Pathways for Teachers" framework, which comes as a follow up to an announcement that he would work to increase the base pay for North Carolina teachers to $35,000. (WTVD-ABC, May 7)

In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week
What teaching is … and isn't
Florida educator Julie Hiltz and a colleague are behind the #TeachingIs campaign, in which educators are encouraged to share their insights into the profession so others can fully appreciate what educators do each day. (The Washington Post, May 5)


Wednesday, May 7

Higher Education
Report: Gauging graduates' well-being
The evidence from a survey of 30,000 college graduates is mixed about whether colleges are doing enough to help students' well-being in life. Researchers found that certain sorts of formative experiences in college help prepare graduates for not only "great jobs" but "great lives," but that too few graduates recall having had those experiences. (Inside Higher Ed, May 6)

Assessments
Survey: More educators say 'right amount of time' is spent on testing
A survey finds that teachers and administrators are looking more favorably than they did two years ago on the amount of time that students spend taking tests, and teachers spend preparing for them. (Education Week, May 6)

Early Learning
Connecticut to expand early childhood education
Connecticut's newly approved budget includes $12 million for early childhood education and will add more than 5,000 new slots for pre-kindergarten. This investment could help thousands of children from falling behind. (WFSB, May 5)

Higher Education
N.H. university unveils self-paced degrees
The $10,000 bachelor's degree remains elusive. But Southern New Hampshire University's College for America has unveiled self-paced, competency-based degrees that students should be able to complete for that price, or less. (Inside Higher Ed, May 6)

Teacher Diversity
Fewer than 1 in 5 public school teachers are nonwhite
While the population of minority students in public schools has risen steadily over the past few decades, new research finds that just 18 percent of teachers in those schools are nonwhite. (Time, May 4)

 

Tuesday, May 6

New from ECS
Early school start times can impact adolescent students
Opening school doors at the crack of dawn negatively affects the health and overall education of adolescent students in the United States, says a noted British sleep researcher who is urging American policymakers to consider later start times.

In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week
Teachers lead the way in Nevada project
As districts across the nation grapple with implementing the Common Core State Standards, one teacher is already leading the way in Washoe County, Nev., where the strategy for helping teach the new reading and mathematics standards is being driven by those who are counting most on the guidance: the teachers themselves. (Education Week, March 5)

School Vouchers
Florida approves expansion plan
Both the House and Senate in Florida gave final approval to a bill that would expand the school voucher program and create new scholarships for special-needs children. (Miami Herald, May 2)

Student Achievement
More Massachusetts students taking on AP
In Massachusetts, 89 percent more students in the class of 2013 took AP exams than a decade ago. The number of students receiving a successful score for college admissions has risen 87 percent. (The Boston Globe, May 4)

Teacher Accreditation
Vermont programs turns out teachers
A program aimed at people changing professions mid-career is turning out licensed teachers in eight months by giving them intensive experience in the classroom with mentors. (The Associated Press, May 4)

 

Monday, May 5

Teacher Appreciation Week: May 5-9
To help shine the spotlight on teachers everywhere during this week of appreciation, the Education Commission of the States will feature one article each day that highlights the tireless and often-thankless work of the estimated 3.7 million teachers in the United States. From a profile of the 2014 National Teacher of the Year to the teachers in Nevada who have taken it upon themselves to forge a path of implementation for the Common Core, look for these inspiring stories all week in e-Clips.

In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week
Maryland's Sean McComb is the 2014 National Teacher of the Year
The Council of Chief State School Officers named high school English teacher Sean McComb, of Maryland, the 2014 National Teacher of the Year. At 30-years-old, he is one of the youngest educators to ever win the award. (Education Week, April 30)

Higher Education
Colorado passes three bills to address education
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the College Affordability Act into law, the same day the Senate approved the Student Success Act and just one day after the passage of the annual School Finance Act. (Denver Business Journal, May 2)

No Child Left Behind
Indiana warned its NCLB waiver is at risk
Indiana's efforts to set its own educational course could be at risk if the state fails to correct issues with the implementation of its No Child Left Behind waiver, the U.S. Department of Education said. (The Associated Press, May 2)

Student Debt
Texas board looks to ease pressure
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announced a change that it hopes could alleviate some of the financial pressure on students borrowing to finance their education. (Texas Tribune, May 1)

 

Friday, May 2

ELL/Bilingual
California eyes return of bilingual education
The state Senate Education Committee recommended that California voters be asked to repeal Proposition 227, the 1998 initiative that requires public school instruction in English, and restore bilingual education programs. (The Los Angeles Times, April 30)

Higher Education Funding
Per-pupil spending lags across the nation
Aside from Alaska and North Dakota, every state is spending less per student than before the recession hit, so says a new report. Overall state higher education spending is down about 23 percent, amounting to just a little more than $2,000 per student. And Louisiana, North Carolina, Wyoming, West Virginia and Wisconsin made the deepest cuts this year. (Bloomberg, May 1)

School Choice
North Carolina mulls open enrollment
Proposed legislation in North Carolina would require school districts to set up plans allowing families to request a seat in any school in their home district or in any of the state's other districts. (Charlotte Observer, May 1)

Student Safety
Connecticut moves bill tackling sexual assault on campuses
The Connecticut Senate passed a bill that expands sexual assault reporting requirements, including instructions that public and private colleges provide victims with information on their rights and options. (CT News Junkie, April 29)

Teacher Certification
New York eases pressure on would-be teachers — for now
Aspiring New York State teachers won't have to pass a new, tougher certification test this year or next year, thanks to a vote that resulted from last-minute negotiations with the state teachers union. (Chalkbeat New York, April 29)

 

Thursday, May 1

Common Core
Louisiana bill would delay state's shift to tests
The consequences of Louisiana's shift to Common Core education standards would be stalled for three years if lawmakers agree to a bill that started advancing Tuesday in the Legislature. (The Associated Press, April 30)

District Structure
Vermont moves closer to reducing number of districts
The Vermont House gave preliminary approval to a bill to reduce the number of local school districts in the state from more than 270 to around 50. (Burlington Free Press, April 30)

Financial Aid
Virginia to offer some aid to undocumented students
Attorney General Mark Herring instructed Virginia's public colleges to grant in-state tuition to potentially thousands of students who were previously considered ineligible because of their immigration status. (The Daily Progress, April 29)

School Assessments
Florida Legislature OKs 1-year pause on school grades
Florida's school grading system would be paused for a year under a bill headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott. The move is being made as the state transitions to a new test replacing the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. (The Associated Press, April 30)

Technology
Google to stop scanning student email accounts
Google said that it stopped scanning student Gmail accounts for advertising purposes after the practice was scrutinized during a recent court case. (Wall Street Journal, April 30)

 

 
 
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