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September 10, 2014

New from ECS

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

An awareness of difference improves everybody's college experience
Researchers tested an intervention intended to improve prospects for freshmen college students who were first in their families to enroll in higher education. They found an awareness of background differences improved outcomes of first-generation students but also the outcomes of students whose parents had attended college. (New to the ECS Research Database)

What States Are Doing

Career/Technical education
What did legislators across the country do in 2014 to improve career and technical education? Click here specifically for apprenticeship or career academy aspects.
Facilities: What did legislators do in 2014 about funding school facilities? Click here for other aspects of facilities:
State Longitudinal Data Systems: Finally, the 2014 legislative season was bubbling with changes to state longitudinal data systems: Click here — and here.

Good Reads

15-credit strategies
Because most full-time college students aren't taking enough credits for on-time graduation, colleges are trying a variety of approaches to get students to sign up for 15 credits a semester.  This report provides an overview of the issue and underscores the idea that incentives only target students on the margin because there will always be students who enroll for 15 credits and there will always be students who don't have the time and resources to do that. (Community College Research Center)

State lotteries not necessarily a boost for college affordability
Lotteries tend to replace rather than supplement state higher education appropriations and their actual proceeds rarely match projections, according to a new report. High administration costs result in only 34 cents of every dollar collected winding up in state coffers. And because would-be scholarship students often have to apply for Pell grants before getting any state aid, the state may well wind up spending lottery funds on wealthier students, reducing access. One recommendation is to funnel lottery funds through a trust to reduce volatility. (American Association of State Colleges and Universities)

Webinar: Dual enrollment in rural schools
Consider signing up for the free webinar on the unique challenges rural schools face in providing dual enrollment programs that will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern September 18. Hosted by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment, presenters are Jennifer Dounay Zinth of the Education Commission of the States, Pamela Allen from the Office of P-16 Partnerships, Ohio Dominican University and Spencer Barzee, Superintendent of the Westside School District in Idaho.

Learning the Common Core and English at the same time
Called ELD 2.0, this English Language Development framework is anchored in the language demands of the Common Core. There are two critical elements. One is focused language study - a dedicated time to spend on English; the other is discipline-specific, academic language expansion which takes place across the day by all teachers and is integrated into all subjects. Subject area teachers must learn how to assist English language learners in the ways of thinking and expressing ideas in their fields. (Council of the Great City Schools)

Common Core myths dispelled
Three common myths about the Common Core assessment consortia get busted in this brief. The first is that the consortia are federal or require some data to be handed over to the federal government. The second is that the consortia won't adequately protect student privacy and will share student data indiscriminately. The third is that such personal questions as family religion and income will be part of the assessments. No, no, no. (Data Quality Campaign)

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